Top 8 Biggest Moving Mistakes

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#1. You Think You Can Just Do-It-Yourself

Thinking of just renting a truck for a couple hours and doing the move yourself? Big mistake. Across town or across state, moving can be complicated and overwhelming with unexpected expenses, damage to household goods or your home, not to mention it’s just plain exhausting. Consider the potential pitfalls: the wear and tear on your body (and mind), damages to your furniture or breakables, damages to your new or old home, renting the wrong size truck, unexpected fuel costs or truck fees. In the end, a do-it-yourself move may not be as cheap or easy as you thought it might be. Give yourself plenty of time to research the best option for your move.

#2. You Forget to Check if Your Movers are Licensed

There are lots of options for local movers out there, it can be overwhelming. Your first step in narrowing down the options should be to verify that the mover is licensed to move household goods in the state of California. You can do this by visiting the California Public Utilities Commission website and entering the name of the company. A few things to look out for - A licensed moving company will always have their license number on their quotes, emails and any other information provided to you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Unlicensed movers are not following state mandated industry regulations and therefore are able to charge less for their services. The potential problems with hiring an unlicensed moving company are many. They could be here today and not the next, it’s a matter of time before they are caught operating without a license so don’t count on them showing up on moving day. The movers who will be in your home are likely day laborers and not background checked or drug tested. Being unlicensed also means they are not insured nor do they have workers’ comp insurance, which brings us to the next mistake….

#3. You Don’t Check if Your Movers are Insured

Oops, your flat screen tv just fell off the back of the truck while they were unloading. Who is going to pay for that? Not the moving company, if they aren’t insured. Always ask the moving company if they are insured and verify it on the California Public Utilities Commission website before booking with them. Also check with your home insurance provider to see what's covered and when and where. If you don't think you have enough coverage, many moving companies offer a variety of options for additional insurance. Just as important - find out, if your chosen mover has workers' comp insurance. Many moving companies operating locally do not, and that could mean you are financially responsible for an injury sustained by a mover in your home. This could be a pricey mistake to make! 

#4. You Didn’t Know there was a Peak Moving Season

With tens of thousands of San Diegans relocating each year, you want to be sure that you are planning far enough in advance so you’re able to secure the date you want with the movers you want. The most reputable local moving companies book up quickly from late spring to early fall when half of all moving takes place, on weekends throughout the year and at the end of each month, so plan ahead! You don’t want your only option to be a less experienced, possibly unlicensed mover or one who has to hire temporary labor to do your job. Give yourself enough time and book your move as soon as you have a date set. Make sure to ask your mover about over booking; some make a habit of taking on too many jobs to make sure they get enough work. You don't want to be the job they drop on moving day!

#5. You Didn't get a Written Estimate

Ask that your mover provide you with a written estimate of all the costs involved in your
move and an estimate of the time it will take. Many movers will tell you rates over the phone only to inflate them on moving day. At that point all your items have been moved and you’re stuck with a much higher bill than expected. Without having your quote in writing there’s not much you can do. Make sure you know your costs ahead of time and ask questions about possible hidden fees. You also don't want to go with the cheapest bid; there is bound to be a reason that mover is cheaper, and it usually isn't a good one.

#6. You Didn’t Consider Things that Couldn’t Be Moved

Most moving companies won't be held responsible for expensive items, like jewelry or important documents like passports and birth certificates. You'll want to pack your valuables and items that are irreplaceable carefully and plan to transport them yourself. For liability and health regulation reasons, most moving companies also will not transport flammables, plants, pet furniture, and things of that nature. Plan to move these items on your own. Read the information provided to you by your moving company carefully or ask to find out if there are such things that they will not transport.

#7. You’re Convinced You Don’t Really Have That Much Stuff to Move

Be honest with yourself and your moving company about your moving situation and the amount of things you have to move. If you have a 1-bedroom apartment, but it’s on the 4th floor with no elevator and you happen to collect antique suits of armor and you tell your
moving company you have a typical one-bedroom apartment, well you’re going to have some problems. Not telling them will only make for more headaches for yourself on moving day and will likely increase the final bill. Tell the moving company ahead of time exactly what you have to be moved, what the set-up is at the loading and unloading locations and any other information you think would be helpful so they are able to plan accordingly by sending the right number of men, appropriate equipment, right sized truck and allot the appropriate amount of time. 

#8. You're Unprepared 

You’ve researched and verified all the important information, you’ve scheduled your move and now it’s moving day and you’re unprepared. Being unprepared for the movers on moving day is likely going to increase your final bill, not to mention make the day much more stressful for everyone involved. Be ready! Set aside time in the months and weeks leading up to moving day so you can pack, sell, donate, disassemble and do whatever else needs to be done to get organized. Make sure you have the elevator reserved if necessary, let the movers know where the best place to park is, and make yourself available on moving day, don’t expect the movers to know where everything goes if you’re not there to tell them. Unless you’ve requested packing services ahead of time, everything should be packed up, sealed and ready to go when the movers arrive. Stack small boxes 4 high and medium boxes 3 high so the movers can easily dolly them out. If possible, set up childcare for moving day so the kids aren’t in the movers way slowing them down, same goes for pets, keep them out of the way. Clearly label your boxes so the movers know where to set them down at the new house. Ask your movers ahead of time what you can do to best be prepared for moving day and tips and tricks for packing. They should be able to provide you with helpful information.