The month of May kicks off the peak moving season. The height of the peak moving season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you are moving and plan on hiring the services of a reputable moving company now is the time to start planning and securing your move dates. Get at least three estimates if you are not already familiar with a licensed, reputable moving company. Waiting until the last minute to schedule your move may result in the mover of your choice not having availability.
The average American moves approximately 12 times during their lifetime (U.S. Census Bureau). It’s not surprising consumers fall prey to scam artists. Every year thousands of complaints are filed with a variety of agencies from consumers who have been victimized by dishonest and often unlicensed moving companies. You can avoid becoming a victim by educating yourself. Insure the mover has insurance including worker’s compensation and is licensed by the proper authority. Do not hire a mover based solely on the cheapest price, you may be sacrificing other things that are actually more important, such as professional crews as opposed to day labor, insurance, reliable equipment and getting your possessions moved and delivered on time.
The State of Florida regulates local and intrastate moves (moves within the state). It is against state law to provide moving services without being registered with the State of Florida. To check whether a moving company is licensed in Florida, review applicable laws and obtain valuable moving guidelines and tips, a consumer can visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website at https://csapp.800helpfla.com/cspublicapp/businesssearch/businesssearch.aspx.
Crossing state lines is considered an interstate move and is regulated by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (U.S. DOT). Moving companies crossing state lines must obtain operating authority from the U.S. DOT. Moving companies caught crossing state lines without operating authority will result in an immediate shut down of its operations. Verifying whether a moving company has U.S. DOT operating authority is easy by going online to http://ai.volpe.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp. Numerous moving companies operate under an agency agreement with major van lines when crossing state lines and operate under the van line’s authority. In that case, all of the information the consumer receives regarding the interstate move should be cobranded for example, AMWAT Moving & Warehousing, agent for Wheaton World Wide Moving.
On-site surveys are vital to the success of your move, specifically when moving large shipments and long distances. A reputable moving company wants to physically see and inventory what is being moved in order to provide the consumer with an accurate estimate and determine the resources necessary to execute the move. The estimate for long distance moves are based on weight and distance. A reputable mover will provide a consumer with a written estimate and as much information the consumer needs to make an informed decision.
Local moves are usually charged by the hour, so be careful with companies who provide a low hourly rate only to work the clock against the consumer. It is very advisable to ask the mover to provide a “not to exceed” in the amount of hours the move will take, i.e., $75 x 10 hours = $750 as opposed to an ethical mover who provides a reasonable rate and executes the job efficiently, $125 x 3 hours = $375.
There are three types of estimates:
BINDING ESTIMATE: a definitive cost for moving services based on the items listed on the inventory. Final charges will not increase or decrease unless you add items or additional services.
BINDING “NOT TO EXCEED”: much like a binding estimate except should the actual weight and services be less than the estimate, you pay the lesser amount. Your guarantee is based on the items listed in the inventory and the services outlined on the estimate. This is the most attractive of the three types of estimates
NON BINDING ESTIMATE: is not a guaranteed price. Final costs are based on the actual weight of the shipment and actual services provided at the time of the move. With a non-binding estimate, the mover cannot require you to pay more than the amount of the original estimate plus 10 percent at the time of delivery. You are then obligated to pay any additional charges over this amount within 30 days.
Finally, if you do not feel comfortable with the company you are speaking with move on!
Gloria Pugh, CEO
AMWAT Moving Warehousing & Storage