Questions to Ask Your Moving Company

You’re planning your move, and you want to get the best moving company lined up.  You have your list of movers to call, and you are ready to pick up the phone and start dialing.  Here is a list of five questions you need to ask before you make your final decision:

1.    How long have you been in business?
Like most service organizations, if the moving company has been around for more than five years, they probably know what they are doing.  It is a competitive industry, and when you are performing services that are so personal (moving someone’s home and possessions) and doing it well, there will likely be positive reviews and a strong referral base.  So the longer a company has been in service, the better.

2.   Are you licensed and insured?

From our experience, odds are remote that your move will encounter major difficulties or damages.  But your mover needs to be prepared and covered for any and all eventualities.  Sometimes there are external factors, like other drivers or unforeseen weather, which can disrupt your move.  So make sure the moving company you select has all the coverage and licenses it needs to give you peace of mind.

3.  How do you develop your cost estimates and is there a ceiling?

Unfortunately, there are moving companies out there who will give you a low estimate to get your business and then slap you with a final cost that is double or even triple the original estimate. Companies that operate in this manner are likely to have generated bad feelings and complaints, which you can check out with the various rating websites, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or NY State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

To best arrive at costs, the moving company should come see your home or office so that they know both the quantity and qualities of things to be moved, and have a chance to see what the service access to your building is like.  It is also the best way to determine the packing materials that will be needed to safely and efficiently prepare for and complete your move, whether you do your own packing, or decide to have the movers pack for you. And they should have a policy on final price.  If they trust their own estimates, they should be fine with putting a ceiling on any cost overruns, barring any significant change in plans.

4. What happens if anything changes before or even during the move (ie. the unexpected)?

The moving company should be happy and prepared to work with you to firm up the plans prior to the move.  If plans change in advance, the mover should be able to provide a new cost estimate quickly and efficiently.  Plans can also change without much notice, and an experienced mover on your side is an important asset.

If your moving plans do change in minor or major way, you want confidence that the mover will still get the job done without creating additional headaches for anyone.  Communication is key.  It is easier to adapt to the new realities of the moment if mutual trust has been established between you and your mover.  A good mover and a prepared customer can work together as a matter of course in the run-up to moving day.  Then, if you are unable to sell your couch or piano as planned, if you need to put some things in storage or make an extra stop, the mover can make it happen.  The change may result in a little more time required for the move, or a bit more cost.  But it will not be a problem for an experienced moving company.

5.  What questions do you have for me?

You’re the one asking all the questions, right?  Well, there are certain things a mover should want to know about you.  Key dates and locations, and an idea of what you will be moving are basic.  But a more experienced mover will ask about details before giving you a price.  Will you want us to help you pack things into boxes, or unpack when you get to your new destination?  If you are packing yourself, would you like an idea of the types and costs of packing materials?  Would you like guidance on packing?  Would you like us to deliver materials prior to your move?  Do you have any large or particularly fragile pieces to move?  We’ve seen a lot of things in our experience since 1978, and we ask a lot of questions.  We cannot always foresee every detail of a move, but we do our best to take stock of as many as we can and incorporate them into our plan for your move.

The moving company you choose should be one that answers all these questions, and any others you have, to your satisfaction.  Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like.  We are always happy to provide any information that will relieve any stress for our customers.  It relieves the stress for us too.  We like it when the job is done with no damage to anyone or anything so we all can go on happily with our lives.  Happy is good!


Top 5 Sensible Rules for Packing

First, lets understand what we mean by packing…

When we speak of packing, we are talking about the things you keep in file cabinets, dresser drawers, on the shelves, and in closets and cabinets.

The movers will take care of the larger, fragile items like pictures, mirrors, all of the furniture, and the odd, over-sized things you are unlikely to find a box for – for example, the vacuum, humidifier, the multi-function copier, industrial sewing machine, air conditioner, ironing board, large toys, skis, etc.

You may not be as fast as the movers, but if you have the time you can do it by following these five sensible rules.

Rule #1: Use the right size boxes for your belongings

Try to approximate a sensible size of box for suggested uses. For starters, you can check in at our  site’s Moving Services page and click on “boxes and packing materials”, for more details. Filling a too-large box with papers or books makes it very heavy, and very likely to split open.

If you can find a used box of suitable size, that’s great:  trees will be saved, and you will be closer to heaven having contributed to a more sustainable planet.   If not, we do have the boxes and can deliver them to you.

All boxes should be filled with alike things – put books and papers together in small boxes, dishes together in thick boxes, pots with other pots, linens and folded clothes, with linens and folded clothes etc.

Rule #2: Label the boxes

Remember that your boxes will be stacked, so you should label boxes on their sides. A consistent upper right hand corner will work, and put  just enough info to indicate where that box should go. For example

  • LR – living room
  • BR1 – first bedroom
  • BR2 – second bedroom
  • K – kitchen
  • Bath, bsmt, etc

Or for your office

  • O1 – office 1
  • O2 – office 2
  • CR – conference room
  • L- library
  • Rec- reception
  • MR- mail room

The details can be on the top, so you will be able to see what is in each one.

Rule #3: pack fragile items with care

Using the “lasagna method” for fragile items will ensure they travel safely. (credit for name to Frank M., customer, ca. 1985)

First, all items should be wrapped individually with insulating material (newspaper works well – you can get the same paper without messy ink on it from our store).

A thick crumpled layer of paper should line the bottom of the box and then the individually wrapped items be placed on edge (as if in a drying rack) rather than flat (as they might be on your shelves). This reduces surface area contact with the earth and reduces the chances for breakage.

Start with the heaviest items first and begin the bottom layer, place plenty of crumpled paper over and around the first layer, and add a second etc. till the box is full.

If you have done this correctly and enough insulation is used (it takes a little time but you can do it, it is not that hard) nothing will break if that box is dropped from waist height, and the box will not break either.

Rule #4: The “Here l Am” boxes

It is a good idea to gather the things you will want to unpack first (for households:  bathroom items, essentials for the kitchen, night clothes, medicines, remote controls and connecting wires, battery chargers, next day clothes, important toys…; for offices:  wiring, current files, back up disks, address/phone books …) so they can be packed into a few well marked boxes. The movers will then be sure that you know where they are when they are ultimately delivered. (See Sanity Inducement for more details.)

Rule #5: Keep track of the wires for all your electronics

If you don’t have the original boxes that your electronics came in, which is usually the case, undo the wires and set them aside in a place that you will not forget (see Rule #4). The movers can take care of safely packing your electronics, but they will be less entertaining if you can’t plug them in when you arrive at your new place.


Sanity Inducement

At Rainbow Movers, we believe in making moving happy and stress free. Happy is good! We’ve said this before, but we hear from our customers that they were very helped by this.

The Here I Am Boxes

When you start packing, think of the things you will want to unpack first:  your medicines or vitamins, bathroom items, and clothes for your first night and morning.

If you have children, you’ll want to make sure they also have clothes for that night and the next day, as well as their important books and toys, and anything else that will make them more comfortable.

Keep the wires from your electronics somewhere you can access them when you first move in – that way you can easily set up your stereo, television and entertainment systems so you’ll feel at home. Make sure you also have your battery chargers, like those attached to your cell phone and laptop, too.

You’ll need the kitchen essentials – a few cereal bowls or plates for breakfast, a few mugs for your morning coffee. You might even pack a celebratory glass or two so you can have a relaxing glass of wine or champagne when you arrive.

This may sound like a lot, but it should fit in a few boxes and this stuff can be packed all together if it is packed carefully.

When you pack your first day belongings, put a very distinct marking on those few boxes and tell the movers these are the ones you want to get at first. They will be sure you know where they are when they are delivered.

People say this exercise induces sanity.  We’re all for that!