How to Tell an Actual Mover from a Broker? Which is Better for you?

Choosing a company to move you is never an easy choice. Bottom line, it’s about choosing who touches your things.

In the moving industry, there are two types of licenses to sell under: Either a license to be a broker, or an ACTUAL mover. It’s very important to distinct between the two.

A Moving Broker

Many companies have a license to be brokers, meaning they sell you the service, and they sell the move to an actual mover. They choose the mover for you, and although you sign the papers with the broker at first, you will only know the terms and conditions of your actual mover only on the day of the pickup.

Some brokers are great, and it’s completely legal and legit, but know that the only thing they are responsible for is the price. Things like insurance, delivery time and other conditions, all depend on the actual mover. At the end of the day, you won’t know who’s moving you and will have possession of your belongings; that is something you will find out on move day or a few days beforehand.

If you have any problems with your items or the move process, the broker will not be there. You would have to deal with a moving company which you didn’t choose. Basically your information is sold for a commission, and you do not know where it might end up.

How to distinguish them from an actual moving company? A broker will normally take a deposit that’s between 10%-25% of the total of the move, and that’s usually their commission for the move.

A Moving Company

With an actual moving company, you can read the terms and conditions before you even pay them a cent. The terms of the move are clear and there is almost no room for mistakes.

When you book with a moving company, the people who took your info are direct employees of the company that will move you and know the people who will actually execute the move. Sometimes it’s even the same people. Sometimes not. But you will know exactly who is taking care of you belongings. Not to mention that they own the storage where they hold your things between pickup and delivery.

It’s true that moving companies work on commissions as well, indeed. But if anything happens, those who sold you the move are the ones who will take care of your problems. They get paid for your move to go as smoothly as possible, they have the incentive to do the best work they can.

Usually, the movers take a deposit of $100-$300 depending of the size of the move, as a show-of-faith from the customer. If the moving company is a decent one, it would be refundable and deducted from the total of the move, so it’s important to ask your company that.

How to choose?

That’s up to you.

We recommend that you ask your mover if he is a broker or a mover. If it’s a mover, great. Read the terms and conditions and you’re all set.

If it’s a broker, ask who is responsible for the terms and conditions of the contract, and make sure you understand your rights.
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** Disclosure: MAP Moving and Storage is an actual moving company. We really do believe there are amazing brokers out there, but we still think we’re better 😉

Moving Quoted by Space or Weight? What’s the Difference?

One of the most important issues moving shoppers have to deal with is having to choose a quote based on space (in CF) or weight (in lbs).

Both are legal and accurate under different circumstances, this article is in no way a suggestion to choose either method of quoting; it’s meant to help you make an educated decision for yourself.

Many believe there is not one definite system to choose; that by going either by cubic feet or poundage your price will not miraculously drop by hundreds of dollars and could save you a few bucks here or there tops…

That is not necessarily true.

How to know which is best for you?

First let’s clarify which is what…

Cubic feet (CF)

Means the space your belongings will occupy in the back of the truck. You can calculate the CF of an item by simply multiplying its height X width X length = actual cubic feet.

You will be told how many cubic feet you have with a revised estimate before the movers leave your house.

Note – some specific items may exceed their actual cubic feet due to the fact that it’s unsafe to stack on top of them (such items are pianos, motorcycles, and others…).

Pounds (lbs)

The weight of your belongings. This is determined at a federal scale station, after the movers have already loaded everything and left your house.

You will be given a federal weigh ticket stating exactly how many pounds you have.

It’s your legal right to be present at the scaling. And in case of a dispute – a re-scale will be done at a station in your destination.

So, now that we have a better understanding as to what each system represents – how does it apply to your move?? It comes down to two main aspects:

The estimate

It’s easier to provide an estimate based on CF. That is because there is an average measurement for furniture based on their volume. But it’s very unlikely to come up with an accurate estimate based on weight.

For example, if you told your potential mover that you have 40 boxes. Some have books, some have clothes, some have china. If you go by weight – one box will cost more than the other. If you go by CF – they all have the same volume, and therefore will cost you the same.

Same goes for a king size bed. No one will ask you if the headboard is made of wood, oak or metal – all king size beds will cost more or less the same, according to their size on the truck, which is similar in all king size beds.

With cubic feet – 4 dining chairs are 4 dining chairs; regardless if they’re made of plastic, wood or metal. The mover would know their size is 5 CF each, therefore 20 CF in total, nothing more.

Pickup day

It’s also important to keep in mind that with CF you will know the final price BEFORE the truck leaves your home. You get a revised visual estimate and the truck cannot leave your house without your approval. The space your items take on the truck is completely visible.

BUT with lbs, the company will load the truck, leave your house and head to the scale station, and only THEN you’ll know how much you’ll have to pay. This means you’re basically stuck with a bill you might not like, but have no choice but paying.

 

Our suggestion? Go with the company that makes you feel the most comfortable and gives you the best professional regarding how they came up with the cost of your move.

*** Disclaimer: this article is in no way a suggestion to choose one quoting method over the other. We’re merely presenting the information to help you make an informed decision.

Why is it smart to book your move early and not last minute?

Moving companies are not like airlines.

Yes, it’s about getting from point A to point B; but there’s a reason why airlines give you a penalty for making changes, while moving companies don’t.

With an airline, you usually book only after you have all your ducks in a row, you know what your plans are, you know when and where you are going and the last thing you do is book the flight. You are fully aware that any change will cost you money, so you make sure everything is planned in advance. With moving, it’s the other way around.

We know where FROM it is that you want to move and that is enough. We actually want you to book in advance as much as possible and we will even give you a discount for that because it saves us money.

Why is that?

An airline has a fixed line. A plane that needs to leave from point A to B and back on specific dates and hours. They have to fill it up, otherwise they lose money. The airplane has to leave from the same place and land in the same place every time. No flexibility. With a mover its different. We come to you!

Obviously you want to move with a successful moving company with good ratings that moves many people. A company like that has its own trucks traveling around all the time. The trucks are not parked close to your home just waiting to move you.

They need to travel to be closer to your home, so they can pickup customers the day before and after as well.  For that to happen efficiently, we like to plan in advance.

For example, if we know that next month we have 3 jobs to be picked up at the beginning of the month in, let’s say, Los Angeles – then we know we need 2 trucks to be there. Maybe we have 1 truck in Sacramento and 1 truck in san Diego, which means that they would need to leave the night before in order to get there on time.

Now let’s say we have 3 more customers that want to move at that time, so we would need at least 2 more trucks to be in the area. 1 truck that delivered a customer in Oregon, now needs to travel back to southern California to help the others. This is going to take them at least 24 hours to travel plus the time to organize to arrive fresh for those moves.

Are you starting to get the picture?

If you book last minute, then we need to start moving trucks around back and forth by surprise. That costs money. If we know that we have X amount of pickups during the first week of January (for example), then we need to make sure we have enough trucks around and plan our schedule to use those trucks for deliveries or other company logistics. No company wants an empty truck moving around for no reason.

So – if you book in advance, our job is more organized and flexible,  and we can offer you a better deal to encourage you to do so. Even if you make changes in last minute, it’s not a big deal because your job is one out of many moves, so we can deal with it.

If 50 customers book last minute, it will be impossible to help them all.

We understand many things have to fall into place for you to actually move.

  • Maybe you are still looking for a place to move into?
  • Maybe you are waiting for that job offer to lock?
  • Maybe a family situation needs to get an answer?

Either way – once you decide you want to move with us, we suggest to lock the rate and book it even tentatively. Worse case scenario? You can change the date or even cancel.

Our deposit is only $95 to most locations and is fully refundable up to 72 hours before your original pickup date. What matters is who your mover is, not the when and where.

Your pickup location won’t change and that is the only thing that matters to us. We can pickup at any time and anywhere, as long as we can plan in advance.

Remember we can offer you more tools to help – check out our 30 days free storage included in your offer.

Make the smart decision – book soon. Plan everything else later. We are here to help and enable your plans.

 

How to Minimize Stress Before, During and After the Move

Ready for your big move and for a new beginning, but slightly overwhelmed with the process? What could possibly happen, right? Wrong.

The truth is, anything can happen because that’s just life! So, to ensure your move runs as smoothly as possible, here are 7 proactive steps that can help you have a smooth and sound moving experience.

1. Start! Getting started is often the biggest challenge we face, and we’re often overwhelmed with the amount of work to get done. Just start and once you are in motion, take a tour of the location you’re leaving and make a list of every item you need to address – from packing supplies, to items you may want to sell or donate, to finding a donor. Just make sure you setup a timeline for yourself so that you’re not left addressing items at the last minute that could be attended to in advance.

2. Packing and Preparation. Pack your items with care. This may sound obvious, but don’t take it for granted that your property will magically arrive in tact. You’d be amazed at how rushed packing can cause you to simply throw a random set of dishes in a box without use of bubble wrap, paper packaging or any protective coverage like cartons or cardboard boxes. Put yourself in control and pack diligently.

3. Check your new location’s moving stipulations – if you’re renting a unit, be it for business or as your new home, get advance approval from building management for everything you and your movers will need access to on moving day in order to avoid unnecessary costs, frustrations and wait times for movers to proceed with work. If you’re paying your mover by the hour, every minute adds up.

4. Prepare your destination location and ensure you have cleaning supplies and tools easily accessible to you. If you setup your new space in advance so that it’s clean and clear of any obstacles, moving them into their designated location is faster and easier.

5. Measure your new destination’s doorways and rooms – this is crucial to ensure you have zero surprises when moving large items through doorways into your new location. This way, you can disassemble furniture as needed or decide which items really have a place in your new location. Finding cumbersome items a new home by donating or selling them may benefit you and could save you a lot of unpleasant surprises.

6. Moving window and wait times – if it’s a long distance moves, arrival times are estimated and usually you’re quoted a window time with a range of dates for your items’ arrival. Make sure you have everything you need to get through the days you’re waiting for your goods to arrive to their destination. If you’ll need storage space for layover times between locations, verify pricing with your mover and find the best option for you, sometimes movers have their own storage units. Make sure to do this in advance, as last minute request can also mean inflated pricing due to supply and demand.

7. Get insured and pick a policy that meets your needs. Whether you’re switching moving trucks half way, or a friend is picking up part of the move in one state, or the entire move will be maintained by one company, insurance is crucial. Occasionally, long distance movers pile a few different customers’ items together. And in the occasion of an accident on the roads, you can never be too careful. Point blank, insurance is your friend.

Friend Recommended a Mover? Informed Decision-Making Made Easy

Friendship is earned with time and experience. We want the best for our friends, and moving costs and processes are no exception. The sound recommendation of a friend for a great service provider is worth much more than any advertising pitch.

Why?

If your friend’s recommended you a certain mover, they’ve likely had a positive experience with them and feel it’s worthwhile to give them more business. No friend will go out of their way to suggest a service that isn’t worthy of compensation.

Friends have often seen us through hard times, and they may have even been the cause of our struggles at times. But, if you’re still talking and have gotten past trying times, you’re continuing to build trust with each other. That kind of trust cannot be attained instantaneously between a potential client and service provider. Therefore, a recommendation from a trustworthy friend is invaluable.

Insider tips. The trade secrets friends can offer are invaluable. “Make sure he brings the best bubble wrap”, or “ask him to bring the same movers I had; they went out of their way to attend to…” The insider tips of a friend can help you improve the moving experience and navigate it like a pro.

Cost – yes, we said it. All movers offer a moving service, but additional products, services and insurance can add up. Friends who’ve worked with a certain mover and know his quoting system, can offer practical solutions that will maximize your budget with the mover they recommend.

How to Avoid Last Minute “Unforeseen” Moving Costs and Stress

Moving can be a costly process and one that keeps us on the edge of our seats just waiting for the next expense to pop up.

How can you stay within budget and avoid unforeseen expenses from popping up? Here are some tips to help keep you on track and at ease.

1. Communication – set expectations and cover all bases with your mover. There’s absolutely no shame in being thorough and being aware of exactly what’s included with your mover’s fees.

2. Action item lists. Create a comprehensive list of tasks, and use it as your guide. Writing things out gives you a concrete and visual breakdown of moving logistics that require various steps and attention to detail that you may otherwise miss. You’d be amazed how many little details we realized we’ve overlooked and many of them cost money.

3. Fuel – always ask your mover if it’s included in the cost, request a price quote and ask how the quoted price is determined.

4. Pack everything to the last item – if your movers will be busy packing rather than loading items into a truck, be prepared to pay their service and time invested. Some movers have packing services they offer for an additional price.

5. Purge and throw out the junk – moving is a great opportunity to clear your house of clutter. Get rid of useless items that fill boxes and incur additional expenses.

6. Get your new home prepared in advance. Any last minute cleaning, organizing or furniture moving can keep movers waiting, wasting their time and your money.

7. Pace yourself – make sure you have your time planned well so that making items accessible to movers is easy. Always let them know if you need storage time between moving locations, or if there are multiple locations for item pick-up to move items to their final destination.

8. Elevator or accessibility –these are human beings moving your belongings and any additional physical inconvenience or labor involved can mean additional costs. If you’re moving from a building without an elevator or difficult access to your apartment, be it your new home or previous, make sure you notify your movers and if needed and available, order an elevator in advance. In addition, it’s recommended you ask your mover if there’s an extra cost for stairs or elevator.

9. Cover your bases – if you’re giving your mover a quote on the number of boxes, give him a minimum and max number so you can ensure to stay within a range and avoid an astronomically unexpected surcharge. Also, if you’re giving movers a total weight per box, make sure you don’t overload boxes or you’ll be overloading your credit card expenses. Never be embarrassed to ask your mover to break down the services that are included with the quote he’s provided.

10. Got a friend who knows a great mover? Great! Over 80% of paid services and purchases in the U.S. come from word of mouth recommendations, and a great friend is a trustworthy and reliable source for recommendations.

Moving on Your Own? Think Again. Here’s Why…

If you’re ambitious and industrious, that’s always good, especially if you’re about to move across the country.

But if you think a hearty breakfast and an organized approach to moving is all you need to get from point A to point B without any moving hurdles, think again. Some tasks are better left for the pros to deal with, and moving is no exception. Why?

Movers are movers – it’s their job. Regardless of how close you may be to family or friends, life happens. A paid professional has incentive to deliver your things from your your old house to your new home in perfect conditions and to provide their service well. It’s not only the money; their business name, reputation and future income are at stake and their priority.

Preserve your energy for what matters and only you can take care of. The physical act of moving is only one aspect of the scope of work that’s involved in the process, and it’s better to let the movers take care of it. There are plenty of other tasks and responsibilities that can only be addressed by us, the tenant or property owner.

Save time. Hiring a mover can eliminate concerns about productivity and time management that our personal and professional lives demand. Moving your things from point A to point B is no field trip, and roadblocks, flat tires, traffic jams, accidents and long hours on the road – could take double the time when it isn’t what you do for a living. Spend your time preparing your new home, and leave it to the professionals.

Save money. Hotels, fuel, extra help, packing supplies, vehicle insurance and rentals add up to quite a lot of money. Professional movers can offer packages at better value and can usually recommend reliable insurance providers. Some movers even include insurance in their price. Make sure to check that when choosing a mover.

Bottom line – moving is not a DIY matter. Better leave it to the pros.

6 Useful Tips to Minimize Moving Expenses and Maximize Cost Value

Moving can often be a massive transition stage in our lives, but also one that can create positive change and refreshing, new beginnings.

With all of the errands, packing, organizing and planning also come moving expenses. To help you make the most of your moving cost, we’ve compiled 6 useful tips that can help you get maximal value for your moving expenses.

1. Go with a mover and not a broker. Terms and conditions are set directly with the mover, and price discrepancies that can arise unexpectedly as a result of getting a price quote from a broker, (rather than the mover), are diminished and potentially eliminated.

2. Get a quote based on cubic feet measurements of your items rather than weight. A box of books and a box of scarves will vary in weight, but if their dimensions are identical, you’ll get better value with moving cost based on size measurements, particularly if you’re moving heavy items and furniture.

3. Discuss logistics with your movers and other relevant parties, such as parking arrangements and accessibility to the location you’re moving to. Proactive planning and organization can help you avoid additional service charges, such as extra fees charged by mover for manually moving heavy or cumbersome items without an elevator.

4. Evaluate your needs, look into different insurance policies that suit your requirements, and verify what is included in the packages that seem suitable. Your valuables can be worth much more than just money, so ensure you pick an insurance policy that can help you avoid loss and replacement costs.

5. Pack your items well using bubble wrap, clothes, blankets and/or towels to protect fragile items. Inquire with your mover in advance about packing supplies and costs. Remember: the process and cost of replacing valuables can be a significantly heavier burden than the time and cost of packing efficiently.

6. Move smaller items on your own to decrease professional moving time and costs.