Check out our Pre-Move Countdown Checklist to be sure you don't forget anything in the days and weeks leading to your move. Here are some other great tips:
Proper packing by a trained packer using specially-designed cartons and materials is crucial to a good move. Schedule packing with the mover a day or two before the moving van is loaded. If you are packing yourself, it is never too soon to start. While packing yourself can save money, movers will not usually accept liability for any damage to items packed by owners.
Be present when your goods are packed. An inventory of your goods will be made and it is important to resolve any disagreements prior to signing the inventory. Make sure all copies are legible and all items are numbered. Have valuable items listed separately. Some appliances may require servicing prior to the move. Your mover can schedule these services for you.
Items that Should not be Shipped
When you are planning your move, some common household items should not be included in your shipment (as a general rule, if the item is flammable, combustible or explosive it should not be included):
- House paints
- Open containers of liquid
- Propane tanks or cans
- Gas or oils
- Open alcohol containers
- Open non-sealed food containers
- Fire extinguishers
- Welding gas
- Disinfectant cleaners (especially those that contain bleach or ammonia)
- Perishable foods (unless the move meets strict guidelines - please check with your carrier about these to see if your move meets the guidelines)
- Be on hand when the movers arrive
- Discuss the delivery arrangements fully with your driver
- Have beds stripped and ready to be packed
- Save your energy — let the moving crew disassemble items like pool tables or swing sets
- Tell your driver how to reach you at your destination and en route
- Keep in contact with the mover's agent at your destination while you are in transit
The bill of lading you will receive on loading day is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. It is your responsibility to read the bill of lading and understand it before you sign it. If you do not agree with something, do not sign it until you are satisfied that it is correct. You will also receive an inventory of your items.
These are both important documents, so don't lose or misplace your copies.
See samples of interstate and local bill of lading forms
How to Treat Your Moving Crew
Consumers often ask how to best interact with a moving crew at either end of a relocation. To offer some guidance, we have developed the following tips to help make sure the van driver and other crew members can perform safely, efficiently and comfortably.
Meet and greet. Take time to meet your crewmembers and make them feel welcome. Always have one responsible adult available to answer questions.
Provide the essentials. Consider the crew’s needs and comfort: offer drinking water, designate a bathroom for their use, and keep hand sanitizer available. Have disposable paper towels handy to save your linens and other items from the possibility of moving-related grime. And you might want to identify an outside area where smoking would be permitted.
Keep kids and pets busy. Make arrangements to keep small children and pets occupied so they don’t get in the way. If possible, have them stay with friends or relatives at the time of the move.
It's food for thought. Most crews greatly appreciate coffee in the morning and the offer to pick up a fast lunch, since it's time-consuming to close up the truck and cumbersome to maneuver a tractor-trailer around an urban area.
Keep the temperature in check. If moving during very hot or cold weather, consider providing fans or space heaters, as exterior doors will likely be left open.
Provide feedback. If you’re pleased with your crew, send a nice letter to the carrier as all drivers are ranked by quality scores and comments by customers. As with all hardworking front-line customer service professionals, tips, while not expected, are a great way to show your appreciation for a job well done.
Your belongings will often be transported in a van with those of other customers in the same general area. This helps to keep your costs down. Delivery is made on any of the several consecutive days agreed upon before the move began. Make sure the mover knows how to contact you to schedule actual delivery. If you cannot be reached at destination, the mover may place your shipment in storage to avoid delaying other shipments. This can mean additional charges for storage and handling.
At your new home, the movers will expect to be paid what you still owe them before unloading your belongings.
As the truck is being unloaded, check your goods for any damage. Do not sign off on the inventory sheet until you have inspected all of your items and the exterior of packing cartons.
If any of your household goods are damaged or lost, report the facts promptly and in detail on the van driver's copy (original) of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you notice damage after unpacking, a claim must be filed within nine months after delivery. It is to your advantage, however, to report damage as soon as possible.
The mover must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days and must deny or make an offer within 120 days of receipt of your claim. When making a claim or considering a settlement offer, keep in mind the amount of liability that you declared on your shipment. For example, if the value declared on your shipment was $5,000, the mover's maximum liability for loss or damage to the articles in your shipment is $5,000. Claims for more than this amount will be declined because they are in excess of the mover's liability that you declared on your shipment.
NEXT STEP: TOP TIPS FOR A SMOOTH MOVE