So you’re planning to move within the state of Washington and want to hire a moving company. Here are the Top 5 things you should know before making your final choice:
- Residential Moving is Regulated in Washington State. What does that mean? It means there are rules that moving companies should follow and tell you about. It also means that moving companies are required to file with and be approved by the State of Washington and submit proof of insurance on an annual basis. It means that moving companies need to charge within the “legal band allowed” for their services. It means that the moving company has a license number that has been assigned to them by the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (Movher’s is HG-63829). If you contact a company and they can’t tell you their license number, then that should be a red flag. Residential moving is regulated whenever a customer’s goods are loaded onto a moving company’s truck. If you call a moving company and just want them to load a truck or vehicle you have, or even a portable storage unit (i.e., PODS), then that type of moving is NOT regulated so a moving company can charge you whatever they want and they are not required to give you a written estimate. Which leads me to #2.
- Get a Moving Estimate in Writing. Also known as a “written estimate.” This should preferably be done in your home that you are moving out of; if you live far away from the moving company, you can have the estimate done via FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, etc. But it’s always best to have it done in person, in your home. And they are ALWAYS free. Estimates do not require you to utilize that moving company’s services, either, but if you decide to move forward with that company, then the estimate serves as the basis for your upcoming move and you need to make sure you inform your estimator of any substantial changes in the scope of the job before your actual move. A moving company can give you two types of estimates: non-binding and binding. A binding estimate means a flat price. You know exactly what you’re going to pay and it will not change. A non-binding estimate means it can change; it can be lower or it can be higher. But in the State of Washington, moving companies cannot charge any higher than an additional 25 percent above their original estimate unless the scope of the job has significantly changed from the time of the estimate. So let’s say an estimator came to your house and you told them that you would move all of the boxes, lamps and artwork. The day of your move arrives, the movers walk in and what do you know? All the boxes, lamps and artwork are all there and you want the movers to move them. That’s a change in the scope of the job and the mover will have you sign another estimate, typically called a “Supplemental Estimate,” which will allow them to charge you for the additional work that was not part of your original estimate. So do everyone a favor and keep your estimator informed of any changes in your job.
- Understand “Loss and Damage Protection” Options Before It’s Too Late. “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” Someone should write a song with those lyrics. The same holds true for your “stuff.” Things tend not to be that big of a deal until they’re broken. That’s why you really need to take a few minutes to understand the options you have in protecting your household goods while they’re being handled by your moving company. It’s also good to know what wouldn’t be covered regardless of what level of Protection you selected: furniture made of pressboard or particle board, for instance, is not covered because of its inferior composition (think IKEA). You also shouldn’t have your moving company take items of extraordinary value (that means items worth in excess of $100 per pound), jewelry, coin/stamp collections, your pets (yes, that’s true), houseplants and items requiring temperature control (want the mover to take your freezer full of that 1/2 beef…not a good idea). None of those items are covered, no matter what. Don’t want the movers to box up your $1,000 flat-screen TV even though you chose the Basic Level of Valuation Protection? Then you’re saying you’d be happy to receive 60 cents per pound of what that TV weighs as compensation when and if it’s damaged. So a 50-lb. TV will get you a $30 check from the moving company. When moving in Washington State, you get to choose between three options: the Basic Level (it’s free), Replacement with a $300 Deductible (it costs more), and Replacement with No Deductible (it costs more). Here is how moving companies determine the value of your shipment (again, thank you to Washington UTC for determining this): on average, every pound of household goods is worth $5, and when an estimator comes to your home to provide you with a written estimate, they are also taking an inventory of your goods, which enables them to come up with an estimated weight. Then, they can multiply this estimated weight by $5 to come up with a “shipment value” of your goods. So let’s say that your estimated weight was 5,000 pounds. That means the value of all of your goods is worth $25,000 to the moving company. Think it’s worth less than that? Doesn’t matter – the moving company will go with the highest value. Think it’s worth more? Tell your estimator so he/she can adjust the total shipment value. The Basic Level of Valuation Protection costs nothing extra to you, but provides the least amount of coverage at 60 cents per pound, so if the truck crashed and burned and you had 5,000 pounds of goods on it, you would receive a check in the amount of $3,000 for all of your goods, regardless of the brand names that made up that shipment. If you chose the Replacement Value with the $300 Deductible, that’s going to cost you more in addition to your moving costs. In this example of a 5,000-lb. shipment, this level of protection would cost you around $500. In this scenario, if something is damaged or destroyed, you would pay the first $300 towards the repairs/replacement, and the moving company would pay the rest. The final option, the one with no deductible, costs a bit more, so you’d be paying around $640 on top of your moving costs, but the moving company is 100% responsible for repairing/replacing any damage that occurs to your goods while in the hands of your moving company.
- Make Sure Your Moving Company Insures Its Vehicles – and Its Employees. Your move is going great. All of your goods are loaded onto the moving company’s truck and they’re on their way to your new home. Unfortunately, they’re involved in an accident. Do you know if they carry cargo insurance in additional to regular liability insurance? What about the people who are actually moving you? Are they insured through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries? What happens if they are injured on your property? Could you potentially be held liable for any injuries? Make sure that the moving company you hire carries motor liability and cargo insurance, and is current on the taxes it owes to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
- Be Prepared. People dislike moving for a reason: it’s hard work. Don’t start one of the most stressful events in your life 24 hours before the movers show up. Break it into small, manageable pieces: start boxing items you know you won’t need several weeks ahead of time.
After all, if it’s summertime, you aren’t going to need those wool pants, heavy coats, mittens and scarves, are you? If you have children, give them their own boxes and have them start packing their own rooms. Come up with a labeling system that’s going to make sense to you when the movers are moving your boxes into your new home. Don’t want to pack? Then get an estimate for packing in addition to moving! What about artwork and other items on your walls – how will you transport those? If you have the capability to move these pieces yourself, then by all means do so. If the movers need to move the artwork, be prepared to pay for art/mirror boxes. Same for lamps. Same for flat-screen TVs. Even though most of us think about how difficult it will be to move the dressers, the sectional, the china cabinet and so on, those are actually some of the easiest pieces to move for people who do it all the time. What ends up taking a disproportionate amount of time – and your money – is when there are a lot of “miscellaneous” items like table and floor lamps, oversized vases, knick knacks, artwork, computers and other electronics that are not properly packed for safe transport. When movers arrive thinking you are “ready to move” and then find out that, well, you’re really not, it makes the job, and the day, longer than it really needs to be. So do everyone a favor and be realistic in what you can get done yourself and what you will need help from by your moving company.
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service
Spokane, WA – Movher is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.
“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award have demonstrated the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros have provided top-notch service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2017 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, record a current trade license attestation and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
“Thanks go to our customers who believe in us, who trust us with their most valuable possessions and share their Movher experience with others,” said founder and owner, Sabrina Jones. “To win this award for the sixth year in a road is a true testament to the commitment we have with our customers and with our employees.”
Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.
Movher is an independent, fully-licensed Spokane-based company that offers professional moving, packing, storage and cleaning services within a 500-mile radius. Founded in 2010, Movher’s mission is to “lighten our customers’ load with superior service, integrity, commitment and trust.”
Contact: Sabrina Jones, Owner
3311 E Ferry, Spokane WA 99202
26 Feb 2018
Don’t get me wrong: moving furniture isn’t like performing brain surgery. But there are definitely techniques out there that are essential for a safe, damage-free move.
Do you know if the movers who will be moving you have been trained in proper moving techniques? Do you know if the movers are actually employees of the company or are they independent contractors, or, day laborers?
At Movher, all of our movers are our employees (we like to call them “team members”). That means they have successfully completed our interview process, passed a background check, watched the AMSA (American Moving & Storage Association) training video, and participated in at least three different moves with some of our other experienced Movhers. If the feedback is positive from our Movher team members, they’re ready to be part of our “real” Movher crews!
While moving appears to be pretty simple, moving WELL is not so easy. A successful move involves properly protecting our customers’ goods as well as their home. If it’s rainy or snowy outside, we may have teams of crews to minimize tracking into the home. Covering furniture with moving pads (also known as blankets) is essential. Protecting walls with cardboard, doorways with blankets and door jamb protectors, floors with neoprene covering. All of these efforts go a long way into making for happy customers.
Movers who have been trained to move properly also will be able to disassemble and reassemble furniture quicker than those who have not been trained. Do you know if your refrigerator doors will need to be removed in order to get it out of your current home? How about any exercise equipment you have? Hiring a moving company with trained employees who care about you having the best moving experience possible cannot be overstated.
AMSA is the national organization for the moving and storage industry. Consumers are encouraged to visit their website at www.moving.org to find moving companies in their geographical area who are also certified as what AMSA refers to as a “ProMover.” (Movher is a certified ProMover.) Remember it’s always good to get 2-3 estimates when you’re planning a move. There is a lot of good information on the www.moving.org website, so be sure to spend a few minutes doing some research!
When a move is in your future, do yourself a favor: Do your research, ask all the questions that pop into your head, and make the best decision for YOU. Because it’s the not so much the age of the mover, it’s the attitude and willingness to always do it right.
19 Feb 2018
First of all, moving is a busier industry than you likely think it is. We get calls from people who want us to move them the same day they call, or maybe the next day or the upcoming weekend. Depending on our schedule, we may be able to make one of those work, but one thing you should always require of your moving company before agreeing to have them move you professionally is a written estimate.
Written estimates protect you as a consumer (I am referring to moves within Washington state and those crossing state lines; moves in Idaho are not regulated, so a written estimate is not required). When you contact a moving company, find out if moving is regulated in your state. That means that moving companies must be licensed with the state and follow state-mandated rules, such as carrying a specific amount of liability and cargo insurance, as well as labor and industries insurance. Another requirement is to provide all customers with a written estimate, which are always free and do not require you to utilize the services of that moving company.
Written estimates are typically scheduled in the home you will be moving from, and you do not have to have everything packed for a moving estimator to give you a reliable estimate. What you do need to do is be consistent and realistic with what you will want the moving company to move for you: Just the furniture? Both the furniture and the boxes? Are you going to move anything on your own, such as clothing, lamps, artwork, flat-screen TVs? Do you have any specialty items or access problems at your current home or where you’ll be moving to? Figure out what your game plan is and follow through with that.
It’s a good idea to get 2-3 estimates so you have others to compare prices with; but remember that a lower price does not always mean a better moving experience. Look at online reviews, ask to speak with previous customers, ask your friends on social media, and see how you were treated when you initially contacted the company and how the estimator made you feel. All of these things should be a good indicator of which company should do the best job for you.
Make sure you understand your moving contract. All too many times we hear stories of how someone’s china broke into a million pieces or the walls of their brand new home were scuffed or dented. Will the moving company you hired take care of the damages? Which level of Valuation Protection did you choose for your move? Is damage to your home covered by the moving company you hired? These are all questions you should ask your moving estimator and make sure you understand before making your final choice. Because most people don’t care about things like this until something precious to them is damaged or, worse yet, beyond repair. As the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning for your move is a safe bet.