In the next few months making a move can become increasingly more complicated say industry experts.
"June to September is really known as the high season for the moving industry," says John Bisney, Director of Public Relations for the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).
It's a popular time because kids are out of school and people are trying to get the move done before the children have to return to class.
"So if you can avoid moving during June to September you're probably going to get better service and have more options," Bisney.
However, Bisney says, "If you do have to move between June to September, then it's better to move in the middle of the month and the middle of the week as opposed to doing it at the end of the month when everybody wants to do it."
AMSA certifies movers and holds them accountable to higher standards and a code of ethics. The association says most people don't take moving very seriously and they assume that everything will go alright. But Bisney says careful consideration is a must when moving.
"Because people don't move that many times, maybe it's their first move, or maybe it's been a few years since their last move, they will treat it as a less important decision than it needs to be given the fact that [movers] are going to have custody, at least temporarily, of all their belongings," says Bisney.
So, if you're gearing up for the big move, AMSA has some advice to simplify and ensure a smooth process. I spoke with Bisney about the top five consumer moving tips.
The most important thing to do is to start with a good foundation. Just like the purchase or sale of your home should involve experts who have your best interest in mind, hiring movers also requires thorough investigation of all your options.
"It really comes down to do a little bit of your own homework to make sure you're getting the best deal and that you're dealing with the right people," says Bisney.
Start by calling a few service companies. Bisney says consumers should be wary of over-the-phone and Internet estimates. "Get three written in-home estimates and when you do that, make sure you show the mover everything including anything in the attic, the basement, the garage, storage areas, etc. Typically two of the three estimates will be pretty close in price, in weight, and in service," explains Bisney. He adds, "We say to avoid movers who have unusually high or low bids; that might be a red flag."
Another important tip is to be cautious of any carriers or movers that are asking for a big down payment to either hold a date or reserve service. It's not that a down payment is uncommon in the industry rather it is how much money is being requested that could be a warning that something isn't right. "There's nothing wrong with asking for a reasonable small down payment just in case you cancel on them last minute. But it should not be hundreds of dollars," says Bisney.
"The moving business can be a very complex business and it has its own jargon," says Bisney. That's why making sure you ask plenty of questions. Don't leave things to chance. If you feel the moving company isn't being straight-forward with you then consider another option. Get all the details and information up front because you never know when you'll need to reach the company and the driver.
Make sure the movers have your cell number because you might be in transit too. It's good to have the drivers full name, and truck number that way you can call the company if something changes with your plans.
Take your valuables with you. Cash, important papers, jewelry, medications--anything that you really would never want anything to happen to should be taken with you or sent ahead with a traceable service carrier.
Where you are moving to also affects what you need to know. AMSA says if you're moving from one state to another be sure to get and read the required Inter-state shipment booklets/documents. Inter-state shipments are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration which has more regulations than for an Intra-state move.
Finally, know who you're dealing with and be sure you have investigated the company's reputation. This can be the most challenging thing to do for consumers who are frequently in a hurry and often leave moving details to the last minute.
A good way to find out more about a company is to go through associations such as AMSA. "We set certain standards and by being a member of our association, they have agreed to abide by them," says Bisney. While policing the entire 3,700 members isn't possible, Bisney says the association does its best to keep track of how its members are conducting business.
"We offer a certified moving consultant credential that means that you adhere to certain ethical conduct and that you represent fundamental competency in terms of moving household goods," explains Bisney.
Movers go through an application process, pass a certification exam, sign a code of conduct, pay annual dues to the association, and are required to participate in an annual re-certification process to keep their certification status.
Making a move doesn't have to be a headache if you take some time to plan ahead. So while you're home is sitting on the market, don't fret about when it's going to sell, instead do your due diligence and get ready for the big move.