Category Archives: Safe Moving

How To Distinguish Good Moving Companies From Bad Ones

You go online and search ‘Moving Companies.’  You get back hundreds of results.  How do you determine which ones are good and which ones are not.  You could assume that if they are listed higher in the search results, then they must be good.  But this won’t work because the search results are not always a good indicator of what is good.

You also could try review sites.  There are free and paid sites you can look through to try and get a feel for what a company is really like.  The problem with this is, a lot of people don’t leave reviews.  Also, review sites can be gamed by unscrupulous companies to make it look like they have done an excellent job.

If you have friends and family that have recently made a move, you can ask them who they used.  But how many of us have close friends and family that have just moved.

More than likely, after you do an initial search, you are going to be left with a list of moving companies that you know absolutely nothing about.  So, how do you determine which ones are good and which ones are not.

  • Have a local office
  • Website
  • Timely response
  • Offer quotes
  • Accept multiple forms of payment
  • Offer references

Have a local office

Any good company is going to have a local office that you can visit.  If you contact a company and they say they are located out of state or don’t allow outside visitors, you should not do business with them.

Once you confirm they have a local office, you should visit it.  You will be able to learn a lot about the company when you go to their office.  By looking at the outside and inside of the building, you can see how they treat their own belongings.  If everything is shabby, you can expect they won’t think much of your stuff when they are handling it.  On the other hand, if everything is taken care of well, you can hope they will handle your things with the same care.

Website

Every real company should have a website.  If a moving company doesn’t have a website, you should for another company.  This is not to be judgmental.  But, you have to ask yourself, “Why don’t they have a site?”  If they can’t afford one, then you definitely don’t want to do business with them.

The website can also be an indicator of the quality they offer.  If the site is broken or just not designed well, you can assume that they don’t pay attention to details.  When someone if moving you stuff, you need them to pay attention to details.

A word of warning, the testimonials on a website or that they company presents to you on paper are selected by the company.  This means they are only showing what they want you to see.

Timely response

If they don’t respond to you when it comes to the little things, like returning phone calls, they won’t respond when it comes to delivering your furniture.  You need a company that is punctual.  You need to get them to commit to a schedule and guarantee they will keep it.

Offer quotes

All good companies offer quotes.  You need to know how much it cost before you make a decision.  One of the best ways to do this is to get quotes from multiple companies.  If the company you are thinking about using is higher than the other, ask them why.  They may have valid reasons for being high.  If they reasons a not good, you will have to decide is it worth it to pay more for their services.

On the flip side, you don’t want to choose a company base solely on price.  This could get you in a world of trouble.

Whichever way you decide to go, you want to make sure you know all of the cost before signing a contract.  You need everything spelled out so that there is nothing left unknown to you or them.  You may want to have an attorney look over the moving contract before signing it.

Accept multiple forms of payment

If a company says they only accept cash, you don’t want to do business with them.  All real moving companies have bank accounts and can accept checks.  If they say they don’t accept checks because they can’t verify them, they are lying.  All checks can be validated.  If a company is worried about that, they can use a validation service that guarantees the check or they can wait for the check to clear before they will move.

If you turn your cash over to someone that you have not thoroughly verified, you may never see it again.

Offer references

One of the best ways to determine how good a company works is to ask for references.  You want to get references for three people that were satisfied and three people that were not satisfied.  If they company says they don’t give out references, then they have not done their due diligence to make sure they can provide you with good, independent reviews.

Choosing a moving company is a big deal.  You will spend a good bit of time and money with them.  More importantly, you are going to trust them with moving all of your belonging in and out of you new home.  Choosing the wrong company could end up costing you significantly.  Choosing the right company will make you life, during your move, a whole lot easier.

Take your time.  Do some good research. Ask as many questions as you need to.  Only after you are satisfied with all of the answers give, should you move forward with hiring a moving company.

Moving to England From America

If you are moving to England from America, you have to think about somethings and plan well.  You need to know if and when you can travel to England.  You have to look for a place to stay.  You should research the major cities.  Some places are dangerous, you should know which places to avoid.  Also, if you plan on going places, you have to learn the transportation system in England.  Finally, you have to know the laws and customs of England.

The first order of business it to find out if you will be allowed to travel to England, when you will be allow, and how long you will be allowed to stay.  You have to apply for a visa.  If you are only moving there for a short period of time, less than six months, you can just get a travel visa.  If you plan to move for longer and you need to work, then you will need to obtain a work visa.

Once you have the visa in order, you need to look for a place to stay.  You can do searches on google.co.uk for “relocate to England”, “flats”, “let a room”, “rent a room” to start with.  You can also search real estate sites like rightmove.co.uk.

You should research the different regions of England including the major cities like London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Coventry, Nottingham, and Leicester.  Each of these cities are located in different parts of the country and have different things to offer you.

You also have to be aware of the dangerous places in England.  Usually when you hear about England in America it is not in the context of bad neighborhoods, but there are some bad neighborhoods in England that could be very unsafe for you and your family.  So make sure you know where they are.

Cheap Movers

Choosing a moving company is an important decision.  You want to make sure your things are moved safely and timely.  You also don’t want to pay to much for the move.  Should you use cheap movers or is paying for the most expensive movers the right way to go.

I don’t think you can base your decision on price alone.  Choosing a company just because it is cheap can lead you into big trouble.  It is can be like buying the cheapest television in the store.  It may seem like a good deal, but a year after you have bought it and it won’t work anymore, you will know that you should have spent a little more money.

Likewise, just because a company cost a lot of money, it doesn’t mean they are a good company.  There are some really bad companies in many industries, including moving, that are very expensive.  The more services you get, the more you are going to pay.  That logically makes sense.  If you get a full service mover who packs, ships, and unpacks everything, then you are going to pay more.  Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.  If the services listed in a quote are different, then you have to calculate that difference.

You also have to look at the speed of a company.  One thing that may make a company cheaper than another is that they are not very fast.  One reason for this could be that they have many customers and cannot service them all.  The less they charge, the more volume they have to do to make a profit.  But they could be very good at handling the volume and actually deliver you things in a better time than a more expensive company.

What I am trying to say here is, don’t let the price, whether high or low, dictate to you if a company is good or not.  Decide on all of the services you want done for you.  Shop around for different companies.  Compare their prices to one another.  Make sure you read reviews.  Because this is such an important purchase, I feel it would be in your best interest to ask the moving companies that you are considering to give you a few of their past customers to interview.  The key to getting all of the information is to ask for satisfied customers and dissatisfied customers.  Allow each party, especially in the case of the dissatisfied customers, to tell their side of the story and then decide which company you want to go with.

In the end, make sure you are getting what you pay for.  Don’t choose a cheap mover just for the sake of going cheap.  Also, don’t pick an expensive mover just because they have a high price tag.

Piano Movers

Moving a piano takes skills.   You should hire professional piano movers for a number of reasons.  Your piano is very heavy and irregularly shaped.  Your piano needs to be protect properly to keep it from the different elements that arise during moving.  A regular moving company doesn’t have the experience to move your piano the correct way.

Your piano is not like any other box, appliance, or piece of furniture you own.  It is heavy and has a unique shape to it.  This means you have to make the correct accommodations for moving it.  You do not want to stuff it in a moving truck and pack box around it.

You also have to be very careful when it is being moved to and from the truck, as well as, when it is in transit.  You have to wrap it correctly so it will not be scratched or broken.  You also have to be mindful of the temperature.  Extreme hot or cold conditions can make your piano warp.  Also, sudden changes in temperature can warp the wood.  The temperature has to be controlled at every point in the move.  If you turn the electricity of in your house or you new house doesn’t have the electricity turned on when the piano arrives,  it could be sitting in bad conditions.  Wrapping the piano correctly will insulate it.  Professional piano movers will know how to wrap your piano correctly.

Piano Movers

 

Regular moving companies are good at moving many things, but they usually are not equipped to move a piano properly.  If you are not careful, you could end up with your piano being damage and not even know it for a while.  If the wood in your piano warps because of improper moving, you may just think it is out of tune and then find out later that it will not tune no matter what you do.  It will be very hard to prove that the moving company caused the damage.

If your piano is old and you really don’t care to much about it, then you should move it yourself or have a regular moving company move it for you.  If you have a piano that is valuable to you and you don’t want to see it damage in a move, you should look for a professional moving company.  Search for moving companies and read reviews.  It is very easy to skip the research step after looking at a few websites and making a few phone calls, but it is in your best interest to spend some time doing the proper research.

Student Movers

Hiring student movers can save you money.  They are generally cheaper than higher professional movers.  But the question is, will you get the quality of professional movers if you use college student movers.

When I was in college I definitely needed extra money.  I also helped my fair share of people move.  I never equated making money with helping people move.  I had a truck and they needed to go somewhere.

The thing was when my friends and I helped someone move, which usually was another friend, we didn’t really know what we were doing.  We would pile everything into the back of the pickup truck anyway it would fit.  This usually resulted in things moving around and ultimately breaking.  We also would lay appliances, like refrigerators, down.  We did not know that the oil in the compressor would move around, and sometimes leak out.  We also didn’t secure everything and would have things fly off the truck.  You would think that after a few times of it happening, we would make sure it didn’t, and with somethings we did.

The truth was, we were not professional movers, we were college students, just like college students in Houston, Denver, or any other part of the country.  Now, if we had been guided by a mentor, someone who new the business and made sure we were doing things the right way, we could have been really good at moving.

I think that college students can do a good job at moving your house, office, or what ever you are moving.  I just believe that they have to have guidance.  I mean if you really think about it, some of our best military equipment is moved and used by college age men and women.  Under the right guidance, with the proper training, they can do extraordinary things.

There are also those few college students who excel at organizing, planning, and understanding the proper way things should be done.  These type of students have the ability to lead other student movers into doing excellent work.

So, my advice is proceed with caution if you are thinking of using student movers.  I believe students, with the right leader, can do very good work.  I would say do the same amount of due diligence you would use in selecting any mover.  Look for reviews from former customers, search the web for information about them, make sure you both have an understanding of the process and who is responsible should things not go according to plan.  The best way to do this is to have a contract in place.  If any mover will not give you that, then you should steer clear of them, even student movers.

10 Passenger Van Rental or Not?

If you are looking for a 10 passenger van rental, you have three options.  There are a few factors involved in choosing the right option.  You can rent a 12 passenger van, you can rent two smaller passenger vans, or you can rent a mini bus.  The larger passenger van rental vs the two smaller van rentals is one you should decide on early.  The first factor deals with safety.  The second is about organization.

Anytime you set out on an adventure you want to be safe.  This holds true when you are renting a 10 passenger van, a larger passenger van, or a smaller van like a 7 passenger van rental.  Smaller vans are easier to handle and generally safer.  They will perform better in all conditions.  They also have better rollover ratings than their larger counterparts.  You should check for the specific make and model you are going to rent to find out the specific crash ratings

The larger passenger van seems ideal because your group can be together and the two smaller van option requires you to have two drivers.  Sometimes groups want to stay together when they are traveling.  When we were in China we had a small group and always stayed together when we were traveling from one city to the other, but on some of the day outings we would split up into small groups.  We didn’t need vehicles for moving around the cities and towns.  We just used taxis and the subway system in major cities and we walked in smaller towns.

Two or more vehicles can provide you with the ability to have different groups go to different locations.  This can be ideal because not everyone wants to go to the same place everyday.

A mini bus rental, in my opinion, is the best option for groups larger than 8.  It will provide you with safe travel, allow you to stay together, and they are affordable.

Which every way you choose to move your group of 10 passengers, please be safe.

17, 18, 20 Passenger Van Rental Considerations

There are a good bit of people looking for 17, 18, and 20 passenger van rentals.  Our research has shown that the best vehicle to rent, if you have more than 9 passengers to seat, is a small bus.  There are several reasons you should rent a bus instead of a van for a large group of passengers.

Buses are designed to carry large groups of people.  The wheel base is wider on buses.  And in most cases, they have dual tires in the back which provide better traction are safer when there is a blowout.  Buses are also designed to be better in crashes than large vans.

Most large vans are designed with a thin shell on the outside and very little fortification for rollovers.  This can cause the exterior to crumble in a crash and passengers can be seriously injured.  A bus does not guarantee that no one will be seriously injured if there is a crash, it only greatly lessens the possibility.

To our knowledge, there are no manufactures making 17 – 20 passenger vans.  Do not be tempted to overload a smaller van.  This is very dangerous and could make it very hard for the driver to control the van.  In addition, the heavy weight could cause the tires to become overheated and blowout.

A small bus will allow you, your friends, and your family to travel in comfort.  It will also provide you the opportunity to travel together and arrive safely.   If a bus is not an option,  you should look at renting a few smaller vans.  Smaller vans will provide the safety you need and will also give you a few vehicles to drive around your destination.  This is what we did in Hawaii and it worked out great.

We had two vans.  It was probably the best decision we could have made.  On some days we went as a group to the beach or some other place.  On other days we would split up and take the two vans to different places.

Large Passenger Van Rental

Here are somethings to consider if you are looking for a large passenger van rental.

Large passenger van sizes

  • 12 passenger van
  • 15 passenger van
  • 17, 18, 20 passenger vans (Rent a small bus)

Safety

Large passenger vans are known to have safety concerns.  There are some steps that can be taken to mitigate the potential danger.  If possible, it may be better to rent a bus or several smaller vans.

  • Do not overload the van with people or supplies.
  • Check the tire pressure before setting out and periodically throughout long trips to make sure the tire pressure is correct.
  • Maintain good tires.
  • Outfit the rear wheels with dual tires.  This will help distribute the weight evenly.
  • Do not speed.

 

 

Pack Your Moving Truck the Right Way

Reflexology


photo by Jurvetson (flickr)

Packing a moving truck isn’t rocket science, but you will need to take some thought about how you are going to place your things before you start.  Planning and organizing, putting things in their right place and securing them will help insure your things make it to your new home without damage.

Plan First, Attack Second

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”

A. A. Milne – creator of Winnie the Pooh

Try to plan carefully before you start, you really don’t want to take everything out because you forgot to put something in early.  That’s why I recommend you use a good checklist and inventory everything before doing any packing.

Sofa Segments packed in the truck

Once you have sorted everything out and determined what you are going to move and what you are going to sell or give away, you need to plan how you will pack the truck. You may want to ask the truck rental company for a guide on how to pack a moving truck diagram. They may have them for the specific type of truck you are renting. Nevertheless, you will have to customize the plan for you needs.

When packing the truck, you will want to think about the overall weight of your load. All trucks have a load rating and you need to make sure you do not exceed that rating. You also need to think about the distribution of the load. The truck should be able to handle the load however you divide it up, but it will make driving, and more importantly, control, far better if you make sure you distribute the weight as evenly as possible in the truck. In most cases, this will happen naturally by following the guidelines set above, but give it a little thought to be sure.

If your truck has a mom’s attic, you may want to put fragile items in it. Pad it with cushions or other soft things and make sure everything is secure before loading the big stuff.

Put larger items in first. Make sure you wrap anything that can be scratched or broken. Moving blankets are a necessity for larger items that may shift. It is probable best to start with your washer, dryer and refrigerator. Then load heavier furniture. Put your mattresses and table against the side walls of the truck standing on their sides Create rows, filling the gaps between furniture with boxes, cushions, and odd shaped items. Use straps and nets to hold furniture and rows together. Try to finish one row before you start another one. The thing you are really going for here is to not have your things move all over the place and break.

Moving Trucks Can Be Susceptible To Theft

You have to think about a lot of things when you are moving. One thing you do not want to over look is securing your belongs while you are traveling. You are carrying your most precious possessions with you. If you park your moving truck and leave it unattended, then all of your memories could be ripped from you in an moment.

Things to look out for

  • Park in a well lite area.  It is much easier for a thief to work in the dark than in the light.
  • Know your surroundings before you leave the vehicle.  Is the area you are stopped at prone to theft.  I personally know several people that were inside of stores, not 20 ft from their stuff, and had it stolen.
  • Use alarms systems to alert people around and scare the would be thief into hopefully leaving without any of your stuff.  Many moving trucks don’t come with alarms, but you can purchase small personal alarms that will let out a load noise if someone opens the door.
  • Put a tracking device on the vehicle.  I don’t know if the moving truck companies are using tracking devices on there vehicles to locate them if one is stolen, but they should.  You may be able to attach something to the vehicle while it is in you possession in case it does get taken.

Moving should be about picking up and planting yourself somewhere else.  But you always want to maintain the memories that you have build throughout your life.  Having someone take that all away is a tragedy.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Be safe and secure your belongings while you are moving.  Below are some videos about theft and securing your things during a move.

Truck can be opened and started with any key

The man in this video shows how a truck can be opened and started with a key that doesn’t belong to the truck.  This is very disturbing.  Make sure this isn’t possible with the truck you rent.