Ah, moving day. Even in a normal year, it can be stressful, and this year is anything but normal. The pandemic has led to a lot more people than usual deciding to pack up and move. It’s also added an extra factor to consider for your health and safety and the movers. That said, most things haven’t changed regarding choosing a moving company and ensuring everything goes according to plan. We’ve rounded up a few tips on how you can do that. We’ve also included some advice on how you can keep yourself and others safe during the relocation.
Do a Background CheckDo a Background Check
Moving companies range in size from huge corporations to small family-run businesses, and there’s a lot of variation in service quality. Your priority should be in choosing a company with a good reputation. Review sites like Yelp can only go so far, and it’s hard to tell whether a review is legitimate or not. You can get far more accurate information from the Better Business Bureau, the American Moving and Storage Association, and customer advocacy sites like Moving Scam. It also helps to have some common sense and be wary of any red flags. For instance, a company doesn’t have an address or phone number or asks for a large deposit in advance.
Check that the Company is Licensed and InsuredCheck that the Company is Licensed and Insured
Every moving company in New York has to be licensed and have insurance to protect yourself. You can easily determine if a company is licensed by calling 518-457-6512 or emailing an inquiry to [email protected]. To check that they are properly insured, you can call the New York State Department of Transportation at 800-786-5368.
Get Several Price EstimatesGet Several Price Estimates
The costs of a move can vary as much as service quality. How much any company charges for a move will depend on how busy they are, the company’s size, and how they calculate each move’s costs. To ensure you get the best deal, get several estimates from companies that you’ve already done a background check on. Remember, you can negotiate if you feel an estimate is too high. There’s no guarantee that they’ll take the bait, but you’ll never know unless you ask. Also, be very cautious about accepting a bid that seems far too low.
Compare Flat Rate vs. HourlyCompare Flat Rate vs. Hourly
Your particular situation will determine whether going with a flat rate or an hourly one makes more sense. A flat rate is just that, which doesn’t consider how long it takes to move. The price is determined by much you need to move, the number of movers required, and the truck’s size. This is clearly the right choice if you’re moving upstate or out of state. An hourly rate is probably the better choice for a more local move that shouldn’t take much time. Each company will set its own hourly rate, so compare each one.
Health and Safety during the COVID-19 PandemicHealth and Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health and safety are top priorities now for both you and the movers. Ensure the company has a COVID-19 policy for operating during the pandemic. Each company will have its own policies, but at the least, they should include protocols around social distancing and sanitization. If you have any questions or concerns, then you should call them for further clarification.
If you start to feel unwell before the move, you should call the company to let them know. This is crucial information as they need to know the risks for their workers to adjust their protocols. When packing, wear a mask and gloves, and make sure you sanitize any items the movers will be handling. On moving day, keep a safe distance from the movers and continue wearing your mask and gloves.
Move on an “Off Day”Move on an “Off Day”
Since leases tend to renew on the 1st of the month, most moving companies are hectic around this time. The same goes for weekends. A busier time means a higher cost, so if it’s at all possible, try to move mid-week and/or mid-month. When getting estimates from different companies, don’t forget to ask them about their “off day” prices.
Count Boxes and Furniture CorrectlyCount Boxes and Furniture Correctly
Make an accurate count of all the boxes and furniture you’ll be moving ahead of time. The price estimate the movers give you will be based on the assumption that this number is correct. If it turns out that the number is higher than assumed, then that will incur extra fees. It may also lead to a longer and more frustrating move if the truck isn’t large enough or the movers have to call for backup. Bare all of this in mind as you’re filling out an estimate form for the company. It may be a good idea to pack one box to get an idea of how much you’ll need for the rest of your stuff.
Choose the Right Packing SuppliesChoose the Right Packing Supplies
Every move requires boxes, and it’s up to you whether you want to buy your own or have the company supply them (usually at a marked-up cost). Having the company provide them will save you time and effort, but you’ll need to get your own if you want to save money. Go to Home Depot and get as many boxes as you think you’ll need. You’ll also need packing tape and get more than you think you’ll need; you’d be surprised how fast that stuff goes in a big move. Another option is to go around to your local liquor store or restaurant and ask if they have any leftover boxes you can take; make sure they’re sturdy, clean, and in good condition.
Don’t overpack any boxes, and make sure to write the contents on each one so you’ll have an easier time unpacking. Be especially careful with glassware and other fragile items. These should be wrapped in newspaper and packed with Styrofoam.
Ensure all Your Furniture will Fit through Doorways and StairwellsEnsure all Your Furniture will Fit through Doorways and Stairwells
The movers are not responsible for dealing with bulky items that you can’t safely remove. Take some measurements to ensure everything will fit through doorways and stairwells at your current residence and your new address. If you’ve got a problem, you may want to call an expert like the Couch Doctor.
Clear the Move with both BuildingsClear the Move with both Buildings
Most buildings and management companies in NYC will have rules relating to when tenants can move in and out. These are meant to prevent too many people from moving on the same day and jamming up the hallways. Most buildings will also ask for proof of insurance before greenlighting the move.
Don’t Forget to Ask for the Bill of Lading.Don’t Forget to Ask for the Bill of Lading.
This is the legal agreement between the customer and the movers. It details the number of goods being moved, locations, start and end times, and handling payment. In effect, this is your receipt so make sure you get it either once the movers arrive or after they’ve loaded the truck.
Don’t Forget to TipDon’t Forget to Tip
It’s standard practice to tip the movers, so make sure you factor this when working out the move’s costs. The typical rate is 20%. If the move is long, don’t forget to provide coffee and/or lunch to smooth things out.