Moving: Working with a professional moving company

This is part one of a two-part series on this topic.

Like many people, I had moved houses several times with the help of family, friends, pizza and beer. I prepared, planned, organised and the move went smoothly. After I married my husband and he was transferred for his job, we were entitled to full-service moves (pack, load, ship, unload, unpack) by professional moving companies. In our 22 years of marriage, we have moved 8 times with professional moving companies. On our very first move, I learned hard and fast that there are different things to take into consideration when working with a professional moving company than when doing it on your own.

First of all, declutter and organise as much as you can prior to the moving date. The moving company will base the estimated cost of the move on the weight and volume of your goods and effects. The less you have, the less the move will cost. The cost of moving household goods is approximately $6-$12 per kilogram ($3-$5 per pound) for a full-service move. The less you have, the less it will cost not only in shipping fees but in the time it takes to pack and unpack these items.

Prepare a home inventory. This is essential for your insurance purposes as well as any loss or damage claims you may wish to file with the moving company after your move. Although a list of goods is sufficient, having pictures of all your items is beneficial in case you need to prove that an item was in good condition prior to the move.

Ensure you understand the moving company’s policies regarding claims. Prior to the move, mark the claim deadline in your agenda at least one week before the claim needs to be submitted. This will allow you to gather your documentation for the claim and submit it on time.

Decide what to do with items that the moving company will not ship. Because of transportation safety regulations, flammables (matches, solvents), explosives (fertilizer, aerosol cans), corrosives, (bleach, drain cleaner), cannot be shipped. If the move takes place in the winter, the moving company may refuse to take any liquids (including canned food) because these items can freeze and burst. You may wish to transport these items in your own vehicle or leave them with friends and family. If you throw away any hazardous material prior to moving, please respect the environment and use a designated municipal disposal facility.

NOTE: Transporting alcohol, tobacco and firearms across state, provincial or international borders may require special documentation. Contact the appropriate government departments prior to moving these items.

If your household goods are clean, dry and in their proper place in your home prior to packing, they will be very close to their proper place in the unpacking phase. A little extra cleaning and organising in advance will save time and energy in your new home.

Although most moving companies are very good, occasionally something gets packed that should NOT be packed so empty all of the garbage pails before the packing crew arrives. Wash and sanitize your garbage cans so they arrive fresh and clean in your new home.

Keep your wallet, purse, valuables, and important paperwork locked in your car during the packing process, but, if you need to, designate a bathroom as a “Do Not Pack” area. This will make sure that essential extra roll of toilet paper won’t be packed.

When the packing crew arrives, introduce yourself and give them a tour of the house. Point out any fragile or oddly shaped items that require special care. Let the crew know that you are available to answer any questions.

Before your goods are loaded onto the moving van, politely ask if you can look inside the cargo area. You may not be able to enter the cargo area because of liability reasons but look inside if possible. If you notice any stains, greasy spots or holes in the walls or roof of the cargo area, politely point them out to the driver. Contact the moving company if you are concerned about possible damage to your household goods.

ANOTHER NOTE: During the loading day, never leave an open moving van or house unattended. A member of the loading crew or one of your friends/family members should be in the house and truck at all times. Passers-by can easily walk away with a box or two!

Before the truck rolls away, do a final walk through of your home. Verify that all the closets and cupboards are empty, especially on the highest and lowest shelves. Check behind doors too! Exchange contact information with the driver. Ask when he/she expects to be arriving at the destination and what route he/she expects to be travelling.

Say your final good-byes to your home and as you drive away you can look forward to your next adventure in a new and organised home.

7 Comments for “Moving: Working with a professional moving company”

  1. posted by Alex on

    Thanks- this is very helpful. I wonder if yo have any tips about pets during a move?

  2. posted by Emma on

    I’ve learnt another thing from bitter experience – if you’re paying a firm to dismantle and/or reassemble specific items of furniture, ensure that item is listed specifically in writing on the quote – not just ‘Dissemble & reassemble 2 x large items’. Otherwise on the day you may find they refuse to do what you thought you’d agreed to, if it looks complicated/time consuming.

  3. posted by Jenna on

    The home inventory is crucial and a tip to not forget- either let a representative from the moving company visit your home and conduct the in-home survey, or you can do it online.

    Decluttering – also a great tip. The more you declutter, the less you have to move (and the less you have to pay to move).

    Most importantly, make sure you receive a clear agreement from the movers. If you don’t understand something in the agreement, ask. If they are hesitant or avoid your question, you may want to consider another mover.

  4. posted by WilliamB on

    “NOTE: Transporting alcohol, tobacco and firearms across state, provincial or international borders may require special documentation.”

    This is true of ammo as well. Even if there’s no firearm to go with it.

  5. posted by Allen on

    How much did you end up spending on the move?

  6. posted by Martha on

    Thanks for providing good notes. It’s an educative post indeed and I must say working with a professional moving company is always a unique experience of learning.

  7. posted by RJ Moving on

    These are all excellent tips of things to consider when you’re moving. I think one of the most often overlooked steps is looking into the moving van’s interior to make sure it’s in good shape. Thanks for posting this.

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