Moving to San Diego
and the Moving Company


The moving company can be the difference between a smooth transition to your new home or a living hell. Choosing a moving company and making sure the move goes well requires some research and attentiveness on your part. Here are some tips to keep in mind when moving.

Select and compare three well-known or recommended companies. Your comparison should include prices, services and policies. Ask the company representative for company literature (which is free), moving tips, a free estimate and references of satisfied clients.

Call these clients and ask them about the company's professionalism, dependability and care of household goods.

If at any point in conversation with any company regarding your move you begin to feel uneasy, or something does not sound right, ask questions. If you do not find satisfying answers, look elsewhere. If you are still not satisfied, even after explaining your concerns to the company, move on to a different company.

If asked, companies should provide their regulating agencies and licensing boards. Also, check with the local Better Business Bureau in the city of the company's headquarters.

You must be satisfied with the company chosen. Once your belongings are on the moving van, you will ultimately suffer if something goes wrong.

Take your time in this process because you will be entrusting all your worldly possessions to the company that you choose.

Estimates - (back to contents)

Before you sign on the dotted line, you'll need a dependable cost estimate. There are two types of estimates: binding and non-binding.

The binding estimate provides a firm price for the agreed upon services. This estimate must be in writing and a copy should be attached to the bill of lading. You can be charged for this estimate.

The non-binding estimate only provides a general idea of what the moving costs will be. The final cost is based on actual weights and transportation charges. The mover cannot charge for this estimate.

If you are given a non-binding estimate, the mover will require payment of the original estimate at the time of delivery but cannot charge you more than an additional 10 percent. To avoid these potentially heart-stopping scenarios, make sure to get in writing various prices for your move; increases for more space or weight than planned, decreases for less weight or space, and a range of prices in the event the estimator was not accurate.

Weights and Payments - (back to contents)

Movers are supposed to weigh the truck before they load your belongings and again after they load your household goods. If there is a discrepancy between the departure and destination weights, you can request that the truck be re-weighed.

Payment (unless you made prior arrangements) is typically in cash, money order or by a certified check. Payment may be expected upon delivery of your goods prior to unloading. If you have agreed to pay charges at delivery, obtain the weight and charges before the movers unload the truck.

Local move charges are gauged by hours involved for packing goods, types and number of cartons used and the time involved to handle your shipment. Interstate moves depend more on the weight of the household goods and the distance of transportation. Corporate moves usually have an estimate that includes all moving costs.

If you are moving between October and April, there will be less demand for a mover's services; therefore, their costs may be lower and more negotiable. It may also be easier to obtain your first choice for a moving date. Note, however, that scheduling can be difficult during the Christmas and New Year's holidays because of vacations and holiday leaves.

Rights and Responsibilities - (back to contents)

If you are making a long-distance move, know and understand the company's procedures and necessary agent contacts. Be sure the destination agent has your telephone number or a contact in the new area. You also need to have the phone number and name of the destination agent.

When you plan your move, allow a few extra days in your schedule. There can be unforeseen problems that can cause a delay, such as inclement weather, a mechanical truck problem, a personal problem or traffic and/or construction delays encountered en route.

Pickup and delivery dates should be as specific as possible, between 8 and 9 AM is good; "some time in the morning" is not. When you and the mover have agreed on these terms, the mover must abide by the schedule or notify you of a problem causing a delay. In the event of a problem, the mover should reschedule a convenient time for you.

You (or a reliable friend) will need to be at your new residence at the agreed upon time of delivery for your goods. If no one is at your residence at this time, the mover can reschedule the move at his or her convenience and/or put your goods in storage at your expense. Before finalizing a move, inquire about the mover's policy for inconvenience claims.

If the company does not pickup or deliver within the promised time and it is clearly their fault, they should reimburse you for out of pocket expenses, such as lodging and meals.

Contracts - (back to contents)

After you have selected a company and a moving date, the representative will prepare a contract for you. Before you sign any contract, be sure everything that you have verbally agreed upon is typed into the fine print. The contract should guarantee the number of hours for your move and all the charges and terms.

To help your representative give you a proper cost estimate, he or she needs to know everything that will be involved in your move. They need a complete list of what will be transported, such as the number of rooms of furniture, special furniture requirements or extras that will be moved (i.e. an automobile).

In addition, they need the accessibility details about both your old and new homes. They should be aware if there are three levels of steps at one of the residences, if one of the driveways is especially steep or whether there are any other particulars that will hamper or detain the moving process.

The Moving Process - (back to contents)

After choosing three companies to compare, you will be talking to a sales representative, who will be your contact person within the moving company. Make them accountable! Whenever you speak to a moving company, ask for the name of the individual to whom you are speaking with. On subsequent calls to the company, either ask for the same person or refer to the person who gave you your last information.

Individuals assisting you will feel an added responsibility and ownership of your situation if they know they are not anonymous.

The representative will tour your home with you, noting the estimated weight of your goods and any unusual requirements. Be prepared for this visit by listing items that require special attention or services you want such as transferring large house plants, antiques or valuables.

Ask questions, get a business card and request to have all details included in the contract. The representative will arrange the pickup, delivery and storage dates.

Next, you will meet the packers.

Walk through your home with the packers, orienting them to the rooms and your belongings that require special care. Point out the goods that are not to be packed. Before the packers leave, the supervisor will give you forms that itemize each carton. You will need to sign them and pass them on to the driver.

On moving [out] day your household goods will be organized and loaded onto the truck. All your belongings will be detailed on the packing forms and damaged or marked areas on the furniture will be noted. After your goods are completely loaded, you will need to review all paperwork.

Moving companies use codes to denote types of marks or damage, and the key to these codes should be on the form. Make sure you agree with their assessment because these codes are used to dispute claims you may file upon delivery. A slight chip should not be marked as "broken."

On moving [in] day, know your time of delivery and be there promptly. Have a moving form handy and designate someone to examine the furniture and check off the goods on the form as the movers come through the door. This effort will assure that you have all your household goods.

If you move in February and find in November that an antique turkey platter is missing, it will be too late to make a claim. If you have an extra person, he or she can begin unpacking boxes (especially if the movers are willing to remove the cartons). I suggest you begin by unpacking the larger boxes, such as clothing boxes that will go quickly, and items that belong in kitchen cabinets.

It will help to get the larger boxes removed, and it will be very convenient to have your kitchen in operating condition as soon as possible.

Working With the Movers - (back to contents)

Any good move is a cooperative effort between you and the mover. Begin your moving day by making introductions and use the movers' names when addressing them.

It is important that you establish this professional relationship for the day(s) the movers will be in your home and that you take the time to show them around your home, pointing out special requests. Any special instructions should be well-marked and mentioned to the movers.

Many companies have policies of non-acceptance of gratuities, including meals. Ask the sales representative in advance about what the movers will expect. They will accept beverages (especially lots of cold water) and the chance to clean up, so have soap, paper towels and cold drinks on hand. Let them know where to find these necessities so they can help themselves to everything.

If you have any unusual problems on moving day, speak to the driver, who is usually the person in charge at the site. If the issue is not resolved, you can contact the company sales representative.

Try to remain calm.

Movers are used to customers feeling harried and will try to help you feel confident that things will work out well. Remember, you are a customer and this is your home with your personal property.

You should expect professional courtesy, but don't expect complete aloofness as they sift through your sock drawer or collection of childhood memorabilia.

Good luck! I’ll have the keys to your new home when you get to town!