Moving Guide - Frequently Asked Question For Movers - Nationwide Van Lines
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Moving Guide

  • Moving Guide
  • Moving Checklist
  • The Move Out Day
  • The Move In Day
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Moving Glossary
  • Rights and Responsibilities


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Preparing For The Move

When should I first contact moving companies for estimates?

It is recommended to start getting estimates at least 6 weeks prior to your potential move day. Try to decide on your mover of choice 4 weeks prior to your move. Give your moving company as much notice as possible; especially if you are moving in the busy season (May 15th to Sept. 15th ). Call your mover to schedule your pick up date(s) and packing date if needed. If this is a corporate relocation, allow yourself more time to gather estimates to submit to your employer for approval.

How do I select a reputable moving company?

Ask your friends, family members and co-workers if they have any recommendations. Be sure to do your do diligence; check out the companies on the Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org and the American Moving and Storage Association www.moving.org. The American Moving and Storage Association highly recommend selecting a ProMover.

When is the best time to move?

The busiest time for moving companies is in the summer (Peak Season) from May 15th to Sept. 15th . The end of the month has a higher volume of shipments; people tend to move out before next month's rent is due. Being flexible for your pick up and delivery time frame will help dispatch to properly coordination drivers, crew members and a truck to accommodate your size of shipment. Keep in mind that you are most likely not the only shipment on the truck. If you stay flexible for your pick up and delivery, it should make a difference.

What is a Broker?

A Broker is a company that arranges for the transportation of your shipment and subcontracts the order to others; also known as a Booking Agent. A broker does not take responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the shipment. Their sole obligation is to obtain a moving company or carrier on your behalf.

Pricing and Paperwork

What is a Binding Estimate/Quote?

A Binding Estimate/Quote is an agreement (contract) made in advance that guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the quote. A lot of moving companies also use the term Flat Price.

Note: Be aware of Flat Pricing/Binding Quotes - Some moving companies provide "Flat Prices" or "Binding Quotes" based on the amount of weight or volume quoted/estimated. Your price will increase according to your total weight or volume AFTER your shipment has been loaded. A Binding Quote/Flat Price is a final price provided in advance PRIOR to loading your shipment.

What is a Non-Binding Estimate?

A Non-Binding Estimate/Quote is an estimate of what the mover believes the total cost of the move will be based upon the estimated weight or volume of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. The moving company will base the final charges upon the actual weight/volume of your shipment.

What are the payment methods?

Most moving companies will require a deposit payable by credit card or personal check when booking your move date. Tariff provisions require that all charges must be paid prior to your shipment being unloaded at destination. Payments upon delivery can be made using cash, certified check or money order (COD). Other payment options such as credit card or personal check can be arranged with your mover in advance. If your employer is paying for the move, your employer may pre-arrange to be billed via invoice. Be sure to have this all worked out prior to your packing and loading day.

What is a Bill of Lading?

The bill of lading is the receipt for your goods and the contract for the transportation of your goods. Every mover is required to provide a bill of lading for every shipment being transported. The driver who loads your shipment must provide you with a copy. It is your responsibility to read and understand the bill of lading before you sign it. The bill of lading identifies the mover, specifies the terms and conditions, total charges and the valuation coverage of your shipment and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage to your shipment. The bill of lading is an important document - do not lose or misplace your copy.

What is an Order for Service?

Every mover is required to provide an order for service before they transport your shipment. The order for service provides you with written confirmation of the services that you requested. If you elect to move under a non-binding estimate, the order for service will indicate the amount of the non-binding charges, method of payment and incase the actual charges exceed the non-binding estimate, the maximum amount that you are required to pay at the time of delivery (110-115%) to obtain possession of your shipment (you will have 30 days following delivery to pay the balance of the charges due). If you are moving under a binding estimate, the order for service will show the charges that you will be required to pay at delivery, based on the binding estimate and the terms of payment. You and your mover must sign the order for service.

What is an Inventory?

The driver will usually inventory your shipment as he/she loads it (but it's not required by law). When completed, the inventory will provide a detailed, descriptive list of your household goods and the condition of each item when received by the mover. Be sure that everything listed on the inventory is lists correctly. You will find things written on the inventory like PBO (packed by owner). You will also find CP (carrier packed) or PBM (packed by mover); these are two important listings. You will also notice that in the middle column on the inventory sheet a line that has many letters associated with a specific item. This is where the driver uses inventory code to make note of the condition of a particular item. To understand these codes, look at the top of the inventory sheet for the chart that explains what the codes means such as: C - chipped, SC - scratched. This is a basic way for the driver to make note of any existing damage.

This inventory is for you to keep track of what is being loaded and the condition of each item. This inventory should also be used at the destination when your shipment is delivered. Use the inventory to verify the items that are delivered, note an exception to the condition of the items as they are brought into your home and point out the damage to the driver. The inventory sheet is the document that will be used when the claims process is initiated so it is important to have the damage clearly noted.

Packing

Can I pack and ship my plants?

Movers will not ship living plants per federal regulations. Many states do not allow the entry of plants while other states will admit plants under certain conditions. Be sure to understand your state's regulations prior to moving the plants in your own vehicle.

Can I leave my clothes in my drawers?

To ensure the proper transportation of your furniture, it is best to empty all of your drawers. All of your loose items should be packed into boxes; this will help prevent lost and damage. Keep in mind that if the furniture piece is too heavy, it can cause your furniture to crack while I transit; the movers will also have a hard time handling the item if it is too heavy.

What type of packing materials should I use?

Keep in mind that the movers are stacking tiers. When purchasing boxes, look for the stamp seal at the bottom of the box; this ensures the box has been crush proof tested and it will also display the size and weight capacity of the box. Please visit our Packing Materials article for more information.

Can I ship my clothes/linens in a plastic garbage bag?

Most moving companies will not allow the transportation of your items in garbage bags. The bag(s) may rip, causing your items to fall out and become dirty or even worse, stained.

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