Cassidy's Moving and Storage
Top Questions to Ask Your Moving Company
We’ve occasionally run into customers who are looking for a new moving company in the Ottawa area after having a bad experience with another company in the past. To help you avoid a bad experience, we recommend that before you hire anyone, ask these questions:
1. What’s Your Estimate for My Moving Costs?
Almost all moving companies provide online estimates these days, but in order for them to mean anything, they have to be based on how much stuff you own and how far you’re moving. Naturally, it costs less to move a one-bedroom apartment than a three-bedroom house, as a general rule.
Most legitimate companies will need to visit your home to see your belongings in order to provide an estimate they can stand behind.
2. Is That Estimate Guaranteed?
Many moving companies will provide a commitment on how close they’ll stay to their estimate – say, 10%, like with our guarantee. If there is no range, try another provider.
3. Can I Have That Estimate in Writing?
It’s really important to get any estimate in writing before you move. This will protect you from rogue movers who inflate costs on moving day, when you need to get out of your home and have no other choice.
4. Are There Any Conditions for the Estimate Guarantee?
Reasonable conditions include things like:
- The amount of things that need to be moved changes.
- You don’t pack things you say you are going to pack yourself.
- You forget to book the elevator for your apartment and everyone has to wait while you track down the building super….
- You don’t disassemble furniture (like bed frames) when you declare you want to do it yourself during the consultation.
Learning about how big a job it really is to pack is one of the benefits of an in-home consultation – it will help make sure that everything you have in the garage, storage locker, or basement gets added to the inventory.
5. Do You Use Subcontractors?
Find out who will be arriving at your door on moving day, and who will be unpacking in your new home. Some “moving companies” are just resellers – they get the customers and sell their information to freelancers – who in turn may be good or bad.
This is different from companies that partner with other legitimate networks like United Van Lines to take care of long distance moves.
6. What Happens if Something Gets Broken?
Here’s where you learn about a concept called Replacement Value Protection. In a nutshell, this is the maximum they will pay to replace something that is broken. Find out how much they are willing to be liable for, and if they have added protection available. Get all definitions and explanations in writing – they should have a handout for that.
If you have your own insurance policy, find out what the deductible is. Ensure your policy covers “all risks” (in those words).
7. Are You a Member of the Canadian Association of Movers?
All reputable moving companies in Canada are members of the Canadian Association of Movers. This organization requires members to stick to a strict code of business ethics, including the Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers.
8. Are You Accredited by the BBB?
Having full accreditation – not just a profile page – on the Better Business Bureau’s website shows a commitment to honest customer service.
9. How Long Have You Been in Business?
While it’s possible to be a newer company and be legitimate, the longer a company has been in business, the more likely it is to be trustworthy.
10. Are You Active in the Community?
Check out their website to make sure they’re giving back to the community. If they sponsor a ringette team or help out their local food bank, they’re more likely to care about their reputation and about providing good customer service.
11. How Will You Be Packing My Belongings?
Your idea of “safe packing” and someone else’s may be different. Find out what packing means to them. As a general rule, better packing standards cost more.
12. Do You Provide Storage?
Some moves require storage for a certain length of time, from days to months.
Before you pay for storage, find out how your belongings will be stored. Do you need an indoor warehouse with climate control? Other options include storage containers in a secure yard.
Look Before You Move
While it may take a bit of time before you find the right mover, that time is never wasted. The important thing is that you end up with a satisfying moving experience that reduces stress, not adds to it!