In the Greater Chicaland area - Burrows Moving Company burrowsmoving.com
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Selecting Movers For Your Move
When selecting a mover it is wise to establish 3 goals by which to judge them ....
1. Try to find a mover who has a proven record of trouble free moving for their customers.
2. Try to find movers who also have a proven record of completing their jobs in a timely fashion either on or under their estimates, thus keeping their customer's costs down.
3. It is humanly impossible for a mover to never have damages, so select a mover who has a very low claims ratio and who has a record of settling customer claims satisfactorily and quickly. The mover should have no unresolved complaints of long duration.
Most people shop first for low rates and invariably book up with a mover who totally fails to achieve even 1 of these 3 goals during their move. Then they are very unhappy for picking a mover who was so bad and they wonder why they had such bad luck!
It is axiomatic in any service business that the lower the rates charged, the lower the level of service provided - no matter what the sales person promises. The truth of the matter is that in many, many, many cases picking movers who have low rates ends up actually costing people a whole lot more than if they were to choose a mover with higher rates! This is because of the low-rate movers crew's inefficiencies and poor moving techniques resulting in slow moving, damages to furnishings and hidden nickel and dime charges that escalate the final price.
In the moving industry a prevalent problem is low-ball estimating whereby a mover's actual charges on move day invariably come in well over their salesman's estimate. The NO. 1 complaint registered with watchdog groups against movers is that the moving charges on move day were much higher than the estimator led the customer to believe they would be. Unfortunately, the moving industry has developed a notorious reputation of employing salesmen who deliberately underestimate jobs in order to get them. Sometimes they do so by suggesting too few men on the job so that they can quote a lower rate and make their estimate look less expensive. Other times they will deliberately underestimate the time necessary to do the job so that they can bottom line a lower total price on the estimate. In most states professional movers are not required by law to hold to their estimates since they are only best guesses. So some professional mover's sales people take advantage of this and offer deceptively low bids in order to book more jobs.
The regulations of most individual state's Commerce Commissions (this is the governmental agency that regulates the moving industry), require local movers on moving day to charge all actual time spent doing the job (no matter what breaks the salesman may have implied you might get). The customer even has to pay up to 10% over the estimate on moving day and the rest within 30 days! So the poor customer ends up getting burned because he is required by law to pay the higher actual time spent charges, not the low ball estimated charges!
Proving The Professional Mover's Track Record
There are a few movers watchdog organizations who keep a record of any professional mover and as many of them as possible should be checked. Remember when you pick movers, the more good references a service business has the safer it is to choose them to do your job.
First, make sure you only pick a mover who has a current license with your state Commerce Commission (if their license number is not on their advertising then don't trust them). Then, if you don't personally know the mover's management or some of their personnel, make sure they have been in business for some extended period of time. Tenure in business can be a good sign but it's only the beginning of reference checking because in big cities some terrible movers have been around for a long, long time.
Second, ask your friends, neighbors, acquaintances and co-workers for mover recommendations. Be sure to ask them if they set out to choose movers who met any of the above mentioned goals. Also, ask them for the names of the people on the crew that the mover sent to do their job (if they can recall them). Some mover's men are better than others so if you can get some of these that have already been proven to be good, do so. Also, ask your acquaintances if there were any damages on their move and what was done to take care of them.
Third, call your state's Commerce Commission and ask if the mover has had any complaints filed against them in the last few years. Bear in mind that any complaints at all are probably just the tip of the iceberg so to speak because most times dissatisfied customers don't even bother to register official complaints. Those who do register complaints are representing only a small percentage of a mover's failures. So a few complaints with watchdog groups can be multiplied in your mind by five to ten to determine their true record.
Fourth and fifth, do the same reference check with your state's Movers Association and with the Better Business Bureau, in that order.
Finally check on the internet with private movers watchdog groups such as Angie's List or The Franklin Report or even some of the references the mover may provide to you. This may all seem like a lot of bother but there are many, many, many horror stories floating around about Nightmare Movers and you certainly don't want such an occurrence on your job!
Now, you can check the rates and projected time from each estimate and compare them. Unusually low or very high estimates should be reviewed again with the estimator just to be sure that the particular estimator may have seen something about your job that other estimators missed. If you can unexpectedly visit the mover's facility, do so. You'll get a better 'feel' for each moving company when you actually see their facility/equipment/office and their office personnel.
Having done as much of this as possible you should be fairly safe to pick any one of your final candidates.