04 May Choosing a Reliable Moving Company
Before you have the moving companies do a walk-through of your home or even give you an estimation, ask these questions by the phone. This is a good chance for you to interview the moving company to see if they are going to meet your needs.
The moving company should have a valid registration number to lawfully operate in Australia. This can be an ACN (Australian Company Number) or ABN (Australian Business Number) that you can ask about by phone. Most companies may write the ACN/ABN info in their website as well.
2. Rates and Estimates
Ask the company what there rate is; most companies will provide a rate per hour and a distance rate. If the company offers a quote based on cubic feet, be aware that it is most likely not an advantage for you. Normally, the estimation will be based on weight if you’re moving long distances. For short distances, some companies will charge a per-hour-rate. Both the hourly rate and that weight-based rate will not change, whereas the estimate can be depending on the type the carrier provides. Keep in mind that the moving company must give you an estimate in writing and they must provide you with a copy. The estimate must include all charges and both you and the mover must sign it to be an agreement. The estimate must also indicate the method of payment and be dated. If you agree to an estimation just by phone or verbally without thoroughly check everything, it will be at your own risk!
Some of the larger movers subcontract to a smaller or local company. If this is the case with the company you are thinking of using, ask for the subcontractor’s name and if the company uses several subcontractors, ask for a complete list. If the mover is uncertain, ask them to find out and get back to you. This information should be readily available and should not be withheld from client. If subcontractors are used, make sure you check out the drivers to ensure you’ll still receive good service.
4. Additional Fees
Find out if there are any additional fees or when additional fees apply. Some companies will charge extra for awkward items, or if the destination does not have easy access, or if the load has to be hand-carried over a certain distance. To avoid such costs, note any larger items and pre-arrange where the truck can park, if there are any stairs, and if you are moving to a condo or high-rise, investigate any possible obstructions such as elevator usage and load restrictions. These extra charges are called flight charges and long-carry charges and they should be discussed with your mover ahead of time. If you’re well organized, have arranged for parking and elevator usage, these charges can be avoided.
If your old or new residence is not accessible for a large carrier truck or van, you may need to have the mover arrange for a shuttle service, which will also incur additional costs.
Additional costs may also include fuel surcharges or transportation surcharges if you are moving to a remote area. In addition, if your belongings cannot be unloaded on arrival, they may need to be stored. Storage-in-transit fees will be charged along with warehouse handling charges. Try to avoid either by ensuring your new residence is ready on time.
5. Additional Transfers
For long distance moves some companies may transfer your belongings from one truck to another. Additional transfers increase the possibility of damage and loss. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your carrier and ask beforehand. Also, if you are moving during the winter or rainy season, find out if the company protects against water damage.
Ask detailed questions about insurance. The moving company will provide insurance at an additional cost. Insurance is usually based on weight, so you will need to assess the value of your goods versus what the insurance policy will provide should your belongings arrive damaged or not at all. Check the standard coverage with the moving company because it is usually not enough to cover the true cost of the damaged item. But before you purchase more insurance, look into your home insurance to see if they offer additional coverage for moving.
7. Packing/Storage Services
Find out how items are protected and labeled. Most companies will shrink-wrap your sofa and provide a free blanket wrap service; smaller companies may charge for this service. Ask how items are labeled and how they will be identified on arrival. Make sure you keep an accurate list of all your items, number of boxes, single pieces and odds and ends. In addition, ask up front if the moving company expects appliance service charges, and if they do, ask about their policies for preparing appliances for transport to see if you can either do it yourself or find someone who’ll do it at no cost. In most cases, companies don’t charge for standard major appliances, but will for any extra item. Piano and pool table can be special items that will need special treatment and incur additional charges.
If you require storage, ask the company if they provide storage service. Usually, the larger companies do and this can save you time and money by having the truck drop off your items for you. It’s a good idea to check out the storage facility beforehand.
8. Complaints and Claims
Ask the company if they have any unresolved complaints or claims against them. Most will give you a history of complaints and claims, and if they were resolved satisfactory for the client. Details won’t necessarily be provided, but if there are some outstanding issues, ask for more information about why and the nature of the complaint and claim. Also, ask how many claims and complaints they’ve had; this is a good indication of their incident record.
Most reliable companies will automatically provide you with letters of happy clients. And although anyone with a printer and computer could generate supportive documents, you can usually assume they are legitimate and factual.
There are a lot of reliable moving companies in Perth. However, do be careful and thorough in checking all details, estimations, procedures, possible additional costs, time, fuel, storage needs and don’t hesitate to be curious and ask the questions you want to ask from your possible mover(s). Keep in mind that it’s better to put a bit more effort and time in collecting the info at the beginning rather than in making complaints or trying to retrieve missing items in the end of your move.