Each year, tens of millions of renters, homebuyers and homesellers move in the U.S. Americans in particular are considered to be highly mobile, with the average American moving once every five years.
The “average American mover” is typically a couple between 18 and 34 years old with a child or two, but overall, the uprooting can be broken down this way:
- Individual or family moves account for 44 percent.
- Corporate moves account for 38 percent.
- Military moves account for 16 percent.
- Government moves account for 2 percent.
The $86 billion moving industry is booming and professional moving companies are benefiting.
Summer is by far the busiest season for moves. Nearly 60% take place between May and August. If you’re looking at an upcoming move, is hiring pros worth it?
Amy Kaye has been a licensed real estate agent since 2000 and is also CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty’s Marketing and Productivity Manager for the Montclair, Va. office, so she has seen the trials and tribulations of moving. She also has personally moved many times over the past couple of decades and has learned from her own experience that hiring professional movers is worth the expense. Using friends to help you move can come at a cost.
“My worst moving experience was with friends where several items were damaged and broken during the course of the move,” Amy says. “It was after that experience that I vowed to never put my friends in that position again and to hire professional movers in the future. I’ve never regretted that decision either. It’s hard on you, it’s hard on your relationship, it’s hard on your friends and it’s emotionally difficult if items are broken or damaged. Your friends feel terrible and so do you. Moving is difficult enough emotionally and physically without dragging your friends into it too!”
Despite the abundance of self-serve options with household names like U-Haul and PODS, Amy estimates that the vast majority of her clients utilize the services of professional movers. She says that the training these professionals have received can be invaluable. But with approximately 7,000 moving companies in the U.S. — almost half of those considered small companies with fewer than five people — not all moving companies are equal.
“Like everything in sales, there are good and bad and unfortunately the bad ones are the ones most remembered due to the stories told again and again about the experience,” Amy says.
She recalls one negative experience with a professional mover who scratched and nicked several items during the move. “I realized after that move how important training and insurance is. Every move has been a learning experience! I want to know that my movers are trained on how to wrap furniture, how to handle it, how to move it without dropping it, and how to keep the atmosphere professional and mature during the day of the move. Do your research, get recommendations and look for training and professionalism when getting an estimate.”
Amy recommends asking these questions as you search for a moving company. She says, “Everything should be in writing!” and provided to you prior to the move:
- Is there someone on the team who will be in charge that day?
- How much experience does the team have — or at least the onsite supervisor?
- How much training is given?
- What is the policy for breaks and lunch?
- Is there insurance against damage?
- Is there a process for dealing with damage?
- Who is the point of contact?
- How much will it cost?
- Is there a deposit needed up front?
- Are there charges for additional services (i.e., packing last-minute items, boxes, paper, packing blankets, etc.)?
Amy has a favorite company and recommends them to clients and friends. “They are professional, trained and experienced. There is always a leader amongst the group who is in charge of the move and the paperwork. He has several years of experience and is a trusted member of the moving company. During moves when I wasn’t finished and still had items left to pack (or complete rooms in a few cases), they arrived with boxes, extra packing paper and tape, because they’re professionals who have been trained for that possibility. They jumped right in to help finish the packing. They are careful, meticulous, and efficient. All qualities I cherish in my movers!”
Tina Bodolosky, Director of Relocation Services for CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty, echoes the same sentiments on hiring professionals, particularly when moving a household full of heavy furniture and valuable items.
“Movers know how to pack, protect and transport items most often better than a homeowner and have the ability and means to do so,” says Tina. “Also, when you are moving an entire home it is much easier to do it in one trip instead of 20+. All of this gives you peace of mind, but your mover should still keep you informed throughout the process. That way you can focus on everything else that surrounds a move either near or far. ”
She reminds homeowners that movers offer a menu of services from which you can pick and choose. “If you are in a rush or simply don’t have the time to box everything up, they can provide that service for you. They are professional and know how to move the items, how to care for your items and not to mention they can also deliver and unpack if you choose for them to do so. You have many services to choose from when working with a large moving company and can choose which services you want.”
Like Amy, Tina also has a list of considerations when choosing a company.
“You should always ask for references and customer testimonies. Check out the company’s history, areas of services, insurance and damage coverage, as well as damage policies. Depending on the distance of the move, you want to be sure you choose a company who has a track record with moving at that distance. Hauling overseas or across the country is a whole different ball game than a local move.”
Tina recommends making sure the movers have a great track record with being on time. “There is nothing worse than showing up to your new home and you have no furniture because the truck is delayed for one reason or another. Alternatively, you should always prepare for and understand what the moving company will do if they arrive at the destination and for some reason you didn’t close or cannot move in. How long will they hold your items on the truck?”
The bottom line: chances are, hiring professional movers will not only protect your belongings and your sanity, this decision can also protect your relationships.
“There’s no reason to make moving more difficult than it needs to be,” says Amy. “Let your friends (and yourself) enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor AFTER it’s all moved and in place! They’ll appreciate you for it!”
If you’re looking at an upcoming move, we can match you with an experienced agent to make the process seamless.