Moving can be stressful—even more so than divorce, according to a recent study. After all, when you use a moving company to help you transition to a new home, you’re essentially turning over all of your most personal possessions to a group of people you just met. It requires a certain level of trust, no question.
However, when you do your research and choose a reputable moving company that deserves that trust, your moving story is much more likely to have a happy ending.
Additionally, this research can help you understand exactly how your moving company operates, giving you a clear sense of what to expect at every phase of your move. This can significantly reduce your stress and worry. Instead of wondering what’s next, you’ll approach each phase with the confidence that knowledge can bring.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the seven steps you’ll take with us when you choose DeWitt Move for your relocation. We’ll give you a brief tour of each phase of your moving journey. We’ll also share some common questions that come up along the way. Then, when you’re in the middle of your move, you’ll know exactly what comes next, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Your No-Cost, No-Obligation In-Home Survey
Once you decide to use a moving company to help with your relocation, an in-person survey is the best way to get an accurate quote for your move. It’s also your right under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations. (By the way, the FMCSA offers great resources for you to understand your rights and responsibilities as a consumer!)
When you reach out to DeWitt Move to discuss your relocation, we’ll start by sending out a local surveyor to meet with you for a no-cost, no-obligation in-home survey.
During your consultation, your surveyor will:
- Look at all the items you want to ship, including fragile items that might need special handling, such as artwork or musical instruments.
- Create an itemized list of everything.
- Look at potential access issues, such as stairs, elevators or narrow roads that might limit the size of equipment we can bring to your residence.
- Gather all the information needed for a formal quote that will include a recommendation for the method we’ll use to move your possessions, such as:
- A full container (20′ or 40′)
- A less-than-container solution, which means your items will be loaded into wooden crates called lift vans
- A full container (20′ or 40′)
Frequently Asked Questions about Step 1
Question #1: What if I have some items that I’m not sure about? Should I make that decision before the surveyor arrives?
Answer: Ideally, yes. However, you can also let your surveyor know about the items you’re not sure about. He or she can provide you with two estimates: 1) an estimate that just includes the items you’re sure about and 2) an estimate that includes the additional items you’re not sure about. Once you see the difference between the quotes, you can decide which way you want to go.
Question #2: Can you help me with packing?
Answer: Yes! Tell your surveyor you’re interested in what’s called “door-to-door service,” in which our crew comes out to your house with all the packing materials they’ll need. They’ll make sure everything is packed and wrapped for safe transit. (More on this in Step 4!)
Question #3: Can you help me with shipping my car?
Answer: We can help you with that, too! We offer assistance with:
- Port-to-port service: You drive your cart to the nearest port and drop it off, then pick it up at a nearby port on the other end.
- Door-to-door service: If you need help delivering your car to the port, we can arrange for pickup and delivery on either end—or both.
Just let us know what you prefer, and we’ll include it in your quote.
Step 2: Your Formal Quote
After your in-person survey, our team will put together a formal quote for you that includes a guaranteed rate per pound for your shipment. Yes, that’s right: The price of your move will be based on the actual weight of your household goods. Why? Because it’s something that we can’t alter or change. Additionally, it’s the law: The FMCSA mandates that final moving charges be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided and the tariff provisions in effect.
Think of it this way: If a moving company charges you by volume, you’re essentially paying someone for how well they can pack your possessions. If they’re really efficient, it might work out well for you. However, if they’re not skilled at using up all the nooks and crannies in a container or crate, you’ll end up paying a lot extra. Weight is the great equalizer. The items you choose to ship will always weigh what they weigh, no matter how they’re packed.
Just to give you a little preview, here’s how it works on Moving Day: Once your container or crate is moved from your residence, we’ll weigh it on a certified state scale and give you a final invoice. (And, don’t worry, you’re not charged for the weight of the crate or the container! We’ll subtract that from the total.)
Frequently Asked Questions about Step 2
Question #1: So if you’re going to weigh my belongings to calculate a final cost on Moving Day, how will I know beforehand what the cost of my move will be?
Answer: When we come out to do your in-person estimate, we create an itemized list of everything that you tell us you want to move. As long as you show us everything that you’re shipping, and don’t alter that in any way, our estimates should be accurate within a 10% variance. It might be 10% more or 10% less, but, either way, our quote will give you a good idea of your final cost. Now, if you eliminate or add items, your final move cost will move outside that 10% variance.
When we deliver our formal quote, we’ll also talk with you about the potential for extra charges for final delivery. We never want to surprise you with an extra bill, which is why we talk about these up front. If there are any access issues at your new home, it could result in extra charges. As soon as you know your new address, we’ll send out a surveyor to determine whether or not that’s the case—and we’ll let you know ASAP.
Question #2: What about “moving insurance?” I’ve heard people mention that before. Is that included in the quote?
Answer: You’ll be offered two options to protect your possessions against loss or damage when you move with us. In the moving industry, we refer to them as:
- Released Value Protection, also referred to as “basic liability.” This offers you coverage at $0.60 per pound. So let’s say you have a solid walnut desk that you want to move that weighs 50 pounds. If the desk gets damaged during the move, under Released Value Protection, you’d receive the following: 50 x $0.60 = $30
- Full-Value Protection, which covers your items for the cost of full replacement or repair if they’re damaged. That solid walnut desk cost you $650 originally, so if it’s damaged during the move, you’ll be reimbursed for that entire amount of $650.
That’s quite a difference, so make sure to think through your options carefully before making a final decision. Our team at DeWitt Move can answer any questions you might have about this important coverage.
Step 3: Formal Acceptance & Scheduling
Once the survey’s been done and you receive your estimate, you’ll have the option to accept that estimate and schedule a date for packing and loading. Once that date is in the calendar, we’ll send you a set of documents to sign so you have all the paperwork you need for Moving Day.
Frequently Asked Questions about Step 3
Question: How soon can I schedule my move? How much advance notice do you need?
Answer: The summer months (May-August) are typically the busiest for moving. During those times, we recommend giving yourself three to four weeks in advance to schedule your move. During less busy times, we can typically schedule your move within two to three weeks. The bottom line? The earlier you call us, the more likely you are to get your preferred moving date.
Step 4: Move-Out Day
This is when it all starts to come together! After all your research, preparation and scheduling, the day will arrive when it’s time to pack up all your stuff and say farewell to your (soon-to-be) old home.
Depending on your surveyor’s recommendation and your decision, we’ll either bring a 20′ container, a 40′ container or a few lift vans to your house for Moving Day.
Here’s how it works if you’re shipping a container:
- If you’ve chosen our door-to-door service, on the first day, our crew will come out with packing materials to secure all your possessions for their journey. Depending on how many items you have, we’ll need a day (or maybe two!) to get everything packed up.
- Once everything is packed (either by us or you!), we’ll bring the container out to your house, assuming there’s access. If not, we’ll make other arrangements to stage the container in another location and move your items by truck.
- Once your container is loaded, it will be sealed and locked. Then, that container will be weighed on a certified state scale to determine your final cost. Once you pay your invoice on that net weight, we’ll begin to move your container to its final destination, either by rail, by sea or both.
For smaller shipments that don’t require a full container:
- For door-to-door service, we likely only need one day. So when our crew arrives, they’ll do both the packing and loading in the same day.
- Whether we do the packing or you do it yourself, we’ll bring the lift vans to your house. They’ll get loaded and sealed for their journey before they leave.
- Then we’ll take them to get weighed on a certified state scale. We’ll issue an invoice, based on the net weight. Then, once you pay that invoice, we’ll arrange for those lift vans to get put into a container headed for your final destination.
Step 5: Need Storage? We Can Help!
In some cases, you might know ahead of time that you need us to store your shipment for a little while until your new home is ready. In other cases, a mixup or a snafu might mean that you’re scrambling for storage options.
Either way, we can help. We have warehouse solutions all over the globe. If you need us to securely and safely store your household goods, just let us know. We’ll help you make the arrangements, including scheduling the final delivery.
Step 6: Surveying Your New Home
Just like we do an in-person survey of your old home, we’ll also do one for your new home, mainly to understand any access issues, such as stairs, elevators, parking issues, HOA permissions or narrow roads that might prevent us from getting easy access to your new residence.
If there are any additional costs for the delivery, we’ll let you know ASAP.
Step 7: Move-In Day
This is it: the big day, the culmination of your moving journey—Move-In Day! Once your possessions have arrived at our warehouse closest to your destination, we’ll give you a call to schedule your final Moving Day.
If you’ve selected door-to-door service, we’ll arrange for delivery, unpacking, and placement of your possessions at your residence. If anything was disassembled for you at your old home, we will make sure it’s reassembled for you in your new home. We’ll also remove all the debris at the end of the day.
If you chose to do the packing yourself, we’ll arrange for the container or your lift vans to be delivered to your residence. From there, you can unpack your items and start the process of getting settled in your new home.
Frequently Asked Questions about Step 7
Question: If I choose door-to-door service and my movers unpack my stuff, how do they know where everything goes?
Answer: You’ll want to set up your new home your way, so our movers will take everything out of their boxes and put them on a flat surface for you. For example, in your kitchen, our crew will line everything up on your kitchen counters so you can decide where to put your glasses, dishes, pots, pans, etc. That way, everything goes exactly where you want it, and we’ll be able to remove the packing materials before we leave.
Your Moving Journey Made Easy in Just 7 Simple Steps
Once you see your entire move laid out in seven simple steps, it’s easy to imagine actually executing from start to finish. It also takes out a ton of the guesswork and uncertainty, since you know exactly what to expect every step of the way. In our experience, this knowledge will help keep stress to a minimum as you make the move to your new home.
Have more questions about your moving journey? We’d be happy to help. Just get in touch with us and we’ll get you the answers you need to make your move a simple, stress-free experience.