Partnering with another transportation company to complete a move takes a lot of trust.
It means placing your customers—and their most precious belongings—in someone else’s hands, with the expectation that they’ll treat this project with the highest standards of care from start to finish.
That’s why the vetting process is so important when you’re looking for a new moving partner. Some agents might start with online research. Others might ask for recommendations from industry colleagues. Still others might look to industry affiliations to help them identify a moving partner they can trust.
We’ve been partnering with other moving companies since our first international move in 1958. In all that time, we’ve seen the elements that form solid partnerships.
If you’re a van line agent looking for a partner to help you complete your moves, look for the following seven qualities. Together, they’ll help you locate a moving partner who will make it easy for you to create a top-notch, seamless experience for your customers from start to finish.
#1: A High Level of Expertise
It pays to work with someone who’s got a significant number of moves under their belt— and not just for the obvious reasons. When you’re working with a partner who’s got deep experience in the transportation and moving industry, they can help you avoid both the common and the uncommon pitfalls.
Let’s say you have a customer who wants to send 3,500 pounds of household goods to Germany, and you’re currently looking at moving those items in lift vans. An experienced international expert will know that, given the port charges in Europe for LCL shipments, a 20′ container might be a more cost-effective solution.
They can quote out both—with all included charges—so you and your customer can decide which way to go.
And that brings us to our next point: the importance of a partner who’s proactive enough to give you choices.
#2: Willingness to Offer Options
Continuing the example above, not all providers would recognize the opportunity to offer a second option in this scenario—and not all providers would think ahead and offer you alternatives, right off the bat.
After all, there may be a valid reason behind the choice to use lift vans for the Germany move. Maybe they don’t have a way to get a 20′ container to this customer, so lift vans were the better choice. Alternatively, with the 20′ container scenario in hand, perhaps they’ll be able to win this customer’s business.
Either way, working with a partner who’s interested in offering you a range of options keeps you a step ahead. You won’t have to go back and ask for a second quote, which only leaves your customer waiting. Instead, you’ll have everything you need laid out in front of you so you can present the right scenarios to your customer—and book the job.
#3: Consistently Quick Turnaround Time on Quotes
Along those same lines, look for a partner who’s willing and able to turn around quotes quickly. Not only does it put you in a better position with your customers, but it’s also an indication of how this potential partner prioritizes your business.
Of course, where international moves are concerned, a longer turnaround time is sometimes inevitable. Time changes offer challenges. That’s especially true of a move to a place like Singapore, which is 15 hours ahead of our team in California.
However, on the whole, as you request quotes, you’ll soon see who gets back to you quickly. It’s worth noting.
#4: Transparent & Complete Pricing
One final word about quotes: Make sure to look for a partner with the expertise and willingness to offer all-in pricing on their quotes.
- On that example lift van shipment to Germany, are destination terminal handling charges (DTHC) included in the quote?
- Or, if you’ve got a shipment going to Australia, are mandatory quarantine inspection charges laid out in the quote?
With these charges included, you’ll be able to compare apples to apples when looking at different partners’ quotes.
Additionally, you’ll be able to explain these charges to your customer up front, rather than delivering a surprise bill toward the end of their move, which is never a good scenario.
A Note on Price
When you’re picking a partner to handle a move, cheaper isn’t always better. When comparing quotes, it can be valuable to dig a little deeper into the lowest-price provider and ask a few questions. Are all potential charges factored in? Will the level of service at this price be 100% satisfactory to your customer? Or does it feel like the provider may be cutting a few corners?
Before putting your customer’s move in the hands of the lowest-cost provider, it’s worth doing all of your due diligence.
#5: The Ability Tailor Moves to Your Customers’ Needs
You probably see a lot of different customers come through your doors. Some might want a full-service move to relocate their entire household overseas, no matter the cost. Others might take a more value-oriented approach, with a sharp eye toward the final price.
You need a partner who can accommodate all types of customers at all levels of service. This will give you more flexibility—and confidence to quote all types of moves, knowing you have a partner who you can count on to make it work.
Additionally, knowing that your partner has experience at all levels of service means you can trust them to handle a full range of jobs, from the white-glove VIP relocations to the budget-friendly ones. It’s a win for all parties involved.
#6: Their Own Network of Relationships & Vetted Contacts
Just like you leverage your own roster of partners to complete certain types of moves, your moving partners do the same. For example, on an international move from the U.S. to Paris, your partner might handle everything up until the freight arrives at the destination port in France. From there, another company handles the import and final delivery.
As a result, you’ll want to look for a partner with their own network of trusted relationships and vetted contacts.
Some of these relationships are simply formed through experience—for example, years and years of using the same company in France, one that’s always delivered a top-shelf experience. While experience plays a role in vetting our partners, we look for two additional points of reference:
Ultimately, it’s important to vet your potential partners’ vetting procedures. Ask how they select the moving partners they choose to work with. The answers will give you a strong sense of how they operate—and whether they’ll be a good match for you and your customers.
#7: A Focus on Making It Easy for You
At the end of the day, some partners go the extra mile to make a move easy for you and your customers.
On a move to Australia where your crew is performing the origin services, a proactive moving partner may take the time to remind you of the strict rules around items that have come in contact with soil or water. This gives you the chance to remind your crew to examine things like shoes, golf clubs, bicycle tires, etc. At the end of the day, this could save your customer the cost of an expensive quarantine if anything in the move arrived with dirt still on it.
Or, for a move to Mexico, your partner might offer a reminder that the packing lists have to get stamped by the consulate—and that the number of items on the packing list has to exactly match what’s in the shipment. That quick reminder could save your customer significant time and hassle when clearing customs into Mexico.
A few strategic tips like these can make all the difference in the world for your customers. They can also make the difference between a happy customer who recommends you to everyone they know and a customer who leaves negative reviews on every social media property they can find.
Look for a partner who’s interested in making every move easy for you, and everyone will benefit.
The Right Partner Makes All the Difference
There’s a reason that the theme of the 2023 IAM conference is the Power of Trust.
Trust powers everything we do in the transportation industry. It takes trust for your customers to turn over their most important belongings to a van line like yours. It takes trust to choose a partner like DeWitt Move to help you execute that relocation flawlessly.
With the proper vetting—and by looking for these seven qualities in your partners—you’ll set yourself up to find a moving partner you trust to deliver safe and seamless moves to your customers.
Looking for a partner to help with your moves? We have significant experience partnering with van line agents, and we’ll make everything easy for you. Just reach out to start a conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.
Tell us about your move!