Finding the right moving company is hard work. Each year the Better Business Bureau receives an average of 13,000 complaints and negative reviews about movers, with many describing dishonest practices that lead to financial and emotional nightmares. When looking for movers in Jersey City, or anywhere really, it’s important to do your research to find a reputable company that fits your budget.
While there are definitely moving scams happening in America, the majority of complaints stem from lost or damaged property. Do you really want to worry about these extra stressors on moving day? Searching and selecting the right moving company does take extra time, but it’s well worth it as you won’t have to do deal with surprise bills or broken stuff when you arrive at your new home. If you’re not sure where to start, below are a few tips that can help you find the right movers for you.
Preparing for Your New Jersey Move
Before you even look into movers, you need to actually prepare for your move and get organized. With all of the scheduling, coordinating, and filing you’ll need to do over the next few weeks, it’s all too easy to forget important tasks. To avoid a last-minute scramble, buy a binder/notebook, or create a ‘moving’ file to keep track of all your paperwork. You should also have a folder storing all of your important personal documents and any financial documents relating to your new home (ex. Mortgage, lease agreement, etc).
While you’re organizing your documents, make sure to take inventory of the belongings you intend to bring with you during the move. You can then use this list to get an estimate from movers and shop around for insurance. Plus, if you have an inventory of everything, you can also easily tell if a box or item goes missing.
One of the most important steps when preparing for your move is to decide on your moving budget. That includes not only the actual moving portion but also your post-move expenses like new furniture, repairs, etc. All of these expenses add up and you don’t want to be surprised by them any time during this stressful process.
Finding the Ideal Jersey City Moving Company
Once you’ve taken inventory of all of your belongings, it’s time to start looking for moving companies. When looking for movers, there are a lot of variables to consider, not least of which is your budget. You generally want to avoid getting movers from too far away. While it might be a bit more expensive, try to find a moving company that is nearby your current home. In general, you’re less likely to be tricked into doing business with an unscrupulous mover. With that said New York and Jersey City are relatively close to each other, so you can definitely look for movers in Jersey City as well.
Once you’ve narrowed down the choices a bit, it’s time to figure out your needs. Do you just need the movers to simply move your belongings from your current apartment to your new one? Or do you need them to actually uninstall and pack everything up for you? Do you have a lot of high-value or sentimental items that could potentially be damaged during the move? It’s important that you consider all of your requirements before you decide on a moving company as not all of them offer the same services as they might not be equipped with the necessary tools.
Lower Your Moving Costs
Moving isn’t cheap, even if you don’t hire movers and do everything yourself. However, there are ways you can decrease your costs. One of the easiest ways to do this is to reduce your belongings. Moving gives you the excuse to look through everything you have and get rid of items that you no longer use. The best part is that if these items are still in reasonable condition, you can sell them online or at a yard sale and even earn some money. You can then use whatever money you earned by selling your items and putting it towards your moving fund.
Going the DIY approach can also reduce the cost of your move, but it’s still a good idea to think about hiring a moving company as they have more knowledge of proper lifting techniques. The last thing you want to deal with during or after the move is a back injury. You should keep moving to the professionals and instead focus on packing everything and labeling all of your boxes so the movers know exactly where to put everything when they arrive at the new location.
Speaking of packing, don’t buy packing supplies unless you need to. You can find most of the things you need for free from friends, relatives, employers, or even other businesses. You don’t even need to spring for bubble wrap. Instead, wrap your fragile items in clothes or towels to keep them safe. If it makes sense, leave items in your dresser drawers and tape the drawers shut so they don’t accidentally open up in the move.
Reasonable Prices and Quality Service
It might seem like finding a needle in a haystack, but you can find movers who provide quality service at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, these movers won’t find you so you’ll have to do your own research. One of the best ways to find quality movers is to ask your friends or relatives for referrals. At the very least, they can provide you with names of movers who you shouldn’t use.
If you’ve never moved before, it might be tough to figure out whether the estimate you’re getting is reasonable or not. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate household move is about $4,300 while an intrastate move is about $2,300 (4 movers at $200/hour). Of course, the cost fluctuates based on how much you need to move as well as the services you choose to add on whether that’s packing and unpacking your belongings, disassembling and reassembling large and heavy furniture, temporary storage, etc. If you choose to add these extra services, make sure to get an accurate cost estimate from your movers that include everything you want. Again, you don’t want to be surprised by a much higher bill.
Research the Reputation of the Moving Companies
Another important facet when choosing the right moving company is to look up their online reputation. Again, referrals are great here whether it’s to find a good company or to avoid bad ones. If you don’t have anyone who can give you a referral you can do an online search for the company and look up their Yelp profile and reviews. It’s likely there will be some fake reviews mixed in with real ones, so you’ll need to tease out what’s real and what’s not. In general, fake reviews, especially if they are written by the company, tend to have the same tone and writing tics. You can also reach out to the American Moving and Storage Association and other state associations to get a list of reliable movers.
Of course, not all movers will be on a list and some might not even have a Yelp profile. If that’s the case, you should look out for these potential red flags:
- Asking for a large deposit upfront. Reputable movers won’t demand cash or a large deposit before moving.
- Multiple name switches. This could signal that they are trying to avoid being assessed by the Better Business Burea.
- The company tries to give you a blank moving contract.
- There’s a lack of professionalism when talking about your requirements
- They won’t give you a contract and instead give you a ‘guaranteed’ quote. Keep in mind there are only three kinds of moving contracts a non-binding estimate where you will not pay more than 10 percent above the original estimate, a non-binding to exceed estimate for you do not have to pay for any overages to the estimate, and a binding estimate that guarantees a price for the move and all the extras and services you request.
- They won’t give you any information on their licenses or insurance.
Questions You Should Ask Jersey City Movers
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to get on the phone with the moving companies to ask some questions. Yes, you should ask about the cost, but there several other questions you should ask before you decide to hire them.
- Are you licensed? All reputable moving companies should have a license number issued. If you are moving cross-country, the number will be issued by the United States Department of Transportation. If you are moving locally, they will hold a state license. You can and should ask for the number and use it to check their complaint history.
- Do you have experience with my specific type of move? Every move is a little different, but it’s especially important to know if you movers have experience moving to Jersey City as it is a relatively large city and has a variety of different house setups from high-rise apartments to townhouses. Movers who have experience in these environments are better prepared to handle issues such as parking restrictions, walk-ups, etc.
- What liability coverage do you offer? All moving companies have some kind of insurance that will cover your belongings should a mishap occur during the move. Licensed intrastate movers have two types of liability options: full value protection and released value. As the name suggests, full value protection means your move is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment. Released value protection is minimal and the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article.
- Do you have references? Just like your employee asked you for references, so too should you ask your moving company for references. Ask for three recent customers who moved to your location and then reach out to get their thoughts on the company.
- Are there restrictions on what and how I pack? You don’t want to have to throw out boxes or lug them with you because the moving company cannot handle them (in the case of certain chemicals) or will not handle them in the case of fragile items.
- Are there any potential charges I’m not already aware of? What additional moving supplies will I be paying for? Make sure to suss out all the details including distance charges. This is especially important in cities as many movers will charge you something called a ‘long carry’ if they must park more than 50 to 75 feet from your new home’s entrance. If you move from or into a walk-up you might also be charged a fee.
Finding the right Jersey City movers takes time and requires patience and perseverance. However, it pays to slow down and do your homework. After all, you don’t want to fall prey to a scam. Even if the movers are reputable if you don’t do your research and ask questions you might end up with surprise charges.
Preparation is important in a move as it will make the actual day that much smoother. Don’t wait until the last minute to choose a moving company as that will create unnecessary stress and might mean that you can’t do the required due diligence to find the right one. Plus, depending on the notice, some movers might charge you more for a last-minute booking. Chances are you probably had a good idea you were moving at least a month before the actual move. So use that time to your advantage. Start your search for moving companies early. Better yet, start organizing your belongings and slowly start packing so you’re not rushing the night before. You’ll be much more relaxed and confident come moving day.
Remember that while there are 13,000 complaints every year to the business bureaus against moving companies, nearly 31 million people moved in the USA moved in 2019. By following the tips above you most likely won’t fall prey to shady movers or deal with headaches regarding hidden fees and charges.