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10 Signs Of A Really Bad Mover

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers 1 Comment

If you’ve ever watched Dateline or read a forum on the moving industry, you learn that there are a lot of bad movers out there. As a consumer, obviously, that’s bad news, but it does give good movers a real opportunity to set themselves from the pack. How does one go about figuring out which one is a bad mover?

Today, we’ll talk about the bad. If you open your eyes, there are plenty of red flags that movers will wave in your face. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what to look for. Here are 10 signs that you should run, run far, from a mover:

10. Their truck is a junker – Sure, there are honest ‘man with a van’ types, but as a general rule, a company that can’t even take good care of its trucks is probably not going to take care of your belongings.

9. Their movers don’t wear uniforms – A uniform, or even just a uniform t-shirt, is inexpensive for a moving company to purchase. People demand uniforms, and they should. For movers, their t-shirt is their company ID. Not only that, uniformity in clothing often indicates a more professional and uniform way of doing business.

8. They refuse to give you a “binding” or “not to exceed” quote – We hear every day, “they put it in writing.” Writing means nothing. Only a binding or not to exceed estimate hold any legal water, and that’s only if every piece of furniture and every bit of packing is inventoried. That means that someone needs to see your place, even if it’s a virtual tour and don’t leave a square inch out. Trust me, you will be charged more if you leave things out. If a mover refuses to do that, though, they are going to scam you.

7. They charge for tape – One of the biggest ripoffs is one of the least significant sounding: tape. Movers use a lot of tape. They tape boxes and even if you do all of your own packing, they use a lot of tape to wrap your furniture in blankets. Rolls of tape can cost $10.00 and up and you have no control over how much a mover uses.

6. They promise you something too good to be true – No mover can move you from California to Florida in two days. It can’t be done. If a mover makes this promise, they are lying.

5. Their price is much lower than others – The moving industry is like every other industry; you get what you pay for. Picking the lowest priced mover will give you either the worst mover or a lying mover. Both are bad choices. The profit margin on moving is very low. There shouldn’t be more than about a 10 percent discrepancy between movers, unless there is a very good explanation, like that there will happen to be a truck in Florida that will be coming back to California and will be empty otherwise. Then, you might get a good deal.

4. They specifically badmouth their competition – There a difference between educating a customer on how to choose a mover and the things to look out for than specifically badmouthing one company. A moving company shouldn’t say anything more than “check their reviews,” or something along those lines. Badmouthing is bad form and it indicates an aggressive mover, which is something you don’t want.

3. Your sales person doesn’t give you his or her cell phone number – If you allow someone to visit your home, the least they can do is give you their phone number. Planning a move is not a 9-5 job. Your move sales person should be available for you, in case of questions.

2. The sales person doesn’t listen – Bad moving companies tend to treat all moves as the same. They aren’t. Your move is unique and a good company will find out your individual needs.

1. They’ve been in business less than two years – Many bad movers come to this country, get a moving license and then lose it a year or so later because of violations. Sure, there are some great startup moving companies and if you do your homework, you can get a great move, but as a general rule, not passing a test of time is a warning sign.

Featured image via Flickr.

How To Deal With A Bad Move

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs by Ninja Movers Leave a comment
Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

It’s probably weird to see a moving company acknowledging the prospect of a bad move, but unfortunately, they happen. Despite the fact that we are the number one rated mover in Silicon Valley, we sometimes screw up. In fact one of the reasons we are rated so highly is that when we do screw up, we admit it and we take care of it.

Most moves get screwed up in one of four ways; either something is broken, delivery is late, movers are rude or the cost goes over the estimate. Of course, there are other ways, but those are the most common and the ones that even the best movers are sometimes guilty of.

If your move gets screwed up, the first thing you want to do is acknowledge it. I doubt there isn’t a business on the planet that hasn’t encountered a customer who seemed happy until they filed a report with the BBB or posted a negative review on Yelp. Heck, even I’ve done that. Sometimes it’s easier to express your feelings, unchallenged, in writing, than to confront someone, and sometimes movers are big and sound a little scary. Who can blame a person?

The truth is, though, that any good moving company wants the opportunity to make things right. They also want to correct potential bad habits before more customers are affected. The bottom line is, complain, but try to stay calm. Calm customers, of all businesses, tend to do better in negotiation than do irate customers.

If something is broken

Unfortunately, this might be the biggest sticking point between movers and customers. Most movers only cover your move by pound. In other words, your goods don’t even have a dollar value. There’s a good reason for that. A $5,000 dining room table is moved in much the same way as a $500 dining room table. Of course, good movers will take extra precautions with high value items, but the way the move is handled is not based on value. A college student moving from a dorm room deserves a quality move as much as their parents do. For that reason, most customers purchase extra moving insurance.

The best way to handle a damaged item is to contact the mover as soon as possible. They will want to know and they should offer you something, even if it is just $.60 per pound per item. Then, contact the insurance company. They will also contact the moving company.

Late delivery

This one is tough because sometimes there are things that are simply out of a mover’s control. The best advice is to be patient, but to acknowledge your specific inconveniences. If you are staying in a hotel room or if you are having to rent furniture, let the mover know. Depending on the circumstances, the mover might help defray or completely cover your out-of-pocket expenses. You can also ask for a small discount on your move.

Rude movers

First, remember that on moving day, emotions tend to run high. People are trying to deal with the movers, finish packing (if applicable) and often, deal with their kids. On top of that, complete strangers are occupying every corner of their homes. Who wouldn’t be cranky? Don’t put up with rude movers, but before you pick up the phone, ask yourself if you might be able to help rectify the situation on your own. Most movers have natural skills when it comes to relaxing tense situations, but sometimes, you catch someone on a bad day, or worse, you catch someone who should not be in any sort of customer service industry. Call the company immediately. Trust me, they will fix the problem, even if it means replacing the bad seed.

The cost went over the estimate

This is a tough one. An estimate, by definition, is just an estimate. The exception is if you receive a binding estimate. In which case, the cost should never go above unless you haven’t upheld your end of the bargain. The key is to make sure that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed before the move begins. Know exactly what you are expected to do. If you are supposed to pack everything, make sure everything, including pictures on the wall and mattresses are packed. Most people find it easier for the mover to do odd shaped items like that.

If you have upheld your end of the bargain, complain. Find out exactly why it went over. Perhaps there were unanticipated problems at the delivery address, like stairs or perhaps the elevator wasn’t available. Understand that reputable movers want to honor their estimates, even if circumstances are a bit different. However, when the move ends up being much larger or more complicated than originally planned, they do need to cover their own costs. This is a time to negotiate.

Unfortunately, the world is filled with bad movers. That’s why the industry has such a bad reputation, but the last thing you want to do is assume that your mover is just like all the bad guys if you were careful in choosing them. If you chose your mover simply based on price, there’s a good chance that they don’t care if you are happy in the end. If you did your due diligence and checked Yelp and the BBB, you probably have a good one and they will bend over backwards to make you happy.

 

 

 

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