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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.




How To Get A (Mostly) Accurate Estimate Online Or On The Phone

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment



Getting an accurate moving estimate can be tricky. Most of the time, it’s recommended that you get an in-person estimate, which should be a free service offered by any moving company. However, there are times when that might not be possible. Maybe you can’t arrange a time to meet with an estimator or maybe your move is small enough it can be handled over the phone, and with the right preparation on your part, it is possible to get a fairly accurate assessment of your moving costs. The key, of course, is to pick a reputable mover and give them an accurate assessment of your move.

Grab a pen and paper or a tablet

Before you call the mover, inventory everything in your home. You know how sometimes you can’t find your keys when they were right in front of you? The human memory can play tricks on you. When you look at a space every single day, you tend to overlook and forget things. Everyone does it. That’s why you need to tour your own home, as if you were a stranger, and write everything down. If things are under or over-sized, take measurements. Don’t leave anything out.

Are there stairs? Do you have narrow doorways? Do you remember any challenges moving items into your home? Are there particular hours that the movers need to be there? Are there parking restrictions? Can a large moving van pull right up to your front door? No? How far away does it need to park? If possible, answer the same questions for your moving destination.

Estimate the number of boxes. If you are average, you will probably have about 20 boxes. If you have a lot of books and you are moving more than about 200 miles away, let the mover know. Books are heavy and long-distance moves are charged by weight. On average, each shelf of books equals one box. Each drawer of clothing equals one box. Each two linear feet of closet space equals one box. Each set of dishes equals one box. Fine china and extremely delicate items need more space, so double the box count for them.

Even with a sight-unseen estimate, you are still entering into a contract. The contract will be broken if any of the terms are different. Don’t try to fool the mover by saying your move is smaller than it is. That is the number one reason people complain about their moves – the mover thought it was smaller and the price had to rise. Often, the mover is at fault. It’s the moving estimator’s responsibility to ask you all the right questions, but quite often, items are forgotten or overlooked and it tends to make for unhappy customers.

Avoid movers who don’t ask a lot of questions. It’s to everyone’s benefit for them to get details, like the size of your dining room table and the number of chairs being moved. They should ask about your electronics and whether you have the original packing material. They should ask how many people live there, how many bedrooms, etc. Once you get off the phone with a good moving estimator, you should feel as if you each know each other well and you should feel very comfortable with them. Don’t rush the process. It won’t take that long, but if it’s rushed, you can almost guarantee that something will be left off. Plan about 30 minutes. It will probably be less, but you should make that time.


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