A Quick Guide to Packing and Moving


By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

      Because the summer months are the prime home shopping and home selling season, they are the time when most people will be packing to move into their new homes.  So here are some tips to make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible.
      The first step in moving is packing your possessions. For most, this entails a visit to a home improvement center, hardware store, local supermarket or storage facility for boxes and packing materials. However, to keep from being overwhelmed by the packing part of the move and if you have a lot of possessions, remember that most movers offer packing services by trained packers using specially designed cartons and materials. If you use professional packers, remember to schedule packing with the mover a few days before the moving van is loaded. If you are packing yourself, start as early as possible. 
      If you do your own packing, remember that professional movers will not usually accept liability for damage to owner-packed items. If you choose professional packers, make sure you are present when your goods are packed. An inventory of your goods will be made at that time and it is important to resolve any disagreements prior to signing the inventory. Make sure all copies are legible and all items are numbered. Have valuable items listed separately. There are several options for insuring your goods because all household goods shipments move under limited liability. Don’t forget to ask if you can purchase additional liability coverage from your mover.
     There are many online resources to find the right mover, but a good start begins by asking friends, family and associates for recommendations. If you have a commercial storage unit, consult with the managers of your storage park. Some moving companies are discouraged by storage parks for various reasons. Because they deal with movers on a regular basis, they can usually give you some valuable guidance in selecting your own moving candidate. 
     Then when you have some suitable moving candidates, ask for their business license number and their Household Goods Carrier Permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Then check with the CPUC to verify that a moving company is authorized to operate by calling 800-877-8867, or visit their website at www.cpuc.ca.gov and look under “transportation.”  Keep in mind, telephone or internet estimates are prohibited and may not be enforceable. Estimates must be in writing only after inspection of goods to be moved.
     Ask your moving candidates to provide you with a written estimate and explain the services listed in the estimate in detail. Carefully compare each estimate to see which company best suits your needs and budget.  Your mover may ask you to select several consecutive days during which your goods can be loaded and a second series of dates during which your goods can be delivered to your new home. A range of possible dates gives you and your mover the flexibility needed to keep your move on schedule.
      On moving day, make sure you are available when the movers arrive. Discuss the delivery arrangements fully with your mover and have beds stripped and ready to be packed. Let the moving crew disassemble goods and make sure you read the Bill of Loading before you sign it. Tell your mover how to reach you at your destination and keep in contact with the mover's agent at your destination while you are in transit. Generally, belongings will be transported in a van along with those of other families in the same general direction. This helps to keep your costs down. Delivery is made on any of the several consecutive days agreed upon beforehand. Make sure the mover knows how to contact you to schedule the delivery of your possessions. If you cannot be reached at your destination, the mover may place your shipment in storage to avoid delaying other shipments. You may incur additional charges for storage and handling. Upon delivery, check your goods for damage. Do not sign the inventory until you have inspected your furniture and the exterior of the cartons. 
     If any of your household goods are damaged or lost, report the facts promptly and in detail on the van driver's original copy of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you notice damage after unpacking, a claim must be filed within nine months after delivery. The mover must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days and must deny or make an offer within 120 days of receipt of your claim. When making a claim or considering a settlement offer, keep in mind the amount of liability that you declared on your shipment. For example, if the value declared on your shipment was $5,000, the mover's maximum liability for loss or damage to the articles in your shipment is $5,000.
     For more information, visit the www.moving.org website of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and have a great August.