Take the Stress Out of Moving


ByAli Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

     For most Americans, their first move starts out as a simple case of mobilizing a bunch of friends and rewarding the volunteers with pizza.  However, with most Americans moving on average about every eight years, each subsequent move brings with it a whole new set of challenges - and the best way to meet those challenges is with research and planning to make the move from one home to another as stress-free as possible.

     So before you head down to your local home improvement center, hardware store, or storage facility for boxes and packing materials; spend a few minutes online or on the phone and select the right moving company for you. Then, ask friends, family and associates for recommendations. If you have a commercial storage unit, consult with the managers of your storage park. Because they deal with movers on a regular basis, they can often give you some valuable guidance in selecting the best moving companies – and which ones to avoid.

     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.”  Request that candidates 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. Remember, estimates must be in writing after inspection of goods to be moved.

      Most movers offer packing services by trained packers using specially designed cartons and materials. If you are packing yourself, start as early as possible.  However, 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.

      On moving day, make sure to go over 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 Lading before you sign it. 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, however, if you cannot be reached at your destination, the mover may place your shipment in storage to avoid delaying other shipments and 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 more information, visit the www.moving.org website of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).

       The Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of homeownership. For more information, visit www.biabuild.com on the web