Hiring the Right Mover

While we at Santi Express have been in the business of moving people for over thirty years, it never ceases to amaze us how many horror stories are out there. “Dateline” and “20/20” have covered some of the worst. We suggest these basic guidelines for protecting yourself and your cherished belongings.

1. Follow the 3 R’s — Recommendations, Referrals, and Repeat Clients. Ask around and find a careful and reliable mover. Your son or daughter who recently graduated from college may think a good mover is someone who can fit everything from their dorm room into a u-haul, drive it to a specified address, and dump what’s left at the bottom of a five-floor walk-up. You, however, want a referral from someone who cares about your furniture, valuables, and family mementos. If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a local mover, call the New York state Department of Transportation (DOT), 800 786-5368. For an interstate move, call the US DOT, 518-431-4145, or the Better Business Bureau. Ask for the names of licensed movers in the area.

2. Hire a Licensed mover. Licensed movers meet tough requirements. They pay workmen’s compensation, disability, and cargo insurance. In case of an accident, they are prepared to assist with your claim.

3. Get an estimate, not a guesstimate. A good estimate is in writing, put together by a mover who has seen how much you have to move. Don’t take a guesstimate over the phone or via the internet. Such a transaction allows for all kinds of surprises and hidden fees and no one likes surprises on moving day.

4. Ask questions.

Do you shrink-wrap soft furniture before placing it under a blanket?

Do you measure and custom crate glass and marble table tops?

Do you offer the use of wardrobe boxes for your hanging garments?

Do you provide packing services and supplies?

Do you provide storage facilities if my new home is not yet available?

Are all of your company’s moving men employees or do you use day laborers?

5. Educate your moving company about your new home.

Are you headed to new construction? If so, the mover may not be able to pull into a newly paved driveway and will need to factor in more time for unloading from the road.

Is a freight elevator available?

Is your new home located on a hill and, if so, does it have a steep driveway?

Does your new building require a Certificate of Insurance?

Do you have a spiral staircase?

Will your treadmill fit in the loft?

Are you being realistic about the size of your furniture, doorways, and stairways?