It was the summer of 2015 and new beginnings were on the horizon. I had just graduated from college and received a job offer from a large, Los Angeles financial firm. SoCal had been a long time dream for me so I accepted the offer immediately – there was one catch. My new role required me to make the move from Minneapolis, MN, to Los Angeles in less than a month.
My fiery determination to make it in the city of angels did not allow me to be fazed by a hectic moving timeline. Instead, I began to research moving companies immediately. My biggest concern was price, so naturally, I only checked for quotes from inexpensive moving companies. I finally found one that was almost 25% less than the average price that other movers had quoted me.
I was overjoyed! Little did I know that only focusing on price would cost me in the end. Here are the lessons I learned from my moving experience.
Lesson #1: Research the Reviews
It’s easy to get blinded by an incredibly low price for a moving company. Moving can be costly so any chance to save money will be attractive. I hastily read the company’s website prices and description of services without paying much attention to the fine print.
Had I read the reviews on Yelp and other moving review sites, I would have learned that this moving company hires contract workers on a day-to-day basis. This means that they aren’t trained, moving professionals. The “temporary” employees were just out to make a quick buck, so they were incredibly careless with my things.
When I checked after the fact, countless reviews detailed how the movers did not properly pack and transport items like TV’s, mirrors and other valuables. I learned that the hard way when one of the employees “placed” an expensive vase on the truck without properly wrapping it – my favorite vase ended up with ugly cracks down the length of it.
When hiring a moving company, no matter how good the deal, don’t make your final decision until you’ve thoroughly researched the online reviews. Review sites such as Yelp and Movingscam.com are useful resources for credible reviews on movers.
Lesson #2: Don’t Skimp on Moving Insurance
In addition to cracking my vase, the inexperienced movers caused permanent damage to several other valuables. Naturally, I demanded that they replace the items or reimburse me for damages. I recalled opting for something called “Liability Valuation” when hiring the movers, so I assumed I was covered.
When I called the company customer service hotline to file a claim, I was blindsided once again. The representative advised me that “liability valuation” only covers $.60 per pound, per item.
“You were supposed to purchase Full Value Protection insurance if you wanted to be fully reimbursed” the rep said. Because I had opted to go with the free, basic liability coverage without understanding exactly what it was, I only received a few dollars for my beautiful vase – an expensive lesson to learn, and one I'll recall every time I think of my vase.
Lesson #3: Consider the Additional Costs
The second inaccurate assumption I made when hiring the disastrous moving company was thinking that the low price was all-inclusive. I had failed to click on the tiny link that read “additional services” when reviewing my quote.
If I had, I would have known that I would eventually be charged for living in an apartment building without an elevator, moving “bulky items” that were heavier than a certain weight, and even for extra bubble wrap. Needless to say, all the additional costs tacked onto my original quote nearly doubled the price. For what I ultimately paid the movers, I could have hired a much more qualified and professional moving company.
Even though I tried my best to get a reduction in price, the moving company stood firm on their position that not reading the fine print about additional services was my fault. And I hated to admit it, but they were right.
While reliving my experience with a nightmare of a moving company is difficult, I hope it helps other movers avoid unnecessary heartache. Moving is exciting but it’s also a very hectic and costly endeavor. Not conducting proper research or paying close attention to the fine print are common mistakes made by people who move, especially if for the first time.
My experience shouldn’t deter you from hiring a moving company, if necessary. Hiring a moving company can be a great time and energy saver, but hiring the right one is vital to a successful move. Utilize credible websites such as consumer affairs to find reviews, details and pricing all under roof. This will ensure that your move is a memorable one, and not in the way that mine was. Happy moving!
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