There are essentially two types of movers to choose from:
Van line affiliated movers
- Usually franchises of a larger van line company
- Greater degree of protection if problems occur
- More support for long-distance moves (which are defined differently by organization)
- Most have multiple locations within the country or worldwide
- Usually specialize within a smaller local area
- In the case of long distance moves, some will broker the move to a third party. This scenario is not recommended.
Costs and Fees
Local moves (under 50-100 miles) are usually charged by the hour. Long distance moves are charged by the pound/mile.
Estimates (it is recommended to ask for 3-5 per move)
What to expect:
- To make an estimate, your potential mover will have to assess the quantity and type of goods to be moved by visiting your home.
- The name of the moving company representative who visits your home should match the name given by the person you spoke with on the phone to arrange the appointment.
- The salesperson who visits your home should do a complete walk through of your residence and visit any other locations such as the garage, basement and shed.
What you should be given:
- A written estimate with a price guarantee; movers will normally guarantee to within 10% of their estimate. TIP: Ask what possible scenarios could increase the price and what the additional charges could be.
- Firm dates and times for packing, loading and unloading for a local move. If it is a long distance move, the mover will give you a window of days in which you can expect your goods to be delivered. For long distance moves ask for transit times and what happens if the shipment is late. Typically if they are late they should pay the cost of hotel and meals plus car rental if they are also shipping your vehicle.
- A written explanation of your insurance coverage through the mover in case of loss or damage. TIP: Find out what is not covered and what cannot be transported.
- An address and phone number (after-hours also) of their place of business. It is highly advisable to visit their location and assess the business for yourself.
- An explanation, in writing, of the responsibilities of both parties (e.g. dismantling gym equipment and swing sets, disconnecting appliances, etc.).
Tips for choosing:
- Check how long the company has been in business.
- Ask for a list of recent references and call them.
- Verify that the mover has business licenses and insurance (more on this in the article on ‘’Movers Business Licences and Insurance’’)
- Check their standing under business associations such as CAM, AMA, BBB.
- Do an online search of the company to find comments from clients.
- Visit their facilities to ensure they have trucks and warehouses and are not just booking companies selling your business to a third party.
- Check if the mover has an affiliation with points (e.g. Air Miles or Aeroplan points).
- Check if the mover has affiliations with preferred vendors. If they do, you may be able to benefit from price reductions on items or services from these companies.