Getting ready for your move
Selecting a high quality moving company is not only your first step, it is probably the most important step in your journey. Start your search in the right place. While recommendations from friends are often nice to have, you need reliable evidence related to customer service, truth in advertising and overall business practices. The Canadian Association of Movers and Local Better Business Bureaus are usually the best place to begin.
It is always a good idea to make your own plan and your own lists. Even though a lot of professional moving companies will develop a master inventory list that corresponds to stickers on your belongings, having your own room-by-room list of belongings will help you get organized and can serve as a back-up. Making videos or taking pictures of your valuable furniture and electronics is always a good idea.
Think through all of the possibilities and use the checklists available on this website.
You can also print out this checklist for getting ready for a quick reference.
Selecting your movers
- Get estimates from at least three reputable movers.
- Check references and the Internet, contact your local Better Business Bureau and find out if the mover has been certified by the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM).
- Make sure you have all of the information you need about how the company will manage your move and protect your property. Review their website and printed literature carefully.
- Visit the mover's business location to determine if the mover has a local presence and can be found in the event of a problem.
- Confirm if the company has their own equipment, or whether they will use a sub-contractor or another company to provide the service. If so, make sure you have information about their certification and track record. Subcontracting is a significant source of consumer complaints. It provides a confusing trail of responsibility should disputes arise.
- Determine if the mover is responsible for all services from end to end including those provided by subcontractors.
Get a quote in writing
- For a long distance move, a reputable mover will want to inspect your belongings, in order to prepare a comprehensive quote. If a company says the inspection is not necessary, or wants to provide a quote over the telephone, you are probably better off dealing with someone else. Make sure that the mover sees everything that needs to be moved while preparing the estimate, and ask about costs if you need to add any items on the day of the move.
- Be sure to give the mover all of the information they need for your quote. For example, they will require your existing and future addresses and information about obstacles such as stairs or escalators that will require special navigation.
- Get the estimates in writing and signed by a company representative. It should include commitments regarding the delivery date and special care items. Ask how the estimate is reached.
- The quote should be on company letterhead and include the full name, telephone number and address of the company. It should also include the number of boxes to be moved, the size and value of items, the costing (by hour, flat rate, or by weight), terms of payment, and the timing of services to be provided. Obtaining an on-site quote in writing is critical to a successful move.
- If items are being moved out of the country, be sure to obtain the name and address of the moving agents who will be handling your move at the destination. For international moves, it is important to choose a reputable international mover with industry-recognized credentials and reputable international partners.
- Look over the quote carefully and make sure you understand all of the details including the final cost. Clarify if a deposit is required up front (NB: In some provinces and territories, your deposit must be held in trust). Confirm if the deposit is refundable or held as a penalty to cover the costs for cancellation.
- Check if the mover takes credit card, debit card or cheque.
- Review the other checklists available on this site.
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