• IT TAKES A LITTLE MORE ADVANCE NOTICE THAN A DINNER RESERVATION. If you’re thinking of moving in the near future, call your mover well in advance. This is especially important if you’re planning to move during the busy summer months when children are out of school. In timing your move, try to give the moving company a choice of days. If possible, avoid the first and last days of the month, when everyone else wants to move, too.
  • DON’T JUST GRAB THE YELLOW PAGES OR THE INTERNET. Be sure you are dealing with a reputable, reliable company. Ask friends and neighbors, or contact the Better Business Bureau for comments and experiences regarding the moving company you are considering. (Keep in mind that the BBB is a membership organization, and their references are reflective of the support a particular mover may give them. Do not rely only on a BBB referral, but use it as one part of your homework.)

    Your state regulatory agency (in Wisconsin, that’s the Wisconsin DOT) or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can confirm if the mover you are considering is appropriately licensed as a for hire motor carrier. You’ll also want to check with the movers’ association in your state. (See our RESOURCES on the home page for more help and direct links.)

  • GET AN ESTIMATE. Your mover will be glad to explain the transportation rate and the charges for packing, wardrobe service, extra pick-up or delivery, storage, additional value protection and other services. But remember, an estimate is only an approximation of the mover’s charges. It’s based on average sizes and weights to help you anticipate your approximate expense. The estimate may be over or under the actual charges at destination.
  • CONFESS YOUR INNERMOST SECRETS. Be sure to tell your mover everything you intend to move. For your estimate to be accurate, show the estimator the contents of every room, closet, attic, cellar or garage so he can accurately gauge your requirements. Surprising him on moving day can only lead to confusion and possibly delay. The mover won’t just “throw in” the extra “stuff” at no charge.
  • AVOID BOUNCING CHECKS AND UNHAPPY UTILITY COMPANIES. Save time by using the official notification forms, which your mover will often be able, to supply to you to notify utility companies, banks, government agencies, publications, social and professional organizations. Remember to give your new address and phone number to friends and family members.
  • IF YOU OWN A CAST-IRON, GOLD-FLECKED ELEPHANT FOOT UMBRELLA STAND, CALL IT A CAST-IRON, GOLD-FLECKED ELEPHANT FOOT UMBRELLA STAND.Be sure the specific description and accurate condition of each item is entered on the inventory. And realistically, a sofa that has given service to a family for eight years cannot possibly be in “mint” condition. Items that are marred and gouged should be indicated as such. Identify highly valued and treasured items so they may be given appropriate care.
  • DON’T BE EMBARRASSED TO BE A SNOOP. Be on hand at the time of packing, pick-up and delivery to protect your interests. Carefully inspect all your possessions upon their arrival. When you sign the delivery receipt, you accept and acknowledge that your possessions are in apparent good condition, except as you indicate in writing on the delivery receipt.
  • YOU’VE HIRED A QUALIFIED MOVER, NOT A JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES. Disconnecting and connecting of appliances, television antenna, air-conditioning units and other items requiring special servicing and installation should be arranged with your appliance dealer. Some movers will perform certain of these services, or they can make arrangements for you with an independent service provider.
  • OOPS…ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN. Sometimes, despite the utmost care, loss or damage may occur. Your goods will be partially protected for 30 to 60 cents per pound per article at no extra cost. You may, for a modest charge, place increased valuation on your goods, or purchase protection insurance. Discuss with your mover in advance your specific protection requirements and your options. Set aside jewelry, documents, money, medicines, and especially valuable small items to carry with you — do not pack them on the truck.
  • GET A RECEIPT. Be sure you receive from your mover upon delivery a correct bill of lading or similar documentation, complete with all weights, rates and charges. This is your official receipt. This amount is what you will be expected to pay, in cash or certified check, for your shipment.

Courtesy Illinois Mover’s & Warehouseman’s Association