With the right mover, changing your venue won’t be a nightmare

It’s a moving experience, getting your belongings from one house to another. You pray the process goes smoothly and nothing moves you to tears.

Hiring the right company to transport household goods is a key element in making all those moves as worry-free as possible. The wrong choice could cost you money, damaged goods and peace of mind. Most moving pros – the movers and the movees – say a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone who has used the company is about the best way to find a reputable mover. And that’s a key word – reputable.

Gary Frank Petty, president and CEO of the National Moving & Storage Association, said that 12,000 moving companies advertise in the yellow pages of local phone directories across the country. “And there are tremendous variations in quality and professionalism,” according to Petty. “Probably 25 percent are marginal players.”

So doing your homework is essential. As Petty says, “hiring a moving company is very much a ‘buyer beware’ situation.” Trusting customers can get hurt by unscrupulous companies.

Don Wilson, regional manager for motor carrier enforcement of the Public Utilities Commission, said it’s important for consumers to be aware of the requirements the carrier has to meet, including giving a written estimate of costs. Wilson also says customers should know they have the option of purchasing additional insurance.

That is critical in the event of loss or damage. Moving companies are required to carry insurance based on 30 cents per pound per article. That would not be adequate coverage to replace the marble table top that goes crashing down the steps, for instance.

Whether you’re moving in or out of Phoenix AZ, or anywhere else, it is suggested you get competitive bids from at least three companies. “You want to be very careful of movers who focus in on the price. A great deal of discounting goes on in our business,” Petty said. Some companies want volume and will hurry up and get the move done — sometimes with untrained labor — instead of ethical companies that take the necessary time and use professional workers to do a good job. Also, ask for the names and phone numbers of people the companies have recently moved to serve as references.

Jay Duquette, president of Monroeville Moving & Storage Inc. (an agent for Mayflower Transit, Inc.), suggests shopping around because dishonest people are always lurking to take you for a ride.

Packing dishes, books and other items yourself can cut your bill in half. Get boxes from the liquor store or buy them.  Moving experts suggest that homeowners pack and carry valuables such as jewelry themselves.

When it comes to transporting items of great value such as paintings, antiques and the like, people may want to take extra care in making their decision on a moving company. Expertise in professional packing is essential for most people who own costly objects. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, for example, frequently moves musical instruments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars across the country on tour dates and within the Pittsburgh region.

Tri-State Transfer &Storage on the North Side is the company the PSO often calls to do the moving. Tonight after the Symphony Concert at Heinz Hall the company will pack and load about 100 cases that will be off to Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas for the PSO’s 2013 Spring Midwest Tour. This won’t be any run-of-the-mill moving van. The precious musical cargo will be loaded onto a personalized van — with the orchestra’s logo and a likeness of – who else? — Beethoven on the side.

Actually the Symphony’s contract is with Wheaton Interstate Moving, for which Tri-State is an agent. “We look for someone who is sensitive to our needs,” said Joe Beiro, the orchestra manager. “This is like moving fine art — a lot of these instruments are of great value and are irreplaceable because they are unique. Not everyone can satisfy our needs.”

While not everyone has priceless objects to pack — whatever your possessions, they’re yours and they mean something to you. This week Edna Billick moved from one section of North Huntingdon to another. She’s moved four times — including a relocation to Flordia — since 1989. This was her second move with Duquette. Despite packing and unpacking so many times it doesn’t get an easier for her. “It’s rough. You realize you have to take everything. Six weeks before I move I go room by room and box things. A friend takes them to the cellar.” Billick moved the smaller boxes herself and the van took the furniture.

It’s more difficult to pack than unpack. “There’s no deadline, you’re there and can take your time,” Billick said.

Take your time in finding your moving company in the first place. It will be entrusted with your dearest possessions and they should be handled with care.

“You have to know what you’re doing — either you know or you don’t,” said Jim Jamriska, the owner of Tri-State. “You’re not moving someone’s furniture, you’re moving their life.”

Some tips on moving

– Call moving companies phoenix as soon as you know you’re moving.

– Ask for references and written estimate.

– Consider buying extra insurance.

– Pack boxes yourself to save money.

– Pay by certified check rather than cash.

– Contact state or federal agencies with complaints.

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