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All My Sons Long Distance Moving Guide

Long Distance Moving, also called Interstate moving, means that your new residence is located in a different state.

How is the cost estimate determined on a long distance move?

Reputable moving companies use a base rate book published by the Household Goods Carriers Bureau. The book, Tariff 400-M, provides estimates for all long distance moving transactions based on the weight of your belongings and on the distance they are shipped, plus the amount of packing and other services that you require. The weight of your items is actually measured on a scale. Only, the scale is for the truck. Before the move, the weight of the truck without your goods is measured. This is called "empty weight". The scales are usually located at the nearest truck stops. You are allowed to accompany the driver to the scale during the weigh-in to ensure that everything is in order. Make sure that your mover provides you with an "empty weight" receipt.

How to Choose the Right Moving Company for Your Long Distance Move:

Are you a little nervous about who to trust with moving your earthly possessions to a new home? Follow these steps to finding a reliable moving company and a little peace of mind.

Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers for personal recommendations and warnings.

If you are looking for choices on the Internet make sure you DO NOT USE A BROKER. Current consumer protection laws related to the movement of household goods do not apply to Household Goods Brokers. Once a broker sells you, he sells the job to the highest bidder, and he is no longer responsible to you. Brokers are not licensed to do the actual moves. With a broker you’ll never know who is going to show up on moving day and they will usually charge you a lot more then you where told by the broker. Always ask are you a broker?

Spend some time talking with each moving company it’s a good sign if they take the time to understand your moving needs. Ask questions. If the company representative isn't friendly and helpful on the phone, call someone else.

Don’t let a moving company bait you with low quote. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Most honest professional movers are competitive, and there prices will differ but be within a reasonable range. If a mover comes in with an estimate way below all the others, that should be a red flag to examine the basis of the estimate before accepting it.

Occasionally, no matter how careful a moving company is, an item may be damaged. That’s why it’s important to ask the moving company about their claims policy.

Verify they are a member in Good Standing of your Local Better Business Bureau.

Verify that the moving company is licensed and regulated. An interstate (moving from one state to another) moving company must be licensed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the federal agency that regulates moving companies. A moving company that holds a proper license is subject to all of the consumer and other regulations administered by the DOT. Call the moving company's office and ask for their DOT number. Then click here and go to the FMCSA's Web Site, input their DOT number and click search.

If you get a message: “No record found, please try different search parameters. This moving company is not licensed and it is highly recommended you do not use their services.

In the next screen: Click on HTML and then check under the column "Authority Type" to make sure your moving company has at least "Common" marked as active. If the columns "Application Pending" or "Revocation Pending" do not say "NO" for common authority, then you should be aware that something might be wrong.

Under the column Property check under “Household Goods” and make sure its marked “YES”. If its marked NO your moving company does not have the authority to move your personal belongings.

Then scroll down to “Insurance Type” to make sure your moving company has the insurance required for moving companies. A long distance moving company is required to have BIPD ($750,000 minimum) and cargo insurance filed with the FMCSA, so if your moving company does not have either one of these insurances, you should be looking for a different moving company.

One final way to check your moving company is to call the FMCSA's Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 and ask about the complaint history of your moving company. Warnings:

You may have seen recent news stories about the proliferation of scam movers who have been abusing customers across the U.S. Typically, they come in with an estimate that is much lower than legitimate movers. However, once these scam movers take possession of your household goods, they significantly increase the price and refuse to unload your possessions until you pay the higher price, usually in cash.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from these rogue movers:

If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Most honest professional movers are competitive, and there prices will differ but be within a reasonable range. If a mover comes in with an estimate way below all the others, that should be a red flag to examine the basis of the estimate before accepting it.

Legitimate movers generally don't require a significant deposit before moving you, and if they do it is a small good faith deposit. However, scam movers frequently require large deposits even for the simplest and least expensive moves.

DO NOT USE A BROKER Many Internet moving sites are hosted by household goods brokers whose names sound like real movers, which they are not. These brokers turn over your shipment to a mover, many of which are rogue movers instead of professionals. Be sure to ask if your shipment is being brokered.

The principle governing industry tariff specifies that interstate household goods rates (prices) should be based on the weight of your shipment (and that weight should be determined on a scale that has been certified by an official state agency). If the mover you are considering tells you that he is going to base your charges on the number of cubic feet in your shipment (which means there is no way for you to verify the amount you will be charged), you may want to consider using another mover. What can I do to keep costs down during my move?

If you're engaging professional movers, you should mention your cost concerns during your initial call with a sales person. Similar to airlines or hotels, most moving companies have a sliding scale of prices that reflect supply and demand on a particular day. Generally, the summer months are the busiest. Saturdays and the beginning and end of each month are busy year-round. The less busy times tend to be Monday through Thursday in the middle weeks of the month. If you are flexible with your move date-an overlap between when you need to be out of your old home and are able to get into your new home helps- you're certain to get the best value. Additionally, a professional moving company will take the time to provide you advice on other cost-saving measures, including efficient preparation in advance of moving day.

Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move?

Having your friends move you in a rented truck may seem to be the lowest cost-option but it may turn out to be a costly nightmare. Back injuries, friends who back out at the last minute, damages, nicks and scratches and other uncertainties can make it a very stressful moving day. Ask anyone who moved themselves and most will tell you wish I would of hired a moving company. Choose the right moving company and you’ll be happy you did.

You Rights and Responsibilities

If you are moving from one state to another, you should read and understand all of the information you will receive from your mover. In addition to brochures explaining their various services, interstate moving companies are required by law to give you a copy of a consumer booklet titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and information regarding the mover's required participation in a Dispute Settlement (Arbitration) Program.

Be sure you understand:

  • The rates and charges that will apply.
  • The mover's liability for your belongings.
  • Estimating requirements.
  • How pickup and delivery will work.
  • What claims protection you have.
  • What can I do to keep costs down during my move?

If you're engaging professional movers, you should mention your cost concerns during your initial call with a sales person. Similar to airlines or hotels, most moving companies have a sliding scale of prices that reflect supply and demand on a particular day. Generally, the summer months are the busiest. Saturdays and the beginning and end of each month are busy year-round. The less busy times tend to be Monday through Thursday in the middle weeks of the month. If you are flexible with your move date-an overlap between when you need to be out of your old home and are able to get into your new home helps- you're certain to get the best value. Additionally, a professional moving company will take the time to provide you advice on other cost-saving measures, including efficient preparation in advance of moving day.

Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move?

Absolutely, having your friends move you in a rented truck may seem to be the lowest cost-option but it may turn out to be a costly nightmare. Back injuries, friends who back out at the last minute, damages, nicks and scratches and other uncertainties can make it a very stressful moving day. Ask anyone who did their own move before and most will tell you wish I would of hired a moving company. Choose the right moving company and you’ll be happy you did.