Moving & Storage Frequently Asked Questions
The residential and commercial clients we work with often ask us these questions:
When is the best time to move?
The busiest times for moving companies are during the summer months, or roughly May 15 to September 15. Near the end of those months the volume of shipments is extremely heavy, which tends to be the norm for an established professional moving and storage company like Ellis Transportation.
It’s essential to consider all factors when deciding on the best time for you to move. If you have scheduling flexibility, giving the moving company at least a five-day window for loading your shipment can be very beneficial; as this will allow those who schedule your drivers and movers greater flexibility. If possible, try to be flexible with your arrival time frame as well, while remembering you are most likely not the only shipment the crew must move.
Bottom line: Offering a flexible time frame can make a world of difference by simplifying your entire moving process.
How do I decide which moving companies will provide me with a free moving estimate?
Your first step is deciding whether you need a full-service moving company. It’s also a good idea to compile a list of moving companies by asking your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family for recommendations. Research each company by visiting their website, reading their online reviews, and checking their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. After all, good customer service is the best measure of a good mover!
When should I start contacting moving companies for free moving estimates?
Try to give the moving companies as much notice as possible, especially when moving during the busy summer season. Six months from the actual move date is an ideal time frame for estimators to visit your home or business and complete a visual survey of your goods. In the event of a corporate relocation that requires you to submit multiple moving estimates, it’s a good idea to extend the time frame even further.
Additionally, be sure to call the mover to confirm your booking and schedule your packing, loading, and delivery dates. It’s been our experience at Ellis Transportation that this time frame can be shortened if you are moving outside of the peak moving season (May 15 to September 15).
What happens when a moving estimator comes to my home or business?
The moving estimator will come to your home or business and complete a visual survey of your items. Once completed, they will calculate the weight, packing cost, and any other charge related to your move. Whether they are from Ellis Transportation or another moving company, please remember that the estimator must clearly see all items you are moving to provide you with an accurate estimate.
Because places like attics, crawl spaces, and cluttered closets can often be deceptive, be sure to organize your house or business before the moving estimator arrives. Another piece of advice is to save yourself a lot of time and trouble on moving day by eliminating unwanted items in advance. Doing so will also help ensure there is plenty of space on the truck for your shipment.
What is a binding estimate?
A binding estimate is a contract that specifies, in advance, the precise cost of moving based on the services requested or deemed necessary at the time of the estimate. If additional moving services are requested or required at origin or destination, the total cost will more than likely increase.
What is a non-binding estimate?
A non-binding estimate charges you according to the actual weight of your shipment, along with the cost of any moving services that are performed. Please note that you still must go through the estimation process to determine what your shipment may cost.
To verify the weight of your shipment, the driver will weigh the trailer prior to loading your shipment. Once your shipment is loaded, the driver will weigh the trailer again. All other moving charges will be calculated at your place of origin. If any additional charges are incurred during the delivery process, the driver will notify you of the additional cost. Although it is rare, additional charges may be incurred in special cases.
What payment methods does Ellis Transportation accept?
Major credit cards, wire transfer, cashiers check and Certified checks.
What is an Order for Service?
All movers are required to prepare an Order for Service before transporting your shipment. The Order for Service provides you with written confirmation of the moving services you requested regarding your shipment. It lists the agreed upon dates for the pickup and delivery of your shipment and the amount of valuation you requested, along with any special services you ordered. You’ll also need to provide a location and phone number where the mover can contact you during the move.
Additionally, the Order for Service lists the charges you will be assessed for your household move or corporate relocation. If moving under a non-binding estimate, the Order for Service will list the amount of the estimated non-binding charges, method of payment, and, in some cases, the maximum amount you are required to pay at time of delivery to obtain possession for your shipment (You will have 30 days post-delivery to pay the balance for charges due.).
If moving under a binding estimate, the Order of Service will show the charges you will be required to pay at delivery based on the binding estimate and terms of payment. You and your mover must both sign the Order for Service.
What is a Bill of Lading?
Every mover is required to prepare a Bill of Lading for each shipment they transport. This Bill of Lading is the receipt for your goods and the contract with your mover for their transportation services. The driver who loads your goods must give you a copy of the Bill of Lading.
It is your responsibility to read and understand the information on the Bill of Lading before signing it. The Bill of Lading identifies the mover and specifies when the transport is to be performed. It also specifies the terms and conditions for payment of the total moving charges, along with the maximum amount you are required to pay at the time of delivery (If you are moving under a non-binding estimate.). Information regarding the valuation of your shipment and the amount the mover would be liable for in the event of loss or damage is also shown.
What is an inventory?
Although it is not required by law, the driver will generally inventory your shipment as it is loaded. When completed, the inventory provides a detailed, descriptive listing of your household goods, along with the condition of each item when received by the mover.
Be sure everything listed on the inventory is correct. Items listed on the inventory as “PBO” means they were “packed by owner.” The contents of PBO boxes cannot be listed because the driver is unable to see inside. You will also sometimes find “CP” on an inventory line item, which means “carrier packed” container.
You must remember that this inventory is for you to keep track of what’s loaded and the condition of each item. If a particular piece sustains damage upon loading, note the item’s inventory tag number and record it in the far right hand column on the line corresponding with that piece. Because this is the document that will be scrutinized once the claims process is initiated, the damage must clearly be noted.
This inventory should also be used at-destination when your shipment is delivered. Use your inventory to verify articles that are delivered and, once again, note any exception to the item’s condition as they are brought into your home or business. Point out said damage to the driver immediately.
At Ellis Transportation, our drivers and movers are very careful when handling your items, while the inventory is a safeguard against potentially fraudulent damage claims. Much like our employees, use your inventory to protect yourself.
Can I pack anything in my dresser or desk drawers?
All loose items must be packed in boxes to prevent loss or damage while moving. It is also recommended that you pack all items and empty the drawers.
Will the driver load all the boxes I packed?
Yes, as long as the driver deems them safe for transport.
Can I pack and move my houseplants?
Most moving companies, including Ellis Transportation, will not take your houseplants, as the stress and heat of being inside the moving trailer usually causes them to die.
What should I do with my jewelry and other valuables?
Items of “extraordinary value,” such as jewelry, money, rare coins, antiques, and stamp collections, can be included in your shipment, provided you notify your moving representative of said items before packing and on your moving day. Ellis Transportation strongly recommends that you carry expensive and irreplaceable articles with you or make alternative arrangements for their transport.
In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be articles of “extraordinary value.” To ensure a claim involving these articles is not limited to minimal liability, complete and sign your mover’s high value inventory form. Additionally, be sure to sign the “Extraordinary Value Declaration” box, if applicable, on your Bill of Lading.
How do I prepare my appliances for moving?
Appliances such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators must be disconnected. Additionally, your washer must have a stabilizer installed. While there, your estimator can tell you how to properly prepare appliances for moving. Although most moving companies can recommend service providers who can prepare appliances for moving, a full-service moving company like Ellis Transportation can conveniently provide those services for you.
How will you protect my upholstered furniture?
At Ellis Transportation, we use a special material called stretch-wrap, which is a clear plastic wrap that protects your furniture from getting soiled.
Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?
Yes. However, how much protection you have and how much it costs depends upon the valuation coverage you selected. Because this can be one of the most confusing aspects to moving, it is important to understand your coverage.
The valuation option you choose determines the basis upon which any claim will be adjusted and the maximum liability of the carrier. The carrier’s liability for loss or damage is based upon the carrier’s tariffs, as well as federal laws and regulations that have certain limitations and exclusions. You must understand that valuation is not insurance, but rather that it is the moving company’s liability. Ask your homeowner’s insurance provider if you have coverage while moving, as that is often the case.
There are two valuation options: Released Value and Full Maximum Value Protection. Contact Ellis Transportation to learn more about the valuation options
How do I prepare my home/business and myself for move day?
Your mover may ask you to choose several consecutive days (load spread), during which your goods may be loaded. The load spread depends on the size of your shipment and the time of year it is loaded. Remember to try and remain flexible during the busy moving season (May 15 to September 15) by allowing for three to five extra days on your load spread, as this will give you a better chance of securing a moving truck and driver.
Your customer service representative and/or driver will contact you at least 24 hours before load day to provide the time of arrival. At that time, tell them about any changes that have occurred that may affect loading day, for instance, road construction in front of your home or business, or that you haven’t finished packing due to an unanticipated event. In the latter case, contact your mover as soon as possible so they can send professional packers to finish the job for you.
The experienced movers from Ellis Transportation are trained to prepare the home or business with runners, door jamb protectors, and railing protectors, as these help prevent little knocks that could occur during the loading process.
Make sure your home or business is ready for the crew by moving anything off the porch and walkways that may obstruct the movement of goods. Take doors off the hinges if you think certain items will not fit through. Also, remove all small throw rugs from traffic areas that might cause the driver or crew to trip or slip.
And finally, offering the driver and crew water, Gatorade, iced tea, or lemonade – notably on a hot summer day – will be a thoughtful gesture that leaves them feeling grateful long after they leave!
How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home or business?
At Ellis Transportation, our modern capabilities allow you to track the whereabouts of your shipment at all times. Please contact us for details about our shipment tracking services.
How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
Depending on the transport distance, your driver or customer service representative will contact you and let you know that your goods are being delivered. Be sure to give the driver all your contact information, including a good phone number and email. If you can be reached at work, a hotel, or a temporary residence, please let them know.
If for some reason you will be unavailable, make arrangements with a friend or family member to serve as the liaison between you and the driver, and then provide the driver or customer service representative with that contact information.
How do I file and receive my claim settlement?
Claims in the moving industry are always unpleasant and inconvenient. However, sometimes damage does occur when moving, while claims are the inevitable result. To protect yourself, be sure to read and understand the claims settlement procedure before moving, including details about your coverage and how to navigate through the claims process.
Because claims adjusters are people just like you with a difficult job, approach them with kindness rather than anger. Please understand your moving coverage and be certain to have the proper documentation in the form of an inventory with the damage noted.