Boston moving companies provide a variety of services for a range of fees. It is a good idea to talk with different movers to compare their services. To find out who the best movers are in your area, begin by asking friends about their experiences with the movers they have used. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau or other consumer organizations in your local area.
When selecting a mover, it is encouraged that consumers choose a moving company that is fully licensed and insured. All moving companies in Massachusetts must be approved and licensed by the Department Of Public Utility, Transportation Oversight Division, or MDPU. All interstate carriers must be licensed by the United States Department Of Transportation (USDOT) and recognized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Once you have compiled a list of movers, inform them of the destination and timing of your move. Ask them about the types of services they offer. Also ask them to explain their estimates in detail and to give you a copy. Then carefully compare to see which mover best suits your needs and budget.
If you are moving interstate, you should read and understand all of the information you will receive. In addition to brochures explaining their various services, moving companies should give you a copy of a consumer booklet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and information regarding the mover’s participation in a Dispute Settlement Program. Distribution of the consumer booklet and the requirement that movers offer shippers neutral arbitration as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage on household goods shipments are requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
It is important to try to make arrangements for your move well in advance, at least four to six weeks before the moving date. If you did wait until the last minute, Big City Moving Company can help you deal with a last-minute move.
When you choose your mover, be sure you understand:
- The rates and charges that will apply.
- The mover’s liability for your belongings.
- How pickup and delivery will work.
- What claims protection you have.
What is Travel Time?
Most Boston moving companies charge a fee for their commute to and from the job in what is known as a “travel fee”. Many companies have been known to abuse travel fees by inflating travel times to their advantage. Big City Moving Company has a more reasonable approach. For labor charges, we start the clock the moment the truck arrives at your starting location. We stop the clock once we finish at your final destination. However, we do have to charge for the time it takes to get from our facility to the first location, and from the final destination back to our facility. Keep in mind that we must pay the movers for their drive time, gas, tolls etc… For your peace of mind we charge travel fees based on virtual time, not actual time. We calculate the amount of travel time it should take by inputting our address and your addresses into a routing software program. This gives us an approximate number of minutes for each trip. These figures are based on ideal conditions and are the same regardless of traffic or actual distance. So you pay the same flat travel fee whether it takes us twice as long due to a traffic jam or driver misrouting. This policy separates Big City Moving from the majority of Boston movers who charge travel time based on real time.
Red Flags for Spotting Rogue Movers & Scams
Rogue movers typically work like this: Without ever visiting your home or seeing the goods you want moved, they give a low-ball estimate over the phone or Internet. Once your goods are on their truck, they demand more money before they’ll deliver or unload them. They hold your goods hostage and force you to pay more—sometimes much more than you thought you had agreed to—if you want your possessions back.
Your best defense is to recognize a rogue mover before they have your goods. Here are the “red flags” to look out for:
- The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or Internet—sight-unseen. These estimates often sound too good-to-be-true. They usually are.
- The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
- The company’s Web site has no information about licensing or insurance.
- The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
- When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving Company,” rather than the company’s name.
- Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.