Planning a Cost-Effective Move

5/6/2005

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If your plans this summer include a major move, the Better Business Bureau recommends that you do some advance legwork to save yourself frustration, and possibly money. Start planning your move at least six to eight weeks before your targeted moving date. Ask friends or neighbors to recommend companies they have been happy with for past moves, and check out the companies' record with the BBB. Contact each company to ask about its charges and the types of services it offers, and compare movers to determine which one best suits your needs and budget.

For regulations concerning intrastate (within one state) moves, contact your local or state government. Charges for interstate (state to state) moves are determined by the weight and volume of the load and the distance it is to be shipped. To determine weight, the mover will weigh the van on a certified scale before and after he unloads your shipment. The difference between the two weights is the net weight of your shipment and is the amount on which the final charges are based.

Companies will offer estimates to help you approximate moving expenses. Such estimates can be binding (the mover guarantees the price prior to the move) or non-binding (the mover estimates the price and provides final charges after the shipment is weighed). To assist movers in calculating the cost of your move, show them every item to be moved, including the contents of your attic, basement and garage. Ask the mover to explain the estimate in detail, and reach a clear understanding about the amount of packing and other services you'll require. Also, be sure you receive a copy of the estimate.

Before packing begins, the mover will make an inventory of your household goods to be shipped. Since the inventory record is one of your most important shipping documents, make sure all copies are legible, and that all items are numbered, listed and described correctly.

To save on packing charges you may want to pack part of your belongings yourself. But keep in mind that movers usually will not accept liability for breakage to "owner-packed" items, or they may require that the driver inspect the cartons. Be sure to ask your moving company about its policy, and ask for advice on packing materials and procedures.

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