How to Hire a Moving Company

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Real Estate

As a listing agent here in Fort Collins, I strive to make my sellers' lives as stress-free as possible, and one of the biggest stressors when moving, is, well, moving stuff. When meeting with potential clients, we of course walk through the entire house, and I will ask, "how much time do you think it will take to pack up this room?"  Momentos and souvenirs are difficult to part with, especially for elderly folks that might be holding onto treasures from parents, children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. 

Planning six months ahead of time, before listing a property on the market, is optimal, in my opinion.  In addition to all of the small fixes and renovations sellers will make in order to demand top listing price, beginning to separate items into donations, give-aways to family and friends, landfill, and keepers should be a priority.

Here is my advice for the moving portion of that planning: 

How to Hire a Moving Company

So you’re moving! After the excitement dies down, the hard reality hits: you’re moving. That means boxing up everything you own and often entrusting all your worldly possessions to a moving company. So how do you select a moving company? Open the yellow pages, put on a blindfold and throw a dart? Not so fast. It pays to proceed with caution. But before you throw up your hands in despair and decide it’s just easier to do it yourself, take the time to do some research.

The American Moving and Storage Association says that the end of the month and summertime are the busiest times for moving companies, so you’ll need to book at the very least six weeks in advance. Even better, try to time your move between October and April, during which time AMSA says many companies offer discounts. Here in Fort Collins and other university towns, UHaul, Penske, Ryder, and other companies book out for end-of-school and back-to-school, so try and avoid May and August.

You’ll need to decide whether you want to do the actual packing yourself and only use a moving company for the actual moving, or if you want to trust them to do the packing for you. Below is a checklist that will help you interview moving companies to find the best fit for you and your treasures.

First off, try to get a reference from a friend who has moved recently. Ask if the moving experience went smoothly, if there was any breakage or missing items. If you can’t get a personal reference, ask your Northern Colorado real estate agent, and then be willing to interview companies. Here are some areas to research:

* Licensing and bonding. The Interstate Commerce Commission offers a pamphlet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Call your local ICC office for a copy if you’re moving out of state.

* Local moving costs. These are usually calculated by adding the hours the truck is used multiplied an hourly rate.

* Long-distance costs. These are calculated on the total weight of your shipment and the distance traveled.

* Packing. These costs are not included in a basic moving bid. Ask for the price up front to avoid any confusion. If you opt to have the company do the packing, they will inventory your stuff and describe any existing damage. Ask for a copy of the inventory form.

* Reputation. Ring up the Better Business Bureau and your local department of consumer affairs to find out if any complaints have been registered against the company. Ask for and actually contact references. Ask for an ICC performance report, which movers are required to file annually. Since moving companies prepare their own reports, however, be aware that unless there are gross misstatements, the reports go unchallenged. Find out if the company is a member of the American Movers Conference (, which requires members to meet certain standards.

* Storage. These costs are also separate from the moving costs, and loading and unloading from storage is also extra. Have the price spelled out in advance.

* Written bids. Remember that the bid is a ballpark estimate and plan accordingly. When talking to references, ask how close their bid was to the final cost. Be sure to get estimates from at least three companies. Once a qualified estimator has gone over all your belongings, get the estimate in writing. You can ask for a binding estimate for an extra charge.


Questions to ask: Are you certified by the ICC? Do you charge by the pound or by the hour? How much insurance do you carry? Are there any items you charge extra to move, such as china, pianos, pool tables and the like? Are you bonded? Can I call to find out the location of my things during the move?

 Once you’ve hired a mover, there’s still more work to be done.

* Make yourself a checklist of things to do every week for eight weeks prior to the move. Stay as organized as possible.

* Ask your moving company to assign three movers to you—two to load and unload and one to guard the truck to prevent theft.

* Talk to your insurance agent about liability. Does your current homeowner’s policy cover your possessions during a move? Moving companies’ basic insurance coverage usually allows a set amount per pound per item, and it’s usually not enough, so find out how much the company carries and then buy extra insurance if necessary. Remember that most companies don’t accept liability for breakage of any items you pack yourself.

* Confirm the arrangements with the moving company a couple of days before your move.

* Get the phone number of the actual driver of the truck! When we moved from Nebraska to Colorado, this was our biggest mistake, as some of our belongings got mixed up with another move, and the company had trouble tracking down the driver.  


In a nutshell, planning six months ahead of time allows home sellers time to get their ducks in a row.  By not packing, organizing, and disposing  ahead of time, options become more limited and stress builds.  Take it from a real estate agent who has seen the frustration of moving a household's worth of belongings in a sudden knee-jerk move. Plan. Plan. Plan.



Image by vikvarga from Pixabay 


Please feel free to reach out to me to discuss your move into or out of Northern Colorado.  Thank you!

James Sack, REALTOR®  

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

1109 Oak Park Drive | Fort Collins, CO 80525

C: (970) 217-9705  |  O: (970) 223-6500  |  E:  |  W: