New Digs(part 3) How to pick a Mover

The Better Business Bureau said it received 8,486 complaints about movers in North America last year. Common complaints included final prices greater than original estimates, damaged or lost goods and, in the worst scenarios, movers who held belongings hostage until customers paid thousands of dollars.  But consumers can avoid the same fate by following some simple guidelines for finding a mover. moversWhat to look for when researching potential movers: For interstate moves, make sure the mover is licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (you can double-check a mover’s license at www.protectyourmove.gov). You can also search for interstate movers and complaints about them here. For moves within states, check for similar resources in your state.unloading-truck-released-MeatheadMovers In addition, regardless of the type of move, check to make sure the company has at least a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the trade association for moving and storage companies, interstate movers must be rated at least satisfactory to display the association’s ProMover logo and be considered “a quality, professional” mover.

Get a written estimate from several movers: According to guidelines recently released from the Better Business Bureau and American Moving and Storage Association, “no legitimate mover will offer to give a firm estimate online or over the phone.” Instead, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s guidelines for “choosing a reputable mover,” the estimate should be based on actually looking at your belongings. examples-of-estimate-letterIn addition, remember that the lowest estimate you receive may be an unrealistically low offer just to rope you in and you’ll end up having to pay more in the end, warned the Better Business Bureau and American Moving and Storage Association. Also, keep in mind that movers are required by law to deliver your goods for no more than 10 percent above a “nonbinding estimate” of what your mover believes the cost will be.

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Watch for other red flags: Other signs of a rogue mover to watch out for, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, include the requirement of a cash or a large deposit before the move; a rental truck arrives on moving day; the mover’s telephone line isn’t answered with the company’s name; the mover claims all goods are covered by its insurance and the company’s Web site has no local address nor information about licensing and insurance.

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In addition, for an interstate move, movers are required by law to give you a copy of a booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” as you are planning the move (a book you should read before an interstate move to familiarize yourself with your rights).

 

What guidelines did we miss?

Share what you learned from your experiences with rogue movers in the comments below.

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15 minutes to a happier week!

Over the last few months, I’ve got into the habit of spending a little bit of time on a Sunday night getting organized for the week ahead and it’s really helped me so I thought I’d share my Sunday night planning session with you all.

First of all, I print out a copy of my weekly planner and sit down and write down who needs to be where and when – this includes working hours, early finishes at school, after-school clubs and parties. Just doing this helped me massively as my guy works shifts and my hours at work can vary a little bit too so knowing in advance where there’s a clash is vital. Before I just used to try and remember in my head but I often forgot to make arrangements for the kids to be picked up from somewhere if neither of us could do it.

Once I’ve sorted that, I’ll have a look at what food we have in and plan our meals for the following week. I write myself a shopping list for the following day and also scribble down on the shopping list what meals I’m planning. I often change things about a bit when I’m shopping if I find a deal so having the meals written on there as well as what I need means that I can quickly cross things off my list that I don’t need if we’re not having a particular meal anymore. I don’t write the meals on the weekly planner until after I’ve been shopping on Monday.

Saturday is my laundry day (yes, I do it all on one day rather than throughout the week) so while I’m doing this, I usually persuade my guy into sorting the kid’s clothes for the week so I don’t need to worry about doing that either. He then hangs them up in their closets so they’re out of the way and ready to go.

With a 15-year-old and an 8-year-old, homework is a very regular thing in our house and I encourage them to do it as soon as possible so it’s done and out of the way. Any homework for the coming week needs to be done by the Sunday night though so if it’s not done by then, they sit with me at the Dining room table while I write the planner and they get it done. We’ve had the last minute homework rush in the past and it’s not good so this way I’m giving them a chance to do it in their own time but giving them a deadline to make sure we don’t have the stress that doing it at the last minute inevitably causes.

Once all of that’s done, I usually have a quick fridge clean out and make either a frittata or a quiche with anything that’s seen better days. This is a great way to use up food before I go shopping the next day and usually does me for Monday’s lunch too.

You’re more than welcome to use my weekly planner, just print out and use.

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Image credit: Shutterstoock, crealova09 and eulebie