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Boston moves - Things to know before your move

Before you even have the moving companies do a walk-through of your home, ask these questions while you have the movers on the phone. This is your chance to interview the moving company to see if they are going to meet your needs. Asking about the following items will also help you assess whether your mover is dependable and to ensure you don't hire a rogue moving company.

Registration Number

The moving company should have a registration number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), called a USDOT number (US Department of Transportation Number).
If a company only travels within one state, they may not be registered. You can check online with FMCSA.

Rates and Estimates

Ask the company what their rate is; most companies will provide a rate per pound and a distance rate. If the company offers a quote based on cubic feet, do not hire them. A company estimate must be based on weight if you're moving long distances. For short distances, companies will charge a per hour rate. Both the hourly rate and that poundage rate will not change, whereas the estimate can depending on the type the carrier provides. Keep in mind that the moving company must give you an estimate in writing and they must provide you with a copy. The estimate must include all charges and both you and the mover must sign it for it to be an agreement. The estimate must also indicate the method of payment and be dated.


Some of the larger movers subcontract to a smaller company. If this is the case with the company you are thinking of using, ask for the subcontractor’s name and if the company uses several subcontractors, ask for a complete list. If the mover is uncertain, ask them to find out and get back to you.
This information should be readily available and should not be withheld. If subcontractors are used, make sure you check out the drivers to ensure you'll still receive good service. Most subcontractors are local movers who have purchased their own truck for transport. We've worked with subcontractors before and have had very good service.

Additional Fees

Find out if there are any additional fees or when additional fees apply. Some companies will charge extra for awkward items, or if the destination does not have easy access, or if the load has to be hand-carried over a certain distance. To avoid such costs, note any larger items and pre-arrange where the truck can park, if there are any stairs, and if you are moving to a condo or high-rise, investigate any possible obstructions such as elevator usage and load restrictions. These extra charges are called flight charges and long carry charges and they should be discussed with your mover ahead of time. If you're well organized, have arranged for parking and elevator usage, these charges should not apply.
If your old or new residence is not accessible for a large carrier truck or van, you may need to have the mover arrange for a shuttle service, which will also incur additional costs.
Additional costs may also include fuel surcharges or transportation surcharges if you are moving to a remote area. In addition, if your belongings cannot be unloaded on arrival, they may need to be stored. Storage-in-transit fees will be charged along with warehouse handling charges. Try to avoid either by ensuring your new residence is ready on time.

Additional Transfers

For long distance moves some companies may transfer your belongings from one truck to another. Additional transfers increase the possibility of damage and loss. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your carrier and ask beforehand. Also, if you are moving during the winter or rainy season, find out if the company protects against water damage.


Ask detailed questions about insurance. The moving company will provide insurance at an additional cost.
Insurance is usually based on weight, so you will need to assess the value of your goods versus what the insurance policy will provide should your belongings arrive damaged or not at all. Standard coverage is 60 cents per pound and is usually not enough to cover the true cost of the damaged item. Before you purchase more insurance, look into your home insurance to see if they offer additional coverage for moving.

The Movers' Duties and Responsibilities

Your movers will have plenty of responsibilities as they carry out your move and they are responsible for more than just transporting your goods from place to place. It is important to understand exactly what their responsibilities are. By knowing your mover's duties in advance, you can be sure that your movers are doing exactly what is expected of them.

The actual duties of your movers will depend on the services you require. If you hire full- service movers , they will take care of every step of your move. Alternately, you may decide to hire partial movers, who will just handle certain parts of the move. Some of these specialty and partial movers include:
  • Packers – If you hire a packing service, all of your goods will be packed up quickly and efficiently.
  • Loading and unloading professionals – If you don't mind packing yourself, you still might want to hire people to load up the truck with your boxes and then unload the boxes into your new home.
  • Drivers – You may want to hire a driver if you are uncomfortable driving a rented moving truck yourself.
  • Specialty movers – Specialty movers will transport any large or otherwise-difficult items to move, such as grand pianos, artwork, or boats or other vehicles.
While each service above will have its own share of requirements for the movers, they are bound to be similar to the duties of full-service movers, as described below.
Duties before the move
Your movers have several things they need to take care of long before the actual moving day. The first thing they must do is go to your home to perform an in-person assessment of your household. This will allow them to perform the next step, which is to create an estimate for the cost of your move. They will also work with you to set a date for the move and to figure out the method for payment. At this point, the movers will begin drafting the appropriate contracts for the move.

Your movers will also provide you with several documents regarding the various policies you should be aware of. These documents include:
  • The booklet "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," which aims to protect long-distance moving customers by laying out the rights and responsibilities of the customers and the moving companies
  • A well-defined summary of the company's arbitration program
  • An outline of the company's procedures for filing disputes
  • A chart regarding all tariffs involved and a clear explanation of what they are
Duties during the move
During the move, your movers will be handling their main responsibility – transporting your goods from your old home to the new one. This involves organizing all of the belongings to create the proper loading order. As they do this, they will also create an inventory list to keep track of all of your goods. Under the supervision of the driver, the moving crew will then load everything into the truck.

The movers will also be responsible for ensuring that your goods arrive at your destination safely and on time. During the delivery, your movers will be expected to maintain contact with you to let you know the status of your move. Additionally, the movers will be responsible for having you sign the appropriate contracts regarding the move.
Duties after the move
Upon reaching the destination, the movers will have to contact you, if you are not already present. They will then use the appropriate equipment, such as ramps or dollies, to unload your goods off of the truck. The movers will bring your goods into your new home and place everything in the right rooms. If you selected unpacking service, the movers will begin unpacking all of your boxes after they are brought inside.
The movers' responsibilities don't end when everything is unloaded and unpacked. At this point, they will have to collect payment and make sure that you sign the proper paperwork. After collecting payment by the method agreed upon in advance, the movers will have you sign the appropriate documents, such as the bill of lading and the inventory list.

As you can see, the movers' duties expand well beyond the actual moving of your goods. As they move the items from your old home to your new one, they must maintain contact with you throughout the day, make sure that the appropriate documents are filled out, and carry out everything according to the designated time frames.

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