What do you need to consider before you call a mover to move your furniture from one walk-up apartment to another walk-up apartment?
Take a careful look around at what you will be moving. The armoire in your bedroom was delivered by the antique store where you bought it – it will need special handling. Ditto for the leather sectional and 55 "HDTV. The bed and bookcases you got at IKEA and both needed to be assembled. Not all movers are skilled at moving large pieces down tight staircases.
Your friend recommended a really cheap mover but she was a Phd candidate who moved from one student apartment to another with nothing but a futon and 30 boxes. Another friend told you about a great mover that won an award but was really expensive. Who should you call?
All movers are not created equal and all moving rates are far from equal. You can go onto Craigslist online and hire 2 Men and a Truck for $ 45 / hour or hire a highly priced mover for over $ 180 / hour.
But here is what you need. Any mover you select needs to be licensed and insured. Cargo Insurance, Workman's Compensation Insurance and General Liability insurance – General Liability insurance in the event that the building is damaged while taking your furniture down the staircase.
Insist on an onsite estimate, if the company doesn't have the time to send someone over, find a company that will. Ask who is in charge of quality control at the company and that if you have a problem or complaint – will you be able to speak to the owner. Ask how many crews the company sends out on a daily basis. If you are told that 4 crews go out during the week but that 10 crews work on the weekends – that's means that if you move on a weekday you will probably get the best of the crews. Ask if you can get the names of the moving crew in advance – this guarantees that you experienced crew will not be split on the day of your move.
Ask if you need a parking permit, and if so, can the company provide you with this service for an additional fee.
Hourly rates, from the same company, can vary greatly depending on the time of the month when you move. Rates are highest in the middle of the month and at the end of the month – if you have some flexibility on your move date you can save money by booking non-peak times.
Ask about travel time from the dispatch yard to your apartment. Movers charge from when the truck is dispatched – you can be charged actual time of an estimated flat rate,
Ask if the moving company can provide (for a cost) one time use mattress and box spring bags, along with wardrobe boxes on the day of the move. Most legitimate companies can provide these necessities.
Research on Angie's List and Yelp is a great tool to narrow the list of mover's – but no two moves are alike.