Moving Scam Red Flags

When it’s time to move, it often does not occur to families that a moving company might scam them. Unfortunately, due to the low barriers of entry to the industry, there are disreputable and illegal movers out there, and even a few trying to actively cheat customers. When selecting a mover, there are a few things that you need to be vigilant of. Keep an eye out for these red flags and you should be able to find a mover you can trust & love!

Unprofessional customer service, or phone etiquette.

This is a red flag from the moment you call. When you call a prospective moving company and the customer service is anything but professional it might be time to do some more research. Customer service is the corner stone to a wonderful move. It starts and ends with customer service representatives.  If there is no answer when you call, and there is no professional voicemail, this could raise concern as well.

No interest in on-site survey inspections or written estimates.

Professional movers will be able to gage if they need to come onsite to see your home to give you the most accurate estimate they possibly can. When the customer service representative speaks with you they will determine the best course of action. Sometimes for smaller moves an over the phone survey will suffice, but in a larger move a professional mover should always come out to survey the property.  Even if the survey is over the phone, it is a red flag if the representative isn’t reviewing an inventory with you or asking detailed questions. Movers that quote a price over the phone without any interest in learning more about what you’re moving should be avoided. You should only choose a mover if they will provide you with a written estimate.

The website isn’t professionally made or doesn’t have a lot of information

A proper moving website should provide you with an abundance of information on the services they provide. A good mover is well aware that the customer will do a great deal of research before selecting a mover. With that being said, a proper moving company will provide you with information on contacts, locations, addresses of their offices and warehouses, and reviews from their customers. The contact information for the moving company should be plastered everywhere on the website, a good moving company will want you to call!

If the mover wants a large down payment before services or only allows cash

When moving companies want cash upfront before they provide any services a red flag should be raised. It is not likely a legitimate mover will ask for more than a deposit upfront when booking a move. When it comes to form of payment, if the mover only allows cash, this is also a signal that their operation might not be completely licensed and legal.

Negative news articles

A simple google search of the company can be quite revealing. If the results are littered with negative press, news and government investigations, and consumer complaint websites, this is definitely a company to avoid.

Need a moving estimate from a company you can trust? Get started by requesting a free estimate online, or give us a call at 800-222-4744.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Moving Company

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZ1AAAAJDdjMGJkZDg1LTE5NzgtNGI0MS1iMjczLWZiMzAwODEwYWRkMQ.jpg

Either during your in-home survey or over the phone, taking the time to thoroughly discuss your move with a potential moving company is the key to accurate pricing and a successful move. After all, the company will be coming into your home and handling everything you own, so it’s important to find a company you feel comfortable with, especially since there are unfortunately bad or rogue moving companies providing poor service.

When you’re discussing your move, be sure to ask questions about the company. How the company answers will tell you a lot about the quality of the moving company you are considering.

Olympia Moving & Storage compiled a list of questions to ask potential moving companies that can help you navigate through the mover selection process. By asking the following questions you can select a mover that will treat you and your home with respect.

Questions About Moving Costs

This is probably where customers have the most concern. Always make sure you get a written moving estimate for the costs of your move. Here are some questions that are good to clarify about the quote:

  • Are supplies such as mattress covers, extra boxes, tape, and moving blankets included in my quote? How much do they cost?
  • Is this a binding or non-binding moving estimate?
  • What insurance is included? How much does it cost for additional insurance?
  • If a deposit is required, is it refundable?
  • What forms of payment are accepted?  (A company that only accepts cash is a red flag!)
  • What are factors that could change the cost of the move? Would changing my move date affect the estiamted cost?

Questions About Moving Pick Up and Deliver Times

  • If the company charges an hourly rate ask, when does the chargeable time begin and end? Is travel time included in my estimate?
  • If the company does not charge by the hour, how long does the company anticipate being there each day?
  • Will my delivery be on a specific day or a delivery spread?
  • What happens if I’m not available to receive my delivery?

Questions to Ask About the Moving Service

About the Moving Company

  • Who will be my point of contact leading up to and during move day?
  • Are your movers trained and background checked? Are they on the company payroll or hired from a third-party or day labor?
  • Is your company licensed and an AMSA ProMover?
  • If needed, could your company provide a Certificate of Insurance?
  • Can you provide me with references from previous clients?
  • What makes you different from other moving companies? Why should I choose your company?

Asking these questions will give you the confidence you need to know you are choosing a great moving company to take care of your relocation!

If you are looking for an exceptional moving company for your upcoming move, contact Olympia Moving & Storage for a free moving estimate at 800-222-4744 or request an estimate online.  We are happy to answer any of your questions about the company and service!

You might also be interested in:

Introducing The Video Move Survey

cd14221f-bb58-47f2-9105-50b0ddbe876fSo you’ve made the decision to relocate. You’re doing your due diligence by getting estimates on what it’s going to cost to move. Let’s be serious, you’re busy. You don’t have time to put your life on hold to plan your relocation.

Olympia Moving & Storage knows that, so we made move planning easier with the option of getting a free moving estimate via video surveys. If you can’t change your schedule and turning your week upside down to meet with one of our moving consultants in-person, we can easily connect with you at your convenience and do a move planning walk through with just a few clicks on your phone or tablet.

As a premier moving company, Olympia Moving & Storage is always looking for ways to reach our customers in innovative and creative ways and what better way than to make your survey fit more easily into your schedule?

Sounds hard? Think again. If you opt for the video move survey option to inventory your home it’s as easy as a Facetime:

1. Intro call with an Olympia moving consultant to get an idea of the nature and specifics of your relocation
2. Our moving consultant will offer to review your move and belongings in person at your home, on the phone, or through a video survey Olympia
3. The Olympia consultant sends you an email invite to your video move survey via a link
4. You download the Crater app & connect with your Olympia consultant
5. Your Olympia Moving consultant will guide you through the walk through to discuss the specifics of what you’ll be moving

The other option for those interested in a video move survey option is to request your video survey directly from olympiamoving.com. Use the request an estimate form in the right-hand header of this page and click “request a video move survey” to schedule a video survey for a time that is convenient for you.

1. Choose your home type apartment video estimate
a. (studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom)
    b. single family home
2. Preferred date of video survey
3. Preferred time of video survey
4. Some basic contact information so we can contact you
5. The option to add the video move survey to your personal email calendar

The video move survey option gives you the freedom to get your move-specific estimate at your convenience instead of re-arranging your life to meet with a sales representative. The best part is that the entire survey is recorded and saved, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything – you can easily review your survey and inventory afterward.

In the event that you aren’t able to set a time that works with both you and your salesperson, you can also do a self-survey that will also be saved and accessible by both you and your salesperson. Getting an estimate has never been easier!

You might also be interested in:

 

Olympia Moving and Storage Reviews: Client Satisfaction 2015

Olympia Moving Customer

Olympia Moving & Storage moved almost 5,000 families in 2015, and our clients continually review Olympia Moving via client satisfaction surveys they receive after their move. These reviews help our leadership and staff carefully track our quality quickly respond to outstanding issues. Here’s how Olympia Moving & Storage performed in 2015 as reviewed by our clients.

Olympia Moving and Storage Reviews 2015 Results

Click here to view the full report.

Highlights from the 2015 report

  • 94% of our clients were satisfied with their sales representative
  • 94% of our clients were satisfied with their move coordinator
  • 95% of our clients were satisfied with their crew
  • 97% of our clients said our staff and crew was professional and courteous
  • 94% of our clients would hire us again for their next relocation

The Olympia Moving team is proud of the consistently high scores we receive from our clients. It’s no secret that the moving industry has a reputation for inconsistent or sub-par customer service, but our clients’ satisfaction with Olympia Moving far exceeds not only the moving industry’s standards for customer service, but most service industries’ standards. Moving is a challenging service to provide. Olympia Moving goes into clients’ homes and handles their precious possessions under sometimes emotional, stressful, and overwhelming circumstances where a lot can go wrong. Despite these obstacles, our clients’ satisfaction with their moving services with Olympia Moving is exceptional.

How Olympia Moving Uses the Client Satisfaction Survey

Our clients’ satisfaction is the result of the Olympia Moving team’s hard work and dedication and our leadership’s commitment to constantly challenge mediocrity. The client satisfaction survey is just one part part of Olympia’s Total Quality Management program. Olympia’s managers meet to review the results of the client satisfaction survey and implement action steps to improve our weaknesses. The client satisfaction scores are also analyzed by employee to inform training and personnel decisions. The moment new Olympia Moving and Storage reviews are received from a client, they are immediately disseminated among all staff and crew members involved in the move and their managers, either to boost morale or resolve outstanding issues.

In addition to our clients feedback in these reports, you can also read out recent clients’ comments about their experience on our testimonials page, or view our ratings on review websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Google+, Angie’s List, and Yelp.

If you’re ready to move with a well-reviewed Boston or Washington, DC moving company, click here to request an estimate, or give us a call at 800.222.4744.

You might also be interested in:

Non-Binding Moving Estimate vs. Binding Moving Estimate

EstimatesSo you’re almost ready to hire a moving company! You’ve done your research, 2-3 companies have met with you to perform a pre-move survey, and now these reputable movers have sent you itemized moving estimates. As you compare these companies’ move plans, proposed services, and the bottom lines, be sure you’re clear on which of the three kinds of moving estimates you are reviewing: a non-binding moving estimate, a binding moving estimate, or a not-to-exceed moving estimate.

So what are the differences between these three types of interstate moving estimates?

Non-Binding Moving Estimate

The non-binding moving estimate is the most common kind of interstate estimate. It means that the price that is presented to you is a projected cost for your move, provided to help you anticipate the cost, select a company, and plan a budget. It is not a contracted or guaranteed price, it is simply what the company thinks the final price of your move will be based on the inventory and services you discussed. If the actual services end up totaling less than your estimate, then you will pay less than the estimated price. If the actual services end up totaling a little more than your estimate, then you will pay a little more.

If you’re looking to pay the lowest price for your move, a non-binding estimate is your best choice, as your final bill can potentially be lower than estimated.

Most interstate move estimates are non-binding. The main components of the interstate estimate are the weight of your move and number of packing materials. The company will estimate what your total weight will be based on the inventory they created with you. After everything is loaded, the truck will be weighed to determine the actual weight. If the actual weight and materials used are less than estimated, then you will pay less. If the actual weight and materials used are more than estimated, then you will pay a little more.

A common question about non-binding estimates is whether the client can expect their moving estimate to be accurate. The answer is, absolutely! As long as what you end up moving and packing is what was agreed on the estimated inventory, the estimate should be very accurate. Estimate accuracy plays a large role in a client’s satisfaction, so every reputable moving company strives to provide the most accurate estimate possible, otherwise they risk losing their good reputation and future business!

Also keep in mind that an interstate moving company cannot require you to pay more than 110% more than a non-binding estimate prior to interstate delivery, and the client is not obligated to pay any charges exceeding 110% until 30 days after delivery. So it is certainly in the company’s interest to be accurate.

Binding Moving Estimate

A binding moving estimate may sometimes be quoted for an interstate move. A binding estimate means that you must pay the transportation price listed in the estimate, even if the final weight of your move is more or less than estimated.

The benefit of the binding moving estimate is that the transportation price is guaranteed, so you know exactly what your bill will be after the move. However, binding estimates may result in the client paying a little more for that guarantee. You may notice that the majority of binding estimates have a higher bottom line than non-binding estimates.

Keep in mind that for most binding estimates only the transportation part of the estimate is binding (the bulk of the estimate, which is based on the shipment’s weight). For example, if your binding estimate was based on self pack, the client packing everything, but then on move day you choose to have the moving company pack everything, then the packing was an additional service you requested and will be added on top of the binding transportation cost on the final bill.

Local Moving Estimate

Almost every local move estimate is a non-binding estimate, it is very rare for a local move estimate to be binding or not-to-exceed. The main components of local estimates are an hourly rate for the labor and truck plus the packing materials used. Therefore, for a non-binding estimate, you will pay less if the actual move requires less time and materials than estimated, and conversely, you will pay a little more if the actual move requires more time and materials than estimated.

Are you ready to get your interstate moving estimate? Call Olympia Moving & Storage at 800.222.4744 or fill out the estimate request form. Olympia moved families to every state in the USA last year!

You might also be interested in:

Why is a Moving Company In-Home Survey Important?

After you’ve done your research and selected a few moving companies you want to pursue, the next step is to call the company to schedule a moving company in-home survey appointment. We’ll review what an in-home survey appointment is, and why it’s important to have one before you select a moving company.

What should I expect during the in-home survey?

During the in-home survey, a representative from the moving company will visit your home. Together you will do a walk through of the property so the representative can take an inventory of what needs to be moved. The inventory is the key to estimating your moving costs, click here to learn more about inventories.

After the survey, you and the representative will discuss which services are required, the move plan, pricing, and any of your questions. The in-home survey usually takes about 25-45 minutes depending on the size of your property and how many questions you have.

What is the purpose of an in-home survey?

Every move is unique, but the factors of every move are the same: what needs to be moved, what are the specifications of the locations of the move, and what do you need from your mover. These are the basics that the moving company needs to plan the move and provide you with an estimated price. Without this information, the company has no idea how many crew members and trucks to send, what equipment to bring, how long the move will take, and which services you need. The best and most accurate way to obtain this information is to meet with you in your home.

How does an in-home survey benefit me?

Most importantly, an in-home survey is the best way to get the most accurate estimate of costs, bar none. The in-home survey is also your opportunity to interview and get to know the moving company. It’s also the perfect time to ask the moving company all your questions and better understand the moving process. Many of our clients say that the in-home survey experience is the reason they choose Olympia!

What should I be evaluating during the in-home survey?

Throughout the survey, ask yourself:

  • Did the representative arrive on time?
  • Is the representative dressed professionally?
  • Do you feel comfortable and trust the company’s representative?
  • Is the presented move plan comprehensive and specific to your move?
  • Is the representative able to confidently and expertly answer your questions?

When is it okay to do a phone survey?

The process for a phone survey is exactly like an in-home survey, except you will list the furniture room by room over the phone with the guidance of the representative. If you have a smaller move, such as a two bedroom apartment or less, the moving company can do a very accurate survey over the phone instead of in your home. However, if you request to do an in-home survey instead, we are happy to oblige.

If your home is larger than a two bedroom apartment, it is much more difficult to create an accurate inventory over the phone, so the in-home survey is highly recommended.

What if the moving company will not do a survey?

There are some red flags to watch for when asking for a survey. Do not hire a moving company if:

  • The company quotes you a price without a taking a detailed inventory or going through the move details with you. This means they don’t have enough information to quote you a price, therefore, they probably are not quoting you an accurate price.
  • The company wants to do a phone survey for single family home or large move. This means they do not want to take the time that is necessary to gather the information needed for an accurate quote.
  • The company refuses your request for a representative to meet with you for an in-home survey. This means they do not have a representative available to meet with you who would be a good reflection on the company.

How should I prepare for the in-home survey?

For the most part, the representative will guide you through the survey process. However, the more clarity you have on what the move entails, the more productive the survey will be. Make sure you know:

  • Which pieces are being moved
  • What you are selling or donating before the move
  • Whether you’re moving anything yourself
  • What the movers are packing vs. what your family is packing
  • Have a short list of questions for your mover to help you make a decision

When should I schedule the in-home survey?

As soon as you know what you want to move and when you’re moving, you’re ready to schedule your in-home survey. This is usually right after you sell or purchase your home, and preferably about 3-4 weeks before your preferred move date.

Looking for more information on choosing a mover? Be sure to check out:
Choosing a Better Business Bureau Moving Company
What is a Cube Sheet?
Tips for Cleaning Out Belongings Before a Move

Are you ready for your in-home estimate?
Request an estimate with Olympia Moving & Storage

Choosing a Better Business Bureau Moving Company

Olympia Moving Better Business BureauToday there are dozens of websites that allow consumers to rate their moving company. However, decades before Angie’s List or MovingCompanyReviews.com existed, consumers turned to the Better Business Bureau to learn more about the companies they were working with.

Olympia Moving & Storage has been accredited as a Better Business Bureau moving company since the inception of our business, and we are proud of our A+ rating. However, what exactly does an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau mean?

About the Better Business Bureau moving company ratings

The main purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to make consumers aware of unethical or dishonest companies and assist consumers with disputes against businesses. There are 17 factors that go into a company’s Better Business Bureau rating, but the bulk of the rating is based on complaints against the business filed with the Better Business Bureau and how the company responds to these complaints. Therefore, it is our experience that a Better Business Bureau rating is an indicator of a company’s honesty, ethics, and legitimacy.

We’ve all heard those horror stories of dishonest moving companies in the news. Often these stories include information about the company’s very low Better Business Bureau rating. For examplem, this Boston news story about a moving company holding families’ furniture hostage cites the company’s “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau. I’m sure those families wished they had checked out their moving company on the BBB! It is an easy way to help gauge the honesty of the company you are about the hire.

About Better Business Bureau moving company reviews

To be completely honest, it is not difficult for a moving company to obtain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. There are many moving companies with an A+ rating that we would not consider anywhere near the caliber of Olympia Moving & Storage. The Better Business Bureau recently also began incorporating online reviews into business’s profiles. These reviews are actually separate from a company’s BBB rating, but are a great indicator of the quality of the company. Olympia currently has a 5 star review rating with the Better Business Bureau. We suggest looking at the customer reviews in conjunction with the BBB rating to help you choose your moving company.

What Better Business Bureau accreditation means to Olympia Moving & Storage

The Better Business Bureau recently interviewed Rachael Fischer, Marketing Manager of Olympia Moving & Storage, about why Better Business Bureau accreditation is important. You can watch a video of the interview below:

You can see Olympia Moving & Storage’s Better Business Bureau profiles here:
Boston BBB profile | Washington DC BBB profile

Still need help choosing a mover? You might also want to read:

What is a Moving Broker?
Warning Signs of a Bad Mover

If you’re ready to get an estimate from an A+ rated moving company, request a free moving estimate with Olympia Moving & Storage.

What is a Cube Sheet?

InventoryWhen you call a reputable moving company, they’ll work with you to create a cube sheet (also known as an estimated inventory) for your move. A cube sheet is a list of all the furniture and boxes that you plan on including in your move.

In this article, we’ll explain what a cube sheet is, what it’s used for, and how to read one.

Creating the Cube Sheet

For most Olympia clients, the cube sheet will be created when the the sales consultant meets you at your home for the survey. He’ll do a walk through of your home, consulting you throughout on what you plan on moving. Meanwhile, the consultant will enter all your furniture and estimated number of boxes into his or her tablet. Our sales consultants can enter the information into their tablets extremely quickly using specialized moving software.

For smaller moves, such as one bedroom apartments, the sales consultant can complete the estimated inventory by going room by room with you over the phone and discussing what needs to be moved. Our sales consultants are all trained to ask the right questions to guide you through the process and ensure that we have the level of detail needed to provide you with an accurate quote.

Depending on the size of your home and complexity of your move, it can take 10 to 45 minutes for the consultant to put together the cube sheet live on site.

Our moving software contains hundreds of types, sizes, and variations of furniture pieces and boxes. So when the sales consultant adds a furniture piece to your inventory, the software knows what the average cubic feet is for that furniture piece. The software then produces a document with the subtotals and totals of cubic feet for your move. The total cubic footage is the main piece of information the sales consultant will use to plan and estimate the cost for your move.

When the walk through is finished, the sales consultant will produce the estimated inventory. This is called a cube sheet within the moving inventory because essentially what needs to be determined is the volume, or cubic feet, of all the items that need to be moved. This information is used to determine how many trucks and crew members are required for the job, and if it’s an interstate move, what is the estimated weight of the move.

Reading a Cube Sheet

Click here to see what a sample cube sheet looks like. To make it clear for the consultant and client to read, the inventory is divided by room. There are three columns. The first column is the quantity of the item, or how many of each item is in that room. The second column is the description of the item. The third column is the estimated volume, or cubic feet, of that furniture item.

The cube sheet also contains information on packing. Some boxes will say “PBO” in the description, which means “packed by owner.” That means that we are entering the box so that it’s included in the total cubic footage, but the client plans on packing the box themselves. Others will say “CP” in the carrier description, which means “carrier pack.” That means that Olympia will be providing and packing that box. A container summary at the bottom of the inventory will list all the boxes Olympia will be packing and providing for your reference.

The estimated inventory is provided to you along with the quote for your reference. Olympia recommends that all our clients check over the inventory to ensure that it’s fairly accurate. Remember, this is what your sales consultant is basing their estimate on, so if the inventory is inaccurate, that means the sales consultant didn’t have the correct information for your quote. Being on the same page as our clients for what’s being moved is important to Olympia, that’s why we take the time to create the estimated inventory with you, and give it to you for your reference. If anything changes between the time of survey and your move, be sure to let the sales consultant know so he can adjust your estimate accordingly. Major changes such as adding or removing large furniture pieces or many boxes can make a difference in our planning for your smooth move.

Do I Need a Cube Sheet?

If a moving company refuses to put together a cube sheet or estimated inventory to plan your move, that is a red flag that you are not working with a reputable company. A good moving company will take the time to understand and plan your move before providing you with a moving quote.

Also check out:

Quality Movers are in High Demand: AMSA’s State of the Industry

Quality movers across the country look forward to the American Moving & Storage (AMSA) conference as an opportunity to share knowledge and learn how to better their companies and their industry to meet our clients’ needs.

Every year AMSA CEO Linda Bauer Darr (who Olympia recently moved!) offers big-picture insights as part of her “state of the industry” address.  The state of moving in the United States isn’t just insightful to moving companies, it also offers some understanding to changes in American life.  Here are some highlights from this year’s address:

Americans simply don’t move as often or as far as they used to.  The number of Americans moving across state lines has fallen 50% since the nineties.  This is partially due to the economy, but mainly because job opportunities across cities are more homogeneous than ever before since most Americans work in service industries.  In addition, the advent of telecommunication means that people just don’t need to move for work as much as they used to.

Quality Movers Raising the Bar

Despite this, quality movers are still in high demand.  These conditions cause the number of moving companies to decrease, which lets the quality movers who are leading the industry continue to grow.  Only by promoting the standards of ethics and accountability will keep the moving industry strong.  That’s why the ProMover brand  is so important. The program creates a high standard for moving companies and helps consumers find movers, as well as create an environment where consumers trust their movers and value their hard work.

With creativity and innovation, and by holding ourselves to a higher standard, we can work to create a future where the “values and principles of a good mover are beacon for other industries to emulate.”

 As an AMSA ProMover, Olympia Moving & Storage leads the way by adhering to to this high standard.  Every day we strive to advance the moving & storage industry by hiring staff & crew who put their clients first, going above and beyond to meet our clients’ needs, and adding value through technology.

You can watch the rest of this “state of the industry” address in this video:

Self Storage or Full Storage, Which is Better?

Generically speaking, there are two storage options: “self-service storage” and “full-service storage”.  One big misconception about these two options is that self-storage is less expensive.  Surprisingly, this is usually not the case; especially for the equivalent of 5 rooms of furniture or less.Self and Full Storage Olympia Moving Washington DC Boston MA

Following are some of the pros and cons of self-storage versus full-service storage:

Full-Service Pros

  • Typically less expensive than self-storage
  • Furniture is professionally loaded into storage
  • Furniture is protected with pad and shrink-wrapping
  • Only authorized personnel are allowed in the facility for security purposes
  • Facility accepts liability for your property

Full-Service Cons:

  • Access is limited to the company’s hours of operation
  • Not a good solution if consistent access is required

Self-Service Pros:

  • No Access Fees
  • No appointments required to access your goods

Self-Service Cons:

  • Cost
  • No liability accepted by facility
  • Must load items into and out of storage without any assistance

To inquire about, or reserve space at one of Olympia’s storage facilities, click HERE.