I’m moving. I have been told by the estimator that the company will send people to pack my stuff into boxes prior to it being put on the truck by the actual movers. They say this is not negotiable and that if a box that I had packed myself somehow got onto the truck, they would not be responsible if it was lost, stolen, or detroyed. Is this standard practice now? The last time I moved, the packing part was an option, and it cost more, which is why I packed my own stuff. Has there been an increase in people making false damage claims that has led to this practice? Is this a ploy to get the customer to move the most delicate objects themselves (like in one’s own car) and thereby limit the company’s liability?
I don’t know if I trust complete strangers to do a good job protecting my belongings. If they pack things badly, and those items are broken in transit, what does it matter to the packer?
The last three moves I’ve made had the same or similar limitations: anything I packed myself either required extra insurance, an inspection of the packing by the movers (which was effectively an unpack + repack), or they had to pack it.
The advantage to them to doing a good job is that they then won’t have to pay to replace the items that break. If they pack it, they’re taking responsibility for it. In two of the moves, I did in fact have some breakage (most notably a shattered glass tabletop), and the movers replaced it with new custom glass without my even asking.
How much stuff do you have? When we move we rent a Uhaul, pack the boxes, and then hire movers to pack the stuff into the truck. We drive the truck to the new location ourselves and then hire movers to empty the truck. Much cheaper if you don’t mind the process of packing.
Slight hijack about moving companies packing your stuff…
Be ready and organized before they get there. Don’t delude yourself for a minute that you can stay a room ahead of them, sorting and discarding before they pack. They fly like the wind and are a packing juggernaut. They will pack anything and everything in their path, including bags of trash, if they’re sitting around. If you don’t have it organized, your stuff will be packed as they encounter it, resulting in very odd combinations in boxes and major difficulties finding things once the stuff is moved.
Not just less breakage (cuz it’s packed by people who are typically more experienced and/or trained for it), but they’ll compensate you in the (rare) event that they do break something.
Each box is numbered and listed on a manifest. The moving company knows which individual packer packed which boxes. Breakage will happen from time to time, but if an individual accumulates a crappy track record, he can expect to eventually be out of a job.
They are the professionals, they don’t want breakage, because they will have to pay to have it replaced. You will be amazed at how many trees they kill packing all of your stuff.
Just a word the wise. I do not recommend letting them UNPACK at your destination. Most moving companies, say that unpacking is taking it out of the box and putting the items on flat surface…not necessarily where you want it. You will be better off taking your time and unpacking on your own. Again you will be amazed at all of the paper they use to keep your stuff from breaking.
I can attest to this–I just finished my second gov’t paid relocation, and I did find some little knick-knacks in some weird places; luckily my purse and backpack were in the closet and the cats were in the bathroom, as I wouldn’t have seen them again for six months.
I packed a few books, CDs, and DVDs, and my suitcases, but let the movers handle the majority, including my framed pictures and hand-made (not by me) raku pottery. Fortunately, nothing arrived broken, but if it did, they would be liable for the damage and they would pay me for what they broke.
Best advice–let them handle packing everything, it’s their job.
Man, I gotta move more often. I’m completely out of it. I knew there were companies who would do the whole job for you, but I thought they were rare and expensive. I thought moving was still largely a search for boxes, a slow process of discarding/packing and then a search for a truck and three sluggos to load it and shlepp the boxes to the new place, with me pitching in all over the place. Does anybody move that way anymore? That’s how I’ve always moved. (Last time eight years ago, from a very large apartment to a house - stove, fridge, beds, sofas, big bookcases, etc. Cost about $500 total.)
You can still do stuff the manual way, and it is a lot cheaper (having the movers just move already-packed boxes, no real insurance, is probably about 1/3 the price of having them do it all). But in my case, at least, I was exposed to the “full-service” kind of movers during a couple of company-paid long-distance relocation moves, and it’s such an amazingly different experience that I’ve paid for it myself on subsequent moves.
Moving is always stressful, and there’s plenty of work involved in unpacking anyway, so having them do it all is just a way to reduce that stress by throwing some money at it. I suspect a lot of folks find the cost prohibitive or just not worth it, and “two burly guys and their truck” style movers are still easy to find.
Let the moving company pack - they will do an excellent job. Take this from someone who has move 5 times in 9 years with professional movers paid for by your employer. I am about the embark on the 5th move this week back across the Atlantic and over to CA. 18 months ago I moved from CA to Paris and not one item was broken, chipped, scratched etc. They are the experts let them do it. However if there are things you want to take with you clearly label/put in an area clearly marked ‘Do Not Pack’ then you are responsible for it.
Oh and empty the trash before they get there and make sure your toothbrush is with the ‘Do Not Pack’ stuff
I agree. When I graduated, my company paid for packing and unpacking. The movers put all the boxes in the apartment, and then the moving company sent someone over to unpack. One someone, about 247 years old. After each box he looked at all the other boxes and asked “do you want me to do another one” until I finally gave up. Our second move we didn’t even bother. I’m happy if they get the furniture in the right place, where the other stuff goes has to be figured out, slowly.
Movers love packing me. I have a lot of books, and they are easy to pack, heavy, and are very hard to break.
We had movers do the packing when we moved to the DC area 20+ years ago and it was great.
When we moved houses 7 years ago, we realized we could a) spend weeks getting everything packed, with loads of disruption of our lifestyles, and using up “spare” time we didn’t have, or b) spend a few hundred bucks to have them do it all in a day. We went with option b and were VERY glad we did. Worth every penny (I think it may have cost an extra 7-800 dollars).
You do have to be around and keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t doing anything too awful (one friend reported movers upending a boxful of slides into a large carton, and using a signed poster to wrap another item). Don’t hover, but be in the house.
On the long-distance move, I think one item sustained some minor damage, which they paid to repair without question.
The only other moving horror story I’ve heard of was one friend, moving from DC to Seattle.
Their moving van caught fire en route. OOPS.
Forgot to mention: when we moved houses, we did have some “do not pack” items. The 60 year old crystal, the computer, the houseplants, some household chemicals, and course the kids. To the best of my knowledge, movers will take all of that except the chemicals (and I presume the kids) but we figured that most of these were fragile and/or irreplaceable, so we opted to take them ourselves.