You might be approaching your move to or within New York with fears for your wallet: Similiar to buying real estate or picking a mortgage, there are few things more important in your financial life.
However, if you put a little work into it, you will probably be able to have a good moving experience and not spend as much as you'd expect – you can get both a good price AND a quality New York mover.
First, realize that a higher level of service, a greater reputation, or a higher demand for their services means some movers can charge more than their peers – you pay more, but you get better service.
On the flip side, companies levying quite a bit less than the competition are probably doing so for a reason – and you might find yourself taken for a ride by a company that tries to charge more after giving you a low-ball bid.
With that background, here’s a checklist of items to help you determine the best moving company at a reasonable price.
1. Plan -- Most moves take place in the summer, between April and September. The further ahead you plan your move and start your conversations with potential service providers, the better the chance you'll have your first choice of movers -- and perhaps better service too because they’ll be under less stress. If you wait until the last minute, you may have no choice at all.
2. Interview – After finding movers you might be interested in, get actual written estimates from each company and understand the services included in each quote.
Once you narrow down the number of candidates to two or three, get on-site consultations, in which a trained professional does a walk-through of your current residence and crafts a binding estimate – a binding estimate is a guaranteed price for a move; nonbinding is an estimate based on the movers’ previous experience with similar-sized moves, and can change depending on how the actual move proceeds.
An accurate move estimate is based on the stuff that actually has to be moved, as well as any physical constraints (stairs, etc.) movers will have to deal with.
3. Research - Ask and get answers satisfactory to you on the moving companies' experience, references, the type of equipment they use, and how they screen and train employees. Inquire if the moving company is a member of national associations like the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) or state associations; this participation indicates an adherence to certain operating principles and training that can provide comfort to you that you are working with a quality, reputable company.
4. Negotiate - In most moving situations there will be some negotiating room, particularly in the off-season. At worst, you asked and they said no. Most likely, your request will result in some discounts or additional services being provided to help the moving company finalize the deal.
5. Follow your gut – If you find two or three companies that you are comfortable, just go with your gut. Think about your interactions with the company. Were they responsive and professional? If they weren't during the sales process, will they be professional during or after your move? Was the staff knowledgeable and helpful and would they be available if you needed to speak to them?
The actual move tends to have a lot of unknown circumstances and challenges and you will want to know that the company that you choose is going to be there to support you along during the process.