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Planning a Smooth Move? What You Need to Know - By John Beyer

Last updated 7 years ago

It has been my experience, as the owner of Long Island – based moving company Men on the Move, that many families prefer to relocate in the late spring and early summer. Real estate agents report that most closings take place in early summer. Actually, the summer for the moving industry is the busiest time, especially from June 15th to September 15th.  People like to move after the school year ends. Within the moving industry, the end of each month is also busy because that’s when apartment owners’ leases usually expire. As someone who has been providing moving services for consumers for a number of years, I understand the stresses involved and have some suggestions to help people plan and carry out a smooth and successful move.

When planning a move, it’s a good idea to start interviewing movers one to two months prior to moving, or even earlier if planning a complex move. Often, friends can give recommendations when looking for a moving company or maybe you are familiar with a local mover who has a good reputation. Moving companies should be willing to furnish references. Always check out moving companies with the Department of Transportation and the Better Business Bureau. Just ask for each company’s DOT number. New York State’s DOT is a good resource for local companies; consult the U.S. DOT for long-distance movers.

It isn’t a good idea to trust any firm listed online unless it also has a brick-and-mortar facility with an address and has been in business for a long time. And it says a lot about the company when customers have access to a principal. In most cases, issues or problems that may arise can be rapidly resolved by letting the company owner know about them.

Members of the American Moving and Storage Association’s Certified Mover Program® are an elite group of movers who agree to follow an industry code of conduct. My company, Men on the Move, is AMSA-certified, which means we’ve agreed to provide complete disclosure of moving information, written estimates of charges, timely service and prompt response to claims and complaints.

It’s smart to get three free estimates for the cost of moving the contents from your home to the new location. The estimators should make a site visit and provide all the information you need. Listen to questions, such as “Will you pack your own lamps and pictures or leave it for the movers?” A professional mover should clearly delineate which tasks either the customer or the mover will handle. Otherwise, the job may take much longer than anticipated and cost a lot more. Keep in mind that local moves are priced primarily on the time and materials required. The cost of long-distance moves is influenced by the weight of the contents transported.

Be sure to find out how much insurance there will be on household items during the move. Ask for a not-to-exceed price on the move.  In regard to cost, there is always a fuel surcharge on long-distance jobs. Recently, New York State’s DOT implemented a local fuel surcharge on moving. Consumers should question this and ask if there are any other fees. All movers are insured locally for 30 cents per pound per article. Customers need to declare the value of their home’s contents. Usually additional insurance can be purchased from the mover.

Most New York area jobs cost between $1,400 and $2,500, but this varies greatly depending on the amount of time it takes and the materials used. People can save on moving costs by doing most of the packing themselves.  However, it is best to use professional packing materials. Anything that can be taken apart before the movers get there will help to save money on moving company hourly rates. The key to spending less is careful preparation. Pack up and box as much as possible ahead of time.  Don’t use printed newsprint to wrap dishes, or your china will have to be washed again. What’s more, newsprint also gets hands dirty. Wrap dishes and glassware in plain paper instead. It is important to make sure all the boxes packed are flat on top so they can be stacked in a moving truck. Be sure to label the contents on the sides of the boxes. It’s also helpful to list the room where movers should place each box.

Unplug the computer and printer, and disconnect the cable TV boxes the morning of the move. Make sure, though, that there is phone service on the day of the move. If well-prepared, the job may cost a lot less.

 There are advantages to having the movers do the packing. Experienced movers are quick and efficient, and use professional materials that protect furnishings, art and belongings. Damage to merchandise during a move is minimized when a trained mover handles the packing. 

Today, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) enable movers to keep track of their trucks at all times. Computer technology also makes it possible to prepare an electronic inventory of the contents of the consumer’s home prior to the move.

A move can be smooth, but this does involve careful planning.  Ask the mover for an estimate of the number of boxes the job will require, and then divide that by the number of days left until moving day to see how many boxes should be packed each day. This will help prevent having to pay the mover to finish packing any remaining items.

If necessary, some movers offer storage facilities for rent if all the contents of the home can’t be moved to the new location.  Warehouse storage or self-storage facilities are available at Men on the Move or at other companies. Remember, if there isn’t a need for access to items put in storage, opt for warehouse storage.  It will cost less.

On moving day, the best advice for people anticipating what they may consider an ordeal is to just relax. Relax and help direct the movers. Take charge of the kids and pets, or ask a trusted person to help so that the movers can work most efficiently.  

Most important of all, remember that hiring an experienced, reputable, professional mover should result in a smooth move.


John Beyer, President of Men on the Move, is a certified moving consultant. His firm is a member and he is a Past President of the Long Island Moving and Storage Association. Men on the Move serves Long Island and the New York metropolitan area, handling local and long-distance moves: or call (516) 773-6683.


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