Guess how many moves happen every year, according to the United States Department of Transportation? Go ahead, guess.
500,000? A million? Ten million?
Try forty million moves. That’s right, a staggering 14% of American’s move every year, according to the DOT and the U.S. Census Bureau. That isn’t a guesstimate, it’s a documented fact.
It’s kind of a miracle that more of them don’t go horribly wrong, right? Of course, a fair amount do, and perhaps a larger amount than that have mishaps that go unreported. In recent years, the number of complaints and negative reviews against movers has steadily ticked upward, until consumers are (rightfully) feeling apprehensive when the time comes to select a moving company.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, the challenges of moving house are arduous, and come with challenges that might perhaps be alien to other parts of the country, so it’s important to choose the right company.
In the digital age, most consumers hire companies online. A Google search for “movers near me,” or a visit to Yelp, Craigslist, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, Thumbtack, or any number of other sites and social media apps yields a plethora of options.
Here’s the problem: many of these are scams or shady operations.
You could end up paying too much, receiving your property in damaged condition, or worse. Your property could be stolen. Your movers could simply no-show, leaving you high and dry without a truck or any recourse to get it done.
In this article we’re going to go over some of the most common moving company scams we’ve encountered in our time serving the Daytona region.
“Wait,” you’re wondering. “How do you know about these scams!”
Simple. When shady fly-by-night movers victimize our neighbors, we often get called to the rescue. It’s an honor to be able to help – and we never forget a scam story. Putting those companies out of business by being honest, reputable, and thorough is our pleasure.
Moving Companies in Daytona Beach: The Scams List
Remember that this list isn’t comprehensive. If you know of a scam we’ve missed, let us know by dropping us a line, and we’ll make sure our customers and friends hear about it!
Sight Unseen – the No-See Estimate Scam
Estimates are a common part of any business deal. Typically, when you call a moving company, you’ll expect to receive a quote. Here’s where you run into some shady stuff, though.
A mover who doesn’t drop by to give you an in-person estimate might be putting you on a bit. They’re almost always going to give you a lowball estimate. That estimate, in turn, will probably turn out to be too good to be true. After all, you’re not likely to be able to give a truly accurate estimate of all of your belongings, and you don’t have the experience to correctly guess weight and volume, either. Because moving prices will be typically based on mileage, volume, and weight, getting any of those things wrong will lead to a bad estimate.
Some moving companies will under-quote you on purpose. They cover their rears by reminding you that there might be a few unexpected “surcharges,” and those end up totaling hundreds of dollars above what you agreed to pay. Worse yet, by the time you find out, they’ve already got your stuff. Your back is against the wall, and you’ve no choice but to pay them whatever they ask.
Always ask for an in-person estimate!
Sight Barely Seen – The Barely-There Scam
Related to the Sight Unseen Scam, the Sight Barely Seen is an estimate that takes the mover five minutes. If they walk through your house, poke around for a few minutes, and then throw a number at you, they could be pulling the exact same lowballer scam.
A good estimator will:
Your job is to give the estimator as much information as you possibly can. Make sure they know what is and is not going, and whether things will be packed already. Thousands of people each year find themselves in a hostage situation, with a moving company holding their property against hundreds or even thousands of dollars in additional charges.
It’s a good idea to get everything in writing, and to ask a lot of questions about their pricing.
The Deposit Scam
Movers don’t typically expect to be paid up front. Sometimes, there is a token deposit to cover the gas and time of the moving company staff, but it rarely amounts to more than 10% of the total.
However, many moving scammers might ask for 50% up front, or even the full amount. That should be an immediate red flag for you, and you should refuse to deal with that company.
Because hundreds of people every year pay those deposits, only to find that the moving company never shows up. At that point, if you paid with a credit card, you might be able to reverse the charge and fight the fraudulent expense, but that won’t affect the scammer … they’ve already got your money.
Even worse? It’s moving day, and you’ve got no truck, and no strong-backed movers to get your stuff from Point A to Point B. It’s a rough place to be, and many people can’t afford to pay a second moving company while they’re waiting on their bank or credit card company to make good on their 10-15 business day refund period.
The “Cash Only” Scam
If you like to deal in cash, be careful. It’s a lot easier to defraud someone when there is no electronic record of the transaction.
Moving company scams that involve cash might be a part of the Deposit Scam. For instance, let’s say they ask for a cash deposit. Later, after all of your stuff is in their truck, they could have someone else from their company call you to take full payment and say that the deposit was never received. You’d have no proof, and in order to get your belongings, you might have to pay that amount again.
That’s also true on Paid-In-Full orders. No one gets money from you until everything you own is safely in your new residence.
Packing and Surcharge Scams
So there’s an unfortunate Catch-22 that most moving companies don’t work around. If you pack your own stuff, the mover usually makes you waive any liability on their part for damage. On the other hand, if you pay them to do the packing, you’re often paying enormous markups for boxes, tape, and packing materials, in addition to their (usually quite high) hourly labor fees.
If you’re going to let them pack, ask about their experience and insurance. Make sure that they have a system, including sorting, inventory, and protective packing materials, as well as an experienced packer.
I’d also recommend that you ask to be present to supervise the process. Even if you can’t be there for the full day, if the company knows you’re likely to drop by several times and check on things, they’ll have no choice but to be careful with your possessions.
If you’re packing your own belongings, ask the mover about best packing practices, and find out what is and is not covered under their insurance.
If you’re smart enough to call Movers Daytona Beach, ask us about our Stress-Free Guarantee – we always cover everything for you!
Other surcharges that scammers and semi-shady moving companies use to upcharge you include:
While all of those surcharges can be legitimate under certain circumstances, they should never be a surprise. Make sure you do your homework, and get a clear, itemized estimate from any moving company you intend to hire.
Other Things To Consider:
In Florida, moving companies are required to operate under a license and to assume liability for the full value of the goods they are transporting. Make sure that you’re dealing with a company that abides by that, and make sure you ask (specifically) what their Liability Insurance covers. Is it a per-pound liability or an itemized one?
You should have one of these, and you should read the fine print. Common scams include offering “guaranteed” quotes, but hiding a caveat in the fine print that allows the company to exceed that quote by a large margin if the weight estimate is off. Given that the weight estimate is provided by the mover, you can see the potential problem here.
Instead of panicking, do some research. Hire a company with a great reputation, lots of online reviews, a stress-free guarantee, and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.
Like, for instance, us.
Thanks for reading!
Hey, Daytona Beach!
Are you moving? Are you out of friends with pickup trucks who will work for pizza? Just don’t have the energy for all of that hauling?
Great. So you’re probably thinking of hiring a moving company. But that can be daunting. Like anything else, if you don’t know what you’re getting into, it can come back to bite you pretty hard.
When you’re hiring movers in Daytona Beach or anywhere else, a few simple tasks upfront will save you a lot of headache in the future.
Why should you worry so much about movers?
Because they’re going to have all of your stuff.
Yep. All of it – and since you don’t really know these people, that can be a deeply stressful experience. Why wouldn’t you be worried? If you want to alleviate some of that concern, what you should do is …
Well, read this article!
At Movers Daytona Beach, we’re all about helping. Helping hands are our business, but helping you choose the right mover for YOU – even if that isn’t us – is our top priority.
So let’s dig in, and we’ll go over our foolproof plan to avoid choosing the wrong moving company. We’ll cover:
A major mistake many people make is waiting until the days leading up to the move to try to hire movers. That doesn’t typically work; reputable movers keep a pretty full schedule. Furthermore, you won’t be able to compare quotes and get the best price, or do any of the other things we recommend for everyone before anything gets boxed and moved.
A good general guideline would be this: if movers are available at the last minute, it might be a sign that they’re not particularly good movers. You wouldn’t hire an out-of-work plumber or an HVAC contractor who had no customers! Apply the same logic to the people who will move your stuff.
Movers marketing themselves as “a couple guys and a truck” or something similar is a way of evoking a feeling of familiarity. The reality is two guys and a truck, with no other appropriate qualifications, would make for pretty terrible movers. Reputable movers carry insurance, require their workers to meet a certain standard, and carry all the equipment you’ll need, from forearm dollies and hand-trucks to piano movers. They’ll also have plenty of packing material and blankets and straps on hand to ensure that things don’t get damaged in transit.
If you’ve ever moved yourself, you should be pretty aware that it’s a complex process, especially if you don’t want things busted up.
Any company worth dealing with has been in business for at least a little while, and in today’s world, if you’re in business, you’re online. You should check not only their website, but whatever the search engines turn up, as well.
Looking at reviews on Google, Yelp, BBB, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, and similar sites is a great way to get the scoop on a company. Online reviews are the modern day word of mouth. Those reviews usually present a pretty reliable look at how good a company is at their work.
Make sure to look for useful details in reviews. Were they on time? Did they stick to their quote? Was anything damaged? Were they polite and in uniform?
Or, from the other end, were they shady? Was their truck barely running and dirty? Did they drop grandmother’s favorite vase? Did they damage an expensive headboard? When it comes to movers, mistakes are telling.
Many items require specialty equipment to safely transport. Offhand, that might include heavy gym equipment, antique furnishings, pianos, and pool tables. A company that is able to handle this kind of job will customarily say so somewhere on their website.
If they don’t, check their reviews and see if those things are mentioned. If you still don’t have an answer, you can always call and make sure.
If they haven’t got experience with this kind of thing but reassure you they’re up to the job, they are probably not up to it. If they say they’ve moved pianos but they don’t have piano carry dollies, move on. With moving companies, experience counts for an awful lot more than muscles and good intentions.
You should also be sure their truck is large enough to fit all of your stuff. Experienced movers can estimate that kind of thing pretty easily. But do your homework and ask a lot of questions.
There are plenty of people out there calling themselves “professional movers” in Daytona Beach, when all they are is two enterprising guys with a rented uHaul and a cheap dolly or two from Home Depot. If they don’t have the paperwork and website to back up their claims, go somewhere else.
You can never have too much information. Once you’ve whittled your options down to a manageable list by flagging people with the wrong gear, no insurance, and bad reviews, it’s time to get estimates.
Any company that can’t give you an onsite estimate should be crossed off of your list. We recommend getting two or three in-person estimates before making a final decision. This way, not only do you have clear estimated pricing that you can use to ballpark your final costs, you’ll have a chance at meeting the people you’re planning to trust with your stuff.
It’s a win-win.
Don’t just ask for raw numbers when you’re getting quotes. Ask what’s included, as well. You may find that the lowball quote you’re excited about is lacking a few necessary items (like a second pair of hands, for instance) that you’ll absolutely need to get the job done. Plenty of movers get business by lowballing and then inflating their quotes due to “unforeseen” costs.
Avoid those by being practical. Ask:
Also, regarding those questions: ask them of yourself, too. Do you want movers to pack everything for you, or is that an invasion of privacy? Do you have access to boxes or other materials, or is that an expense you’re unprepared for? Knowing what to expect of yourself leading up to your big move will help you get a spot-on estimate.
The adage goes something like this:
You can have it done well.
You can have it done fast.
You can have it done cheap.
Now pick two of those, and that’s reality.
High quality movers might not be the cheapest, but the cheapest movers might break your television, so there’s definitely a middle ground somewhere in there. Weigh what’s included, the quality of their reviews, and your gut feeling during the in-person estimate. You might find that one mover already stands out from the pack.
If so, great! If not …
Great reviews aren’t the whole story. Confirm with your shortlist that they’re licensed and legally able to operate in the state or states involved in your move. If it’s an interstate move, they’ll be registered with the Department of Transportation. You’ll be able to acquire their license number and check it against the DOT database for free online.
Also, many companies choose to operate without insurance. We advise (in the strongest possible terms)against working with those companies. Remember – literally everything you own is in their hands. If they get into an accident and all of your things are destroyed, their insurance is your only chance to recoup that loss.
The final arbiter has to be you. Who felt right? Who felt like they were trying too hard to close the sale? Who showed up for the estimate in dirty jeans, driving a truck you wouldn’t trust to carry your china cabinet? If you’ve followed the rest of our instructions, your instincts will carry you safely the rest of the way.
You’re no fool, after all.
And while this article is not a sales pitch, we do encourage you to add us to your shortlist and call us for a 100% free in-person estimate. We’re Daytona Beach’s best and most reliable moving company, and we’re only a phone call away.
The time has come for your big move…..maybe you need a Daytona Beach moving company, or, perhaps, you need a long distance mover. But, moving day is not exactly a stress-free event for many of us.
While it’s always an option, doing it yourself can be fraught with risk and unintended consequences. So, let’s assume you have decided to hire a moving company to get you to your new destination safe and sound.
Now the challenge becomes selecting the right moving company/professional for your move. Certainly, it can be a daunting task. Luckily, I have zeroed in on 4 ways to help you pick the right moving professional for your move.
1) Be sure the moving representative you talk to is affiliated with a reputable moving company that you recognize
There are a lot of mom & pop moving companies out there…and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, if you:
a) Need a high level of reliable trust indicators when selecting your moving company
b) Have a larger home with lots of expensive or precious furnishings and belongings.
Then, it's time to turn to a moving company with a long track record and a reliable reputation that you can trust. You’ll want a company that will protect all of your precious belongings using the latest wrapping and packing techniques.
Unfortunately, there are movers that take risky shortcuts and don’t invest in properly training their administrative and packing/moving staff. It only takes a few bumps and grinds during the moving process to lead to minor (or major) disasters.
So choose wisely and inquire into their ongoing training and how exactly it works.
2) Investigate the online reviews for the moving companies you are getting quotes from
When checking reviews, beware of the review fraud that is rampant on the internet. It’s important to confirm that at least some are independently verified. Unfortunately, many of the reviews you see on moving company websites can be edited and selectively posted.
When you get some experience reading reviews, you will quickly learn how to spot the fakes from the real McCoy’s. When it comes to hiring ANY home services company, reputation is extremely important to me.
I simply will not invite someone into my home without some independent verification that they are competent and trustworthy. I strongly suggest you do the same.
Keep in mind that all companies will get at least some negative reviews. This comes with the territory when you service thousands of customers over many years. Look at each review individually and look for trends in the types of complaints, keeping in mind that you just can’t satisfy everyone all the time.
As long as most of their reviews are excellent that is a good indicator as to what you can expect. I look for overall review ratings of at least 3.9 or higher out of 5 total. (The higher the better of course).
The way moving companies respond to negative reviews is an indicator of their culture (or the lack thereof) when it comes to handling complaints. This, in turn, speaks volumes for the character of that moving company.
If the negative reviews get no response at all, that is an excellent indicator that they simply do not care about 100% satisfaction.
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3) When obtaining a moving quote from a qualified moving professional, be sure to get it in writing
To help avoid misunderstandings down the line, it is imperative that you get your quote in writing. An experienced moving company leaves nothing to chance. They’ll ask all the right questions and ensure that your moving quote is detailed, including all of the services and options you are looking for.
At Movers Daytona Beach, I use technology like smart phones and software that will allow me to offer you a complete, rock-solid moving quote that you can count on to be 100% accurate. Plus, this technology allows me to offer your quote remotely without having to interrupt your already busy life and waste of bunch of your precious time.
In the end, you’ll want to avoid unforeseen complications or misunderstandings to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as humanly possible.
4) Ask your neighbors, friends, and family for reliable moving company referrals!
It’s the 6 degrees of separation thing - you probably know somebody who knows somebody that had to move recently. Take advantage of an excellent resource that you can trust and inquire as to how their experience was.
I hope this has been helpful…..now let’s get moving !!
...Your personal moving pro!
Today, we’ll clear up some confusion among my Daytona Beach moving clients when it comes to 2 particular moving company services:
Many people will select a moving company and just assume that packing and loading are one and the same when, in reality, they are 2 separate and distinct elements of your move. That may be because they were not itemized on your moving quote as individual fees, so you are not even aware.
Of course, moving companies will certainly load your furniture and then re-assemble it at your new destination. Isn’t that exactly why you hire a mover in the first place: to eliminate the get-your-hands-dirty, back-breaking part of your move?
Let’s face it; who wants to carry a bulky cabinet or 300lb washer/dryer combo down a flight of stairs? Certainly not me. That is exactly why you hire a moving company in the first place.
But in reality, packing services are a separate and distinct service from loading and unloading and one in which you are traditionally charged as an additional line item.
Here's a helpful hint...ask your movers sales person if they offer a separate packing crew that only handles the packing portion of your move. These specially-trained packing crews are proficient in the most effective packing methods to ensure that your personal belongings arrive intact.
And, to make your unpacking more efficient, my Allied team will never mix and match packed items from different rooms to save on boxes. So when you open a box labeled "Master Bedroom", you WON’T find your dishes or blender mixed in. This can be a significant inconvenience when you have to DIG through boxes to find items from room-to-room.
Here are the 3 most common packing services our moving customers ask about:
1) Full Service Packing:
2) Packing Fragile Belongings:
3) Do-it-yourself Packing
Item 3 above certainly sounds like an incredible, cost-saving option, but when you account for your time, effort, and all the supplies needed, it can turn into a lot bigger job than you may have bargained for.
Let me know if you're interested in my flat-rate, cost saving options for packing.
Be sure to tune in again next week as l cover moving topics such as basic services, guaranteed price protection and some of the most popular and cost-effective options offered by my Allied moving team.
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Regardless if you are moving into the Daytona Beach area or embarking on a long distance moving adventure, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the stress levels (and your blood pressure numbers) come moving day.
Here are the top 5 ways that local and long distance moves can go wrong and how to prevent them:
1. Working without a plan
Do you fully understand everything involved in moving, beyond the move itself? Sure, there's the packing and loading and making sure your belongings are properly handled; but that is only a small part of the big picture.
Here are other, often overlooked considerations:
a) Transferring utilities
b) Notifying your doctors, insurance company, post office, and others of your move
c) Scheduling of flights and other related transportation needs
d) Canceling all home deliveries and maintenance services
e) Arranging access to personal items you will need in transit
f) Booking hotel reservations
Keep a dedicated file handy that contains all the information and documents you'll need to maintain order, before and after the move. Most moves happen when school is out, and, as a result, moving companies are in the middle of their peak season.
Failure to book your move well in advance can leave you scrambling for a last minute moving company. We all tend to make better, more informed decisions when we aren't under the gun.
3. Placing too much of the moving responsibility on yourself
Many times an inexperienced mover will dramatically underestimate the scope of work and the effort involved in moving.
Over-confidence seeps in, or perhaps a tight budget, and they convince themselves that they are perfectly capable of anchoring the ship without any assistance whatsoever. Sure, they rent a truck and scarf up some blankets and boxes, but then the ship begins to take on water.
I'm certainly not insinuating that it's all bad all the time, as I'm sure some families manage to pull it off without major setbacks. However, there are risks nonetheless. And one of the biggest is injuries to yourself and your family. Even young, in-shape adults are prone to injury from improper lifting techniques and trying to handle too much weight.
Another common mistake is miscalculating the size of the truck required to pack everything onboard. And, what about getting that 500 lb fridge up (or down) the stairs?
Another consideration is piloting a large, multi-ton vehicle. What if it rains, or snows? How about backing up without destroying the sprinklers and crushing the garden borders?
Big trucks require much longer stopping distances and a keen eye kept on overhanging tree limbs and roadway signs.
4. Failure to allot adequate packing time
Packing at the last minute is a recipe for failure. You feel rushed and tend to skimp on the common sense packing strategies that you would otherwise use. Heavy items may get tossed in with precious heirlooms that are easily damaged or destroyed.
And, when you are in a hurry, you may move items that would have otherwise been thrown out if you had the time to really look closely. This can result is unnecessary expenses moving worthless, unneeded belongings.
Moving is a great time to purge the accumulated items that you no longer need and never use. This includes overloaded junk drawers, clothing, linens, unused and dried up paint, rusty tools, lawn care equipment, and more.
Now is the time to clean house and rid yourself of worthless junk that just takes up much needed space in your home.
5. Not packing a daily survival kit
Smart movers always pack a personal survival kit to keep life humming along in preparation for, well, whatever happens.
This kit would include life's necessities such as scissors, toiletries, a screwdriver, your address book, a flashlight, your laptop, blankets and stuffed animals for the little ones, your favorite pillow, pet food, a can opener, soap, coffee, and medications.
And last but not least, keep a little cash handy for tips and spur-of-the- moment meals.
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