Visit California Moving and Storage Association Before Picking A Mover

The California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) is a non-profit trade association and has a website that represents over 300 insured and licensed movers operating in California. CMSA is a great resource for finding out the best practices and procedures for professional movers in California.
They Offer helpful information you should ask the mover and information you should find out before moving such as:

License
Estimate
Find prospective movers in your area
Carrier/Mover Liability
Price/Rates
Storage:
Not to Exceed Price:
Evaluate Service Presentations:
Visit the Mover:

CMSA is a huge resource if you need information about your potential mover. If you have a potential move it is a good idea to visit before picking a moving company.

Protecting Yourself From Illegal Movers

California’s storage and moving industry are experiencing a large volume of commercial and residential moves. Unfortunately, the very circumstances that have spurred commercial and residential moves have also ignited a rash of illegal movers.

According to the California Moving & Storage Association (CMSA), they are getting a higher number of call on their consumer information line. A high percentage of the calls are from victims of illegal movers. Illegal movers appear to be legitimate online but, in fact, quote below market value prices and engage in unlawful practices. The CMSA offers cost-free services and information to assist consumers in choosing a reputable mover.

According to the CMSA, consumers are subject to possible fraud if they book a move online or on the phone without doing their research. CMSA suggests 2 strategies to validate the legitimacy of a company: Verify the license number with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) or visit the physical location of the company.

CMSA members are profiled alphabetically and by county on its website. Members are licensed and maintain workers’ compensation insurance and professional liability insurance. Members also provide training for their staff to ensure a professional move, maintain clean equipment and moving vans, and adhere to a strict professional code of conduct.

Moving Tips – Pre-planning is Key

With so many details to consider prior and after a move, it isn’t surprising that moving can seem chaotic and difficult. On the All Reasons Moving blog you will find a lot of helpful tips on managing a move to keep your sanity, keep track of your belongings and prepare yourself like a pro for the entire process. Below are four tips that will help even more.

We always appreciate hearing from our clients who have had a successful moving experience, or where they could have had a smoother go of it. Please let us know your moving experiences (good and bad) and tips so that we can provide better service and information to our community.
BEFORE the Move Tips.

Our BEST Tip Ever: Hire a GOOD moving company. When you hire a reputable moving company, your cares and concerns are considerably reduced. When you trust your movers, peace of mind soars. There are several ways to find a mover but the biggest things is to make sure they are licensed and insured.

        Resources to help you choose a mover:

Make a Moving File: From moving contracts to confirmation that the energy has been turned off, you will accumulate tons of paperwork related to the move. Put all files related to the buying and selling of your home, the move, the new home, contacts and useful information in one portable file box that you keep handy at all time. Consider keeping a measuring tape, calculator, business card holder, stamps, stationery and envelopes, and a file for current bills and correspondence in this box as well.

Necessity Box: Always pack a box with essentials. Things you know or think you may need in your new home the first night. Flashlight, toilet paper, light bulbs, tools, toothbrush & paste, paper towels, plastic cups, bottled water, soap and whatever else you know you can’t live without and don’t forget about what your pets may need like food and a water dish.

 

Moving is a stressful time but a bit of pre-planning can help take the stress out of your move.

Only Hire Legal Moving Company – Don’t get Ripped off!

California ProMoverWould you hire an unlicensed contractor to build your dream house? Would you let an unlicensed dentist work on your mouth? Would you invite someone into your home you don’t know, that doesn’t have a license, no insurance. Someone that is going to remove everything you own and drive away?

How often do you invite people you don’t know into your home? How many years have you worked to buy everything you own? What would it cost you if you had to replace it ALL? If you are not careful you could loose everything you own in one day! How much did you pay for your couch? I tell people all the time “do not cheap out when choosing a mover”.

I spend a lot of time talking about “how to choose a mover” and why not to hire an unlicensed moving company. We hear stories every day about consumers getting ripped off. Companies demanding more money at destination than the original agreed upon amount. Damage to belongings, items missing and worse case scenario the unlicensed mover that loads everything up and takes off never to be seen again.

The way they lure you in is by quoting cheap prices. If the price seems unrealistic this should be your first warning. Legitimate companies have overhead and if the prices seem to low you can be guaranteed that company is not paying workers comp, general liability or cargo insurance.

Don’t fall victim to one of these Rogue Movers. We have to stop these ruthless heartless thieves. The best way to stop them is to STOP USING THEM and report companies to the PUC that you discover are operating without a license.

Now to make things even worse it isn’t just unlicensed movers that are the problem. The PUC shuts down moving companies for violations every day. Their license gets revoked but they either keep working anyway OR re-open under a different name. While you are on the PUC web site checking license numbers look to see how long they’ve been in business. You should pick a company that has been around for a while.

What does it mean to hire an unlicensed moving company? Aren’t all moving companies the same?

  • All Moving Companies are NOT the same.
  • If you hire an unlicensed mover and your items get damaged you will not be able to recover anything for your loss
  • Items could be stolen and again you cannot recover
  • They lure you in with a cheap rate then charge for “extra’s”. In the end the move costs more than if you’d have gone with the higher hourly rate mover.
  • These companies are typically only around for a few months then they shut down, change their name and re-open. Usually in the few months they were open they accumulated bad reviews on-line but they don’t care they change name and consumers have no idea.
  • These companies hire day labor. Inexperienced people off the street to work with them. No background check means ex-cons and criminals in a lot of cases.

Tips on how not to get ripped off:

  • Research companies well in advance of your moving date. Schedule a time to have a representative from the moving company come out to your home. A legitimate company will provide you with a written not to exceed price. If they aren’t willing to give you a written estimate don’t use them (time permitting of course).
  • Never book a company based on an on-line quote. The web can be a great resource and good place to start but just because a company looks legitimate and has a pretty web site does not mean they are a company at all.
  • You want to deal directly with the moving company you are booking.
  • Do not book through a Broker which is what most of these on-line companies are, they sell the job to anyone willing to pay them.
  • Check the license number on the PUC web site. Make sure the license is valid and the name matches what they gave you. If the name on the license s not the same as their web site or estimate paperwork contact the PUC immediately. The license number must match the name they are using. If the name doesn’t match it could be a Rogue Company using someone else’s number.
  • Make sure they have insurance on file with the PUC. As a consumer you can also ask for a copy of their certificates the name of the company is at the top. It’s also okay to call the company and verify the certificate is indeed authentic.
  • What year were they established if it was within a few months or even a year it could very well be one of these companies that got shut down changed their name and is back to rip people off again. In this economy there aren’t a lot of moving companies opening up and you want experience anyway. There are plenty of legal licensed experienced companies out there.
  • Go on-line and enter the moving company name check reviews on BBB, yelp and other review sites it may surprise you what you find. Do they have a web site? Do they have a physical address?
  • Ask friends who they’ve used and if they were happy. BUT always check license numbers and reviews even if you got a referral. Just because your friend used someone doesn’t mean they checked.  I hear of people referring unlicensed movers all the time.
  • Choose a moving company that is a California ProMover. This could save you lots of time. These companies are certified and have been pre screened for consumer protection. These companies that are Certified ProMovers are all licensed, insured and have excellent reputations in the industry.
  • Sites such as movers.com do not have trucks of their own. They are brokers that take your name and information and sell them to companies willing to pay. Always book directly with the moving company not through a broker.

Bottom Line: 

  • Do your research.
  • NEVER book solely on Price!
  • Do not book a mover just from the web
  • Only use a company that is well established legal and licensed.

Renting the Right Size Moving Truck

Moving Truck RentalUse these tips to determine what size moving truck to reserve prior to your move, and how to load it. If you are planning on moving yourself and researching truck rentals, you must have an idea of the truck size you need in order to reserve it comfortably. You should reserve a truck four weeks before your move.
If the truck is too small you will have to make several trips. If you are moving a long distance that could be disastrous. If left to the last minute, you also risk not being able to rent the size you need for the right price. A truck that is too big is a better option; however, be aware that if your items do not snugly pack into a large truck, or if you neglect to secure them properly, they may become damaged by shifting or falling.
If you are hiring a moving company they should bring the right size truck based on what you tell them you have and being professionals they can fit more into a smaller size truck than the average homeowner.
Trailer:

If you are moving a child to college, cleaning out a shed or small garage, or only moving one small area, rent a trailer and hitch. You can generally measure a few pieces and estimate the number of boxes to determine which size trailer is right. This option is usually cheaper than renting any full size moving truck.
Trucks:
The chart below can be used as a guideline for reserving a moving truck.

  • One to Two Rooms: 12-foot
  • Two to Three Rooms: 17-foot.
  • Three to four Rooms: 22-foot.
  • Five to Seven Rooms: 26-foot.

NOTE: Keep in mind everyone is furnished differently and while these guidelines are helpful it’s not always that simple. Do you have an entire other house is your garage? Do you have lot of patio furniture, lawn mower, plants and other items that do not stack well? Do you have very little in the way of stuff or are you a pack rat? Be honest with yourself and really take a look at what you have.
TIP: Remember to take into consideration the height of the truck. If you have a tall piece it may not stand in a 12 foot rental because you don’t have the height clearance and you will need to rent a bigger truck to get the height you need. When you are renting a truck always remember to ask about the height.
Packing the Moving Truck
You want to use heavier furniture pieces like dressers, nightstands and desks as what is called “base”. Wrap moving blankets around furniture to keep things from getting scratched. Stack boxes on top of the furniture. Smaller furniture pieces can be stacked on top of your base furniture.

Fill in between and underneath with smaller pieces and boxes, wrapping where possible. Boxes can easily go under a table or a desk. Look for small boxes to fill in spaces this not only helps to keep the shipment from shifting but you also want to make sure everything fits so use your space wisely.

Keep a small step stool handy this helps with reaching high and deep into empty spaces. Always put lighter items on top and heavier on the bottom. When packing remember it’s easier to stack a box than it is to stack a garbage bag the more you have packed into uniform boxes the easier the truck will be to load.
Distribute the weight evenly throughout the truck with more weight towards the cab or front of the truck but pretty evenly throughout the truck. Not only is it not good for the truck itself to be loaded heavier on one side than the other but when taking a turn it’s possible to flip the truck if you have more weight on one side than the other.
Where you are moving and how far you are going? The farther away you are moving the longer your items will be in the truck and the more pads and straps you should use. Are you moving somewhere that you will be driving over a steep road? Keep in mind the load shifting and use straps or rope to help keep furniture in place.

Moving Truck Rental Companies we recommend are Penske, Budget  or Enterprise Truck Rental. All have good maintenance records and staff available to assist you in figuring out the proper truck size.

If you are moving cross country or some farther distance you may want to consider hiring a professional moving company to load the truck for you. Hiring a professional moving company will lesson the chances of the load shifting and items getting damaged. Check the CMSA (California Moving and Storage Association) web site for a list of California ProMovers in your area that can help with this. The money you pay upfront to load the truck could save you money in the end with less breakage not to mention getting you on the road quickly and easily.

Hiring a Moving Company & Insurance Requirements

Workers Compensation In California consumers may request to see evidence of workers’ compensation coverage before they engage a moving company. Consumers can be liable for any work-related injury occurring on their property to an employee of an uninsured employee of a moving company. In this situation they can find themselves with no coverage under their homeowner’s or renters liability policy.

“Persons moving in California need to make sure their movers have proper workers’ compensation insurance,” says Steve Weitekamp, President of the California Moving & Storage Association. Properly licensed moving companies with workers’ compensation coverage incur significant costs to insure their employees. This coverage protects not only the mover and their employees but also, just as important, the customer.

The California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC), which regulates moving companies, requires as a condition of the licensure that they have on file a copy of that company’s Workers’ Compensation Certificate.

The California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) strongly recommends verifying that the moving company you are considering is CPUC permitted and has all proper insurance these include Workers Compensation as well as Cargo and General Liability.

The Internet has many uninsured movers preying on consumers. Do not book your move with an on-line broker make sure the moving company you are considering is a “real” business. Do not allow your self to be victim and remember if the price seems too low there will be a catch somewhere along the line.

California ProMoverConsumers are urged to make an informed choice when selecting a moving/storage company. In an effort to help consumers make an informed choice the CMSA has started a program called ProMover. ProMover is the moving industry’s consumer protection and certification program designed to fight fraud by giving consumers a way to identify quality professional moving companies. Look for the ProMover Logo when shopping for a moving company.

For more information, call the CMSA consumer hotline at (800) 672-1415 or visit the website at www.thecmsa.org.

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