Our expert planning guide to moving house
Moving is a life-event we all experience, with over one third of Australians having moved in the past 5 years. It's time-consuming, tiring and rarely described as fun, however it usually leads to a positive result. If you need help on moving day, hiring quality movers to help is key to having a positive move experience.
In Australia, there are over 5,500 individual removalist operators available to help us move. That’s a lot of choice. So why do some of us have problems with the movers we hire and what can you do to have a stress-free moving day.
Sheriden and Robert's story of hiring movers
Recently, I did a segment on Channel 9’s A Current Affair about a family’s experience when they hired movers. The workers helped them move, but stole $20,000 worth of jewellery on their way out.
The family was obviously upset by the whole experience. They reached out to the police and their insurance company for help. Check out the segment to learn from the family’s experience and to get our tips and advice for dealing with professional and unprofessional movers. Have your voice heard about the family's move after you watch the segment. We want to know your vote below.
Have your voice heard - vote below!
The family was obviously upset by the whole experience. They reached out to the police and their insurance company for help.
Check out the segment to learn from the family’s experience and to get our tips and advice for dealing with professional and unprofessional movers. Have your voice heard about the family's move after you watch the segment. We want to know your vote below.
There are easy ways to ensure you hire quality movers. We want you to avoid having the same experience as Sheriden and Robert, so please read on for our tips on moving homes.
Getting ready to make your move
Speaking from personal experience and from helping people with their moving-day complaints, we know that the outcome of your move depends on the effort you put in before the big day.
Listed below is a simple strategy to help you get prepared:
- Declutter items you haven't used in the past year.
- Avoid last-minute packing, pack as early as possible.
- A week prior to your move, contact utility providers to connect your new place at least two business days before you move in and to disconnect your old place.
- Keep a copy of all your important documents, in one folder and on your phone.
- Keep essential items like allen keys, toiletries and a change of clothes in a suitcase or bag on moving day in case of delays.
As we mentioned, there are thousands of individual removalist operators in Australia available to help us move. Selecting quality movers to help will ensure you avoid unnecessary stress. So how do you select a good team to help?
Here are our top 5 tips for dealing with paid movers:
1. Get realistic quotes
Getting accurate quotes will allow you to select the right helpers, minimise surprises and delays, which will result in less stress for you.
Complete the following steps to receive valid quotes:
- For each room, compile a list of the big furniture items that will be moved including beds, tv, couches etc.
- Record the size of items and any potential access issues for getting the items in and out of your homes (yes, both homes).
- Estimate how many boxes will be required to pack remaining items in each room.
- Collect items you want to move yourself as you go, and place them in one area in your house.
The end result is two lists. One list is organised by room, contains a list of items, number of boxes and their sizes and will be sent to get quotes from movers. The other list contains the items you’ll move yourself.
2. Record the condition of your goods
Your goal is to have a plan incase your items are damaged, as moving puts stress on your homewares too. We hope that your property turns up at its destination in the same conditions it left its origin. But doing this step will help you deal with problems a lot faster and easier, should they arise.
Remember, these are your possessions, so it will be your responsibility to show evidence of damage. Therefore we recommend you do the following:
- As you move between rooms making the lists in Step 1, take photos and videos of your household items.
After completing Step 2 you will have photos and videos of your household items stored in a safe and easily accessible place. This evidence will come in handy if items are damaged and even help to locate items you might need in a hurry.
3. Choose the right movers for the job
The aim is to find the best movers for your available dollars.
Removalists come in all sizes, costs and levels of experience. So it is definitely worth taking the time to shop around for quotes, as bargains can be found if the company has some spare space or under-utilised staff.
Quotes are usually based on m2 of a home or by the hour and charged for depot-to-depot time. Any access issues including stairs, steep driveways and restricted access will impact the cost so be sure to mention them during the quote process.
It's a little known fact that established movers are part of an industry body called Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA). Selecting a moving company registered with AFRA means they meet a certain level of professional standards to be part of their association. Also, if you have a complaint with an accredited moving company, AFRA will investigate the dispute.
To select the right movers at the best price, follow these steps:
- Decide on the amount of help you’ll need.
- Consider if you have flexibility on dates and times and your budget.
- Call and speak with at least three companies to obtain quotes to compare.
- After receiving three quotes, contact each company to see if you can negotiate a better deal.
At the end of Step 3, you should have decided on the best quote for your upcoming move and booked in a date and time. Your selected movers should provide you a contract outlining the costs, pick-up time and how to resolve a dispute.The pick-up time is part of the contract. Delays of a few hours are permitted, however your removalists should provide compensation for out-of-pocket expenses for extended delays.
4. Decide on insurance coverage
Removalist companies love to sell you insurance because this makes them more money. But you might not need their insurance, if you have a good home contents policy which covers your items for the move.
We recommend you deal with the insurance question like this:
- Contact your home insurance company to check if your contents insurance policy will apply during your move.
- If you are covered, be sure to tell your insurance company you are moving. They will only cover you if their policy allows it AND you let them know you are moving before the day.
- If your contents policy does not provide insurance, consider if this type of insurance is something you need. Investigate what alternative options exist, other than purchasing insurance through the moving company.
You should now know if your exisiting contents policy will provide insurance coverage for your move. If your existing policy does not cover you, you will have considered your needs for this type of insurance and taken action if needed.
5. Watch and respond to problems on moving day
The tips below will make moving day easier:
- You should be present or have a representative present during the move. This will allow the movers to ask any questions or to notify of any hidden damage.
- If you're moving interstate and/or into storage, an inventory of items should be prepared by the movers.
- All existing and ‘hidden’ damage should be noted on the removalist’s paperwork.
- If you pack items into boxes and the boxes are sealed before the helpers arrive, the movers aren’t liable for damage, as long as they took due care with the move.
- Ask movers to put boxed items in the correct room according to label on the box. Request heavy items be placed in their final location.
Only once all items have been delivered and placed, should you sign to acknowledge job completion. It is a lot easier to raise issues before you sign to finish the job than after.
If something goes wrong
Your items should be delivered in the same condition they were in before the move. Unpack immediately and report damage asap (within a few days). Reporting damage 1-2 weeks following the move is too late.
Also, it's important to know that, delays of a few hours are permitted, however your movers should provide compensation for out-of-pocket expenses for extended delays.
If you encounter any problem with the removalists, deal with it there and then. Delaying may cause you to lose your claim. Here’s what you can do:
Step 1: Record details, take photos and videos as soon as possible, even as it is happening, to support your complaint.
Step 2: Use Handle My Complaint to file a complaint in writing, listing the reasons and including photo or video proof of why the company should provide you with compensation. We will send you confirmation of your complaint and if you have an account with us, we will keep a copy of this complaint for future reference.
You should always lodge your complaint as soon as you find out about it as time limits apply to your right to complain.
If you’ve used movers and have been unhappy with the experience and want to lodge a complaint, we’ll help you file your complaint correctly. You can tell us what has happened and what will alleviate your worries. Just say the magic words 'Help Me Handle It'.