Shifting houses is hard. And it’s even harder if you are not well prepared. Recently, I had to move from Bangalore to Faridabad. It’s been about a month now that I have shifted to my new house, but I really can’t say that we have settled in yet. Many would think, moving houses is an easy task. Enquire and finalize a Movers & Packers, finalize a date and you are done. That’s probably true for a bachelor. But if you have a family, I would suggest you plan for it at least a month in advance.
In this post, I will only write about things that you will need to know about choosing a moving company. I will also do follow-up posts covering other aspects of moving your house and how you can plan it so that you are not frustrated in your new home.
1. Choose a Movers and Packers company
This is probably the hardest part. Choosing a vendor is not at all easy or straight-forward. This business is still quite unorganized and most of them will disappoint you. If you go by their reviews, you won’t find even a single reliable vendor who you can trust with your items. Once you call them, they will ask for an appointment to survey your house and give an estimate. They would just talk and talk, give you an estimate and give you all possible assurances.
You might get very cheap estimates, and some might quote you exorbitant prices. Do not always go for the cheapest or the costliest one expecting them to give you a trouble-free experience. Read reviews about them on the internet. You should never shortlist a company if it has less than 50 reviews(good or bad). If they mention something which is not written in their terms and conditions, ask them to give it in writing.
Note: 80% of their words are plain lies. Please don’t believe their words. Ask for written commitments and terms and conditions. Never go by their words.
2. Household items: Avail insurance or not
For household items, the insurance amount that you normally have to pay is 3% of the declared value of items. They would force you to declare a higher value for your items so that they can earn commission from the insurance companies, it at all they insure your items.
What could go wrong here? Well, as I said earlier, don’t believe these guys. I would suggest not to spend anything on insurance. But if you still want to, make sure you first get your insurance policy from them before the shifting date. Go through all the terms and conditions before you let them touch any of your belongings.
Note: For me, they took insurance charges from me on the day of the shifting, and never gave me any insurance policy details even after following up with them for weeks. Some items were damaged during transit, and I was never able to claim anything. What they probably did? They pocketed all the insurance premium that I had paid, about 6000 INR.
3. Payment schedule for the Movers and Packers
Most of them ask for 80% payment on the day of shifting. 20% or so needs to be paid when you get the delivery. Although this is a highly unfair payment schedule for you, there’s nothing much you can do here. They will accept all methods of payment: Cheque, Cash, Online Transfer etc, which is quite convenient.
Note: Keep all your estimates, payment receipts and other documents related to this in safe custody. It is very easy to misplace these documents while moving.
4. Full-Loading or Part-Loading
Full-load is obviously going to be costly in theory, where the vehicle which loads your items is the one that is going to deliver it, and it would only contain your items. Part-load is usually cheaper since a single truck can contain household items of multiple persons who are moving.
Part-load can be riskier because:
- Your items can be easily mixed up with others’.
- Your items can be damaged since they will be loaded and unloaded multiple times due to change of trucks or carriers which ply to different destinations.
If they are promising you a “Full Load” carrier, make sure you note down the number of the carrier that leaves your house. Verify at your destination if it’s the same carrier.
Note: For me, they promised a single carrier for my items, but when they finally delivered the goods, I realized that I had been taken for a ride. I lost 2 items in transit, which they haven’t been able to track down yet. The carrier wasn’t the same one which had picked up my items. And I did see several damages on various items, which clearly suggested that they have been loaded and unloaded multiple times.
5. Moving your car or driving
It is a tough decision. It was for me. But if you are adventurous, I would suggest that you drive it to your new house yourself. Trusting your car with these guys is very risky. Driving could be tiring and costly, but it can also be economical since you would save on your air tickets. However, if you are still shifting your car through any moving company, please take care of the following.
- Insurance or not: Please refer above where I have talked about insuring your household goods.
- Take note of your odometer. Although, this doesn’t make any difference. If they need to misuse your vehicle, they will drive it around by taking out the cables attached to the wheels.
- Take note the fuel in the tank. If there’s a big difference, ask them to explain.
- Please mark the tires in front of them which cannot be easily tampered or reproduced. I have heard about incidents where they steal your new tyres and replace them with old ones.
- Do not leave any accessories inside the car.
- Take note of all current damages and scratches. Take lots of pictures of your car, both inside and outside.
For moving a car, they generally would ask for your RC in original and the Insurance Policy document in duplicate. That’s normal.
It is very easy to skip all these things. You would probably be very busy when they come to pick up your car. So, please plan for all these points well in advance.
Note: For me, my driver’s seat cover was torn at 2 places. The toolkit was missing. My car phone charger was gone. Tires seemed to be replaced by old ones, although I am not very sure about this. The fuel tank was almost empty. The delivery guy at least had the courtesy to remind me that I had an almost empty tank: it was half-tank when I had handed over the keys to them.
These are the things that you should definitely plan for and keep in mind. Also, check with your friends. Most of them would probably know a moving company which they might have used before.
This is only the first part of your preparation, and probably the most important one. If you happen to succesfully choose a great moving company, by luck or by research, 90% of your hassles are gone. In the follow-up posts, I will talk about other things that you need to keep in mind.