Tips in Moving
by Atlantic Transfer and Storage

If you have signed a moving contract without reading it, you have signed yourself in for a nightmare. So here are a few tips on how to read a moving contract before you sign on the dotted line.

Tip one: Read the contract clauses and subclauses carefully
You should be conscious that all contracts have clauses and exception clauses and it is important that you have read and understood everything that has been inked on to the document before you commit yourself to it! The clauses will state the obvious and the exception clauses will tell you all the circumstances when the clauses will not apply.
A prima facie reading of the contract will tell you that the Moving Company agrees to move all the goods specified by you from your current home to your new home without damage and within the time period specified. In return, you agree to pay the moving company such sums as may be agreed upon for performance of the service.  Straight forward enough?  Well no.  It is not as simple as it seems. Look at the wording of the agreement. The operative part is “move”, “goods specified by you”, “current home to new home”, “without damage” and “pay sums agreed upon”.  Let us take them on one by one.

Tip Two: Check how your goods are being moved
“Move” is an operation that the company undertakes to do. Does it specify how?  Look at the subclauses. Does the company say that it will move your goods in an exclusive trailer, van or other vehicle?  Many moving companies optimize on their services by moving goods belonging to one or more households in the same trailer or van. This may not suit you. If you want an exclusive trailer or van for moving your goods, the charges may be extra. If you leave the process to the company the charges will be as agreed upon. So if you sign the dotted line without pondering on the sub clause, you may end up having your goods moved along with that of other households.  So if you are very particular that your goods should be moved in a separate vehicle, you need to specify that before you sign the contract.

Tip Three: Make a list of all the goods you want transported before signing the contract
Note that the wording “goods specified by you”.  If you have made a list of all the goods and services you want moved before you entered into the contract, you are very clear about which are goods you want moved by the company. The company too is comfortable as this is the basis on which the agreement has been drawn up between you and the company. It follows that the company can charge you extra for any additional goods that may be specified by you subsequent to the signing of the contract. This will be set out in the subclause in the contract.

Tip Four: Make sure you are able to move to your new home on the date specified and have parking space close to you new home
The goods have to be moved from your “current home to your new home”.  If for certain unforseen reasons you are forced to request the company to store your goods and then transport it to your home at a later date or time, extra charges for the storage and delay will be imposed on you.  If you do not have parking space close to your new home, then you will be charged for physical transport of the goods from the parking location of the trailer to your new home. If the distance is more than 75 feet, you will be charged for excessive distance and so on.  So it is a good idea to reserve some parking space for the trailer close to your new home on the date you plan to move. You will save yourself a lot of bother and a hefty bill.

Tip Five: Make sure you tell the Moving Company about the stairs in your new home before signing the contract.
When the contract says the company will transport your goods from your old home to your new home they do not talk about stairs and problems of shifting luggage up the stairs. So your moving company may just move your goods to your new home and leave you to fend for yourself if you have not spoken to them about carting pieces up the stairs to the different rooms and placing them appropriately. It is a good idea to have a plan for where you will place the different items and inform the Moving company about the number of pieces that will have to be taken up the stairs, so that they can factor this into the cost right at the inception and you know exactly how much you will have to pay for the service.

Tip Six: Look at the “Without damage” clause carefully. What are the exceptions?
All goods will be transported “without damage” in normal circumstances. However, if you have undertaken to pack the goods independent of the moving company, the company is not liable to damages that may occur to goods due to poor quality packing.  The driver retains the right to refuse to accept any package that is not securely or properly packed. Moreover, if the driver has to repack the goods, additional charges will be levied.

Tip Seven: The “agreed sum” is a qualified statement.
The “agreed sum” is inclusive of any additional charges that may be levied to on you for any additions to goods to be transported or any additional services that may be rendered to you during the course of moving your goods to your new home or any problems that are encountered by the moving company staff while delivering the goods. To make sure that you get a good deal, ask for a binding estimate before you sign the contract. The binding estimate will ensure that you are required to pay only the contracted account, even if the weight exceeds what is included in the binding estimate.  If the weight of goods is below the binding estimate you may even receive a refund!

Tip Eight: Tipping the movers staff is normal practice
Keep in mind the fact that you will be expected to tip the movers staff and that this tip is not included in the moving contract. Several guidelines for tipping the staff are available. However, the normal expected tip is five to ten dollars per mover for half a day of work. So build the tips into the estimate cost of your move to your new home.

Tip Nine: Do not ignore the clauses that are not analysed in this article
Every moving contract has its own peculiarities.  The contract is finalized and drawn up on the basis of the circumstances surrounding the move from one location to another; the number of items being moved; the type of goods being moved and the type of packaging that has been done. So there may be clauses and subclauses that have not been covered in this article. So, make it mandatory that you read all the clauses and sub clauses in the contract.  If you do not understand something, do not hesitate to ask the moving company officials, your own lawyer or friends before you agree to the terms therein.

Tip Ten: Do your homework to be effective.
You will need to do a lot of homework before you decide on which moving company you want to hire for the move. You will also need to do a lot of homework about which items you want to take with you and which you want to sell or discard. You will have to spend time listing them out. You will need to supervise the loading and unloading of your goods and you will have to check for damage at delivery point and also make certain that you have received all the goods that you loaded at the point of delivery and so on.

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