Are you about to move to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, or San Miguel de Allende? Are you asking: “What should I know when hiring a moving company?” We understand that hiring movers for your cross-border move to Mexico can seem difficult. You have many companies that offer cross border moves to Mexico. So how do you choose the right one? Keep reading for some good tips for hiring a moving company and questions that you should ask before signing a formal contract for your move to Mexico.
What You Should Know Before Hiring a Moving Company
Before you hire a moving company for your Mexican relocation, there are few things that you need to do in preparation. These include:
Know the Type of Moving Company You Need
The first step in getting a reliable moving company is to know exactly what you need. Make sure that you have a basic understanding of the type of relocation that you’ll make. This is a cross border into Mexico, which will involve a lot of mileage and customs requirements. Therefore, you need to hire a moving company with a track record of providing exceptional service in that area.
Do Your Due Diligence
We recommend that you research at least ten movers. Make sure that you consider their moving history and look out for the red flags that indicate a rogue moving company. What kind of services does each one provide? Do they offer packing services? Always check out each company thoroughly.
Ask the Appropriate Questions
Before you set any appointments for a mover’s site visit (or a visit to your home), interview them over the phone. Ask them all the questions you have so that you can reduce your choices and get closer to making your decision.
Scrutinize All Movers’ Estimates to Choose the Best One
We understand that some moving estimates may be a bit confusing. Make sure that you get all the explanations that you need from each moving company. You need to be aware of exactly what they will charge you for and at what rates.
Make Sure That You Understand the Movers’ Costs
Do a deep analysis of your movers’ estimates to understand the structure of their fees. Let each company explain their estimates. Find out if there are extra charges that could be incurred and when they may arise. If a company doesn’t want to explain their cost structure, then that’s a red flag – don’t hire that moving company.
Check for Any Complaints
Complaint registries are a good way to check what other people think about each company. Take this feedback into consideration when you choose a moving company.
Understand Each Moving Company’s Expectations
Be sure to check each moving company’s FAQs on their websites. Make sure that you know what your responsibilities are as a customer. You also want to ensure that the moving company is registered and insured to safeguard your interests as a customer.
Useful Tips for Hiring a Moving Company
There are millions of moves every year in the USA – including those cross-border moves into any Mexican city of your choice. So, you must choose a moving company that has the expertise you need for relocating to Mexico. Let’s discuss some important tips for hiring a moving company:
Take Inventory of Your Household Possessions
A good moving company will take inventory of all your household items to figure out the magnitude and weight of your move. Although some companies may try to do this survey virtually, it is best to have a visit in person.
The representative of the moving company needs to carefully check all your storage spaces like cupboards and garages. They need to see the full extent of your belongings so that you can get an accurate estimate of your moving bill.
A Detailed Walkthrough
Your walkthrough needs to be thorough. A good moving estimator will ask you questions about what you intend to take with you in your move to Mexico. So be willing to indicate all the items that will go with you versus those that will either be sold, donated or left behind for the new owners of your home.
Avoid Paying a Large Deposit
Beware of movers who ask for a large chunk of the moving cost upfront. Reputable moving companies won’t demand a large deposit before your move, as you only pay upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you’ll see your possessions again. Also, when you pay, make sure that you pay with a credit card to protect you from fraud.
Name Switch? Avoid That Moving Company!
The moving industry is reputation-based. However, some unscrupulous companies may operate under several names to avoid the Better Business Bureau assessment. Always check that the company has a local address and information about their licensing and insurance. Call the company to see if the employee answers the phone with the stated business name.
Do your due diligence to check if the company does business as other names, as well as their state and federal license numbers. Be sure to check online if the company has any complaints. If you want to learn more about a company, then call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s customer complaints hotline.
Get Movers’ References
While you can get movers based on the recommendations of family and friends, this may not always be possible. You can still get a list of reliable moving companies from associations like the American Moving and Storage Association.
Require each moving company to give you a list of three customers from your area who have moved in the past 3 months. You can then call those customers and ask them about their experience with the company. Do all that you can to ensure that you have a smooth move into Mexico.
Consider Foregoing the Packing Costs
If you do the packing yourself, the mover isn’t responsible for any damage to them. However, letting the moving company do the packing means that you’ll pay more for packing supplies, plus pay for time and labor.
If you still want to have the movers pack, then ask about their packing experience. Most packers are careful, but you want to avoid getting people who don’t exercise care when packing your belongings.
Watch Out for Extra Moving Fees
If you are moving into or out of a two-story home, or an apartment then you should expect extra charges. Moving companies charge extra for movers having to negotiate stairs and elevators.
Also, if you have a narrow street that doesn’t fit a moving van, then expect a surcharge for the shuttle (or smaller vehicle) that’s used to complete your move. Always ask your mover about any additional fees that may apply to your move. You don’t want any surprise bill hikes.
Never Sign a Blank Moving Contract
You should never, ever sign a blank contract: Never! Make sure that you get everything in writing. The mover’s estimate and any extra fees must be listed, as well as your pickup and delivery dates.
Read your contract and take note of all details. Make sure that your belongings are listed. If an item isn’t listed on the inventory form you sign before the driver leaves, then you can’t expect it to be delivered to your new home. Remember, you can’t file a claim on an item that’s not on the inventory list.
Don’t Accept the “Guaranteed” Quote
You should note that there are three types of moving contracts/estimates:
A Non-Binding Moving Estimate
This means that your moving company can’t require payment that exceeds 10% above the original estimate. Furthermore, any overages must be paid within 30 days of delivery.
A Binding Not to Exceed Moving Estimate
In this case, your contract ensures that you don’t have to pay any overages to the original estimate. So you end up paying either less than the estimate (if your move comes in cheaper) or the estimate at most.
A Binding Moving Estimate
This is a guaranteed price for your move (inclusive of extras and services). That may sound like a great idea, but it’s not the best choice for you. Why? If your move comes in cheaper, you still have to pay the higher binding estimate. Also, you must stick to your inventory list on moving day or risk losing the guaranteed price for your move.
Feel Free to Report Any Problems
After your move, you have nine months to report to the moving company and file an insurance claim. We recommend that you open every box on your moving day to check that all is well with your possessions. Be sure to note any problems on the mover’s copy of the bill of lading before signing it. Your mover then has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim. Within 120 days of receiving your claim, the mover can either deny your claim or make an offer to pay.
Check for Moving Insurance and Valuation Protection
All moving companies are mandated to assume liability for the value of the goods they transport. But, there are two levels of liability and you need to be aware of the cost of each and the protection provided by each level:
Full (or Replacement) Value Protection
This is the most comprehensive level of protection available for the transport of your household goods into Mexico. Choosing this tier will ensure that if anything is lost, destroyed, or damaged while in the mover’s custody, then the mover must:
- Repair the item to restore it to the same condition as when it was received by the mover, or pay you the repair cost.
- Replace the item with another one of similar type and quality, or pay you the replacement cost.
For this level of protection, movers can limit their liability for loss and damage to items of extraordinary value, unless you expressly listed them in the shipping documents. An example of such an item would be anything that carries a value exceeding $100 per pound (like jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques, rugs, or electronics). Therefore, make sure that you ask your mover for a complete explanation of this limitation before your move. It’s your responsibility to carefully consider this provision and make the necessary declaration.
Alternative Level of Liability
This level of coverage is a no-cost option and while it’s more affordable, it also offers less protection.
With this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound, per item. All loss or damage claims are settled based on the pound weight of the item multiplied by 60 cents. Let’s consider an example. If the mover damages or loses a 10-pound stereo that is valued at $1000, then the mover won’t be liable to pay you anything except $6 (that is 10 pounds x 60 cents). Therefore, you should only choose this level of insurance if you are shipping household items that are quite inexpensive.
While there is no extra charge for this minimal protection, you need to sign a specific statement on your bill of lading signifying your agreement to the same. However, if you don’t sign this statement, then your shipment will be transported at full (replacement) value protection. You will then pay the applicable valuation charge.
Some Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Moving Company
You need to know what questions to ask before hiring a moving company. Let’s explore of few of them:
Are You Fully Licensed?
There are many moving scams and rogue movers out there, so be careful. You need to ensure that every moving company you consider is properly licensed. All professional interstate moving companies must have a license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation. Furthermore, you can check their license number and complaint history.
However, for local moving companies who only relocate customers within the state, they are regulated by their state and not the US Department of Transportation. Therefore, local movers must have a state license. You should also note that each state has its own set of moving regulations and license requirements.
Do You Have Experience With My Specific Type of Move?
You need to be sure that the moving company has a lot of experience handling your type of move. For example, if you are moving from Arizona, USA to Puerto Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas, then you need an expert US-Mexico cross-border moving company. You want to rest easy knowing that your movers are well-prepared to handle all the intricacies involved with your particular move.
What Kind of Liability Insurance Coverage Does Your Company Offer?
When you’re doing any move (but especially a long-distance move), you want to be sure that your possessions are fully protected. Therefore, you need to know if the moving company has multiple liability coverage for you to choose from.
You can also purchase insurance from a third-party insurance company. But before you go that route, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends checking your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure that you’re not already covered.
Oh! And don’t simply take the moving company’s word for it that they have insurance. Insist on seeing their proof of insurance. If they have a problem showing that proof to you, then they’re not legitimate and you should not trust them with your move.
Do You Have Any References?
Just as you would first check an employee’s references before hiring them, when hiring a moving company you should also check their references. Before you place your valued possessions with any moving company, you need to make sure that they are trustworthy. A legitimate moving company will be willing to provide the same.
While getting references is important, we recommend that you always do your due diligence. You can ask your relatives, friends, and neighbors for recommendations. However, you should double-check the moving company’s online reviews and ratings. You can also investigate the moving company’s USDOT number, Better Business Bureau rating, see if any official complaints were filed with the FMCSA and whether the moving company is affiliated with the American Moving and Storage Association.
Can You Provide a Binding Quote or a Binding Not to Exceed Estimate?
You don’t want any surprises on your bill. The majority of moving companies offer non-binding estimates, which means that the final price of your move changes with the actual costs (it could be higher or lower than estimated).
Now would you prefer to know exactly how much you will need to pay in advance? Then you should hire a moving company that offers a binding not-to-exceed estimate. You’ll know the maximum you will need to pay for your move, but if your move comes in cheaper, then you pay the lower cost. Of course, you must ensure that the initial estimate accounts for all potential charges such as stairs, travel time, and other incidental costs.
Other Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Moving Company
Some other questions that you should ask before hiring a moving company include:
- How long will my move take?
- How do I contact you and my driver during the move?
- Will my items be transferred to another party along the way?
- Do you subcontract your moves?
- Are there any potential charges I’m not already aware of?
- What additional moving supplies will I need to pay for?
- Do you have a cancellation policy?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- Are there any restrictions on what and how I pack?
- Will you pack specialty items, such as TVs and electronics?
- Will this moving company be delivering my items or will another party be delivering them?
Get the Best Moving Company for Your Relocation to Mexico
You may have been wondering: “What should I know when hiring a moving company?” But now you have some valuable tips to help you to choose right. For a hassle-free move to Cabo San Lucas, Merida, or other Mexican cities, US Border Movers is ready. We have years of experience with cross border moves into Mexico. You won’t have to worry about customs or any logistical details. Simply leave it all to us. We also offer a free estimate for your move. You deserve to move to Mexico with zero stress. Let US Border Movers make your dream relocation a reality. Contact us today!