MOVING 101 – Ten of Your Most Common Questions Answered


Know anyone who is looking forward to moving and all the many parts and pieces that go into it? You do? Are they nuts?

Moving is HARD. It upsets our daily habits and personal environment, we don’t always move for a positive reason, it costs money, it’s time consuming, and it can be very frustrating. Though the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show Americans are moving at a record low rate over a one-year period, that rate is 11.2%[1] .Chances are you or someone you know has moved this year.

We polled some of our most frequently used moving companies from coast to coast for advice on how to save time, money, and aggravation with the next inevitable move, and here’s what we found:


  1. What are things the customer can do on the front-end to make for a smooth move?
  • If you are packing your own items, ensure all items are properly protected and labeled on top as to (1) the contents and (2) the room they are going into (not coming from).
  • If you are having a moving company pack, provide them with information on where the items are going so they can make correct labels.
  • Draw a simple floor plan for each room to save time unloading.
  • If you’re moving into a condo or apartment, find out the days and hours you are permitted for a move; find out from your mover how long you’ll need the elevator for then contact the building to reserve it; and provide the building with a certificate of insurance from the moving company.
  • If you’re moving into a house, inform your neighbors when you will be moving in so they are prepared for the added noise and vehicles.


  1. Any supplies the customer should have on-hand to make the move easier?

Professional movers will have all of the common supplies needed for packing, transferring and unloading, but if you’re doing it alone, here are some essentials:

  • Step stool
  • Measuring tape
  • Adequate number and sizes of boxes
  • Adequate amount of packing paper and furniture blankets
  • Packing tape
  • Black markers
  • Labels (to number boxes if making an inventory)
  • Tool kit
  • Furniture pads
  • Dolly
  • Straps and bungee cords
  • Sticky notes
  • Painter’s tape for labeling and marking
  • Trash bags
  • Box cutters
  • Tool kit
  • First-aid kit (those box cutter blades are sharp!)


  1. What are favorite drinks and snacks for customers to have accessible to help fuel movers? Pizza must get old! 
  • Professional movers will be prepared with their own lunch and water.
  • Buying lunch for movers or providing light snacks is voluntary and left up to the clients’ discretion.
  • Having water and an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade available is always appreciated.


  1. What is a rule of thumb for tipping?
  •  Tipping is left to the clients’ discretion.
  • One rule of thumb is $20 to $50 per person per day or $5 to $10 per person per hour.
  • Crew leaders may be tipped slightly more if they did a great job, and out-of-town moves may warrant slightly larger tips.


  1. What creature comforts and other features make for good working conditions? 
  • Access to clean, drinkable water.
  • Access to a bathroom that is stocked with soap, toilet paper, and paper towels so hands can be washed and dried…you don’t want movers picking up a white sofa directly after clearing that shed that hasn’t been entered in years!
  • Allowing all parties to do their jobs unimpeded and uninterrupted.
  • A professional organizer on-site to direct traffic, answer questions, and to manage what’s put where in keeping with the floor plan.
  • A realistic attitude, physical presence, and grounded mindset.


  1. What questions should customers ask when interviewing movers to ensure they are legitimate? Alternatively, what are signs they aren’t legitimate? 

Word of mouth is a great way to vet a moving company, so ask your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about companies they recommend. Then follow up asking the following:


“Yes” to any of the following is a red flag…

  • Do you outsource your labor?
  • Do you offer a cash discount?
  • Do you want a deposit? (small deposit is customary, large deposit is a flag)
  • Do you charge a fee for using a credit card?


 “No” to any of the following is a red flag…

  • Can I get an in-home estimate?
  • Can I get a list of references?
  • Can I check your company information with the State Public Utilities Commission?
  • Can I tour your storage warehouse?


  1. What are ways to keep calm during the craziness of moves?
  • Maintain clear, respectful communication.
  • Stay positive.
  • Be helpful.
  • Stretch.
  • Be prepared. If you are doing your own move, get as many things organized as possible prior to the packing and transfer.
  • If you are hiring movers, ensure they are trained. Before being assigned to their first job, some professional movers go through multi-day seminars on packing and wrapping, loading and unloading, specialty services (ex: art wrapping and hanging), driving, and supervising.


  1. How does moving insurance work?  
  • The industry standard moving insurance without any additional money being paid is $0.60 cents per pound per item.
  • In some states, Valuation Coverage is sold through the mover. It covers your shipment in the event of loss or damage up to an agreed upon amount. However, valuation coverage isn’t insurance, meaning depreciated value is taken into consideration. In the event of loss or damage and a claim is filed, the mover is essentially taken out of the process. The client and insurance underwriter are then left to settle the claim.
  • Check with your insurance agent to see if your current homeowner’s policy covers damages relating to a move.


  1. How far out should people try to book a move?  
  • Three to four weeks in advance, especially if the move is planned for the 1st or 15th.


  1. What are some differences in the move when a move manager/organizer is involved?
  • Improved morale both with the clients and the movers.
  • Less stress and anxiety since things are better organized.
  • Increased overall efficiency.
  • Improved communication, especially since s/he serves as one point of contact.
  • Decreased chaos since s/he controls the traffic.
  • Less interference in the movers doing their job.


Want more info on moves? Email us at to ask questions and request a free step-by-step guide to moving.