Some days, it may seem like you’re part customer service representative and part counselor when you’re dealing with tenants at your storage facility. That’s particularly true when you’re assisting storage customers who are grappling with one of the most stressful things in life—moving.
One of the ways you can help alleviate that moving stress is by being a great resource for your customers. Armed with moving tips, you can be a trusted adviser for storage customers who are on the move.
“Moving is about more than just sheets and towels or pots and pans,” said Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates interstate moves. “We move our memories and the items that make a new city or house feel like home.”
Here are four moving tips that you can–and should–share with your customers.
1. Check Them Out.
When hiring a mover, dig into the company’s background. Good places to do that are the websites of the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and the American Moving & Storage Association (www.moving.org).
“Anyone can claim to be a mover, so checking a mover’s credentials is not only critical, it is also very simple,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central East Texas. “Taking precautions on the front end can save you from a nightmare down the road.”
Although state regulation of movers varies, all interstate movers must be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To verify that a mover is licensed for interstate jobs, visit protectyourmove.gov.
Also, the BBB and the moving association advise consumers to figure out whether they’re dealing directly with a mover, or with a broker who will refer them to an unfamiliar moving company.
“Finding a mover you can trust doesn’t need to be difficult, if you take the time to do some research,” said Mary Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
2. Don’t Focus Solely on Price.
Dan Wood, co-owner of Aberdeen, SD-based Dial-A-Move Relocation Services, said that concentrating only on the cost of the move is a “dangerous gamble.”
“It’s no lie—there are some horrible moving companies out there. Like every industry, there are always going to be some lemons in the bunch,” Wood said. “However, there are also some movers out there who offer absolutely superior service.”
If someone hires a cut-rate moving company, chances are good that the employees aren’t paid well and aren’t highly qualified, according to Wood.
“This, in turn, leaves you with a subpar moving experience and a bad impression of the industry as a whole because this one experience is the only one you have to relate to,” Wood said.
To avoid a subpar experience, Wood suggests getting recommendations for moving companies from friends, relatives, coworkers and even the local chamber of commerce. About 80 percent of Dial-A-Move’s business comes from word-of-mouth referrals, he said.
“The best information you will get regarding a company isn’t going to come from their best salesman,” Wood said. “It is going to come from previous and current clients.”
3. Get Written Estimates.
The BBB and the American Moving & Storage Association recommend obtaining at least three written in-home estimates from moving companies. They note that not all price quotes received online or over the phone are legitimate, “and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance.”
“Remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end,” the BBB warns.
4. Beef Up the Protection.
It may cost more, but buying full-value protection from a mover can provide some peace of mind, the BBB and the moving association say. With this protection, any lost or damaged items will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made. The groups say that the cost of full-value protection must be included in the initial estimate you get for an interstate move.