How to Read a Moving Contract: A Comprehensive Guide by Alliance Relocation Services
In our years of experience at Alliance Relocation Services, we have encountered numerous customers who found themselves in a precarious situation due to a lack of understanding of the terms and conditions of their moving contracts. To help you avoid these pitfalls, we’ve put together this guide on how to read and understand your moving contract.
1. Understanding Your Moving Estimate
The first thing you will receive from your mover is an estimate. It can be binding or non-binding. A binding estimate gives you the exact cost of your move, provided you don’t add services. A non-binding estimate is an approximate price and your final cost can change.
Always clarify with your moving company if your estimate is binding or non-binding. In some cases, a non-binding estimate may appear cheaper, but you might end up paying more than you had budgeted for due to unforeseen costs.
2. Identify The Included Services
Your contract should clearly specify what services are included in the stated price. Standard services typically include packing, loading, transporting, unloading, and unpacking.
However, some contracts may have services listed as “additional” or “accessorial,” which means they are not included in the initial estimate. These can include packing materials, handling bulky items, shuttle services, or storage. Ensure you understand these terms and check whether any additional costs are involved.
3. Know the Claims Process
Relocation is a complex process, and damages may sometimes occur. Your moving contract should outline the process for filing a claim, the company’s liability for your belongings, and how disputes will be resolved.
In the fine print, you might find that the mover’s liability is limited to a certain dollar amount per pound, rather than the actual value of the item. This is standard practice, but you may wish to purchase additional coverage if you have high-value items.
4. Look out for a Bill of Lading
Every professional moving company will give you a bill of lading – it’s the contract between you and the mover for the transportation of your items. It will also serve as a receipt.
Don’t sign the bill of lading if it’s blank or incomplete. Verify that all the information is accurate, including pick-up and delivery dates, addresses, the estimated cost, and any additional services you have requested.
5. Delivery Window and Delays
The contract should mention a delivery window during which your belongings will be delivered. However, be aware that unforeseen circumstances like weather conditions can cause delays. The fine print might contain clauses about how such delays will be handled and what compensation, if any, will be provided.
6. Hidden Charges
One of the biggest pitfalls of moving contracts is hidden charges. Look out for terms like “flight charge” (for carrying items up and down stairs), “long carry fee” (if movers have to carry items a longer distance from your home to the moving truck), or “appliance servicing” (preparing appliances for the move).
7. Cancellation Policy
Life is unpredictable, and plans can change unexpectedly. Ensure you understand the cancellation policy, any associated charges, and how much notice you must provide.
A comprehensive reading of your moving contract can save you from unexpected surprises. As a reputable moving company, Alliance Relocation Services believes in full transparency and encourages all our customers to understand their contracts thoroughly. We’re always here to answer any questions or clarify any points in your contract. Because, at the end of the day, our ultimate goal is a smooth, hassle-free move for you.