There’s no telling where life will take you. One day you’re beachcombing in Florida and the next day you learn you’ve got to move to Canberra!
But what’s the worst part about moving? It’s not leaving people behind (thank god for the Internet!). It’s not being alone in a new city either – technology has made making new friends so much easier. It’s the actual moving.
The gruesome process of taking stock of everything you own, packing it neatly in boxes, labeling those boxes, putting them away until D Day, and finally having them shipped can be most draining; both mentally and physically. And then there’s the unpacking too.
Adept, experienced international packers and movers can ease this taxing process. The trick then is to find the right one.
The trouble with choice
A quick Google search of the terms “international packers and movers” returns about 13,80,000 results. Even after narrowing the search down by location, you’re bound to be left with multiple options to choose from.
So what do you do? You pick the first three, or if you are rather diligent, the first five results and get in touch with the respective packers and movers. You check their website, browse through the content, and when impressed, you request a quote. All’s well and good.
Or is it? There are several pitfalls to vetting packers and movers based on their quotes alone. For one, there’s no standard for comparing quotes amongst one another. Three different international packers and movers are likely to provide three different quotes with little to no service variations. How do you compare them?
For another, quotes are seldom, if at all, a reliable indicator of the ‘character’ of the company. Good quotes will not mean much in the end if your packers and movers turn out to be unprofessional, or worse, fraudulent. They may use inexperienced laborers leading to severe damage to your goods. They may even disappear with your goods and money. Imagine the horror!
Which is why, when it comes to choosing the right packers and movers, the question is not so much ‘why’ as it is ‘how’. How can you find, vet, and finally choose trustworthy packers and movers for international relocation? And the answer is research, research, research.
Eight steps to choosing the right packers and movers
Choosing the right packers and movers is part art and part science. Our detailed eight-step approach will help you with both:
Step 1: Conduct a thorough initial screening
The Internet is a good place to start. Use your preferred search engine to find international packers and movers operating from and to your location. The search engine results page will display about seven to eight packers and movers, the majority of which will typically be big-name companies popular around the world.
However, you want to conduct your own research. Visit the websites of the packers and movers listed on the page and look for the following:
- Company’s full name and address
- Any alternate names the company uses for international operations
- Contact information – both phone number and email
Discredit any packers and movers who have not displayed sufficient information on their website. You may also use websites such as Mouth Shut to check for company reviews.
Step 2: Delve deeper with quality scanning
Next, narrow down your list by checking for industry specific certifications. ISO and FIDI-FAIM certifications are the gold standard for international packers and movers. They ensure your packers and movers adhere to the accepted global standard for providing and managing international relocation services.
If your current list includes packers and movers that do not have the said quality certifications, strike their names out before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Scrutinize online reputation
If screening company credentials is the ‘science’ of choosing the right packers and movers, then scrutinizing their online reputation is the ‘art’. Authoritative sites such as the International Association of Movers and FIDI greatly aid this process.
If you find prospective packers and movers (who passed steps 2 and 3) not listed on these websites, use review websites such as Google Plus and Mouth Shut. Reading through these sites will help you gain perspective about the packers and movers in your list. It helps to know and remember that not all reviews are positive, popular, or unbiased. However, you will be right in removing packers and movers with exceptionally poor reviews.
Step 4: Request quotes and compare
An important point to remember at this stage is to request quotes directly from the packers and movers on your list. Do not go through aggregator websites that promise to provide you the “best quotes” from different companies. Trust your research and directly request quotes from the international packers and movers on your list. Be sure to compare at least three quotes.
A good way to vet companies using their quotes is to obtain a list of the exact services and cost breakdowns included in the estimate. Be wary of the packers and movers who provide extremely low cost estimates. Similarly, check what services you get if the packers and movers that provide rather steep rates.
Step 5: Analyze years of experience
While the relationship between experience and competence is not necessarily linear, experience does add benefits of its own. International packers and movers who have been in the business for long can bring valuable insight and wisdom to the table when helping you relocate. For instance, they are more likely to be aware of the diverse intricacies related to international relocation than packers and movers who are relatively new to the business. They also usually have very good crew and well laid out packing and moving processes. This will help avoid many complications.
Step 6: Verify references
A more reliable indicator of competency is the experience previous customers have had with the company. Get in touch with the packers and movers on your list and ask for at least two references. Contact the references to get a better perspective into the relocation services of the company. Make sure you enquire about not just the quality of service but the overall experience the said references have had with their respective packers and movers.
Step 7: Zero in on three packers and movers
Your list at this point should have narrowed down to about three or four names. If it hasn’t, pick the top three packers and movers who stand based on what you have learnt about them thus far. Next, schedule a visit. This is important. Much can be learned about prospective packers and movers when you visit their facility and talk to them in person, rather than through the phone or Internet.
Step 8: Be prepared to ask the right questions
And finally, get ready for some hands-on learning when you visit prospective packers and movers at their office. Be sure to ask as many questions as you like. In particular, find out details about the crew, the service guarantee, and the insurance arrangement.
- Crew: Find out if the packing and moving crew is on the company’s payroll. The right packers and movers hire their own crew instead of contracting packing and moving crew from local vendors. They run comprehensive background checks before hiring and ensure the crew is both licensed and insured to work in their region of employment.
- Service guarantee: Enquire about the service guarantee provided by the company. The right packers and movers maintain transparency and provide ample details about both the service guarantee and dispute resolution.
- Insurance: Check for the insurance coverage provided by the relocation company, including details of the insurance company underwriting the risk. If relocation company is covering the insurance under their own risk, then remove the relocation company from your list because only a Insurance company are permitted by law to insure goods.
In addition, be sure to clear any doubts that may arise during or after the meeting.
You are ready to make your final choice now. Get in touch with the company that inspired the most confidence in you and request them to make a home visit. Give inventory of all items that need to be packed and moved, discuss special requirements if you have any, and get a final estimate before committing.
In the next step, confirm details such as date and time of moving. Request a signed order copy and bill of lading. Now sit back and relax. You have conducted extensive research on your part and have chosen the right packers and movers for the upcoming relocation. Trust them to see your relocation through from here.