You’re probably reading this article because you’re preparing for a big move overseas. Maybe this is for work or for personal reasons but, either way, it’s important to hire a great moving company to get your belongings from one country to another. Finding the right mover can many times be the most daunting task of the entire process.
The GoodMigrations mission is to help expats find the right mover, get free quotes and easily compare them online. If, however, you choose to do this on your own, we have a few key items to consider when requesting and comparing moving quotes.
All movers are not created equal.
I know it’s hard to resist the temptation of choosing a mover based on price. I’ve been in the same position, but all movers are not created equal and choosing a mover because they are the least expensive oftentimes has consequences. There are plenty of horror stories on forums of the cheapest move suddenly becoming the most expensive because the mover wasn’t reputable.
Don’t just starting Googling for movers: that’s a quick way to find the bad ones, who have done a great job of appearing at the top of search results. Finding a reputable international mover takes time and research. Here are a few things to check for:
- Number of years in business
- Make sure they are fully licensed, insured and bonded with the proper authorities in their country.
- What moving associations are they a part of? These vary from country to country but there are some that are prominent globally, including FIDI/FAIM, IAM, AMSA and BAR to name a few.
- Check their offices on Google Street View. Yes, that sounds odd, but you’d be surprised how many so-called international moving companies operate out of a house.
Be sure to request at least 3 quotes.
It’s important that you have at least three quotes in hand so that you can properly compare costs. Getting at least three quotes will show you what the average price is for your move. Be suspicious of any that are significantly lower or higher. These outliers require extra investigation.
We also recommend not getting more than five quotes. I know, I know! Why limit yourself? After all, when you search for a flight you might get dozens of options. When it comes to international moving, if you’re dealing with reputable movers you’re most likely going to get quotes that are within a few hundred dollars of each other. This means you won’t see much, if any, benefit of chasing down more quotes and it does take up more of your time. Plus, it’s risky to only focus on price: see “All movers are not created equal” above.
Make sure you compare apples to apples.
With GoodMigrations we set you up for success. Our online tools allow you to view all your quotes online, in the same format, side-by-side, so it’s easy to see what services are being included in the quote cost.
However, if you decide to get quotes from another source be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Here is a quick list of items to check:
- Is the shipping method (air freight, ocean freight, or by truck) the same and is the volume similar (it’s highly unlikely that any two movers will calculate the same volume but they should at least be in the same ballpark) Check to make sure shipping containers are the same: LCL (also known as consolidated or groupage shipments) or FCL (full container load). LCLs can take longer to reach your destination since the shipper will need to wait for another shipment to completely fill the container.
- What services are and are not being included? This can sometimes be the trickiest part as some movers, even the good ones, use different terminology or don’t explicitly list everything. One cost you should check for inclusion are Destination Handling Charges, which can add up to hundreds of dollars
- What is the transit time each mover is estimating? You might be willing to pay more to get your things sooner.
These are just a few tips to keeping yourself on track to finding a great international moving company. If you’re interested in learning more you can read our free comprehensive moving guide to prepare for your move overseas.
About our guest author:
Sharon Vagley is a former expat and Co-Founder of GoodMigrations (https://GoodMigrations.com), where you can request moving quotes, easily compare them, and book your move online. When not traveling or working out, Sharon can be found at Sharon@goodmigrations.com.