Moving is as stressful to some folks as a major illness or the death of a loved one, according to the Health Status website. If you’re in the process of moving right now, you may be nodding your head in agreement. The good news is there are some steps that you can take to alleviate … Read more
Planning an out-of-state move can be a stressful experience. But with the help of today’s technology, a messy moving process can be quickly streamlined into an easier experience. Through smartphone applications (apps), you can now receive instant help for every step of the moving process – from finding a home in your new hometown to organizing and packing your household belongings. To find the best apps that can make your moving process easier, read our recommendations below.
Realtor: Android, iOS, and Windows
Finding a new home is easy with the Realtor.com app, which allows users to browse through millions of reliable listings with photos and information on nearby schools, open house times, and more. The app also allows you to save and share your favorite listings to narrow down your choices, as well as giving you the ability to contact an agent with the touch of a button.
Houzz Interior Design Ideas: Android and iOS
Houzz is the largest online database of home design ideas and is the perfect tool for remodeling or creating your new dream home. The app taps users into an extensive catalog of photos by room and allows you to narrow down your options with categories based on style, location, and specific features. Bookmark your favorites into your personal idea book and watch your new home come together with ease.
Walk Score: Android and iOS
Finding the right neighborhood is just as important as shopping for the right home, and with Walk Score, you can find a walkable area that’s closest to essential services and local entertainment. Walk Score calculates the walkability of any address and shows a map of nearby dining, grocery stores, schools, and more, and is an excellent app to use when starting your relocation process. You can also use the app to search by commute time or find neighborhoods near public transit to find easy access to work.
Moving Checklist Pro: Android and iOS
Are you having trouble with remembering the hundreds of items on your moving checklist? Moving Checklist Pro can take the stress out of the moving process by providing an extensive list of items for packing and tracking each one of your tasks. Recommended by professional movers, like Cheap San Francisco Movers, the app is a great way to help you stay on top of everything that needs to get done, including changing your address with the bank, returning your cable equipment, and dropping off your house keys.
Sortly: iOS and Web
One of the biggest challenges of moving is organizing and packing without getting stressed out. Sortly is the perfect companion for this, as it helps inventory your home, record valuables for insurance, label boxes with QR tags, and create a visual hierarchy of everything you’re packing. The app can even search through your inventory to find all of your belongings once you’ve moved into your new home.
OfferUp: Android and iOS; Free
OfferUp makes it easy to sell any unused or unwanted items before a big move and acts as an upgraded, mobile-friendly version of Craigslist with a picture-heavy interface. Simply take a picture of what you want to sell, add a description and a price, and wait for interested local buyers to make an offer and schedule pickup. OfferUp is especially great for sellers because there are no fees (unlike most competitor websites) and involves getting paid in cash when the buyer arrives.
Entrusting someone to transport all your belongings state to state can be a nerve-wracking decision. While most long distance moves go off without a hitch, there is the occasional accident or mishap that does happen. To make sure that your belongings are protected during your move, make sure that you understand how interstate moving insurance works.
The first thing you should know is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs all interstate moves of household goods. All moving companies that help customers move out of state, by law, must register with the FMCSA. The FMCSA helps protect customers throughout the moving process. The first step in protecting your belongings is making sure that the mover you hire is properly licensed.
Full Value Protection
FMCSA requires that all moving quotes provided by long distance movers include full value insurance protection. With this insurance coverage, all belongings are protected at a minimum rate of $6 a pound, so the total coverage depends on the final weight of the shipment. If anything from the shipment is damaged or misplaced, full value insurance pays to replace or restore the item.
Waiver of Full Value Protection
Moving quotes that include full value protection are more expensive. To save money on the cost of your move, you may opt to waive the full value protection. If you choose to do this, your belongings will be covered at $.60 a pound. Before waiving the full value policy, make sure you understand what this means. Consider for instance if your 350-pound couch gets destroyed, you would only receive $210 in insurance proceeds. Unless you have inexpensive taste, this likely wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of a new sofa.
Third Party Insurance
Most moving companies will give you the option of purchasing additional 3rd party cargo liability insurance. If you choose to purchase this additional coverage, be aware that the mover must provide you with documentation of your policy. Additionally, while damages covered by full value or minimum value protection are subject to arbitration under FMCSA guidelines, disputes with 3rd party insurers are outside of FMCSA’s jurisdiction.
One of the easiest ways to mitigate the risk of damage to your goods is by making sure they are properly packed. Wrap all fragile items in packing paper or bubble wrap, placing them in appropriately-sized boxes. Heavier items should be put in small to medium-size boxes for ease of lifting, while larger boxes may be used for lighter things like linens, towels, and bedding. When packing your boxes, make sure that there isn’t any extra room for items to shift. You can fill in excess space with packing paper, foam peanuts, or even towels. Consider purchasing plastic mattress covers to protect your mattresses and box springs and investing in some picture frame boxes can keep all your picture frames from getting broken.
Hopefully, your move will go off without a hitch, but either way by understanding your insurance options and following these safety tips your things will be protected!
If you own a moving company, chances are you receive a lot of calls every day from prospective customers. Per DialogTech, converting a call into a sale requires an equipped and savvy sales staff with experience in negotiating and closing deals. If you’re not closing as many phone leads as you desire, here are some ways to train your team rev up your close rate:
Have a Two-Minute Pitch
Develop a pitch with all the points you want to cover in your discussion with prospective customers. Share this pitch with your sales staff, then have them tweak the wording to better fit their individual personalities. Have them practice reading through the pitch so that the words sound more natural. According to Entrepreneur, the tone of your voice is also essential for closing leads over the phone. Sales representatives should be friendly, but firm, using inflection to emphasize certain points of the presentation.
Qualify Your Leads
Confirm that you’re talking to the decision maker when they call. Sometimes a husband and wife like to make decisions about moving together. Once you confirm that you have the right decision maker, start probing. One Miami Florida mover, Cheap Miami Movers, recommends controlling the conversation and asking targeted questions. Here are some things they recommend asking the customer:
- Contact name, phone number, and email address: It’s crucial to get these three pieces of information early on, so you can call or email them back if you get disconnected.
- Where are you moving from and to?
- When are you looking to move?
- How many bedrooms are you moving?
Even if you don’t have availability to move a customer on a requested date, be prepared to offer alternative dates or solutions to close the deal. You’ll find that most people moving won’t mind being a little flexible with their dates, especially if it means getting a good bargain on their move.
Know Your Service
Your sales staff should sound like experts when talking to potential customers. Prepare your team in advance to anticipate the types of questions customers will ask about your company, including things like what kind moving services you offer, your rates, how the estimate process works, and how you’ll protect their furniture and belongings. Also, become an expert on key competitors so you can explain the advantages of using your company over theirs.
Learn to Overcome Objections
Don’t fear rejection. The more calls you field, the more you’ll become familiar with common objections your prospects will have when you try to close them. Have your sales team write down the objections they encounter, so you can discuss and craft appropriate responses for the next time these objections arise. As with qualifying, ask questions when people seem hesitant to buy. According to consultant Chris Garrett, the most effective questions include uncovering concerns they have and, contrarily, discovering if there’s anything you’ve said that’s convinced them to proceed with the purchase. If they’re ready to buy, close them, regardless of how far off their move is.
Use Multiple Closes
If you start your close and encounter an objection, overcome that objection and close again. Become familiar with various types of closes so you can tailor your close to what the individual is telling you. Per Changing Minds, some of the most popular closes include the testimonial, compliment, and bonus close. With the testimonial close, one highlights the experience of happy customers, whereas the compliment close uses flattery to seal the deal. If using the bonus close, you may also want to stress how fast you book moves for people to entice them to book their move faster.
The key to closing more phone leads is anticipating what customers want and giving them the necessary information to make the decision. Don’t hesitate to use deadlines for deals.
AMSA is the sole moving association to represent the concerns and interests of its moving & storage company members Capitol Hill. Through its tireless efforts, AMSA has been able to work with lawmakers to enact policy change for the protection and betterment of the moving industry. The AMSA Government Affairs Department drafts policy papers to summarize and communicate its major positions, schedules an annual meeting between industry leaders and legislators at the Nation’s Capital, and communicates key legislative alerts to its members. So what are some of the hot button issues at the moment? Here we’ll go over a couple of the biggest issues you should be aware of:
Permanent Rollback of Hours of Service 34-Hour Restart Rule
In 2013, FMCSA enacted new rules to regulate the amount of time that truckers could drive in a given week. The new regulations capped a driver’s limit to 70 hours of driving time per week, with a mandatory 34-hour rest period in order to restart the week. This “restart” mandated that the driver get two consecutive nights of rest, sleeping between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. These new laws were aimed at reducing the number of fatigued drivers on the road and preventing some of the 75 deaths a week resulting from big-rig crashes.
The bill was temporarily suspended in under the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, restoring hours of service to the original 34-hour restart rule in effect prior to 2013 (without the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. rest provision). AMSA pushed lawmakers to permanently reinstate these 2013 rules when it gathered for Moving Day on Capitol Hill earlier this year. In May of 2016, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee released the 2017 DOT funding budget, which included a full repeal of the 2013 restart rule, making the reinstatement of the pre-2013 HOS rules permanent. This means truck drivers can take their 34-hour restart whenever they choose to and as often as they’d like. For more information on compliance with the 34-hour rule, check out this information from Foley.
Reducing the Tax Burden Placed on Moving Companies
AMSA cites four critical tax issues that the moving industry faces:
- Estate Tax: An estate tax is a tax imposed on cash or property of the deceased when it passes on to the heirs. Estate taxes can be detrimental to small businesses that are passed from generation to generation. The moving industry is primarily comprised of thousands of small businesses, like these San Antonio moving companies or this mover in Atlanta. Owners of these small moving companies would love to be able to pass the businesses they’ve worked so hard to build on to their sons and daughters. By encouraging Congress to pass estate tax reform, the industry hopes to protect its small business members.
- Federal Diesel Fuel Tax: Transporters must pay a federal fuel tax on all the diesel they purchase. However, these same transporters also handle a large number of the military household good shipments to help service men and women and their families relocate from one base to the next. After completing a move, the moving companies charge the government for their services, including recouping the diesel fuel tax. Many argue that it would be a lot easier if they just weren’t taxed in the first place.
- Federal Withholding: Starting in 2011, moving companies became subject to a federal withholding mandate of up to 3% of the contract value on federal contracts (i.e. those military shipments mentioned above). Those advocating withholding insist this helps ensure that movers pay their taxes, while the moving industry argues this cuts into an already difficult cash flow situation. Moving companies need immediate access to their cash to keep operations going, especially during the slower winter months.
- IRS Safe Harbor MSU: Currently, the industry has an agreement with the IRS as to how it classifies the many owner-operators that contract with moving companies to complete long distance moves. The Market Segment Understanding currently in place between the industry and the IRS defines these owner-operators as independent contractors rather than employees, which reduces the moving companies’ tax liability. AMSA wants to keep this agreement with the IRS in place.
People have been getting creative with their residential relocations for years, particularly in the city of New York where it’s not all that uncommon to see someone transporting their TV on the subway or hailing a cab with a couple of moving boxes in tow. Hiring a professional moving company can be expensive and unaffordable for some, so it makes sense that people would figure out a way to do it for less. U-Haul was the first brand to really capitalize on this DIY model, with co-founder Leonard Shoen building an empire out of the trailer rental and later truck rental industry. Now millions of Americans choose the DIY option every year, hoping to save on the expense of their local and long distance moves. While the do-it-yourself rental model has long co-existed alongside the professional moving industry, there are a few more competitive discounted moving models that have popped up as of late. Though these at present do not appear to be a strong threat to most professional moving businesses, they are worth being aware of.
Cargo Bike Collective
A very creative moving model has sprung up to help New Yorkers with their small apartment relocations in the last few years. Movers on bikes. As crazy as it may sound, the Cargo Bike Collective, a group of cargo bike owners has started taking on moving jobs. Each cyclist navigates through the streets of NYC on a bike with a modified frame that allows for them to carry everything from boxes to bookshelves. From pictures, it appears that each bike is designed differently; on some frames the cargo space sits balanced over the front end of the bike, while the cargo space on others comes in the form of a towable platform. A band of 3-4 cyclists can easily move a studio or one-bedroom apartment in about the same time it would take a moving crew with a truck. Their typical rate is $150 an hour for a group of 4, which is far less than even some of the cheapest NYC moving companies, like this one. However, while the idea of using bikes on moving day appeals to some because of its cleaner carbon footprint, it doesn’t appear this collective will be putting NY movers out of business anytime soon. The group completes non-moving related deliveries far more frequently than it actually moves households, and it would take far too many cyclists to complete jobs much bigger than a studio apartment.
Uber for Moving
The Uber car service, which allows people to use their own vehicles to operate like a taxi, has inspired a new wave in the moving industry. Several “Uber for moving” apps have surfaced in the last couple of years, as companies seek to fill a void in the micro-moving niche. These apps basically allow consumers who don’t have enough belongings to fill an entire moving truck, to connect with someone who owns a pickup truck who can help them relocate locally. It’s fairly similar to hiring a random guy off of Craigslist, but with the added efficiency of an app and the reassurance of required background checks. Some of the most popular Uber for moving companies include:
- Dolly: This Seattle start-up has now made its way to 4 other cities including Denver, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Chicago. For the starting price of $30, users can hire Dolly drivers to help them complete their urban micro-moves. Price varies according the distance and item count, but in all appears to be a very economical moving option.
- Lugg: Lugg currently operates in the San Francisco Bay area, to help users get furniture moved quickly by local pickup truck owners. Users snap a picture of the item they’re looking to move and get instantly paired with two movers and a truck.
- Muver: You may have noticed that all these moving start-ups have quite the affinity for using misspelled moving terms for their brand name. Apparently Millennials think things are cooler this way. “Muver” is no exception. It appears that MUVs currently only happen in Utah, but with the company’s user-friendly app, it looks like Muver is positioned for future nationwide growth.
- Haulor: The company’s slogan, “when you need a friend just haulor” says it all. If you don’t have a friend or family member who owns a moving truck, you can hire one with the easy-to-use Haulor app for a relatively low price.
- Pikkup: Drivers must pass criminal background checks before they are allowed to be official Pikkup drivers. Users can schedule a Pikkup driver at their convenience to help them move their things at the low rate of $1 per minute and $.8 per mile plus $2.50 for insurance coverage. (the minimum fee is $25).
This Uber for moving model really only works for local micro-moves, so rather than infringing on the business of licensed moving companies, it will likely draw traffic away from Craigslist-type movers as consumers seek more reliable and reputable services.
With the millions of Americans that move every year, it seems that despite these start-ups, there’s still more than enough moves to go around.
In addition to Vateud, there are a number of other associations in the transportation industry that you should consider joining. These trade associations are important to the moving industry because they aid in promoting consumer relations, setting industry standards, and providing resources to their members. Thanks to Great Guys Movers (for more info click here) for putting together this blog with recommendations on moving associations you should look into joining if you haven’t already:
American Moving & Storage Association
With over 4,000 members, AMSA is one of the largest moving associations in the United States and one of the most critical. AMSA is based in Alexandria, VA, giving it easy access to the nation’s capital to ensure fair federal government representation for the moving industry as a whole. AMSA’s hallmark contribution to the industry is the ProMover certification, a consumer-minded certification which helps consumers distinguish quality, reputable moving companies from “rogue operators” who tarnish the industry’s credibility. AMSA members who have been in good standing for at least 18 months are eligible to apply for the ProMover certification. Additionally, as an AMSA member, you can secure discounts from AMSA’s partner companies which include big brands like Rand McNally, Penske, Aramark, Office Max, and more.
Canadian Association of Movers
For our friends north of the border, we recommend joining the Canadian Association of Movers. Similar to AMSA, CAM represents moving and storage companies across Canada with member perks that include membership development through education and training, technical advice, government representation, and the latest in industry news. Membership in CAM gives credibility to your business in the eyes on consumers who associate the CAM logo with reputability, honesty and integrity. To join, review the membership form available on CAM’s site.
International Association of Movers
Also located in Alexandria, VA, the International Association of Movers represents 2,000 member companies from over 170 countries. As the industry’s largest trade association, IAM’s has member representation from the entire transportation industry, including moving, logistics, freight, and shipping companies. IAM offers myriad resources to its members, including mentor programs for up-and-coming industry professionals, educational programs, and ample opportunities for networking at its regional and annual organization-wide meetings. Additionally, IAM represents its members’ interests with a number of U.S. Federal agencies, the European Union, and other governments. For more information on joining IAM, click here for the application.
State and Local Associations
To guarantee that the interests of moving companies are heard by state and local governments, we strongly urge membership in your state and city (if applicable) moving associations. Here’s a list of some of the larger state associations in the U.S.:
- California Moving & Storage Association: With over 385 members, CMSA has been representing the interests of licensed and insured California moving companies for 100 years. All members agree to be bound by the association’s code of ethics which promises consumers “honest, legal, and efficient service”.
- Washington Movers Conference: The 80+ members that are a part of Washington state’s Movers Conference similarly agree to abide by a code of ethics to ensure the protection of customers throughout the state of Washington. With consumer facing information available on their site, WMC makes it easy for customers throughout the state to find reputable moving professionals for their next move.
- Southwest Movers Association (Texas): Founded almost 100 years ago, this association promotes the interests of the moving and related industries, while also ensuring that consumers receive fair treatment that complies with laws and regulations in place to protect their interests. SMA is managed by the Texas Trucking association, and membership is open to movers and storage companies who operate in the state of Texas and hold a valid US DOT and TX DOT number.
- Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association: An astounding 95% of the movers operating in the state of Illinois are members of the IMAWA, so if you aren’t one of them, you should join ASAP.
- Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association: Through membership in the Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association, Florida moving companies can also get certification as FMWA certified piano movers by completing an online training course on an annual basis.
- New Jersey Warehousemen and Movers Association: Membership in the NJWMA ensures members a free listing on the NJWMA website, assistance in complying with state and federal moving regulations, public and government relations, and up-to-date industry information.
- Massachusetts Movers Association: The MMA represents moving and storage companies throughout Massachusetts and the rest of New England, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.
- New York State Movers & Warehousemen’s Association: This professional association of movers has 56 members that represent moving companies operating in the state of New York.
In the moving industry, getting solid leads is crucial to booking jobs and making money. Gone are the days when you could place an ad in the paper or play a commercial on local television and expect to have people beating down your door for your moving services. Today, customer leads are all about who … Read more
The transportation business is quite literally hard, back-breaking work, but nearly 7,000 different moving companies across the U.S. do it. Employing almost 123,000 people nationwide, the industry has a combined payroll of $3.6 billion, with more than $12.6 billion in annual revenue. The network of primarily small mom-and-pop shops across the U.S. might seem small when examining their books up-close, but in aggregate, the moving industry is big business. Like death and taxes, it seems that moving is also an inevitable part of the American life. As we gear up for the busy 2016 moving season, here are some industry trends sweeping the country.
How many people are moving?
According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly 12% of the American population will move this year, which equates to over 38 million people packing up their lives and moving to a new home. While the majority of these are intrastate moves, about 3 million people will be moving out of state. As you know, the bulk of these moves will occur during the summer months, as kids are out of school and warmer weather makes moving in northern regions much easier.
Who is moving?
People move no matter what race, gender, educational attainment, etc., but there are some interesting statistics to note:
- More women move than men, though it’s more likely that they move for a family or housing-related issue than for a job.
- People between ages 1 to 17 and 30 to 44 have a higher concentration of movers than other age categories.
- By race, more whites move than other races, though they are less likely to move for housing-related issues than other ethnicities. The Asian population has a higher percentage that move for job-related reasons than any other race.
- Those with a professional or graduate degree are more than 200% more likely to move for a job-related reason than those who have not completed at least a bachelor’s degree. Those with less educational attainment tend to move more frequently for family-related or housing- related issues.
- The population of individuals who have never been married have a higher number of movers than the rest of the population.
Why are people moving?
The most recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate the following as the top reasons people decide to move:
- Housing (48%)
- Family (30.3%)
- Employment (19.4%)
It appears that many are moving in search of better or more affordable housing situations and that many are looking to move closer to family. Interestingly, this data corroborates with a Wall Street Journal reported that the number of people moving to the suburbs is now outpacing the number of those moving to the city, as people seek shelter from the outrageous prices of urban dwelling. Take somewhere like New York City, where the average one-bedroom apartment will set you back $3152 a month, versus Beaverton, OR a suburb of Portland where that same rent check could pay the mortgage and utilities on a $700,000 3 bed, 3 bath home, and leave you with some extra for groceries. With housing disparities like this, it’s no wonder that urban dwellers are fleeing for the suburbs. Companies like Imperial Moving, big movers on the Manhattan moving scene, report that over the last couple of years they’ve moved more people off the island to homes in the suburbs than they’ve moved people into Big Apple high rises. “The trend started with the recession, as jobs dried up and people simply couldn’t afford the expensive rent. We had several customers who either had to move to the suburbs to cut their housing expense or move in with family. It’s not surprising to see that trend continuing today as people realize how much more you can get for your buck elsewhere,” said a spokesman for the company.
Where are people moving to?
Based on the biggest reasons cited for moving, it makes sense that the following states have seen the biggest influx of inbound moves in recent years because they offer less population density and more affordable housing.
- North Carolina
Where are people moving from?
With the exception of West Virginia, outbound moves are highest in densely populated states as people look to get out and stake their claim on property where they have more room to spread out.
- New Jersey
- New York
- West Virginia
Moving your home or office to a new location requires time, energy and money. There a thousand details you have to remember along with packing and unpacking it can turn into a logistical nightmare if you aren’t organized. Then the invoice comes and not only is it more than you expect but you don’t understand … Read more