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There are many different options when it comes to moving to a new home or storing your belongings. No matter what your situation is, there is surely a combination of solutions to suit your needs.

Choosing the Right Moving and Storage Options for You

When you need to move your belongings from one place to another, you will generally have three categories of options: full-service, self-service, or hybrid.

  • Full-service moves cost the most, but minimize the work you need to do. Hired movers will load the moving truck or cargo van for you, transport your things to the new location, and unload them. Many companies will even do all the packing for you. Full-service moves of greater than 500 miles can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 or more for large homes.
  • Self-service moves are ideal for the budget-conscious. In most cases, you will only need to pay for a truck and put gas in it. All the driving and heavy lifting will be up to you. Long-distance self-service moves typically cost around $1,000 to $2,000 for a 3 or 4 bedroom home.
  • Hybrid moves allow you to decide exactly which parts of your move you want to do yourself and what you’d rather pay someone else to handle. After renting a moving truck, cargo van or storage pods, you can make individual choices about who will handle the packing, loading, unloading, and transport services to best suit your needs. Because there are so many ways to do a hybrid move, prices can vary widely.

Although it’s nice to be able to move directly from one location to another, it’s not always possible. You may need to store your belongings for weeks or months before you can move into your new home. You have just as many options when it comes to storing your things as you have about moving them.

  • Traditional storage facilities may be the best option if you need to store your belongings for longer than 2-3 months. Monthly rates are often the lowest compared to pods, but you’ll need to move things in and out twice - into the storage unit and then back out again. In addition, there may be limitations on when and how you can access your rented unit.
  • On-site pod storage can be a great option if, for example, you’ve already taken ownership of a new property but can’t move into it right away. The transportation company that delivers the pods will move them to an outdoor location at your new property and charge moderate monthly rental fees for the pod itself, usually for as long as you need it.
  • Remote pod storage combines the best elements of the previous two options with the tradeoff of higher monthly fees. If you want the convenience of a moving pod but don’t have anywhere to put it in the short term, some companies will store it unopened at their own facilities. Extra options like climate control and enhanced security features are often available as well.

What Customers Like and Dislike About Moving and Storage

Based on reviews from pissedconsumer.com and other sites, the top things customers like about moving and storage companies are:

  • Friendly movers and employees: Moving can be one of the most stressful life events, and customers appreciate it when the helpers they hire make the process as easy as possible.
  • On-time delivery of trucks, pods, or moving supplies: Moving or storing your belongings usually involves coordinating several appointments across multiple days, and someone being late can cause problems for everything else down the line.
  • Flexible payment options: Especially in the case of a new home purchase, movers may not have much cash on hand until after the first house is packed up and closed. Customers appreciate it when moving and storage companies are willing to bill in arrears.

Top Customer Complaints and Dislikes About Moving and Storage Companies:

  • Hidden charges: Customers get annoyed when unexpected fees appear on their bill. Especially for the services they didn’t need.
  • Insufficient security or handling procedures: Nothing ruins a move faster than discovering that your belongings have been damaged, lost, or stolen while in someone else’s care.

How to Choose a Moving Company

There are thousands of moving companies in the United States alone, and it’s not always easy to tell which ones are reputable and which are not. Fortunately, it’s not hard to tell the difference with some basic due diligence.

The best and most transparent movers will:

  • Take a detailed inventory and perform a thorough walkthrough of your home, spending as much time as necessary to reassure you that their quoted price is accurate and that your belongings will be handled carefully;
  • Never demand deposits or payments up front;
  • Happily provide references, especially if they are a new or small company;
  • Provide a clear and simple menu of services;
  • Never ask you to sign a blank contract for them to “fill in later;”
  • Explain their policies concerning liability for damage to your things and provide information on third-party insurance, should you wish to purchase it.

By asking prospective movers about these issues during an initial interview, you should be able to confidently choose the best company for your needs.

How to Assess a Storage Facility

Many of the basic questions you would ask a moving company would be appropriate to ask a storage facility, in slightly different contexts. In addition to reading reviews, be sure to ask questions such as:

  • Does your prospective storage unit have enough space around it to accommodate your moving truck or van?
  • What security features do they have on the premises?
  • What do they do to keep pests and rodents under control?
  • Do they offer insurance on your belongings, or warranties on their own equipment?
  • Is the storage unit located in a high-crime area?
  • Do employees have access to individual units, or only the manager?
  • What are their hours? Are there times you won’t be able to access your things?
  • Are features such as individual unit alarms and climate control available, if needed?
  • Have you thoroughly read their lease agreement and do you understand their pricing structure, including the terms of any limited sales or specials?

Ideally, ask a facility’s manager to take five minutes to answer these questions; a regular employee may not know the answers to all of them. If you find the answers unsatisfactory—or if the manager is unwilling to respond to your questions in a forthright manner—you may want to consider a different storage facility.

Organizing a move can seem overwhelming, especially if you need to store a house full of furniture at the same time. The process can be much easier and less stressful if you begin researching your options at least a month or two ahead. Take time to understand and prioritize your needs, don’t settle for evasive or unclear answers to your questions, and your move will be behind you before you know it.