When things go wrong on moving day

I like the saying "all moving companies are good when things go right" but few moving companies are great when things go wrong!

I once organised to move house. Moving day came and we had packed up, finalised the lease, handed back the keys and pulled away while watching the new tenants pull up to move in. Upon reaching the new house things started to go very wrong. No landlord meet us and I had to call them to see what the problem was. The landlord was flustered and broke the news that we could possibly not move in for two weeks because the new house needed repairs! After much arguing and huffing the landlord agreed to let us move in within 2-3 days. However it was impossible to move in then as it was not safe.

So what can you do when you have a truck full of everything you own and no where to put it and no where to even stay! Fortunately this was an extreme case, however lots of little and big issues can arise and most are preventable with planning. Fortunately for us our movers were great and they stored our stuff for a few days while we treated ourselves to a fancy hotel.

To help you with your moving planning always hire a professional mover with a good reputation. Their experience will help prevent many issues.

A good removalist will ask many questions to avoid pitfalls, such as; needing the truck to park far away from the property, they need specialist equipment to safely move furniture due to limited door or stair well access.

None of the above issues are a deal breaker for even amateur movers, but the time and risk to your property can far offset any savings in hiring a cheaper less professional firm.

For example, by hiring a professional company they may realise they can use two smaller trucks to get closer to the property, saving time and your money. Where a less prepared company may have no option but to park a block or more away. They may also have speciality moving trucks or more experience staff, which can get closer to the property.

Where a professional moving company will shine is when things get really bad!

One such situation was mine. I can't tell you how relieved we were when our moving company, just said '...we can take it back to our storage depot now and bring it back when you're sorted...'. We didn't have a plan B, but they did!

One of the tricks to being prepared is to not be overly optimistic with your property, as it doesn't help anyone. Some of the common things to be optimistic about are; How much stuff you have, the amount of access there is, how quickly you can pack everything.

We are all looking for a bargain and the best price. However excluding details, such as; poor access, no lifts, bad parking or under estimating how much stuff you have only hurts you.

Every mover or moving company I have ever hired has gone flat out! It seems to be something in built. They hustle, they want to move your stuff as fast and safely as possible. Consequently value and work ethic from a professional mover is guaranteed. So the way to further help yourself is to help them be prepared for the job at hand. Under estimating the amount of your stuff could lead to your movers having to make two trips or more and this increases your costs dramatically. Like wise if they need speciality equipment to lift items over a balcony or up 10 stories, it is best to give them a heads up. Maybe they will bring their strongest guys or fittest or most experienced movers.

Being honest with yourself and preparing efficiently will also help prevent problems. Don't assume your giant couch will fit, measure it or advise your movers you're not sure (good removalists will ask). Being prepared allows time to shop for better prices or take other action. Hiding your head in the sand hoping your oversized pool table will fit up the stairs is only going to end in tears and loss of money.

Here is a list of some common pitfalls people overlook while moving house.

  • Overly optimistic; We don't have much stuff, it won't take long
  • Having time to pack after work
  • Being able to move everything in one day
  • Setting up in one day
  • Not allowing cleaning up time before and after moving
  • Ordering too small of a truck to save money
  • Hire just one or two movers instead of more to save money
  • Access denial, if it looks tight, small or tricky, it is
  • Not booking a truck until the last week/day
  • Cheapest is best
  • Cheapest hourly can best have many add-ons
  • Not getting the extra insurance
  • Assuming your insurance covers you in transit
  • Just leaving a few things behind you'll get later
  • Leaving packing to the last minute
  • Overloading boxes, keep them small!
  • Using irregular boxes. Moving is like Tetris in real life, boxes of the same size will pack tighter and move faster. So $50 spent on good boxes pays for itself.
  • Moving pets last
  • Doing a big grocery shop the day before
  • Not doing a big rubbish clean out months or weeks before moving
  • Making sure the new property is available for you on that day with a safety margin
  • Trying to do to much on moving day
  • Not letting the experts be experts, let them move your stuff they know what they are doing better than you.
  • Assumption is the start of disaster
  • Utilities! Make sure the are on or stay on while moving
  • Packing your wallet
  • Not having a good breakfast, lunch and dinner organised
  • Make sure there is plenty of water/drink available for you and your movers
  • Rewarding your movers for doing a great job
  • Label the contents of your boxes and which room they should be in, with big writing
  • Make sure neighbours are aware you might be blocking access for a little while
  • Checking there will be parking available for your moving truck
  • Make sure access is suitable for a truck, don't assume and consult with your removalist.

    For more information about how to move in Melbourne effectively consult with Vicmovers

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