Working with a Moving Company

Posted on by Crye-Leike

Below is information you may find helpful when working with a moving company. Each company may be a little different, but the procedures below are fairly standard in the industry and will give you an idea of what to expect.


  • When the movers come to do the packing, simply stand back and let them do it. They are professionally trained on how to pack every possible household item.
  • Remember the packers will not try to decide for you what should be packed and what should not. This includes garage door openers and keys. A good idea is to designate an area of a room or a closet and mark on the door “do not pack”. Place everything you would not want packed in that area.
  • Movers will generally not pack anything that is physically attached to the home, such as paper towel holders, light fixtures, and drape tracks. Take these down and leave out for the crew, if you are taking them. Chemical or flammable items cannot be packed, so leave them where they are.
  • The movers will leave what they cannot pack. When they are finished you can go through the house and make your own arrangements for these.

Taking Inventory:

  • The driver will make a written inventory and record the condition of items. These inventory sheets will be used if you need to make a claim, so it is imperative that everything is listed.
  • If you do not agree with the movers assessment of the condition of an item, note your exceptions on the original inventory form. The driver will provide you with a copy.

Final Walk-Through:

  • You will be asked to sign a bill of lading releasing your belongings. Before signing, take a walk around to make sure nothing has been overlooked. Then carefully review the document and keep a copy of it. This document outlines the moving company’s limitations and liability, so do not hesitate to ask the driver any questions.
  • Give the driver contact information to get in touch with you, while in transit and at the destination.
  • The driver will give you scheduled arrival date and time. Often it is a range, so plan to be available during that entire time. If you are not present when the truck arrives at destination, your goods may end up in storage at your cost.

Delivery Day:

  • The driver will give you the inventory sheets, as each box is carried into the house, the workers will call out the box numbers so you can check them off. When finished, you will sign that inventory form, so review it carefully.
  • Do not sign anything until all boxes have been checked. By signing this, you acknowledge that you received everything and that you agree with the driver as to the condition of your belongings. Make a note on the form of missing boxes or damage.
  • If you suffer property or auto damage, note this on the inventory sheet and call the moving company immediately.


  • If you have requested and paid for unpacking, it will be done by the driver the day or the day after unloading. Movers unpack by emptying boxes and placing the items on counters or floors, in the rooms designated by you ahead of time on each box. Having movers unpack is mainly to dispose of packing materials.
  • If you unpack yourself, request a “debris pick-up” from your moving company. They will come to pick up the crushed boxes. Be sure to schedule it once you are 100% unpacked.

Insurance Claims:

  • If damage occurs, call the moving company immediately and they will send you the necessary forms.
  • Be sure to keep any damaged items, even if they are of no use to you any longer. They usually must be available for inspection by the claims adjuster. If items are not available for inspection, the mover can decline liability.
  • Obtain a written appraisal of any antique or unique items to verify value.
  • You must file only one claim, and do so within a certain number of days after the delivery date. This is why you must unpack everything before filing a claim. If some items are in storage or you just put them in closets, please speak with the moving company about how long you have to unpack them and file the claim.

Useful Tips:

  • Be sure to keep receipts of all of your travel expenses, including gas, food and lodging. The receipts may be needed for your taxes and/or if you are working with a relocation company or a corporate move.
  • Do not wax or oil wood furniture before moving, as it may soften the wood, making it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.
  • Pianos/organs must be prepared for the move by a technician, and adjusted once delivered. Discuss this with your mover before moving day.
  • Do not ship diskettes on the moving truck, send via insured mail or carry yourself.
  • Unplug electronics 24 hours in advance of moving so they will be at room temperature on moving day. Moving equipment with internal heat retained can cause damage. Upon delivery, wait again until items are room temperature before turning them back on.
  • Pets are family, but cannot be sent along on the moving truck. You can transport them yourself in an auto or put them in proper carriers and ship on an airline, or arrange for delivery with a per carrier service. Consider these when deciding:
    • Length of trip
    • Pet’s age and temperament (road trips thrill some and terrify others!)
    • Some states have laws concerning entry. Contact the State Veterinarian or Animal Health Division before you move.
    • If you choose the airline, they have strict instructions on carriers, blackout periods during summer months, etc. Be sure to call each airline for their policies.

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