So you’ve decided to move. Like any major change in life, moving house requires thorough preparations. If left unplanned, the operation may very well end up being an experience you’ll remember long after the last boxes are unpacked—for all the wrong reasons. Everybody knows at least one story of a move that turned into a nightmare, hence the importance of embarking on the adventure with the greatest of care.
Begin your preparations by choosing the moving date, keeping in mind that the peak period is usually between June 15 and July 15. Avoid choosing either June 24 or July 1 as the big day. Because both are statutory holidays, you’ll pay double the going rate.
Choosing the right mover
Now, the crucial step: choosing a mover. The best advice? Choose a qualified moving company that is a member in good standing of the Commission des Transports du Québec; that means they are authorized to drive and operate their business on Quebec roads. You can find out whether a mover is a member by contacting the Québec Trucking Association (1 800 361-5813).
Be wary of newspaper classified ads for movers that mention only a telephone number, with no address. In some cases, the people who answer the phone have neither a place of business nor the authorization to operate a moving company. Watch out as well for “fly-by-night” operations that advertise moving services starting in early May ... only to vanish from the scene sometime in July. While they may succeed in attracting customers with very low prices, these “professionals” offer zero protection in the event of damage and, obviously, will not pay out any compensation. Steer clear of this kind of trap.
Once you’ve found a qualified mover, make sure the firm has valid insurance to cover any loss or damages that may occur. Don’t hesitate to ask for the name of the insurance company, and check it out if you have any suspicions. Remember, however, that a moving company’s liability is usually limited to a maximum amount per kilo of goods moved. If you don’t think that amount will be sufficient given the value of your possessions, the mover may be able to offer complementary insurance. Always demand a receipt and ask to see the official policy document for this insurance.
The method used to assess the cost of a move depends on the distance to be travelled. A “local” move is defined as one made within the same city or region, within a radius of 50 km or so. The cost is calculated according to an hourly rate, which varies from one region to another and is set by the Commission des Transports du Québec. Although estimates of moving costs are generally given by telephone, you can also ask for written confirmation of an hourly rate quoted over the phone. You’ll want to provide as many details as possible so the mover can come up with a realistic cost estimate. Do you live on the ground floor? The fifth floor? Does the building have an elevator? Will doors have to be taken off their hinges to leave enough room for certain pieces of furniture? If yes, who will do that work, you or the movers?
If it is a long-distance move (usually defined as outside a 50-km radius), you should expect a representative of the moving company to visit your home to perform the cost estimate.
After the move is completed and before you sign the bill, always conduct an inspection along with the mover to verify that all your furniture and goods are in good condition. Demand an official receipt for your payment, including the moving company’s name and address. And always make sure that any documents given to you by the mover include a legible signature.
Prepare the ground
Having said all that... you also have your share of responsibility as far as “Operation Moving House” is concerned, and they start well before the big day. Take the time to conduct an inventory of your furniture and personal property. After you’ve packed everything away, seal the boxes, number them with a felt marker, and enter the numbers in your inventory. To make the movers’ job easier (and save valuable time in the process), identify which room in the new house each box is destined for. Move your valuables and important documents (jewelry, fragile items, certificates from financial institutions and so on) yourself. That way they’ll be sure to arrive at their destination in good shape—as will you.
A final tip: be at your new home for the unloading operation. Your presence will help this part of the move go much more smoothly. Happy moving!
Change your address