Making a Move Smooth and Enjoyable

by Christine DemosAugust 15, 2012

Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers Shares a Bit of the Wisdom He’s Gained over Their Fifteen Years of Operation

With the school year around the corner and the weather warming up, we are beginning high moving season. The Better Business Bureau fields 9,000 complaints against moving companies per year. Moving does not have to be a miserable experience, and hiring a moving company does not have to be a gamble.

With proper planning, and by asking the right questions, there is a much greater chance your moving experience will be a pleasant one. As California’s largest independent moving company, we have definitely learned a few things along the way. We’ve completed thousands of moves in our fifteen year existence, and hope our advice can make your next move as seamless and stress-free as possible.



  • Lookout for classic warning signs. According to the Better Business Bureau, there are typical signs of a nefarious moving company. Avoid anyone who answers their phone generically “Movers,” or if their trucks and equipment aren’t branded with their name and logo. Make sure you can find their address and license information clearly on their web site. If a sales representative claims there is a blanket fee that covers everything and full insurance – it is probably too good to be true.
  • Ask a moving company for their breakage-to-move ratio. If a company is not tracking how often they are breaking their clients furniture and constantly trying to improve their breakage to move ratio, they probably don’t care about breaking your furniture
  • Ask how you can get a better deal. When moving locally (within a 100 mile radius) all moving companies charge on an hourly rate. The efficiency and hustle of the movers you choose dramatically effects time, and therefore how much you pay at the end of the day. It is better to know in advance of all the charges that could apply, before your move rather than after. Some moving companies don’t always inform their customers of all the charges that are applicable, such as driving time. According to the Better Business Bureau, most people who filed complaints about being ripped off during a move were drawn in by a low price quote. Be sure you know what’s included and what’s not. Request a quote in writing. A reputable company will be open about the cost of various extra services. Add-ons such as boxes, packing, and driving time have been known to surprise consumers.
  • Never rely solely on an online price quote without phone or face-to-face interaction. Of course these days, many conversations begin online, and starting a dialogue via email is harmless. But according to the Better Business Bureau and the American Moving & Storage Industry, online quotes are often the setup for a scam: a customer agrees to a price, and once their precious valuables are loaded, they’re charged substantially more money. These so-called “hostage situations” have been the scourge of the industry for more than 20 years.
  • Ask if your items are automatically insured, or if that will cost extra. Yes, most moving companies in the phone book are “insured” but that doesn’t mean your furniture will get replaced if the movers damage it. The moving industry term for coverage for your precious belongings is “valuation,” and all but the most basic of coverage costs additional money.
  • Ask what proactive measures the company has taken to reduce the chance of damage. Ask about the quality of their equipment and the experience they have. What kinds of training programs are offered to their employees?
  • Ask about hygiene standards for their movers. Some companies have hygiene standards for their employees and some companies do not. Which company would you rather have? With people entering your home and handling your belongings, hygiene is important.


  • Create an “Essentials” kit. Choose a container that will stand out from all the moving boxes. We prefer Rubbermaid totes in bright colors. Select one that is made from transparent, not opaque, plastic so that you can easily see the contents. Make sure to get a size adequate for your needs: obviously, a family of four will need a much larger size than a bachelor and his dog (if you have a large family and pets, you might want to do two kits.) Pack like you are going on an overnight trip. Include basic toiletries, as well as a roll of bath tissue, any needed prescription medication, and a bath towel. Pack pajamas and a comfortable outfit for the next day. This will ensure you start your unpack day fresh, and not frustrated, looking for your clothes. If you have room, it’s nice to include a book, deck of cards or an iPad, since you may not have cable/internet set up yet. Other things stock your kit with are snacks like granola bars and nuts, Clorox Wipes to disinfect/tidy any surfaces in your new home and cell phone chargers
  • Don’t forget your pets! Add a Ziploc bag with a two day supply of their dry food. Stress may upset their systems, so we recommend just the dry food during the move. Don’t forget disposable plastic bowls (one for food, one for water). It’s also a good idea to put an old towel in your pet’s sleeping area a couple months before you move, so it becomes familiar and picks up both their scent and that of “home.” Pack that in your kit, and when you arrive at the new home, put that towel with their bed for comfort. In the new home, confine the pet to one room at first, so that it can adjust to the new sounds, smells, and sights. This will lessen the change that your pet will want to “escape” back to their old home. If your pet will have free-roam of your new home, let the animal come out of its room or cage when it is ready by leaving the door open—this allows exploration at its own pace.
  • Moving with children. If you have a baby, his/her normal diaper bag should have most of the basics, so that’s easy. For toddlers and up, you may want to separate their favorite blanket or stuffed animal into the Essentials kit. Especially for the first night, you should bring nightlights for the children’s rooms, as well as for the hallways and bathroom, to ensure comfort in the new home. If your kids are older and are having a hard time leaving their friends, a picture of them with their friends (bonus points if you get their friends to write notes or sign the picture) is a nice touch.

About Meathead Movers
Were-Here-squareMeathead Movers was founded by brothers Aaron and Evan Steed in 1997. The company is a client and employee focused moving service. The founding principle is to support students and young people in pursuit of their own American dream, and that will never change. For more information please visit:

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About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Specialist for She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!