Moving To New York
It’s been a hectic week as you learned of your hard-earned promotion along with the offer of a new position in the New York City (NYC) office. You’re excited about the opportunity but also anxious about your family’s reaction and the tumult that moving can bring. What you’re experiencing is normal and part of the relocation process. While just the thought of relocating can be stressful, with planning and helpful resources, the process can be managed.

This section will help you identify and organize all the steps in the moving process so you have a reference guide at every stage of this often overwhelming process and can anticipate the next step rather than reacting to it and scrambling for solutions. Here, you’ll also find information about moving companies, insuring your belongings, packing tips, temporary storage, moving with pets and useful information about utility providers in New York City. The more you learn, the less you’ll stress as you prepare to make your move to New York City.

Moving companies provide a variety of services for a range of fees. It is a good idea to speak with different movers to compare their services. To find out who the best movers are in your area, begin by asking friends about their experiences with the movers they have used. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau ( or other consumer organizations in your local area.

When selecting a mover, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) encourages consumers to select a moving company that is an AMSA member. Members have all agreed to abide by the terms of the organization’s published tariffs and to participate in the Arbitration Program sponsored by the organization.

Once you have compiled a list of movers, inform them of the destination and timing of your move. Ask them about the types of services they offer. Also ask them to explain their estimates in detail and to give you a copy. Then carefully compare to see which mover best suits your needs and budget.

If you are moving out of state, you should read and understand all of the information you will receive. In addition to brochures explaining their various services, moving companies should give you a copy of a consumer booklet titled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” and information regarding the mover’s participation in a Dispute Settlement Program. Distribution of the consumer booklet and the requirement that movers offer shippers neutral arbitration as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage on household goods shipments are requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

AMSA advises that you make arrangements for your move well in advance, at least four to six weeks before the moving date. When you choose your mover, be sure you understand the following:
  • Rates and charges that will apply
  • Mover’s liability for your belongings
  • How pickup and delivery will work
  • What claims protection you have

The cost of an interstate move is usually based on the weight of your belongings and the distance they are shipped, plus the amount of packing and other services that you require, according to the AMSA. Your bill will be higher or lower depending on how much your shipment weighs and how far you move.

To help you anticipate the cost of your move, movers will give you an estimate of the price. Be sure to get written estimates from at least three different companies so you can compare their services and prices.

Help the movers calculate the cost of your move by showing them every single item to be moved. Don’t forget to go into the attic, basement, garage, shed, closets and under beds. Reach a clear understanding about the amount of packing and other services needed. Anything omitted from the estimate but later included in the shipment will add to the cost.

Most movers offer three types of estimates—nonbinding, binding and not-to-exceed.

Nonbinding estimates are not bids or contracts. Instead, a nonbinding estimate is an approximation of the cost based on the mover’s survey of the items to be moved with the final cost determined after the shipment is weighed. Since a nonbinding estimate is based on the actual weight of your shipment (rather than the estimated weight), the price will usually be lower than a binding estimate. However, when you receive a nonbinding estimate, there is no guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate.

Under a nonbinding estimate, the mover cannot require you to pay more than the amount of the estimate, plus 10 percent (or 110 percent of the estimate amount) at the time of delivery. You then are obligated to pay any remaining charges for any additional services that you requested or were required to accomplish your move that are more than this 110 percent 30 days after your shipment is delivered if the services or quantities were not included in your estimate.

Many movers also provide binding estimates. A binding estimate means that you are obligated to pay the price set forth in the binding estimate even if the shipment weighs more or less than the estimated amount.

All binding estimates cover only the goods and services listed on the estimate. If you add items or request additional services, the mover may revise the original estimate before your shipment is loaded or, if you request additional services after your shipment is in transit, your mover will bill you for these added services 30 days after your shipment is delivered if they were not included in your estimate.

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