Want to move with less
hassle? Try a move consultant
You're no do-it-yourselfer. You want to save money,
but coordinating a move is more than you can deal with right now.
Don't worry. There are companies that will help you cut moving costs
-- and they'll take a lot of the responsibility off your hands.
Move consultants are an outgrowth of the relocation
business, says Jim Dalessandro of MoveSource
(800-991-MOVE) based in St. Clair Shores, Mich.
"Corporations started to outsource the relocation
process and a natural offshoot was offering those services to individuals,"
First -- these particular move consultants don't charge
the customer -- it's like going through a travel agent to book a
A better discount
A big selling point for MoveSource and similar companies is they
get a better discount from the van lines. Most long-distance movers
charge according to a nationwide guideline called the "tariff."
Individual movers will discount the tariff anywhere from 40 percent
to 60 percent. Move consultants say their customers get an even
bigger discount because of the volume of business they give the
In addition, the movers have been prescreened -- they
meet the consultant's standards or they don't get repeat business.
Important: If you're thinking of using a move consultant,
don't call the mover on your own and get an estimate. You'd then
be the mover's customer, not the consultant's, which would eliminate
the consultant's ability to get you a better discount from that
Dalessandro says his company can give customers a
ballpark estimate on the cost of their move. But to get a guaranteed
price you'll need to let moving company sales reps come into your
home and do a formal estimate. Companies such as MoveSource will
generally arrange for three movers to come to the house. Dalessandro
says the estimates are given to a MoveSource relocation specialist
who figures which one best suits the customer.
"When it comes to estimates, the best price is always
what everyone is after," says Dalessandro. "But we make sure it
includes all the services they require. Sometimes, in the peak season,
the best price might not be the best deal for the customer -- maybe
the date is more important."
Single point of contact
After the move is booked, a MoveSource coordinator becomes the customer's
single point of contact all the way through to the end of the move.
If the customer has any questions or complaints, the coordinator
is supposed to help solve them.
In addition to discounts and someone coordinating
your move, there may be other benefits to using a move consultant.
Don't be afraid to bargain with a company to get the extras you
Your best source for finding a move consultant may
be the Internet. As with any company, check them thoroughly before
signing any contracts even though their service to you is free.
-- Posted: July 7, 2004