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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," he says.

First -- these particular move consultants don't charge the customer -- it's like going through a travel agent to book a plane ticket.

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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 movers.

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 carrier.

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 want.

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

Guide to Moving
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