To the untrained moving customer, a long distance move may seem like “just a longer move” than a local move. However, the specific needs and subtle differences between a long distance move and a local move can mean a very different outcome if you aren’t prepared. From keeping organized to knowing what questions to ask and even understanding simply how transportation and logistics operate behind the scenes, here is what you need to know about long distance moving.
1. Not All Moving Companies Manage End-To-End
Your local moving company managing your pick up may not own trucks and moving personnel in your destination city. This is a common misconception in moving—instead, moving companies often create affiliate and referral networks that they work within to manage long distance moving. You need to ask who will be handling your delivery, who you should contact (it should usually remain the moving company you contract with) and what security measures are in place if the subcontractor makes a mistake.
2. Your Stuff Isn’t Transported By Itself
It would be extremely costly—and very inefficient—to ship every single move separately across the country. Instead, moving companies utilize trailers and major routes to combine moves and ship across the country. This means your stuff is going to be on a tractor trailer with other moves—which is normal but means you need to know a little more about what external factors can influence your delivery date and who to contact if something goes wrong. Many bigger moving companies have at least one trailer they own and operate—if you are on a well traveled route, for example New York to Los Angeles, you are more likely to stay with your moving company’s trailer and owned services.
3. Moving Vehicles Requires A Different Moving Company
Not interested in driving across the country with your moving company? We don’t blame you. But shipping a car (or a boat, motorcycle, etc) is different than shipping your living room furniture. Ask your moving company for recommendations but be diligent in your review of options. Just as not all moving companies are created equal, neither are your specialty service providers.
4. Delivery Windows Exist For A Reason
In a world where Amazon delivers virtually anything the next day—and you can order food delivery from your phone and race it to your office en route—it may seem odd that you can’t get a confirmed delivery date when you book your move. Instead, moving companies provide “delivery windows” which are basically periods of time in which your items should arrive. These windows factor in trailer and transition delays, and the “unknown” from other moves combined with it, and attempt to narrow down the date as the move progresses. You will eventually receive a set delivery date and time as your items arrive in your new destination.
5. Moving Insurance Is Far More Important In Long Distance Moving
The longer the move, the more hands that touch it, and the more vehicles it requires to complete the delivery, the greater the likelihood for error. Especially for valuables, antiques, specialty items and large, bulky furniture, moving insurance will help you avoid costly errors should they happen. No one likes to talk about it but moving mistakes do happen—you can mitigate the risk by getting insurance to protect your possessions.