July and August are considered the peak months of the year for moving. This year is no different. The main reason for the higher demand for movers is due to families with children who want to settle into their new homes before the school year begins.
It is estimated that there are upwards of 500 moving companies in Israel, of which about 50 are professional, serious ones. Only a few are classified as large companies — with five or more trucks. Most are small or medium-sized companies who operate one to three trucks. The advantage of the larger companies is their ability to deal with complicated moves with large amounts of articles. The disadvantage is that there is a wide range in the quality of the move itself; it depends on the moving crew you receive. If you use a small moving company with a good reputation, the chances of any “accidents” are smaller.
Of course, there are always many charlatans alongside the professionals. From the first phone conversation, you can identify them. If you didn’t receive an organized answer or the mover only has a mobile number with no land line this should arouse your suspicions. In addition, a professional mover will usually send a representative to give an estimate and to personally sign a work contract with you; he won’t just rely on sending a fax.
Gershon Malul, the general manager of Gimmel Gimmel Movers, has put together the following guide to common issues that come up when dealing with moving companies:
The Mover Doesn’t Show Up:
You reach an agreed price after getting a low estimate from a mover. On the day of the move, they don’t show up. What you don’t know is that after you made the deal with the mover, he went on receiving reservations for the same day while trying to offer higher prices. If he gets a better deal, then he won’t come as promised.
What should you do?
Make sure to have a written agreement, which has a clause stating that you will receive compensation of 1,000 shekels if the mover doesn’t show up. Also, never work with a mover who has no address and who hides behind his mobile phone because you won’t be able to locate him in order to implement the agreement.
Large thefts, in which the mover disappears with the truck and all of the home’s contents, are rare. Small thefts happen frequently. The biggest concern is when temporary workers, especially those from the “territories”, steal because it’s hard to find them afterwards. One of their methods is to stop the full truck in a parking lot and to look through the boxes for valuables.
What should you do?
Color-code the boxes instead of marking them with names of rooms: obviously living room or kitchen items are more attractive than children’s room items. Also, move the most valuable and sentimental items in your private car (i.e. jewelry, computers, silver, mementos, pictures, albums, collections, etc.). Drive your car next to the moving truck and keep eye contact with the driver the whole way. Make sure that there is always one family member inside the home and another standing at the building’s exit next to the truck — both at the home you are moving from as well as the home you are moving into.
You should always be alert, especially when it comes to price comparisons. If you receive an especially low estimate, that should be a red light. Behind this low price could be a hiding a swindle! How does it work? First, the mover agrees to a low price without even coming to see the contents of the home and without any written agreement. On the day of the move, the mover starts loading the truck and then he starts with a stream of surprises: “You didn’t tell me you’re moving to the third floor,” “You didn’t tell me that you’re also moving the closet. I thought you were leaving it here.” From this stage, it quickly moves to threats: “If you don’t pay me an additional 300 shekels per floor and 200 shekels to disassemble the closet, we’re leaving!” If you are stuck in such a situation, you should insist that the mover unload the truck since you are not willing to pay the additional charges. Sometimes the mover will grumble and continue the move, but in other cases movers have left customers with their belongings on the street.
What should you do?
Insist that the mover come see your home, tour through all parts of it and make sure he’s aware of the number of closets and storage areas. Get a written, detailed estimate. Don’t give in to the temptation from the mover who suggests that you save time and gives you a phone estimate or even a fax estimate without seeing your home first.
The work agreement must include an itemized list of every piece of furniture and equipment to be moved and the exact moving date with the final cost — including additional charges, disassembly and assembly of furniture, packing, packing supplies, detaching and reattaching refrigerator doors, additional charges per floor, etc. — and agreed upon compensation in the case of a no-show.
More tips to follow next month.