If you find yourself moving abroad, it can take a while to wrap your head around all of the details and elements you need to consider. But once you’ve nailed down the where and the when, it’s time to start considering the how — namely, who are you going to hire to help move your household abroad? In order to be sure you’re hiring a top-notch international moving company, ask them these nine questions before you sign the contract.
- Do they load the shipping container themselves?
Depending on the moving company’s size and capacity, they may load it themselves or they may hire a third party to do the loading. If they are hiring a third party, you’ll want to vet that company as well to be sure they’re just as reputable as your moving company.
- Do they load your items in crates?
Depending on the size of your shipment and how you arrange to have things packed, be sure you’re clear whether they load your items securely in crates or loosely in the container. If your items are loaded loosely, they may be more susceptible to bumps and jostling — so if you’re sending fragile things or a lot of furniture, opt to have things crated.
- Are your belongings shipped solo?
Some companies will mix your crates with others in order to save money. If you’re comfortable with that arrangement, it may save you money in the long run, but if you prefer to have your own international shipping container for the sake of keeping track of your belongings, be sure that is clear with your movers.
- Are they licensed and insured?
This question may sound overly cautious, but be sure your moving company is legitimate and licensed to conduct your international relocation. If they can’t provide you with that information, including what kind of insurance they have, you could find yourself running into all sorts of red tape that will hamper your overseas move.
- Can they take photos for you?
They might speak highly of their packing process, but are they willing to take photos of your shipment? An added layer of accountability is an excellent way to screen out the companies that won’t truly treat your belongings with care. Make sure they provide you with a timeframe for the promised photos, and will send them via email for fastest delivery.
- Will they provide references?
It’s one thing to read the testimonials on their website, but will the company provide you with a couple of references to verify their professional work and experience? How long have they been in the field, and how many overseas moves have they done? Make sure the company has sufficient experience with international relocation, and that it isn’t just something they do on the side.
- How will your shipment pass through customs?
It is almost a necessity that your moving company provides customs brokerage service. The process of getting your belongings through customs has become more and more complicated with increasing restrictions, and you don’t want your belongings stuck in port — that can mean costly storage fees or penalties. Your moving company should help you with the process from start to finish and have the appropriate infrastructure in your destination country to make the process as smooth as possible.
- Who will take care of you once you’ve arrived overseas?
Most companies work with a partner moving companies in your destination country. Make sure you know who that company is, how to contact them, and what the plan is for getting your belongings to your home. Be sure they plan to deliver in an appropriate timeframe and get clear on what their moving services include.
- Who will be your main point of contact throughout the process?
For your own peace of mind as well as a smooth, consistent experience, it’s best to have one point of contact within the moving company — someone who knows your process and experience from start to finish, or as much of it as possible. That will help you to feel most comfortable handing over your belongings, and help keep the moving experience… moving along.
Curious what else you should be asking your moving company, whether you’re moving locally or overseas? Check out our other blog post.