What in the heck is Double Drive Time anyway?

Our #1 most frequently asked question is: “What in the heck is Double Drive Time anyway?”

Thank you, first of all, for asking! Double Drive Time can sound like a very daunting and scary phrase to hear when talking about billable costs — but it doesn’t have to be! Let me give you a little background on the matter first. In California, all moving companies (big or small,) are required to hold a permit with the state of California called a Household Goods Mover Permit. California Household Goods Movers are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, the same governmental branch that regulates a number of industries. In order to obtain said permit, companies must provide multiple sources of documentation that confirm financial and legal responsibility. Additionally, companies must pass a rigorous test administered by the Commission. This test requires that companies display a higher-that average knowledge of industry rate caps in and consumer law.

One such law is Double Drive Time. Not only are all companies supposed to charge this fee, we are actually REQUIRED to charge this fee for all hourly moves. In fact, if the Commission finds that a moving company is not charging this fee, companies can be fined…or worse!

“…the time used shall be the total of loading, unloading and double the driving time from point of origin to point of destination.”

-California Public Utilities Commission

In Layman’s Terms, say it takes us 15 minutes to drive from your current address in Silverlake, California to your new home in Glendale, California; Therefore, your Double Drive Time will be 30 minutes. This is to account for the time it would take for your movers to drive back to your point of origin. This protects you as a Consumer because this cost should be figured in your moving “Not to exceed” price that you sign off on your contract before your move. This provides fair compensation for your movers and gas costs. This also gives the opportunity for total transparency between your moving company and yourself, which is always key in any relationship.

-Cheap Movers Riverside Customer Care Team

http://www.CheapMoversRiverside.com

How to prepare before your movers arrive!

It’s time!

So, it’s finally happening – you’ve done an extensive research on various top-rated moving companies and you’ve chosen a full-service mover that happened to give you the best offer in terms of price and conditions. And if you’ve opted for the extra service of having your home packed up by professionals, you may be now wondering what tasks you are supposed to complete before those moving experts arrive at your home.

Are you expected to do anything at all before your packing crew makes an appearance on the scheduled day and time? And if yes, how to prepare for professional packers in such a way as to make Pack day and Move day easier for everybody, especially for yourself and your family?

It’s important to remember that although the process of moving from one home to another is brimming with move-related tasks of all sort, it’s the packing job that matters the most as it is, without a doubt, the most time-consuming and laborious task you’ll need to take care of in order to have a fairly successful house move.

So, if using professional packers is the right decision for the sake of your prized possessions, and for your own sake too, then preparing for professional movers the right way should be your number one priority.

Here are the top 10 things to do before packers come to pack up your things.

  1. Purge your home of useless items

It won’t make much sense to pay for having items packed professionally and then transported safely to your new home only to never use them again. Since the total weight of your shipment will determine, to large extent, the price you’ll need to pay in the end, you must get rid of all things that you won’t ever need again before professional packers come knocking on your door. The majority of experts agree that if a person has not used an item for over a year, then that person should seriously consider parting with that item as its uselessness is becoming more and more obvious with time.

Don’t waste money and time if you can help it – go through your things and set aside the stuff you shouldn’t bother moving to your new place. Decide on the spot what you will do with each item – sell the ones that still have any market value, give away some of them to family members and close friends, donate still usable things to various charitable organizations, or throw away for recycling the worthless stuff.

Learn more: Clutter unwanted: Get rid of stuff when moving

  1. Dispose of anything packers won’t pack

Just don’t tell your packing crew you have more than 50 types of house flowers waiting to be packed up.
Another way to prepare for professional packers is to part with any items that your packing crew won’t agree to pack for you. That’s right – even though you’re paying for the professional packing services you’re about to receive, there are a number of hazardous items that moving companies are not allowed to pack up and transport for safety reasons. It’s the law, so there’s no point in trying to persuade your packers to make an exception. And you shouldn’t either as such non-allowable goods could really endanger the safety of the entire relocation operation.

There are three major categories of household items your team of professional packers will refuse to deal with:

Hazardous items such as corrosive, explosive and flammable materials, including weapons and ammunition, chemicals, oils, cleaning fluids, paint, etc.
Perishables such as frozen, refrigerated or fresh foods. Don’t forget to use up your food supply prior to the arrival of your packing team.
Plants – due to their extreme fragility, the transportation of your leafy friends is your sole responsibility. Consider gifting your plants to friends or donating them to local hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc.
3. Inventory all your possessions

Now that you’re left only with the personal belongings you will be moving to your new house or apartment, it’s time to create an itemized checklist that will detail everything that is quite ready to be packed up by the pros. A household inventory will prove to be a great idea for two main reasons: 1) you will have a detailed list of all the items in your shipment and will check the delivered items against it in search of missing or damaged things, and 2) you will be able to file an insurance claim with your insurer, if any, or file a damage claim with your mover if you do find any of your delivered goods damaged or missing.

You can create a home inventory list by either using the traditional pen-and-paper method (mark down the type, quantity and current condition of each item, and leave and extra column for comments), or taking advantage of modern technology to complete your house inventory checklist in no time (MoveAdvisor – the free mobile app that will help you organize your move – will inventory your entire home in minutes).

  1. Establish a “No-Pack Zone”

What to do before movers come to pack? One of your priority tasks is to select one room where you will place all the things that will be traveling with you to your new home. Clearly, that room will be a no-pack zone for your professional packers – make sure you let them know that you intend to pack and move those items yourself before they begin work.

Just to be safe, write DO NOT PACK on a piece of paper and attach it to that room’s door. If you can’t afford to spare an entire room for whatever you’re planning to take with you, at least cordon off one section of a room, and again – make sure it’s easily identifiable as a no-pack zone.

The usual things that people choose to pack and move by themselves include mostly essential items /see below/: important documents, electronic devices, valuables of all kind, medicines and so on.

Packing advice: How to label moving boxes like a pro packer

  1. Prepare essentials boxes for your first day in your new home!

No two essentials boxes are the same.
Preparing for professional packers include packing up a few essentials boxes out from the things you’ve already placed in the no-pack area. The smart idea behind organizing such essentials boxes is that the moment your furniture pieces and your household items are packed up by the movers and loaded into the moving vehicle, you will cease to have access to them until you are reunited with them once more at your new home. And until that moment in time, you will still need a number of important or even life-saving things to have at arm’s length.

What should you pack in your survival kits? Anything that you think you will need to survive a day or two without your stuff. Here are some common sense suggestions: prescription medicine, non-perishable food, bottled water, plastic kitchen utensils, towels, bed sheets, spare clothes for each family member, toiletries, favorite book or games, essential tools.

Also, include valuables such as jewelry pieces, family heirlooms, important documents, expensive electronics, and so on.

Great advice: Your own packing timeline for moving

  1. Call a family safety briefing

An excellent way to prepare for professional movers and packers is to ensure the safety of all family members, including any pets you may have under the roof. Hold a family meeting to talk about what to expect when the packers arrive and what major role each member will have during that hectic and dangerous phase of moving out. Soon enough, you will need to welcome complete strangers in your home for a packing job that can last not only hours, but entire days. And then, all of a sudden, safety becomes a major concern.

The moving process will turn out to be an unwelcoming and stressful disruption for everybody in your family, and the arrival of professional packers is just the beginning. So, make sure everyone is pretty safe to avoid making your move traumatic as well. Keep your kids and pets 100% safe, preferably in a room as far away from the packing action as possible. Arrange for trusted persons to stay with your loved ones while your hired packers do their job.

  1. Prepare household appliances to be packed

While inventorying your entire apartment or house, you should have also included your household appliances in the inventory checklist. And if you did, then you must have made an informed decision to let professional movers pack up and move those large electric appliances all the way to your new residence. And considering their formidable dimensions and considerable weight, such decision also means increased moving costs as well.

Unplug any large appliances you intend to have packed – refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, electric or gas cookers, and empty them. If you find the necessary time, you can also choose to clean them prior to their packing and moving. If not, you will have to do all that after the move – something that may be the better option altogether.

Either way, your appliances should be ready to be wrapped up and protected before the professional packers for moving show up at your door, so get down to work.

  1. Pre-pack small items

Before your movers come to pack, pre-pack some special items of yours to sleep better that night.
How to prepare for professional movers and packers? It’s a great idea to take care of the small stuff that you can easily pack up yourself. Although you’re paying professionals to pack up your household goods for you, sometimes it’s much better if you choose to pre-pack some small items the way you want it. So, take a look around your home and see what items may actually benefit by being pre-packed so that even more time is saved in the end.

This tactical move can be especially useful when packing collector’s items – things you generally insist on handling yourself due to their high value – both sentimental and monetary. You may not be a professional packer yourself, but you should know best how to pack up your precious collection of small fridge magnets for increased peace of mind.

Good to know: 9 packing mistakes you must never make

  1. Take tons of photos

Should you hire professional packers? If you can afford to do it, there are many great reasons to hire professional packers: they bring high-quality packing materials, they bring they experience and resourcefulness, they pack things fast while also taking all the safety measures you can think of, and they are also properly insured – meaning that they will accept the liability for any damages when they pack your boxes.

Nevertheless, being extra cautious won’t hurt – on the contrary, it can help you resolve an issue in your favor after the move. Take out your trusted digital camera and take plenty of photos of your household items before packers come to pack. Concentrate your photographic skills on valuables and antiques, and make sure you produce numerous close-up shots as well.

In case any disputes arise between you and the moving company that has serviced you, those photos can serve as proof of your items’ condition before the professional packing has started.

Read also: Common moving day mistakes to avoid

  1. Be a thoughtful host

Once the packing crew arrives at your home, things will change with lightning speed – quality packing boxes of various sizes will be delivered, including the necessary protective blankets, bubble wrap and other padding materials, and your hired men will get down to work. Depending on the size of your home and the quantity and nature of items for packing inside it, the entire packing marathon can last from several hours to a couple of days.

What to do when movers arrive? To show your packers and movers that you’re a good host, here are a few important pointers to consider:

Show the professional packers around and tell them exactly what is expected of them.
Offer your hired workers bottled water and some snacks, and show them where the bathroom is.
Do you tip professional packers? If you’re happy with their work, there isn’t a single reason why you shouldn’t. The standard tip is around $20 per person for an 8-hour job of packing, but it’s up to you decide if they deserve more, less, or none.
Let professional packers do their job but keep the communication channel and be ready to answer any questions they may have regarding the packing process.

-Cheap Movers Riverside Customer Care Team

Apartment Move-Out Checklist!

Moving is complicated, whatever the circumstances, but moving out of an apartment building brings its own set of challenges and unique responsibilities.

Give notice

Giving notice is crucial, especially if you’re breaking your lease. Even if you’re not, it’s still crucial to let your landlord know that you’re actually moving out when your lease is up. That way, your landlord can not only prepare by trying to find a new tenant for your apartment, but can also potentially assist you in finding services to help you clean or move out of your apartment. This might help alleviate some of the stress of moving. Choose a specific day by which you’ll definitely be out of your apartment and notify your landlord you’ll be out by that time. Then, motivate yourself to have everything done two days early. This will give you extra time to deal with any emergencies that might arise at the last minute.

As always, communication is crucial—you’ll need to keep your landlord updated throughout the moving process, so he or she will be able to show the apartment to new tenants and guarantee a move-in date to the incoming individuals. Being flaky about your move-out date is not only an inconvenience for your landlord, it might also cost you some money—especially if you’re not out by the first of the month, when the new tenants show up with a moving van full of furniture. Moving apartments is a serious thing, so be sure you pick a date that you can stick to.

Get out

This should go without saying, but you’ll need to actually get all—yes, all—of your stuff out of the apartment before taking off for good. It’s not the responsibility of your landlord or the next tenant to get rid of all the junk you don’t want to take with you to your future place of residence. If you don’t want something, at least haul it to the curb or dumpster, or just advertise it on the craigslist for your city—you’ll be amazed what people will go to great lengths to pick up and even pay for. No matter how great your car (or, if you’re lucky, truck) is, you’ll likely need to hire a moving company and/or some strong friends with trucks to help you move any significant amount of furniture.

If you’re not moving furniture, get rid of it, or get a contract allowing you to leave it behind. Even if you meet the people who’ll be living in your apartment next, and they indicate an interest in your furniture, obtain a written agreement signed by the tenants and your landlords that allows you to leave certain items of furniture behind. Otherwise, you might be faced with extensive charges from your landlord if he or she had to pay people to take out and dispose of your stuff.

Clean up

Your landlord can usually issue a cleaning fee if you leave your apartment excessively messy. Since messiness is a subjective issue, it’s better to be on the safe (i.e., clean) side and tidy up as much as possible. If you’ve been a total slob for your tenancy in the apartment, this might be rough, but if you’ve maintained decent cleanliness levels, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

If possible, get as many of your belongings out of the apartment prior to cleaning. This will not only make it easier to clean, since you’ll have fewer objects to work around, but it’ll also help you get a more thorough clean and avoid being surprised by fees charged by your landlord, who discovered a huge stain under the rug you left behind in the living room. If you want to get your deposit back, try to leave your apartment even cleaner than you found it when you moved in. That may not be possible, but it’s a good goal.

Fix it

Now’s the time to own up to any damage you caused to the apartment while you were there. You might be able to get away with a temporary cover-up that will pass a quick inspection, but eventually the new tenant will uncover what you did and refuse to take responsibility. Rather than risk a messy fight in the future, simply allow for whatever you might have done to your apartment to be set right. When your landlord finds out, you’re probably in for a messy lawsuit to recover damages, not to mention a drastic decrease in your future desirability as a tenant. If you have damage to repair, do make sure to hire competent workers who’ll do a good repair job; you don’t want to be stuck with bills from both the construction crew and your landlord. You might also work directly with your apartment complex’s maintenance crew, since they’re already on-site and equipped with the tools to do the job. 

Record it

It’s a good idea to have some record of the condition your apartment was in when you moved out. That way, your landlord can’t accuse you of making the place any dirtier or more damaged than you actually did. It’s also important to have a record of the condition the place was in when you moved in—but of course, if you didn’t take care of that initially, you’ll be hard-pressed to do it now. What you can do is make absolutely sure you won’t be charged for damages you definitely didn’t inflict. Once you’ve moved all your stuff out and done a thorough cleaning, take pictures of the apartment to prove you left it in an acceptable condition. You’ll probably also want to walk through the apartment with your landlord before you leave, just to show off the condition of the place and hand over the keys. This will not only show the landlord how you left your apartment, but also prove that you didn’t make any modifications to it after surrendering all access.

Get your deposit back

Depending on the terms of your lease, you should be entitled to get your security deposit back when you move out. As long as you haven’t wrought excessive and irreparable havoc in your apartment, and as long as you’re honest about what you’ve done, you should be able to get most of your deposit back. Repainting and carpet cleaning are costs you shouldn’t have to cover unless you caused undue damage to your apartment. Unless the carpet is stained and ripped up from your devilish pets, or the walls are covered with color from your late-night painting frenzies, it’s your landlord’s decision to redo aspects of the apartment, and you shouldn’t have to pay for your landlord’s desire to improve the condition of the living space to attract future tenants.

Some landlords will hold on to the security deposit unless you take steps to get it back. Start out by simply sending a written request by certified mail with return receipt requested. If there’s no response, you might look into going to small claims court to get your deposit back. Depending on the size of your deposit, this may not be worth the hassle, but you are legally entitled to get your deposit back unless you’ve caused damage so extensive that the money’s needed for repairs. This is where the photographs of the pristine apartment you left behind come in handy—they’ll demonstrate that you didn’t do enough damage to merit the seizure of your deposit.

Pay it off

In some lease agreements, the security deposit can be used toward the last month’s rent. This is an option you may want to explore—though you may not be able to, depending on the terms of your lease and the size of your deposit. Ask your landlord if your deposit can be used toward rent or not. If not, you’ll still need to pay your rent through your term of residency—not doing so will cause more grief and eventually cost more money than it’ll save you.

Apartment Move-Out Checklist

A great way to help keep yourself organized and methodical is to implement the use of a Move-Out Checklist. This is your handy record of what you have (and may have not,) done that you can keep and actually provide as evidence to your landlord.

Check out this handy check-out list from our friends at American Apartment Owners Association:

Best wishes,

Cheap Movers Riverside Customer Care Team