Whether you’re moving your family or moving your business (files, equipment, furniture and more), getting you and all your stuff from where you are to where you need to go can be a hassle and a major expense, in both time and money. But the River Region is home to several businesses that can make the process easier, faster and less stressful.
Whit Mitchell, partner of Birmingham-based Move and Store, whose nine locations include sites in Auburn and Tuscaloosa, as well as Admiral Movers, Inc. in Montgomery, has seen every size and type of move, and knows that corporate moves in particular vary significantly in size and scope. “We have moved offices that have 60-plus employees and offices that have eight employees,” he said.
Moving a Business
Though residential moves could be a relocation to anywhere, businesses typically move within the same community. They are often either outgrowing a facility or downsizing their space, or they may want to move to a more appealing area. In addition, some types of businesses seek to expand or contract as they place locations in a new market. “Those are the main reasons we see folks move,” Mitchell said.
The larger the business is, the more services they require to get up and running. For example, companies like Mitchell’s work with vendors who specialize just in furniture system installations. “Imagine a move that’s 100-plus employees,” he said. “A lot of times they’ll have a furniture company that they’ve hired to buy the new cubicle systems for their new workplace, and that furniture company will have an interior designer that will give a layout of how everything’s to be put together.”
Larger companies also have technology providers that handle the disconnection and reconnection of their equipment. In addition, electricians are needed to wire the cubicle systems while other contractors install wireless networks.
Regardless of the size of the move, Mitchell said, “There really needs to be one employee that is spearheading the relocation.” That helps the transition go more smoothly.
There are also issues related to sensitive documents that need to be addressed. In the case of paper files, moving companies can use tamper seals on boxes to provide proof that they have not been opened. Tamper seals are also placed on the locks of the truck, and a company representative inspects the seal at departure and when the truck arrives at its destination.
In other cases, corporations are moving personnel—such as relocating them to a different office or moving them temporarily for a particular project. Mitchell said, “Those businesses will usually hand over that employee’s contact information to us and ask us to make it as seamless and stress free as possible.”
Mitchell first entered the moving business in 2010 when he wanted to make extra money as a student at Auburn University. He offered to help classmates move out of their student housing after final exams. By the following year, he and a friend started a business that not only helped students load and unload their trailers but also stored their belongings over the summer until they returned to school. “We called it our ‘Dorm Store Service.’” After graduation, the partners reconfigured the company to become a full-service residential and commercial moving and storage provider.
Managing a Successful Residential Move
There are several things to keep in mind to make your move a success. “I think the biggest is very clear communication with the moving company that they select, specifically in terms of what they will handle and what they expect the movers to handle,” said Mitchell.
Estimators visit prior to the move to see everything that’s in the customer’s home. However, something can get overlooked. “A customer might not show us a shed in their backyard that they decide to add day of the move,” Mitchell said. “Those type wrinkles not only increase price, but sometimes the movers might not have the resources to take on the additional work that day.”
Being prepared to receive the furniture and household items is also important. “It takes longer to load the truck than it does to unload the truck,” Mitchell said. “Knowing where the pieces are going to go in the new home is really helpful, and having someone present that knows where all those items are going to go to advise the movers is really helpful.” Labeling boxes for each room is also a good idea.
In addition, folks on the move should be aware of the effort it takes to pack a home. People often try to save funds by packing for themselves. One challenge Mitchell sees, however, is that when customers pack their own boxes they aren’t always fully packed or sealed. In addition, sometimes those who had every intention of being packed don’t get finished in time. "Most companies will try to accommodate a customer who needs day-of-move packing, but in a busy season, they might not have the available resources in crew and time," Mitchell noted. "The safety of the crew is also a concern."
Moving Later in Life
Studies show that people move, on average, 11 times during their lifetimes. In the later years, additional services are cropping up to help seniors transition to smaller homes, near their children or into senior communities.
“I am a moving coordinator,” said Julia Maher, who started a consulting service, Daisy’s Senior Moves, in 2017. Her work includes helping clients sort and downsize belongings as well as analyzing floor planning. “We can look at their existing items with a new eye—what will actually fit,” Maher said. She helps families make decisions on what to sell, what to give, and how to get these items to loved ones. She also coordinates client estate sales, arranges for donations and consignments, works with local movers and assists clients as they settle in to their new home.
“When you’re working with the elderly, oftentimes you’re dealing with some type of grieving,” Maher said. This could be the loss of a loved one, their possessions, their community or their health. “It’s a very sensitive time in many people’s lives.”
She offered some advice to lessen the burden. “Start as early as possible, even five years down the road. Start with downsizing and sorting.” She noted that choices become harder as time goes by, but it’s okay to start small, such as cleaning out a single drawer. “Develop a plan—start with your basic to-do list.” As you break down the tasks, she said, enlist the help of family, friends or your church, or hire a moving coordinator.
4 Weeks Before
- Clean out and discard items you no longer want.
- Notify post office, utilities of planned move.
- Start packing items to move.
- Schedule cleaners to come after you move.
- Change your address for recurring deliveries.
- Arrange for childcare and pet care during move.
- Discard flammable items and drain fuel from tools.
- Consider layout of furniture in new location.
- Have boxes packed and labeled by room.
- Have personal bag and items packed and ready.
- Pack an essentials box and mark “load last.”
- Be present for movers and be able to answer questions.
- Ensure nothing is left behind.
- Take photos of vacant home for return of lease deposit.
- Meet movers at new location and guide on arrangement of furniture.