Why would you ever need a moving & storage company? After all, you’re looking to move your items to a new location. You don’t want to store them somewhere other than the property you’re moving to.
Unfortunately, that sort of direct move isn’t always possible.
For example, you might be moving from one side of the American coast to the other. That journey takes several days and you don’t want your moving company to leave your valuables in their trucks during the move. If that’s the case, you need your movers to offer storage so your furniture is protected during your multi-day move.
Alternatively, imagine that you’re a business client who’s trying to complete an office move as quickly as possible. This often involves moving a lot of heavy equipment, some of which require disassembly and reassembly. A mover that offers storage solutions can remove your equipment from your old location quickly, and allow you to keep some items out of the new office until the major furniture and equipment are reassembled.
Simply put, there are many reasons why you may need a mover with storage. But because this is a less common service than straightforward moving, you also need to know how to find moving companies that store your stuff safely.
How do you do that?
Make sure you ask these questions before choosing your mover with storage.
Question No. 1 – What Are the Security Protocols at Your Storage Location?
Security is always your first concern when choosing any company that offers storage. You need to know that the company’s storage facilities are adequately protected against people who might try to break into them. Theft is a particular challenge for these types of companies. Criminals know that storage facilities contain many units, all of which could potentially hold thousands of dollars of furniture and equipment.
For that reason, you need to know what your movers and storage company does to keep its facility secure. Here are the basic security measures the company should tell you about:
- Surveillance cameras are installed throughout the facility, both inside and out. These cameras should track everybody who enters the facility, allowing you to have access to video evidence if theft occurs.
- A gated entry that anybody who wants to access the facility needs to drive through. Ideally, this entry should have a physical security guard who checks IDs and passes. Some storage facilities use automated systems, which are fine as long as they have a physical security presence elsewhere.
- A secure method of locking the storage unit your goods will be placed in. Many facilities use padlocks to make entering units difficult. You also need to know how people gain entry to a unit.
Preferarbly, your moving with storage company will also tell you about the background checks it conducts on employees. After all, even the most advanced security systems can’t do much if somebody who works for the company intends to steal from it.
Question No. 2 – How Does Renting a Storage Unit Work?
Some movers and storage companies have per-day or even per-hour policies for renting a storage unit. Others may tie you into a longer contract. You need to know how long you’ll be expected to pay for the storage your mover uses.
Hopefully, the mover won’t tie you into a contract. After all, you only need the storage for as long as it takes to complete your move. So, you should have the flexibility to choose when you no longer need to access it.
Question No. 3 – What Is Your Facility’s Record on Break-Ins?
As mentioned, storage facilities can be magnets for thieves. They contain a lot of valuable items, which can lead to malicious parties attempting to steal from the storage facility.
Ask your mover with storage directly about their record with break-ins. In an ideal world, you’ll hear that the facility has never been broken into. However, that answer isn’t realistic given the attractive nature of storage facilities to thieves. Assuming the facility has dealt with thieves, you want your mover to tell you what happened and how each situation was resolved.
You can also check the answers you receive to this question.
Speak to the local police department to ask about any break-ins that have occurred at the facility your mover wants you to use. While they may not provide you with full details, the answer you get from the police will indicate whether the facility is secure.
Question No. 4 – Do You Offer Climate-Controlled Storage?
While basic storage units are fine for general household goods, there are several reasons why you might want the option of climate-controlled storage. For example, you may have sensitive items, such as musical instruments or antiques, that are prone to splitting or warping when exposed to extreme temperatures. Climate controls allow you to store these items at a consistent temperature, thus reducing the possibility of damage occurring to your valuables.
Climate-controlled storage units are often cleaner and have better air quality than regular units. These specialty units have to be fully sealed against the outside world for their climate controls to work. That means less dust and debris can get into the unit itself. If you have sensitive documents or similarly fragile items, climate controls are a must for them to stay in good condition.
Note that you will likely pay a little more for climate controls. But they’re essential if you need to store your items for an extended period and want to keep them as safe as possible.
Question No. 5 – Are You Licensed With the FMCSA?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees companies that operate commercial vehicles, such as moving services with storage. Every moving company in Baltimore needs to have a USDOT number provided by the FMCSA to operate legally. Use this knowledge to your advantage when searching for a moving & storage company. Ask the company for its USDOT number. Then, check the number in the FMCSA’s database.
If the company is properly accredited, you’ll see the FMCSA’s record for them. You’ll also see the mover’s operating status in this record. If it says “Authorized”, you know you’re dealing with a legitimate mover with storage.
As a side note, you can use this database to conduct searches based on the mover’s name, its MC number, or its MX number. The latter numbers may be provided to you by movers who operate in states that do not require a USDOT number.
Question No. 6 – What Liability Coverage Does Your Company Offer?
A service that combines moving with storage requires movers to hold onto your items for an extended period. As such, you need to feel confident that the company has adequate cover if something goes wrong. Liability insurance ensures that you’re compensated for damage to or the loss of any valuables that occurs during the move.
There are two main types of liability coverage that movers and storage companies tend to have.
- Full Value Protection – This is the most comprehensive type of insurance because it makes your mover liable for the full replacement value of any lost or damaged items.
- Released Value Protection – A more economical option, released value protection sees the mover assume liability at a rate of 60 cents per pound per item. For example, if an item weighs two pounds, the mover will only pay $1.20 if that item gets lost or damaged.
Released value protection may be the cheapest option. However, the limited protection it provides is often not enough to cover the value of your items. Look for full value protection or consider taking out third-party insurance to get full protection.
Your mover with storage company should also be able to provide its full insurance documentation upon request. Be wary of any company that delays or tries to convince you it is insured without offering proof.
Question No. 7 – What Is Your Maintenance Process?
A mover with storage that doesn’t take care of its own facilities can’t be trusted to protect your valuables. Every facility should have an in-depth maintenance plan that covers how it deals with pests, leaks, and any other vulnerabilities that place your items at risk.
Quiz your mover about its pest control policy. Having monthly pest inspections is the bare minimum. Your mover should conduct more regular pest inspections and have a plan in place, which involves having a pest company on call, if they discover issues.
For general unit maintenance, ask how the mover responds to issues like leaks. Do they try and fix the problem with your valuables still inside the leaky unit? Alternatively, will they transport your items to another unit to keep them safe before fixing the leak? Ideally, you’re looking for the second option as it creates less risk that your valuables will get damaged due to water exposure.
Question No. 8 – Can I Access My Items?
There are many reasons why you might want to access the items your movers place in storage. For example, you may be a commercial client transporting goods from one warehouse to another. If a customer places an order for items that you currently have in storage, you need to be able to access those items so you can keep your business running.
Most movers and storage companies offer some form of access to their units. You need to know if this access is time-limited or if you’re able to come and go 24 hours per day. The company also needs to inform you about any security procedures, such as passcodes for accessing your unit or any temporary visitor passes that you’ll use to enter the facility.
Question No. 9 – Are There Any Fees for Extended Storage?
You may need to keep your items in storage for longer than anticipated, especially if the move doesn’t go to plan. It’s likely your moving with storage company charges a fee for any time your goods stay in storage beyond the time initially agreed.
You need to know what this fee is.
Furthermore, you need to know if any issues that cause delays in the move will also lead to you paying more money when your items are transported to their final destination. Delays may mess up a mover’s scheduling, resulting in a fee for delivering the goods on a different date.
Question No. 10 – What Is Your Customer Service Procedure?
If you have questions about the moving with storage process, you need to know that you’ll get the relevant answers. You may also want to check up on your items while they’re in storage, just to ensure they’re okay. Your moving company needs to have a defined customer service process that ensures you get all of the information you need.
Ask your mover about how to get in touch with them if you have any questions. Many will provide you with a phone number, ideally to a dedicated customer service department. Alternatively, they may provide an email address you can use to make queries. If the company doesn’t have a specific customer service policy, you may find it difficult to get your questions answered promptly.
Ask the Important Questions
Whether you’re searching for long-distance or local moving and storage companies, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you receive quality service. You have valuable items that you need to move. If those items have to go into storage, you need to know that they’ll receive the protection they deserve so you don’t have to worry about loss or damage.
The 10 questions in this article outline the measures your moving with storage company takes to protect your goods. They also help you check that you’re working with a legitimate company that has the licenses and insurance needed to operate legally.
Now that you have the questions, it’s time to get some answers.
At Baltimore MD Movers, we offer movers and storage services to residential and commercial clients. If you’d like to quiz us about our offering, give us a call at 855-383-7134 or contact us directly via our website.