Asking the Right Questions
Moving overseas can be a complicated process if you do not do the research on finding the right international moving company. It takes a lot more preparation and planning to move overseas than if you were to move down the block. There is also documentation and customs to deal with. Because of this hiring a moving company that you trust and can depend on is crucial. The question is, how do you find that perfect company? The best way to find out, is to ask questions to the moving company themselves. Here are some suggestions on questions you can ask to make sure you are finding the company that is right for you.
Chances are the number one concern that you have will be the price of your move. There are many factors that go into the grand total of your relocation, so make sure to ask what determines the overall price. Be sure to ask them to include any potential fees such as delivery charges, customs inspections, and material costs, as these can add up in a hurry and make a price point that is within your budget, turn very scary, very quickly.
Also, just like most other businesses, there are licenses and affiliations that an international mover is required to have. If a company does not have these requirements, then you absolutely do not want to do business with them, as they are likely a scam artist. A reputable company will mention things like FIDI, AMSA, and RIM, which are all international associations that a moving company should be endorsed by.
Another question to ask to avoid a scam is whether the company provides in-house estimates. A reputable company will send an agent to your home, and they will do a thorough inspection of every piece that you are relocating. After that, they will provide you with an estimate of what it will cost to move those items, including a price for packaging. If a company does not provide this service, they are probably not legitimate, and should not be hired.
Anytime that you are hiring a company that provides a service, you want to know how long they have been in business and what experience they have. The same is true for an international mover. If a company has not been around for that long, they may not be aware of all of the processes it could take to get your belongings where they need to go. Every country has different regulations, so a company that has been around a long time has a greater chance of knowing what those regulations are, simply through experience.
In case something does go wrong though, you will want to know what kind of insurance the moving company offers. Obviously when you move, you are moving your most cherished and expensive items along with you. It would be foolish to not insure those items, at least a little bit, so you can be compensated for damage that may occur. Most companies offer insurance through them, but the policies can differ between them. Find out what each company has to offer, and figure out what best covers your things while remaining in your budget.
Find out what their process will be for moving your things, specifically how many different vehicles and vessels will be involved. The more times that your belongings are moved around, the greater chance that they will be damaged in some way. Some companies use a freight forwarding company to ship items by boat, while others take care of it themselves.
To go along with the last point, find out who will be unloading and picking up your things, once it has reached your new country. Many companies utilize a destination agent which could be from a different company altogether. The more people that are involved in handling your items will also lead to a greater chance of damage.
You may need to store some of your items while you are searching for your new home, or are just trying to get settled in. A lot of international moving companies offer storage services. It may cost a little extra, but it will be easier to store, and then pick up, your items if you are dealing with the same company that helped you move them there in the first place.
Finally, find out how your potential moving partner handles customs in your future destination. Dealing with customs agencies can be a long and complicated process. Different rules for what is and is not allowed varies between countries. There are also documents to fill out, and potential permits that need to be obtained in order to retrieve all of your items. Also, most items have a duty or tax on imported goods that you will have to pay. If a company is experienced with dealing with customs, they can be an indispensable partner for you to help speed everything along.
It is impossible to know exactly how any relocation is going to work out. However, by asking the right questions and narrowing down your search for an international moving company to one that is best for your needs, will give you a better idea on things like cost, processes, and help improve your overall well-being during an otherwise stressful time.