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Finding the Right Mover for You: An interview with Robin Stamm, Vice President of Starving Artists Movers

By Robin Stamm

About Starving Artists Movers:

Starving Artists Movers began in Michael Stamm's den in 1987, serving the greater Concord area. It now serves greater New England and is headquartered in Concord, NH with an office and a 5,000 s.f. climate-controlled warehouse. Mike, who continues as the company's President, knew from the start that moving is one of life's most stressful experiences. He implemented policies and procedures designed to eliminate that stress from the first contact to the last handshake. There are five office staff to handle customer inquiries with a live voice and the ability to give you the information you need and want. The same staff are available before, during, and after a move to assist the field staff (the movers) and customers with any issues that might come up. The field staff are trained by experienced movers in the company before they're allowed onto a job site. There are also several check points throughout the process to help ensure the highest quality of service and customer comfort.

Where is the Best Place to Look for Moving Recommendations?

Word of mouth is the best source of recommendations, since personal experience with a moving company leaves little room for "sales bias". Angie's List is another good source. And, of course, a web-search can help: an up-to-date, well-designed website, with useful and easy-to-find information, is indicative of the company's investment in attention to detail and knowledge of the business.

Can You Trust an Estimate that Wasn't Done in Person?

For many jobs, an over-the-phone estimate can be quite accurate. An onsite estimate, particularly for commercial or large residential moves, can be very helpful. However, the value of any estimate is as valid as the estimator's knowledge combined with the information the customer provides. If, after receiving an estimate, you decide to take Grandma's heavy hutch after all, or you remember you need to move the items tucked away in a garage, then the estimate you originally got would no longer reflect the size of the move you have in mind. Good and accurate two-way communication in person or over the phone is the best way to get an accurate idea of how much your move will cost.

What Are Some Signs a Moving Company Might Not be Reliable?

This can be tricky. We've gotten calls from people on the day of their move who are panicked because the movers didn't show up, or they left the move mid-job. Most often, the company they'd hired offered the lowest rate via a free, or very inexpensive, means of promotion. Of course there are those who'll show up and do well, but the same company might also find themselves undermanned on the day of your move, so they'll either not show up or will ask untrained laborers to handle the job for them. If the company doesn't have a web-site, or a stable presence in the market, it suggests they haven't spent the time and money to invest in their business. Although it might be disappointing to know, the cheaper the rates, the more likely you'll be disappointed on moving day. If you're not told about the rate at which damages are covered, and how you can protect your goods further with a small but additional fee, that's also a sign you're not dealing with a company that's fully on the up-and-up.

How Important is it that a Moving Company is Licensed and Insured?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being an "absolute must", a moving company should score 10 when it comes to being licensed and insured. The license tells you the company is legitimate and has assumed the obligation to adhere to the laws and regulations governing their business (and there are many). This tells you they're not a fly-by-night company. There are several types of insurance carried by most well-reputed moving companies, but the most important to you is Workers' Compensation Insurance. If the moving company doesn't carry Workers' Comp, and one of their staff gets hurt on your job, courts have held that the customer can be successfully sued for the employee's medical care and any subsequent disability(s). To satisfy yourself about a moving company being fully licensed and insured, check their website for this information and, if it's not there, ask the company to provide you with copies of their license and insurance documents. At Starving Artists, we put copies of these documents on our website, but we also have extra copies to give to anyone who asks.

Are You Familiar with MovingScam.com?

We're aware of MovingScam.com, but we're not involved with them. As with many "consumer protection" sites and organizations, the companies they endorse have paid for the endorsement. We'd rather prove our value by doing each job well. That said, the information provided on MovingScam.com's website (separate from its endorsements) is useful as of this writing. Many of the points made in this article are covered there as well.

Advice About Choosing the Right Moving Company?

Choosing "the right" moving company is a personal matter. If the lowest price is most important to you, the potential downsides have already been covered. If you want more certainty about the company you choose, you should feel good about the people you've spoken with, and confident that they're trustworthy. One of the signs of a reliable, trustworthy, and skilled moving company is their pricing. In order to be fully licensed and insured, and to adequately train all staff, and to pay competitively, and tend to all the details that take the stress out of each move, the company's overhead is higher than those who offer the lowest pricing. If you want a move that goes as smoothly as possible, with few to no surprises, moving is a business where you really do get what you pay for.

Contact Info:

Starving Artists Movers is on the web at www.starvingartistsmovers.com. Our website provides answers to frequently asked questions, biographies of the office staff, copies of our licenses and insurance documents, our pricing, and a page you can complete for a free estimate. We can also be reached by dialing 1-800-698-4468.

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