International Moving: Tips and Guidance
In today's global economy, it is pretty common to find oneself informed by the company you work for: you are moving overseas. Or, if your roots are away from the US, you may want to go back to your native country one day.
But how are you supposed to carry all the belongings you've acquired during those long years while living in the US? One thing for sure: airline charges for additional luggage leaves you no choice but hire an international moving company that specializes in overseas moving services.
Finding International Movers
Moving internationally not only sounds scary and complex: in reality, it is a big deal.
Customs regulations, understanding how it all works, worrying about the safety of your belongings, making sure nothing is left behind, damaged, stolen, forwarded to a different part of the world - these are just a few common reasons of anxiety and sleepless nights for the majority of people relocating overseas.
Start with finding a reliable international moving company, or a forwarder. These moving companies will be able to guide you through most of the steps which you might not even know existed: consular documentation, customs clearance, packing of your belongings, and establishing the best way to deliver your goods to their destination.
There are 3 major aspects of your search for an international moving company:
International Moving License
Licensing is very tightly connected to 2 intangibles that are important to you: meeting insurance requirements and operating at a satisfactory level.
License and Insurance
Reputation, Quality of Moving Services and Customer Service
- Make sure your international mover has a Freight Forwarder Permit, with a Federal Maritime Commission number;
- Ask if they are a member of FIDI Global Alliance; you want a moving company which is a member of this organization, which enforces various laws that guide international movers;
- Inquire about the insurance coverage they provide for free, if any; make sure you understand the actual coverage provided; ask about the cost of additional insurance, since basic insurance does not cover a lot; again, make sure you understand all the aspects of additional insurance;
- Inquire about their business: how long have they been in moving industry? International moving?
- Ask for recent references with a valid email address and phone number;
- Ask about packing, shipping, delivery: who will do it? How long will it take to receive your shipment? Do they do everything themselves, or they sub-contract certain services?
- Listen to your sales representative carefully: make sure you are happy with the way he or she answers your questions. Are they patient and treat you with respect? Do they really care about your specific situation and needs, or you are just another person who needs to be closed and made money from? After all, this may be the same person you will be dealing with during the actual moving process, and even it's not the case, do not expect your dispatcher to be any more pleasant than your sales consultant.
- Get at least 3 quotes from different moving companies with a similar reputation, years in business, and BBB rating;
- General rule of thumb, if there are no other objections, is to go with a mover that is priced in the middle;
- Make sure you are comparing apples to apples: get an itemized service list for the price quoted, and see what you are getting for each moving quote;
This is just a very basic guide to your international relocation, which should still be helpful in preparing for a big journey that awaits you.
Good luck with your move, and have a safe trip!