There are countless things to consider when choosing a moving company for hire -- licensing credentials, cost, reputation, services provided. However, many customers don't consider the differences between hiring a privately owned, local moving company and a larger, nationally-known chain mover.
While each moving company is unique and cannot be completely generalized under the following criteria, this guide will provide you with the most important differences between chain movers and privately owned moving companies.
1. Chain moving companies are more expensive
If you are relocating on a budget, choose a locally owned moving company, because they usually charge a lower rate. Hiring a smaller moving company may be the optimal solution for you if you are too busy to handle the move yourself but cannot afford the services of a large chain mover.
Small moving companies typically have lower overheads than corporate movers due to the money saved on costly advertising campaigns, customer service call centers and a national headquarters. You may also have more leeway in negotiating your price than with a chain mover.
2. Locally owned movers have more intimate customer service
Chain movers will often have established dispute-resolution procedures, customer service hotlines and 24-hour call centers to handle complaints (should anything go wrong during your move).
Larger moving companies often carry more extensive insurance options. However, they may be less likely to accommodate your complaints or issues because of the high volume of business they handle. Because they have several customers at once, they have a more difficult time catering to your specific needs or queries.
Smaller companies have a lot more to lose and appreciate your business more. Since they operate on a smaller scale, their reputation is more important to preserve. This leads to a more personalized moving experience by movers eager to satisfy.
3. It's easier to check a chain mover's reputation
When conducting a background check on a moving company, chains will have more customer reviews available for you to read online.
However, since customers will be rating services from around the country, they may not be relevant to your move. You will not necessarily be dealing with same laborers as other customers, so the crew's promptness, professionalism and the efficiency of service could vary greatly.
Of course, pricing, basic procedures and conflict-resolution policies will likely be standard no matter where you are located, so you will be able to get a good grasp on the company's competence in that arena.
4. Larger moving companies have better equipment
Privately owned moving companies are larger, and therefore, have more revenue with a higher budget. They can't afford to use subpar equipment for the job, because time is money. The less time spent on your move is the more time available for another moving job.
Because they strive to have all moves done quickly, efficiently and without damage to your goods, these moving companies will use advanced tools, such as hydraulic lift gates and specialized hand trucks. They may also have larger moving vans to transport your belongings in one trip.
5. You might need quantity over quality
While small, privately-owned movers often offer different services, chain movers can provide more extensive options.
Some private, local companies do not perform long distance moves. They also may not be equipped or trained to handle specialty items, such as pool tables or pianos.
TIP: Before hiring any moving company, let them know about what special services you require during the in-home estimate. This allows you to determine their capability and to learn of any associated fees.
6. Chain movers are more experienced and efficient
Chain movers handle more relocations, so they will be more experienced than smaller companies. They may also train staff more extensively on proper packing, loading and transporting procedures.
Chain movers are more organized and follow specific protocol designed for the most efficient and problem-free move. Since they handle multiple moves at once, they operate based on methods to increase productivity to increase revenue. However, this leads to a less intimate experience for the customer.
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