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If you read one article about moving, make it this one:

Anyone who has ever been through the experience can testify that moving is stressful.  In fact, behavioral scientists agree that moving is one of the top five most stressful life events, a list which includes:  birth, death, marriage, divorce and moving.  As an industry veteran, I’ve been asked to give some advice to make this traumatic experience a bit easier.

Packing

  1. Take a moment to reflect and assess your needs:  Is your move simple?  Is it a straightforward local move; or is it a complex international relocation?  Do you have expensive, fragile and delicate heirlooms that are irreplaceable; or do you have just a few, inexpensive, easily replaceable items?  Do you need maximum help, support and assistance; or are you comfortable with less support, perhaps less concise communication skills, etc.

    Your answer to this question might help steer you in the appropriate direction.  If your move is fairly complex, if you have high value furniture, and if you really need clear communications, then you’d be best served to look at one of the larger, better established, international moving companies in Hong Kong.

  2. Ask friends whose judgment you trust which company they used, and what was their experience.  Learning from their experience – both good and bad – can help steer you in the right direction.
  3. Narrow the list to two or three companies and call each one to arrange an in-home survey.  I know many people will think that asking for more (than two or three) companies to survey will result in a lower price – a better deal.  Possibly, but I would argue that is the hard way to do go about it.  If you have followed the first two steps, then getting price estimates from two or three companies of a similar quality, will give you all the information you need.
  4. Be present when your in-home survey is conducted.  I know that you have a busy schedule, places to go, friends to see, kids to look after, but this is (or should be) important enough for you to set aside the 30 minutes or so the survey will require.

If you are in attendance at the survey, then you can gather valuable information about the company itself.  The quality of the person they send to meet their prospective clients says a great deal about the company itself, and the experience you are likely to have.  For example, how thorough are they as they go through your home?  Do they understand your needs?  Do they go too fast?  Too slow?  Your observations and answers to these questions will help you make the right decision.

5. Compare prices.  In order to make a proper comparison, you need to make sure this is an “apples-to-apples” comparison.  There are a number of ways that two quotes for the same move may not happen.  It’s important for you to know how and why this might happen so here are some telltale signs:

    • Volume:  Make sure the volume (sometimes expressed in terms of weight) is the same.  If it is not, that’s a major red flag and you should ask both companies to explain why their volume is different.

Scope of Service:  Do both quotes include the same services (e.g., one includes some storage, maid service, while the other does not, etc.)  Perhaps one company has correctly (or incorrectly!) identified difficult access that will require a stair carry or a special shuttle truck.

6. Make your decision:  Price is always a critical factor, and I would never deny that is so.  I, myself, would weigh price as an important factor.  However, be sure to factor in all aspects of the move when making your choice.  As yourself which company was able to establish the best rapport with you?  Which company was the most responsive and communicative?  Which company best understands your needs?

I believe that if you follow these steps, you’ll be in a much better position to make an educated decision.  Moving will probably never be easy; it will always involve some stress, but I hope these tips will help you navigate your way through these tricky waters.

_____________________________________________________________________________Rob Chipman is the CEO of Asian Tigers K. C. Dat, a moving and relocation company serving the Hong Kong market for  more than 40 years.  Rob would like to have your feedback, comments, questions suggestions for future articles.  He can be reached on rob.chipman@asiantigers-hongkong.com

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