One of the most frequently asked questions we heard directly from Senior Move Managers during the National Association of Senior conventions was, “Where do I turn when my clients have fragile, high value and irreplaceable items to move?” In this blog series, we’ve strived to answer this question so that Senior Move Managers can provide additional services to their clients.
All Senior Move Managers have been faced with the challenge of moving something beyond typical household items in an estate such as books, papers, linens, and clothing. Many seniors’ homes contain antiques ranging from furniture, artwork, china, grandfather clocks, and collectible figurines. These items are very sentimental in nature not only to the senior, but also to the senior’s family. Everyone remembers that special piece in their parent’s or grandparent’s house that they hoped to one day cherish in their own home. It’s hard to picture anyone touching the one-of-a-kind item, let alone loading it on a truck and moving it!
Senior Move Managers have the unique profession of not only managing and organizing an entire move but to also ensure items are delivered in perfect condition to their clients’ new home or to family throughout the country. Often times the Senior Move Managers call on moving, retail pack and ship stores or parcel shipping companies to assist with moving everyday belongings, but these are not the companies to contact for distinctive pieces.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MOVING RETAIL PACK & SHIP, PARCEL SHIPPING & ONLINE SHIPPING COMPANIES
There are moving companies that will help pack, box, and label items and others that leave the packing and boxing up to the client. Retail pack and ship stores found in a lot of strip malls, will help with packing materials, boxing up and sending items via a parcel shipping company. There’s also the option of taking items to a parcel shipping company or visiting their website for shipping labels, but packaging and boxing aren’t part of the service. And finally, there are many virtual shipping websites that provide instant quotes and outsource packaging, crating, and moving to third party shipping companies. Clients are left in the dark about who’s actually handling their shipment.
Some of these options may be okay for commonly shipped items, but trust a client’s 19th-century crystal chandelier to just any moving, retail, parcel, or online service? The answer is, no!
WHEN TO SELECT A SPECIALTY PACKAGING, CRATING AND SHIPPING COMPANY
If the client’s piece is one-of-a-kind original, irreplaceable to them due to sentimental or monetary value, is very fragile, oversized or heavy, a specialty shipping company is needed. Or, if there are thoughts such as, “How on earth can this piece be moved safely? I don’t want anyone touching it,” then a specialty shipping company is the answer. There are shipping companies that work directly with Senior Move Managers in providing expert solutions. A good company will listen to the needs of the Senior Move Manager and take exceptional care of the senior’s precious possessions as if they were their own. Specialty shipping companies can be found by doing an Internet search using a search engine or by visiting Yellow Pages online or in the book. Try typing in the words for what is being shipped, such as grandfather clock shipping, chandelier shipping or antique shipping.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SPECIALTY SHIPPING COMPANY – CHECKLIST OF QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD BE ASKED
When calling on a specialty shipping company on behalf of the client, make sure to ask a lot of questions about how their services work. This will help differentiate the experts that will custom pack, crate and provide single-source responsibility for the items, from a company that will just throw it in a box! Professionals will help answer all questions, determine the unique needs of the item, and provide a custom quote that includes pick up, packaging, crating and delivery options.
- Does the company handle the item during the entire moving and shipping process? A good company will provide single-source responsibility and take care of the item from start to finish.
- Does the company outsource any pieces of the job? It’s common for specialty shipping companies to pick up in their logo trucks, but many of them use common carriers to provide delivery services. However, an expert company will provide tracking information and take responsibility for the item during shipping.
- Is there insurance available? Make sure to ask about the company’s insurance policies and options for full coverage, lost only and other forms of coverage. The company should explain the differences in coverage and what you’re responsible for.
- What are the pickup and delivery processes like? Make sure and give the shipping company as many details as possible about the pickup and delivery places. Are there stairs, elevators or any obstacles? By providing details, the less likely additional charges will accumulate.
Additionally, on the delivery end, most companies only deliver to the liftgate of the truck unless otherwise noted. If your client needs items brought into their home, unpacked and set up, it will cost extra.
- How are items protected and packed? Ask questions regarding the packaging process. Ask how they’ll handle an item such as a chandelier, grandfather clock or dining room set? They should explain how they individually wrap and cushion items and what materials of best suited for antiques, glass and other delicate surfaces.
- What happens after the item is packed? Specialty shipping companies provide custom corrugated boxes and wood crates based on what’s being shipped. A good company will custom fabricate a durable container to ensure items are stabilized and safeguarded during transport.
- What if the client’s items are being shipped to another state or internationally? A single source company will be well versed in domestic and international shipping policies, handle the paperwork, and the details. Many will ship multiple items to multiple destinations. Make sure to ask questions about where their services end. Many times international shipments are delivered to the port and it’s up to the client to handle customs clearance. Ask about door-to-door international shipping services if needed.
Each moving situation is different, but a good company will go out of their way to make sure questions are answered and that all parties are comfortable with the process. Most importantly they will be there on moving day and track the item’s packaging and delivery progress.