Sun, 23 Apr 2000

Making all the right moves: Picking your moving company

The temptation is to call the first company listed in the Yellow Pages when preparing for the grand and demanding operation of moving.

While a company may offer a convincing advertising spiel, the bigger question is whether it can actually deliver the goods. Two months down the line, you do not want to be sitting forlornly in an empty new home as your household items languish in a far corner of the world.

Worse still is to receive an heirloom or cherished family photograph in an advanced state of disrepair due to a shoddy moving job. Regrets and 20-20 hindsight can never make up for the loss.

Proper preparation for the move is key to avoiding such heartbreak. Before you call in the movers, decide on what you really want -- and need -- to take with you.

Clean out all your drawers and closets; throw away the junk and dispensable items. It is advisable to take clear quality photographs of your possessions to ensure that in the event of a claim, you have proof of their condition before they were shipped.

Remember to remove all valuable papers and certificates to carry by hand. Medications, special formula prescriptions, spare eyeglasses and other key items you may need in an emergency should also be removed before the packers arrive.

Before deciding on a moving company you may want to consider the following tips offered by moving professionals: * Find out who the major movers are. * Ask the companies about their services and facilities. * Call a few friends and get their opinions on recent moves. * Check out the claim history of the firms you are looking at. * Compare each company's staffing and experience in the market. * Narrow your list to the best three. * Compare the number of moves they have made recently and quantity of shipments out. * Look specifically at their connections in the country you are going to. * Read the company brochures diligently. * Prepare a rough moving brief. * List the kind of valuables you are moving. * Find out packing methods used by each company. * If you have pets, pay special attention to that service. * Visit the companies and do a physical check of warehousing and communications facilities. * Meet the person who heads the business and trust your instincts. * If you are not convinced about who can do the best job, call in the companies for a bid. * Make sure they get exactly the same brief. * Compare the bids, point for point. * Look at what each offers and for how much. * A moderate variance can be expected. If the bid comes in much lower than the rest, look for the catch (the company may want the business badly enough to cut down on packing material, for instance). * Rationalize the costs. Paying a little more is usually worth the superior service. * Your choice should be financially sound, but most especially it should be the family's preference. You are the ones who need the assurance of reliable movers. * When you are satisfied, award the bid. * Ask for a contract which specifies dates of departure and arrival, and which protects you from delays. * Hope for the best; your care in choosing your moving company should lead to a smooth, thankfully uneventful move.

Some of the top international moving companies in Indonesia include Crown International, which began operating in the country in 1965 and has more than 60 offices in over 20 countries; Worldwide Movers, with over 24 years of moving experience in the country and thousands of satisfied customers; IFM Move Well, a relatively newcomer which opened its doors in 1996 with the intention of providing a dynamic approach to moving; and Global Silverhawk, which recently opened two new offices in Surabaya and Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. These new offices, like its other offices in the country, boast a competent staff offering sales, operations, warehousing and other services related to your move. From Surabaya, Global Silverhawk can coordinate with its crews on the islands of Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. And from Balikpapan, the company's reach includes North Sulawesi and surrounding areas in Kalimantan. (dey)