So, about three months ago, I had to move across the state for my work. I landed that big promotion I had been chasing after for like a year, and they reassigned me to a different office. That was great because, you know, new possibilities, more money, all that fun stuff.
It was also lowkey hell because I suddenly had to move all my stuff in a really short time, and I had a lot of stuff. You wouldn’t believe the amount of loose paper I suddenly saw all around me. So, I had to find a good long-distance moving company, and I needed a cheap one, because the new paycheck figures were still some time away. So, what did I do? It was my first time moving so far, so I naturally panicked and searched everywhere. Here comes a brief recap of what I did and how that turned out for me.
First, I asked for recommendations
Naturally, the first place I turned to be my family and friends. Some of them had previously moved long distances, and my aunt and uncle even had some cross-country relocation adventures. Let me tell you, this strategy is a mess.
Everybody has a different recommendation to give, and everybody disagrees with someone else you asked, even if they don’t have any actual personal experience with that company. It was literally like one of those arguments on the internet, and I even found one at this link when, exasperated, I actually asked Google if asking for help from friends was the right idea.
So, this first round of scavenging for info netted me a list of about a dozen different moving companies and apparently none of them were good enough to warrant a universal agreement. My uncle who moved cross-country even told me to “chuck it all and just pick for yourself”.
Next, I googled things
Like any disgruntled young professional, I decided “These people have no idea about this!” and took my problem to the netizens. Boy, was that a storm! Suddenly there were strangers from different countries feverishly debating my situation, something I only ever saw on Twitter.
I got a bunch of advice for checking out Glassdoor, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, tips on going places for free cardboard boxes (life hacks level up), and crash courses on trucks and gas pricing. I got stories about Great Guys Movers, Bad Guys Movers, Fake Guys Movers, and figuring out if my estimators were trying to scam me out of my money (thanks for the new phobia, internet).
At that point I figured I would just shut down my browser and go traditional.
So, I flipped through the Yellow Pages
That was by far the worst approach. Not to be unfair to printed media and paperback advertising strategies here, don’t get me wrong. I do actually find some handy leaflets in my mailbox every now and then.
But when you need to find a specific service within specific parameters, the Yellow Pages and all of their possible cousins will give you way too much information to filter through. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people who were in the moving business in my area.
There are some arguments over whether phone book advertising is dead, like this one here: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/yellow-pages-vs-digital-marketing-is-the-phone-book-really-dead/516574/
Don’t you believe them. It is alive and kicking, my friends.
There were widely known professionals, there were small-scale amateurs who had more or less of a renown in the community, and there were these individual gigs that all sounded potentially shady (even though I’m sure not all of them are in reality).
Instead of clearing up the confusion in my head and helping me fit my move into my budget, all this did was muddle it up even further.
Finally, I flipped out and did what my uncle told me
All of this searching around took me a little less than a week, and I was in a pinch with time, considering that I needed to move everything and settle in before starting at my new position. I’m one of those people who can’t function if half of my stuff is chilling in the hallway.
So, in the end, my uncle’s advice turned out to be the best. I put down on paper six or seven companies that sounded best to me, and then googled each of them and their reviews. That narrowed it down to four, so I got them to come to my place over four days and give me on-site estimates.
I asked a lot of questions and let me warn you: slam the door on anyone who doesn’t answer clearly and patiently. I settled on one, worked out the details, and packed in one day.
Moral of the story is, you are really on your own. Things like recommendations from your family and friends, or browsing the online reviews, or even going through the phone book, can give you some ideas, and some of hem of what can be really helpful. But the decision is yours. Come up with a budget that you can handle, figure out what additional services you need, and go from there. My best advice is to be friendly with whichever company you settle on and see if you can pay your tab in a few increments instead of all at once.