If you are planning to work with an international moving service, your lack of information on the logistics of both scenarios will probably leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed.
When you get to the point where you are ready to commit to using a particular service provider, you should put together a list of questions to ask—that way you can feel even more confident about the job at hand.
Before you start making calls, use these questions as a potential starting point for your interview process.
Are they Properly Licensed and Insured?
This is one of the most important considerations when choosing an international moving company.
Simply ask if the company is insured and bonded. Look on their website for licensing and membership information.
The licenses you want to see from an international mover include:
FMC – Federal Maritime Commission
FIDI – Is perhaps the most prestigious accreditation an international moving service can have.
AMSA – American Moving and Storage Association
IAM – International Association of Movers
DOT – Department of Transportation
OTI – Ocean Transport Intermediary
NVOCC – Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier
Can the quoted rate change?
Many times a moving company will send a quote that is valid for 30 days. Your move date may be further down the line than that. The company may be unable to provide an exact rate until after the job is complete.
It is important that you understand how much “wiggle room” there is in the quote so that you will not be surprised.
Some things that may affect the quoted amount: Actual volume vs surveyed volume, price of fuel(lowers ocean transport costs), and changes to delivery/pickup address.
Are there any additional fees?
Some international moving companies’ quotes are broken down into separate cost sections and may have “hidden” fees.
Find out the total of any extra moving fees you will pay ahead of time so you can better budget for the whole move.
Make sure to discuss destination terminal handling charges and additional packing fees.
Insurance is based off the value of the goods, so the cost depends on each shipment.
What form of payment do you accept?
This is especially important if you are working with someone overseas. What currency can you pay in and are there bank or credit card charges payable?
What else can I ship via the Relocation service I choose?
Some companies will allow you to ship certain items, but not others. Sometimes the requirements are put in place because of laws in the country of destination.
It is important you understand what you can and cannot ship, so learn about the customs of the destination country.
Who will be handling your freight?
Will the moving service provider you contract handle the shipment from drop off until destination?
It may be that the company works with other companies to handle some of the process. If this is the case, you may want to know this ahead of time.
How long will the shipping process take?
It may not be possible for the company to give you an exact handling and shipping time frame, but it is nice to have a good idea of how long it will take.
This will all depend on the origin port, the destination country and city and the frequency of the shipments to that destination. Discuss this in great detail with your international shipping expert who will advise you so you can prepare for the packing at origin and the unpack at the other end.
Is insurance included?
Will you need to purchase additional insurance to make certain you are protected in the case of damage or loss, or is this already included?
If you are shipping anything of value, this is especially important. You should itemize all expensive items and precious belongings and list them on the insurance policy separately.
These are just a few of the questions you may want answers to before you sign a contract for your overseas moving service.