Frequently Asked Questions
Please review the frequently asked questions American Fargo has received in the past. With over 65 years of residential and commercial moving experience, we try to provide helpful answers to common questions to help you prepare for your relocation.
1) How do I get started?
Typically the first step is to arrange for a free, in-house estimate with one of our trained estimators. The rule of thumb is "the sooner the better," while we're a well established company sometimes we do book up. We recommend that you get your estimate 30 days before your planned move date.
2) How do you charge for your moving and packing services?
It depends where you're moving. If the move is local, we charge by how long the move takes. If the move is long distance, transportation charges are charged by weight. Articles such as glassware, kitchen items, linens, lamps, pictures, mirrors and other personal household items have to be properly packed into cartons before they can be moved. Packing is charged on a per box basis and the cost includes all materials and labor. The cost per box varies depending on the size of the box and what's being packed; dish packs are for breakables, meaning the box is large and requires substantial packing materials. Therefore it takes more time to pack; so dish packs are more expensive than a book carton. You can hire American Fargo to pack everything, certain things or if you feel able you can pack yourself. Let the estimator know your plans and he will estimate accordingly.
- A standard, non-binding estimate
- A binding estimate
- A not to exceed estimate
The latter two are considered guaranteed prices. With a binding price, the price quoted is the price you pay. With a not to exceed price, we provide you with a ceiling price; however, the actual charges for the move are calculated, then are compared to the not to exceed price. You are charged the lesser of the two. In order to provide a guaranteed price we need to be able to make an on-site visit to your residence.
4) Is this really a guarantee or are there hidden charges?
It really is a guarantee however there are things that can change the guaranteed price.
Obviously, if you elect to add items to your shipment or add additional services over and above what you had shown the estimator, this can increase the cost. To make an example, if you told the estimator you planned to pack everything but then changed your mind and decided to have us pack your kitchen, you are adding a packing service, thus increasing the price. You'll need to let us know of the change whereupon we'll amend the guaranteed price to include this additional packing. The other possible change is called shuttle service. The bulk of our long distance moves are handled on large tractor-trailers. While we're able to see your residence at origin at the time of the estimate we can't see the new one at destination. Our guaranteed price assumes that our long distance tractor-trailer will be able to access your new address. In instances where we can't, we must off load the shipment onto a smaller truck that is able to access the address; this additional service is called shuttle service. If we know this in advance we can quote it, but sometimes we don't find out until we arrive at destination.
5) Can I get a price over the internet?
Various websites, including ours, allows you to get an instant price quote. You cannot get a guaranteed price quote over the internet. These price quotes are rough estimates and should not be relied upon. Getting pricing and setting up your move over the internet is risky.
Whenever possible you should always make time to get an on-site visual survey. The estimator will be able to see what you have, what special services you require and will be able to see the access to your address. He will be able to provide you with a written estimate which will protect you and eliminate bad surprises.
6) How do I pay for the move? When do I pay?
It depends on the type of move, normally for a local move you can pay with a personal check at the completion of the move. Payment by credit card is also an accepted form of payment for a local move. Long distance moves require that charges are paid by credit card, cash or cashier's check made payable to Atlas Van Lines. Payment must be received before a long distance shipment is delivered to your new location. Exceptions to this are those moves being paid for by your employer or by the U.S. Government when prior billing arrangements have been made.
7) If my employer is paying for the move will you invoice them?
Yes; however, the billing arrangements must be made before delivery. Typically we require a letter from your company authorizing that they will pay for your move or a purchase order stating such.
8) Can I pack myself?
Certainly, plus you can get boxes and professional packing materials from us at very competitive prices. Packing is charged on a per box basis so any box you pack will save you money. Our packing service is flexible; you can hire us to pack everything, certain things or nothing.
9) What's a shuttle?
When an address is not accessible with the long distance tractor-trailer, items must be loaded onto a smaller truck that can access the address. This extra handling is called shuttle service and carries an additional charge. Typical examples of where access would be limited are low hanging trees blocking street entry, steep road inclines, building or condominium restrictions on truck sizes, low entrance archways into residential communities or local government restrictions to busy downtown areas.
10) Do you provide full replacement coverage of my belongings while in your care?
Full Value Protection valuation coverage is available for your move whether it's local, long distance or international with no deductible or deductible options.
11) What do I do if I discover something is damaged?
First, if you notice it at the time of delivery, note it on our paperwork. If you discover it after we've left, contact us. In either case, keep the item(s), don't get rid of them. You will have to file a claim which you often can do online or we can send you the claim form. We'll ask you to describe the piece, the nature of the damage and the amount you're claiming. We'll take it from there.
12) How do you protect my furniture while in transit?
Furniture is wrapped in soft, thick furniture pads before it's loaded. Upholstery is covered with plastic covers before being pad-wrapped. Our trucks and trailers come equipped with clean furniture pads, rubber four-wheel dollies, appliance hand trucks and sufficient logistic straps which are used to secure the load while in transit. Our van operators are trained on the proper manner to pad-wrap furniture along with the correct way to load the shipment onto the van.
13) I've heard scary stories about moving companies doubling or even tripling their estimated price and refusing to unload until they were paid, how do I avoid that happening to me?
There are safeguards to protect you from such unscrupulous acts but all of them start with getting an on-site, visual, written estimate from the carrier. While it's convenient to shop on the internet in the evening after work, don't shop for movers this way. Get information, get an instant quote but don't contract with a mover until you've had them give you a visual survey with a written estimate signed by their representative. Van lines are required by local, state or federal authorities to clearly show the charges for their services on such estimates and are restricted from arbitrarily charging over these stated charges. Unfortunately, there are companies that prey upon customers by providing attractive price quotes over the phone or the internet, only to dramatically increase the cost once your things are on board their truck. Such bait and switch tactics are foiled by getting the written estimate. Without the estimate you've severely lessened your rights and your ability to recover your losses.
14) Are there times I should avoid when scheduling my move?
There are certainly times that are busier than others where you'll need to give more notice to schedule your move. Summer months when kids are out of school are traditionally the busiest months for moving. Also, the ends of months are busier than other times as rents and leases come due at that time. If your move date coincides with these times please schedule as early as possible. We recommend that you get an estimate at least 30 days before the move date and to begin setting your move up with at least two to three weeks notice. More advance notice is usually needed in the summertime.
15) The condominium I live in has asked that the mover supply a certificate of Insurance showing them as additionally insured on the Certificate. Do you do that?
Yes, the condominium wants to ensure that the mover has coverage in case there is an accident or injury or if there is damage done to the building during the move. Normally they will provide you with the legal language they wish shown on the Certificate, give that to us and we'll provide them with the Certificate of Insurance showing them as additionally insured.