Moving with the Macbeths: Full Service Movers

Moving with the Macbeths: Full Service Movers

We’re moving…again. Once we did our first relocation with my husbands company back in 2008 we both agreed: that’s the only way we’d every move again. Here we are today getting settled in our new home with our fourth relocation under our belts. YES 4th!!! When it was FL to GA and back again it was like moving down the street….not this time!

Each time is the same yet different in many ways.

This was by far the hardest move we’ve done. Given the distance along with 2 kids and 4 pets. Having movers is still work, but it definitely lightens a lot of the load and some stress. If this is your first time using a moving company can be overwhelming.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

But I DO, and I put everything I had into this move!

1. The Research
Do your research. Then do some more research. Like I said each time is the same as in the process of a relocation, but yet different as to what your HR department and/or Relocation company will need from you. Which by the way Graebel has been outstanding this time around! Typically it works like this; you will submit three estimates to your HR department they will either will pick the moving company or if you are as fortunate as we have been they will let you select the company you like the best. Also depending on what they will pay for. Most moving companies have different packages from just labor to full-service movers. All four times we have been lucky enough to get a full-service move. This is what our full service moves have looked like:

All labor and equipment required to execute the move.

Packing materials as described in your package.

Wrap and secure all furniture.

They transport all goods from origin to final destination. Removal of moving blankets from furniture and place all items in the appropriate room and area as per your direction at the destination.

The unpacking has always been on us…currently still surrounded by boxes!
Research each company beyond just price. Look at recent reviews on accredited websites. Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Moving Storage Associating (AMSA), Consumer Affairs and Yelp. Remember this is your stuff. Some items may have significant value. Monetary or sentimental things are hard or impossible to replace. Are they reputable, reliable, and within budget?

2. The Declutter & Purge

If you can try to do this before you get the estimates, it will help. The more you have the more expensive this gets. Plus you don’t really want to start in a new place with the stuff that is already collecting dust in your garage. If you are selling your home during this relocation process it will be easy to begin the purge because you’re already getting ready to stage your house to put it on the market. Which leads me to the pre pack. If you need to move things around or just plain downsize to get your house looking it’s best you will start to box items up.

Possibly going as far as renting a storage unit to hide the fact you have too much stuff; guilty. We have moved so much the past 10 years you’d think we travel light. HA. Not when you’re into thrifting and vintage finds. Plus add in my favorite holiday; Christmas; 3 trees let alone all the ornaments and other decor. We were meant to have a storage unit.

Make sure you label the boxes with the room they will be going to in your new house. Also keep in mind that if you plan on doing a pre pack the movers are not responsible for items you may have packed yourself. Let them know if you would like certain things repacked. Sounds like more work, but if want to make sure it’s safe, then have them re pack it!

One of the many LISTS I had going.

3. The To Do List: Before the movers show up

Do pack the items you will need while your stuff is in transit. Depending on how long you will have to wait for your things or get to a washer/dryer is what you’ll need to pull before they arrive. Clothes, shoes, bathroom essentials, important documents, jewelry, kids stuff, pet stuff etc. If you have the space try to dedicate a room in the house and call it the “no pack room” making it easier for you and the movers on pack day. How you get to next destination will be a big factor on what you put into the “no pack room” We have driven each time from 5 hours to 8 hours and now after this last haul; 32 hours. If you’re planning on flying I’m sure you will be using a suitcase and abiding by the airline policies. Driving you can obviously bring more but it will be a much different pack. Duffle bags, ziplocks, snacks and more. Traveling with your fur babies? Food, beds, and meds if needed. Make sure to have all their vaccinations up to date along with copies of current paperwork. This is when the no pack room comes in handy. All of your important belongings you will carry with you in one place.

Other things to keep in mind; moving companies won’t move certain things. Due to legal, ethical, or safety reasons. Always contact your moving company for their list.

Common materials movers won’t move:

Guns and ammunition

Igniters or primers


Lighter fluid/matches


Motor oil/Anti freeze


Yard Equipment containing fuel (must be emptied out before they show up0


Propane Tanks


Pool Chemicals



Fire extinguishers

Car batteries

Cleaning Supplies/Bleach


Nail Polish

Important documents ie birth certificates, social security cards etc.



If you are driving to next location you may consider moving some of these items in your own car. Make sure if you do decide to take any of these you pack them adequately. If you can’t take them it is best to give them to someone or dispose of them properly. When you get to your new place you can always repurchase.

24 hours before the big day clean out your kitchen. All frozen foods, refrigerated and fresh foods can not go on the truck. Give, donate or throw away. Don’t forget to disconnect all electronics before they show up.

Our truck: per usual, it was packed full.

4. PACK DAY: Welcome Movers!

By this point you have secured pets at a boarding facility or a safe place in the house for the day. If you have done your research and hired a great company you won’t really being doing much on pack day. Upon arrival you will give them a tour of the house. This lets them get a game plan together on how and what to start with first. Depending on your moving company & the size of your home there will usually be about 5-10 movers. It will take about 8-10 hours. Again depending on the size of the house and how many movers show up. The main guy is called the crew leader.He’ll have 1-2 helpers that will also be at the unload location. This is the one you go to for any questions or concerns.

Being a good host goes a long way especially when you have people in your home packing your items. You don’t have to roll out the red carpet or have a five course catered lunch but by having these few things will make the life of your movers nicer. Plenty of bottled water, Powerade, soda & a bunch of easy to grab snacks like cliff bars, crackers or pretzels for the crew. Also show them where the bathroom is (usually the half bath on the first floor) make sure it is stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels. Buying the crew lunch is optional like anything else, but showing them you appreciate their efforts on a tedious task you don’t have to do is a nice gesture. I usually check in to see what the majority wants; pizza, subs and most recently they requested Taco Bell. Since they don’t move the furniture out until Day 2 we set up the dining room with paper plates, napkins and plenty of seats for them to take a break for a bit. The day can be long and hot. (ATL Ga.) After a good break they seem to catch a second wind for the later afternoon hours.

If you have anything of value. Family heirlooms, collectables, vintage pieces, art, special glassware etc. Put it aside and let them know that these items need extra packing. Seriously we have unpacked things in the past that were damaged and/or broken. Your late Grandmas horse collection that now resides in your daughters room is NOT replaceable. Don’t be shy.

More bubble wrap please.

My Grandmas horse collection

After the pack is complete the load begins. I am assuming this will be the last night you will be sleeping in your bed. Day 2 is a bit of the same; they show up to finish some packing ultimately loading the truck. When this has finished up it is now time for the final walk through. Be sure to look in every nook and cranny. Often times they have missed a cabinet or a drawer. Now is the time to speak up. Also double check certain things that should be staying with the house. Maybe you’ve agreed on leaving the curtains and rods, or the tv mounts for the buyer.

Bye Georgia….you’ll be missed

Before you hit the open road to get to your new place, make sure the driver has the correct address and date of the unload. Also your phone number in case of any changes.

5. The Unload

When the truck reaches your new home, your responsibilities will be letting the movers do their jobs while staying close enough in case of any questions or issues. The more available you are the easier the days after will go. It will be the same as the pack and load days. Make sure you have colds drinks and snacks on hand. Hopefully you will have a hotspot or a place the babes can spread out and play. Again either boarding the pets or keeping them in a safe place during unload day.

As the movers bring everything into your home, let them know where you want your furniture to go. They can work more efficiently if they know where to put everything. Keep in mind your new place will have a different layout then your old place making it a bit overwhelming at times. Where you may have had an office, theatre room, and bathroom pantry has now turned into extra bedrooms and an open floor plan. Just get the boxes where you think they need to be and you can get to organizing later. Although they do most of the work during a full service move, you will have your work cut out for you the minute they leave!

Kitchen, my least fav unpack

6. The Tip $
You are not required to tip movers. As with any industry, tipping is never mandatory and you should never feel obligated. If you feel as though your moving crew did an awesome job then yes by all means tip them! Here’s where it gets tricky: you may get two sets of movers: the movers who will load the truck at your current home and the movers who will actually drive the truck across the country to your new home and unload your stuff at the new address. Our general rule of thumb is to forget about percentage-based tipping. Instead, use the per hour or day method, a good amount to tip long distance movers is around $5/hour per mover if they do a satisfactory job, or you can round up the tip to $40/day per mover. You can always add a bit more if you can afford it and you’re happy with their services.

7. The Claims Form

Last but certainly not least is the claims form. Hopefully you don’t need it but there are times when certain things get broken during the move. I advise to photograph each time you come across something damaged. This will ensure proof if requested by the moving company. Each company is different. Some may have you fill out a form with the item, box/item number, description of damages and value. Others may want to see the damage. Also many companies will only allow one form to be submitted so make sure you are completely done unpacking before you fill this out. As always contact your moving company for specific protocol in any of the processes I have listed in this article.
In Conclusion, everything will work out. The highest amounts of stress that come from a relocation always work themselves out. You will look back in 6 months a year or five and none of those moving stresses that seemed so big will matter.

Angela Macbeth

Next up: Moving with the Macbeths: babes + pets Hotel Edition

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