Your first contact with Federal will be with a moving counselor. This is often the title associated with a salesperson for a local moving company. Advising the family on every aspect of a well-planned move is the primary responsibility of this professional.
The moving counselor will come to your home to explain to you and your family the many services that Federal offers. Having done that, the moving counselor will perform a survey of everything in your home that will be moved-and he or she will probably point out things along the way that can't be moved (flammables such cans of paint, for example), that may require special attention (crating for a slate-top pool table, perhaps), or that must be prepared for the move by you or a third party (disconnecting a gas dryer or draining a waterbed are two common examples).
This survey allows the counselor to provide you with an estimate of costs and various pricing options you may choose from. Once you've selected a mover, you'll be asked to sign an Order for Service at which point your moving counselor will register your move with Federal.
If you ordered packing, a team of specially-trained packers will be sent to your home either on the morning of your scheduled loading day or the day before, depending on how much packing needs to be done.
Most furniture is wrapped with specially constructed cloth pads or "blankets" to protect it from scratches, dents, dirt, etc. Even items such as gardening tools are padded to prevent them from scratching or soiling other items in the shipment. Tightly loaded tiers-with heavy articles loaded on the bottom-will be constructed inside the van to avoid jarring or shifting while on the road.
Next up among the professionals assigned to service your shipment is the driver or van foreman, as we in the moving industry call him, since his role in your move encompasses so much more than just driving. He, of course, is in charge of the physical moving process. He's responsible for loading your goods at origin, driving the van, and delivering your belongings-safe and sound-into your new home. Generally, he'll be assisted in the loading and unloading processes by one to three helpers.
Before loading begins, the driver will take special precautions to protect your home, as well as its contents. This may include laying down "floor runners" to protect carpets and flooring in entryways, hallways, and other high-traffic areas, as well as padding banisters and doorways to avoid marring walls and woodwork.
If you cannot be present at the time of loading, you'll need to arrange for a responsible person to act as your agent in signing both the bill of lading and the inventory list.
After everything has been loaded in the van, it's a good idea for you and the van foreman to take one last walk through your house to make sure that nothing has been overlooked.
Your driver will prepare a detailed Inventory & Condition Report of the items to be moved. In addition to tagging every individual carton or piece of furniture with numbered and color-coded labels, he or she will record each item-and a description of any existing damage-on the inventory form. You should accompany the driver as he or she prepares the inventory, pointing out any special concerns or handling considerations along the way.
You'll be asked to sign the inventory, as your acknowledgment that the pieces indicated were loaded and as verification of their condition prior to the move. Then, the driver will sign the form as well and present you with a copy. Keep this inventory with you for use at your new home.
The driver also will ask you to sign a bill of lading. This is the contract by which you authorize the van line to transport your possessions and agree to pay for those services. The bill of lading serves to confirm the services performed, pickup and delivery schedules, and the valuation and protection plan that you've selected.
Delivery of Your Possessions
It's extremely important for you to contact your destination agent as soon as you arrive in your new hometown so that final delivery arrangements can be made. The driver will contact the destination agent 24 hours prior to his expected arrival time, to allow the destination agent to notify you. (If you cannot be reached, it may be necessary to unload your shipment into storage at an additional cost to you.)
When your shipment arrives, you can help expedite the unloading process by having a room-by-room floor plan in mind, and by letting the driver know where you want things placed as they're unloaded and brought into your home.
The driver and crew will reassemble any items they disassembled at origin. Check items off the inventory list as they're brought in, noting their condition. If an item appears to have been damaged during the move or is missing, make a note on the inventory-including the driver's copies-and notify your destination agent.
Unless approved billing or credit arrangements have been made in advance, the driver is required by law to collect payment for your move before your shipment can be unloaded.
If your shipment is placed in storage, charges up to that point are due at that time. Payment must be made in cash or by certified or cashier's check, travelers' checks, or money order payable to the van line.
If you have paid by a credit card, A copy of the bill of lading signed by the driver will be your receipt. Personal checks cannot be accepted.
If you have requested and paid for unpacking services, your destination agent will arrange to unpack cartons at the time of delivery and will remove used packing materials. Should you choose to unpack your cartons yourself, you'll be responsible for disposing of empty cartons and used materials.
Your Corporate Relocation Policy
Your company's relocation policy probably has a given weight allowance for ocean transport, which generally covers the relocation expenses of a typical household.
An additional allotment may be provided for air freight transport of items that your family will need immediately upon arriving in your destination country (i.e., essentials that can't wait) until your sea-bound shipment arrives.
If needed, your company may pay for the storage of some of your household goods for a defined length of time while you're away on your assignment abroad.
Since every country has its own laws and customs, it's a good idea to study the etiquette and customs of your destination country beforehand. This will help you avoid any inadvertent problems after you've relocated. The country's consulate is an excellent source for this information.