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When a family needs to move to a new house or town, they usually hire a professional moving company to handle their possessions. Moving companies employ people who drive their trucks and help with the move.
After long-distance hauling, the mover is the next most common profession for a truck driver. In fact, people in this job are a mix of driver and mover. They log nowhere near as many miles as other drivers.
Of the many professions described in this book, you should note that movers enjoy the most varied set of personal contacts and locations. If you like people and working in a team environment, this may be the career for you. Many movers tend to be young people working their way through college, newlyweds, or retired service people.
For families, summer is the most common time to relocate because school is out and it's easiest on the children. For businesses, moves tend to happen throughout the rest of the year, when school is in session and the rates are lower at many moving companies, given the slow business.
Movers get training, not only in the type of vehicles a particular company uses but in the actual moving process itself. Your company will show you how to help load delicate and heavy objects, how to protect them from getting damaged, and how to maneuver them through tricky corners and doorways. Many moving companies offer packing services, and the team that performs the move normally does this job as well. This gives the movers a better idea of what is being moved and what to be careful with, and assures them that everything has been safely packed for the move.
Having access to someone's home and belongings requires a certain degree of trust. You need to maintain that trust by treating the customers' objects with respect in addition to answering questions from the nervous family preparing to relocate.
There are many nationwide moving companies that handle everything from commercial to residential moves. They have specialty divisions that handle different kinds of businesses, from high-tech to refrigerated operations. These companies will offer the required training to make sure you know how to properly do your job. Regional and independent moving companies will handle one or a few kinds of moves, perhaps specializing in a particular niche part of the market. Most of these handle residential moves.
There are many independent truck owners who run their own small moving businesses or contract their services to other local companies that need help. Owner-operators can make a great deal of money compared to hourly wages offered to drivers at larger companies, since they get to set their rates. Their overhead is minimal, beyond caring for the truck and moving equipment. Their biggest additional expense is hiring local day laborers to help with a specific assignment.
Another option is to maintain good relationships with other movers. As with long-haul truck drivers, there is a fraternal feel between movers. Many times, these drivers will help one another with loading or unloading rather than contract other helpers. In this case, tradition calls for the help to be treated to a nice dinner, which is substantially cheaper than hiring local laborers.
The length of each assignment will depend upon the items to be moved, whether they need to be packed, and how far away the destination is. At minimum, a move can be done in a day, but most are several days long. Drivers and other workers will arrive at the home on moving day and wrap furniture in quilted moving blankets, carefully carrying or wheeling them from the house to the truck. Loading the truck can almost be an art form, given the need to fit everything in and secure it so the load will not shift during the drive, which could potentially cause the truck to lose balance. This will take part or all of a day.
Once the driver reaches the destination, the family will direct the moving team where everything should go. Furniture is placed at the owner's discretion, and the crew has to have patience when things don't quite fit as expected.
Some companies run huge trucks (typically nine feet wide and thirteen feet tall) that can be filled with two or more households' belongings. These are for the longer distance moves, such as from coast to coast. In this case, a driver will take the truck from house to house, supervising the loading of each house with local labor. Then, the long drive begins, making the required stops along the way until the first household loaded is the last household unloaded. While this means families wait weeks for their belongings to arrive, the cost savings is more often than not worth the time. For the driver, it could mean being on the road for weeks at a time. If you like seeing America, this has its appeal.
Paperwork is absolutely necessary in this business since you need to document what has been loaded, what wear and tear has been noted on furniture and other belongings, and when you left the first destination. This protects you, the family, and the company you work for. You then need to review all the paperwork at the destination, again confirming that everything has been delivered and is in good shape. Insurance companies demand strict recording procedures, which companies strive to accommodate. It's in everyone's best interests to handle this with care, and the driver, as team leader, has to be comfortable with this aspect of the job.
It should be noted that a related business is driving cars from destination to destination for people. Usually this is because the customer is flying to a new home or has bought a car far from home and needs it to be brought to them. Individuals, negotiating rates on a case-by-case basis, usually handle this service.
If you want to explore this field, you need to make sure you not only have the physical requirements to pass the CDL exam but also a strong back, arms, and legs. Additionally, you need patience and the ability to work with all types of personalities. You are, after all, being put in charge of someone's belongings. Customer service is a key requirement in this kind of position.
Movers don't get paid by the hour or by the mile. Instead, they receive a percentage of the “line haul,” a percentage of the fee earned by the moving company. Owner-operators of moving vehicles can contract with a company for an even higher fee. Being away from home can actually provide you with substantial income, since you will be paid lodging and other expenses.
Becoming a mover is one of the easier professions to enter because there are so many companies around the nation. Additionally, because of the extra training required, this seems to scare off some drivers. There is also a high amount of turnover as people stop moving to return to school or change careers. There will be no shortage of opportunities in this field.
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