First of all, get a signed contract. You don't know all the people who have given their hard earned money to get their mobile homes moved, only to have their move date changed constantly or have their homes damaged by inept movers. And when the home is finally moved, it is not set up right. Remember, by having a signed contract, you have the legal right to make sure your home is taking care of.
Make sure the transporting company has LIABILITY and or CARGO INSURANCE. This covers your home if theres damage and it's his fault. Your mover should have this insurance in his truck at all times, so don't believe any excuses, and demand to see it. I've repaired many homes that were damaged by careless toter drivers, who didn't have a lick of insurance. The main reason you will get a low bid for a move, is because these guys have low overhead. If we didn't bother with insurance or drove toters that shouldn't even be on the highway, our overhead would be low too.
Also, What I like to suggest to customers, is to contact their homeowners insurance agent, and inquire about moving or TRIP insurance. This will cover any damage to your home, that is not our fault. Just going down the highway, you can break a window, crack a ceiling, or pop trim off a wall. This is really not our fault, but your moving insurance should cover a repairman to come in and fix your home. It's also very reasonable.
Beware of someone who gives you a price for moving your home, and then says " You pay for materials". Boy you can really pad a bill with this one. You don't really know what extra parts they used, maybe even none, then they hand you a bill for $200.00 or $300.00 or more. Make sure the contract states that all labor and material are included. If the mover knows what he's doing, he knows how much material it will take.
Another thing you MUST do, is inquire about downtime charges. This one can really hit you in the wallet. Most movers give you one hour to get your home off your site to the first state or county road and the same thing on the other end as far as getting your home on the new site. Going from park to park is usually no problem, but if your coming from or going to private property, downtime charges can eat you up. At $75.00 to $125.00 an hour, you can see why. I've heard of movers who never told the customer about downtime charges and after seeing where home is going, demand hundreds of dollars more. If the customer didn't pay on the spot, they dropped the home right in the road, and left. I always look at where home is, and where it's going, especially if private property is involved. That way you know up front if the move is going to cost you more. I don't like hidden charges or costs. I believe it's bad business. If I mess up on a bid, I eat the extra costs, and chalk it up to experience.
Take all the furniture in your home out. Appliances such as range, refrigerator, and washer & dryer can be left in because they are shipped that way. We will move homes with a little furniture in them if they are not over loaded, but we are not responsible for any damage to these items or damage caused by these items. Weight of items in a home causes more stress damage than probably anything else. I know it can be inconvenient to move everything out of your home, but theres less chance for damage I inspect all homes before we move them so please have everything out.
If you are moving to private property, get your mover involved early. We can make pier plans for you, show you where the sewer and water drops need to be, and even if your home can be moved there. There was one case where these people put in their piers, dug a well, and septic, then called me to see if I could move their 16X80 there. I've put some homes in some really hard and difficult places, but there was no way you were going to get a mobile home on that site. They told me later that they sold the property at a loss. They couldn't get any other mover to take the job either, thank God. We charge a fee for looking at sites but that charge is taken off the moving cost if we get the job.
Something else I want to add because it has come up a few times lately is about hitches. If your home has a hitch that has been cut off, have a professional welder weld the piece that has been cut off, back on the home. If your home needs a complete hitch welded on we can usually get one for you for a cost but have a professional welder put it on.
If you are moving your home in the Winter or cold weather, hire someone that can Winterize your home. Make sure they drain your Hot Water Heater and blow all your water lines out with high air pressure. Have them pour a little antifreeze in your toilet tanks and bowls.
I hope this helps some of you. Feel free to e-mail me. Even if we don't get your job, I'll answer your questions for you.
Parker Mobile Home Transporting