If there's one thing you can count on when you're moving, it's that you can't count on anything. There are so many “moving parts” in the process that at some point something will go wrong. Most people have been anticipating the move for so long, when something goes not exactly as planned it can turn into a nightmare.
However, even the best-planned moves with the most dependable and reputable moving companies can hit a snag and cause your household belongings to arrive at your new home several days past the target date.
What Causes Moving Delays?
Zipping down the highway in your minivan isn't quite the same thing as driving down the road in a huge truck filled with household possessions. So, when the weather takes a turn, truck drivers are usually the first to pull over and wait for conditions to improve. This could mean anything from half an hour in a driving downpour, to a few days if an ice storm hits along the route. Getting your household to your new home intact is the goal and sometimes the weather slows this down. It is important to remember that your belongings are on the truck so you need to understand that certain precautions have to be taken in order for everything to arrive safely (including the moving crew!).
2) Road and Traffic Conditions
Summer is peak season for lots of things--among them, road construction, vacationers on the highway, both of which lead to traffic accidents. Highways are most crowded from June until August, so a minor fender bender can back things up for a couple of miles. Transportation officials schedule work and repairs in the warmer months, so review your route for construction delays and plan for something to pop up that slows your trucks--if they're backed up and hit a large city at rush hour, with several more hours to go, they may need to stop for the night based on FMCSA driving regulations. Hours of service regulations require drivers to take mandatory downtime after so many hours behind the wheel, regardless of whether the truck is moving or sitting in traffic.
Summer is the most convenient time for most people to move. Kids are out of school, vacation time and nice weather. But it’s no secret that moving companies have finite resources of trucks, drivers and crews. So keep in mind that if your crew got caught in bad traffic, weather, or both on the job prior to yours, they may not get to your house on the scheduled day.
When the delay dominoes start to fall and impact your move, your move coordinator will be able to keep you updated with expected delivery dates. It's important to give yourself a bit of wiggle room with the delivery timeframe you have set in your mind - Because if/when a delay occurs you will already be mentally & physically prepared and ready to deal with the situation at hand.
4) Logistical Surprises
Getting the trucks to your new front door isn't always as easy as you'd thought - or maybe you've never thought about it. If you're moving to an urban area with limited parking, that big moving van may not have a place to park for several hours, or your things need to be loaded onto smaller vehicles (shuttle trucks) that will fit on the street. Conversely, if you're new home is on an unpaved curvy mountain road, a big truck can't navigate safely. Getting smaller trucks and reloading them will add time to the process. These are all things that are important to disclose to your moving consultant at the time of booking to make sure that everyone involved is prepared and can plan accordingly for the challenges ahead.
How To Manage A Delay
To be on the safe side, plan for a delay on either end of your move. These are the things you can do if it looks like your movers won't arrive or deliver on time.
First, change your thoughts on "on time". Professional movers let you know up front that they will do their best to meet the target dates, but there is a pick-up and delivery window because circumstances can change. And, there's absolutely nothing you can do when a storm leads to a twelve-car pile-up that leads to hitting the DC metro area at 4 pm.
Let your realtor know there may be a delay in your leaving. As much as you may think this is totally out of the question, realtors are used to it and deal with people moving on a daily basis.
Allow for a couple of days leeway when you're cutting your utility service--this is no time to not have water and WiFi.
If you're boarding a pet, let the facility know you'll need an extra day or so.
Book hotels in your new city if you get there first or bring sleeping bags and camp out.
Flexibility is the key to managing any move, so if you're anticipating what can go wrong, you're way less likely to have a meltdown when it does.