Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Moving and Tax Write Offs


Moving has a huge perk you might not be aware of.  Aside from getting a new house, new neighborhood, and new job, you could quality for a tax break. There are certain criteria you must meet in order to get a tax write off. If you qualify, per TurboTax, "you can use IRS Form 3903 to claim the cost of your moving expenses as a deduction on your federal income tax return. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct eligible moving costs (turbotax.intuit.com)."

Below are the qualifications associated with tax break for moving expenses.    
             
Timing: You must start your new job, and work full-time for at least 39 weeks, within 12 months after you’ve moved to your new home. The good news is that new jobs usually start rather quickly, so you shouldn’t have an issue qualifying for this one!

Distance: In order to qualify, your new office needs to be at least 50 miles farther from your old house than your new office is. If you have a long distance move, this qualification is a piece of cake!

Qualified Expenses: You’re probably wondering what’s included in the qualified expenses. They’re pretty straightforward. The expenses include, but are not limited to, the cost of gas, packing boxes, short term storage, tolls, and hotel stays on your way to your new home.

Completing the Form: In order to receive a tax break for moving expenses, you’ll need to fill out Form 3903 when completing your taxes. It’s a simple straightforward form. Click here to view a copy of the form

It's also important to note that Beltway keeps copies of our customers' bill of ladings for two years. If you need it when applying for a moving tax write off, please don't hesitate in contacting us. We can scan and send you a copy of your bill of lading if you need it.

For more details, we recommend checking out the following website: Guide to IRS Form 3903: Moving Expenses.  

Are you planning a move? If so, call Beltway Movers today at (800) 968-8348. We look forward to moving with you!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tips for Moving During the Winter

Brrr it’s cold outside! Are you planning on moving this winter? We’re not going to lie, moving over the winter isn’t easy, but in our humble opinion it’s worth it. Why? If you were to move over the summer, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the nice weather; less people move over the winter, so moving companies have more availability; more people move during the summer, so you’ll have a better chance of putting first dibs in on the house of your dreams.



Now that we’ve sold you on moving during the winter, below are a few tips and tricks to help you survive a chilly move!

1. Clean up your sidewalks! Before the movers arrive be sure to shovel and de-ice your driveway and sidewalks. The more treacherous your walkways are, the longer the mover will take. Plus, you don’t want anyone to fall and get hurt.
2. Wear layers! When it’s cold outside you want to wear warm clothing, but when you’re moving you’re going to get warm fast! By wearing layers you can stay comfortable by shedding them throughout the day
3. Offer your movers hot chocolate and coffee! On a cold day nothing is better than a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. The movers will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and the warm drinks will fuel them through your move.
4. Don’t forget water! Even though it’s cold outside the movers will still be thirsty, and warm, from moving the heavy furniture.
5. Watch the weather! Keep an eye on the weather. If a big snow storm is headed your way our dispatchers will work with you to determine the safest course of action. When moves must be postponed Beltway makes it a priority to get you back on schedule at your convenience.
6. We hope you find these tips helpful. If you need more tips on moving, check out Your Move Planner.

Are you planning a move? If so, call Beltway Movers today at (800) 968-8348. We look forward to moving with you!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Moving: Credentials and Licenses


When it comes to moving there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind. Who’s going to watch the kids? How much will a moving company cost? How long will it take to pack?

Unfortunately, one of the most important things to keep in mind when moving typically isn’t at the forefront of peoples’ minds. Why? It’s dull and unexciting, but it’s necessary – you need to know if the moving company you hire is properly licensed and has professional credentials. Dealing with licensed and regulated companies  helps ensure you are dealing with a reputable company and that you will not fall prey to a moving scam. We know you probably don’t know the ins and outs of moving company licenses and credentials, we wouldn’t either if we weren’t movers so today we’re here to walk you through the different types.


Licensing

Moving in the Washington DC area is unique. We have three jurisdictions; Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. Technically, crossing these jurisdictions would constitute an interstate move and require the licensing for interstate moving . This would also require that you be charged by weight according to a published tariff. If your move, however, is within the
Washington DC Commercial Zone a company may charge you by the hour for your move. Crossing state boundaries within the Department of Transportation regulated commercial zone is considered a local move as is any move that stays within Maryland or DC or moves under 30 miles in Virginia. 

Department of Transportation (DOT): In order to be a licensed and approved moving company, a company needs to be registered with DOT. Click here to confirm if a mover is registered with DOT.

An Operating Authority (MC number): This number must be obtained for any company that's being hired to move belongings and arrange interstate transport. An MC number is not required of local moving companies that stay within the DC Commercial zone.

VA Intra Registration: In order to move people within the state of Virginia, a moving company needs to have VA Intra Registration licensing.

The next time you’re shopping around for a mover make sure they’re licensed with the three organizations linked above. This will ensure you’re moving with an accredited company that has your best interests in mind.

Credentials

Who doesn’t have a moving nightmare story? Have you heard stories of companies holding furniture as hostage on the truck until more money is paid, movers stealing items, moving brokers promising services and prices that the actual mover refuses to abide by or companies that can’t be contacted or seem to disappear after a move.  Avoid becoming one of the moving scam statistics by ensuring that your mover is choosing to associate with and be regulated by associations. 

American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA): AMSA is a non-profit trade association. As a member, Beltway upholds their Code of Ethics and belief in providing honest, ethical, efficient and quality services. We're listed under our long distance carrier trade name Choice Relocation.

ProMover Program Certified: This program helps consumers identify quality professional movers who have passed background checks and agree to uphold ASMA's Code of Ethics.

Beltway Movers is also associated with the Maryland Motor Truck Association and the Virginia
Movers & Warehousemen’s Association.

Click here for Beltway Movers’ credential and license information. Interested in a moving company in Montgomery County, MD? If so, call Beltways Movers today at (800) 966-8348. We look forward to moving with you!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Moving Over the Holidays

Halloween has passed which means it’s now officially the holiday season! Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away, and Christmas and Hanukkah won’t be long after. Most people don’t think of this time of year as moving season because, well, it isn’t! Having said that, it can be a fun time of year to move – everyone is happy and full of good cheer, which makes everything easier!


Don’t forget the meal! If you’re moving right before a major holiday you don’t want to forget about your holiday meal. We recommend packing a separate box with all of your cooking essentials, and a cooler with all of your food. That way you’re ready to start cooking when you move in, and you don’t need to dig through your boxes to find everything you need.
An alternative – don’t feel like cooking? Look up restaurants in your new neighborhood to see who is open and make a reservation. Then dress up the family and enjoy a relaxing evening on the town.

Don’t forget the kids! Moving is hard for kids, so make it easier for them by having fun things planned. Before the move look up local holiday events in your new neighborhood, and take the kids so they can have some fun.

Pack a box with crayons, markers, color pencils and coloring books – once you’re at your new home pull them out so the kids can get to work on their holiday masterpieces! Don’t stop at the coloring books, let them have some fun and color the moving boxes, too!

If you’re moving before or during Christmas and Hanukkah, wrap small gifts and pack them all in one box. Once you’re at your new home unpack the boxes and your kids will have a little bit of celebration within their new home.

Don’t forget to book early! The holidays tend to be a slower time of year for moving companies, so more movers take off this time of year. As a result, we recommend booking early to ensure we have a full crew ready to move you.

The final piece of good news for moving over the holidays? Rates are lower during the winter! Are you planning a holiday move?

If so, call Beltway Movers today at (800) 968-8348. We look forward to moving with you!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What You Need to Know about Damages and Liability When Moving

Moving your belongings from your old home to your new home, or into storage, is a big deal. Without trying to sound too dramatic, you’re essentially moving your lives, all boxed up, in a single truck. That’s serious stuff and it needs to be handled properly! We hope no accidents will happen on your move but what if they do? Don’t wait until move day to discover a moving company is not going to be held liable. Ask them if they offer what most reputable companies like Beltway Movers offers Beltway Movers includes three types of coverage for your move:
  • Workman's Compensation: Should a mover be injured on your premises. If a company does not provide this you pay the medical bills.
  • Fleet and Liability Insurance: Should there be damage to your home or the building you live in. Again, if a company does not have this type of insurance you will be held liable. In fact, many apartment and condo buildings will require that a moving company supply a certificate of liability. 
  • Standard or Additional Valuation Coverage: Should there be damage or loss of your belongings during the move.

Most people assume that if something is broken a company will replace it. This is not always the case. Read on…. 

It's important to keep in mind that while the above does cover a good chunk of your move, it doesn't cover all of your belongings in their entirety. Customers who assume movers replace everything if it’s been damaged during a move have uniformed and unrealistic expectations of the moving industry. Those types of expectations can cause undue stress and anxiety for both the customer and moving personnel. So, what should you expect? It really depends on what type of liability you selected when signing your local or long distance bill of lading. Standard and additional valuation coverage is not dollar for dollar coverage.

Most state laws deem Standard Valuation as the coverage of 60 cents/lb. That means a broken 20lb chair would be reimbursed for $12.00 and a shattered 5lb crystal lamp would be reimbursed for $3.00. 

Additional Valuation allows for claims of loss or damage to be repaired or replaced beyond the mover’s minimum coverage. The premiums are based on the amount of coverage selected on your bill of lading and the deductible. That means the broken chair would be repaired and the shattered crystal lamp would be replaced or compensated with like kind or quality after the deductible has been met.

Most moving companies also note exactly what they’re not responsible for. For example, most moving companies are not responsible for mechanical, electronic or electrical functioning of computers, copiers, fax machines, printers, etc. Unless, of course, there is physical evidence of external damage.

Additionally, many moving companies will not assume liability for fragile items (i.e. china, paintings, marble, etc.) that they have not packed and /or unpacked by the company’s employees unless there is physical damage to the carton.

We certainly don’t want to bore you with the nitty gritty, but at the end of the day the nitty gritty is extremely important! No matter who you move with, we strongly encourage you to read the fine print of your bill of lading. Beltway Movers will send you that fine print prior to the move. As with anything else, you should completely understand how you, and your belongings, are covered before you hire a moving company.

Are you planning a move? If so, call Beltway Movers today at (800) 968-8348. We look forward to moving with you!

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Logistics of Moving Exercise Equipment

The hard part is over (or so you thought) - you bought a home, you hired a moving company, your boxes are packed and you’re ready to move! Not so fast! We’ve realized over the years that our customers don’t realize what it takes to move exercise equipment (it’s an exercise in itself!). If you have an entire home gym, or even just one exercise bike, the equipment might not be as easy to move as you’d think. Below is a list of the most commonly moved pieces of exercise equipment.

1. Treadmills

2. Rowing machines

3. Ellipticals

4. Stationary Bikes

5. Weight machines

Exercise equipment can be both cumbersome and tricky to move. Twenty years ago moving a stationary bike was simple, you’d lift and move it, but nowadays exercise equipment is extremely heavy, has a lot of moving parts and probably contains electronic features.

Electronics: If the equipment can just be unplugged and moved, that’s easy enough. However if electrical items need to be removed and disassembled, a fitness equipment specialist will need to complete that portion of the job.

Size: Very large and cumbersome pieces of exercise equipment might not fit through doors. The best guiding principle is to think back to when it was moved in. If it had to be disassembled to move in, it will have to come apart to move back out. If that’s the case, you will need to disassemble the equipment yourself. Most moving companies will not disassemble large, electronic, expensive equipment. It might be as easy as removing the handles of a bike, but it could be as difficult as taking apart the entire bike. In that case it would be in your best interest to contact a fitness equipment specialist to either disassemble it for you, or to walk you through disassembling it. Our consultants can often refer you to companies we trust to assist you.

Disassembling Equipment Yourself: If you decide to disassemble the equipment yourself, you will want to pack the pieces of the equipment carefully in their original packaging. If you don’t have the original packaging, you will want to wrap the equipment pieces in protective covers, such as foam wrap and pack them in sturdy moving boxes.

Moving Entire Pieces of Equipment: We’d recommend, if movers are going to move the equipment themselves, folding up the equipment and preparing the moving parts such as handles . The movers will then wrap the equipment in protective moving blankets.

Note: It’s also important to keep in mind that since exercise equipment is heavy and large it will take extra time to move.

If you have small pieces of equipment to move, i.e. hand weights, medicine balls, yoga mats, etc., we’d recommend packing them in a box. These items are easily packable and moveable. Having said that, please remember not to over pack the boxes so they’re not too heavy for the movers.

Disclaimers: 1. We’re not liable for electronic items. We will not take apart electric items and are not responsible if they don’t work post move, except of course if we were to drop an item! 2. Since exercise equipment is heavy, it might take longer to move than the usual items. This means, since we charge at an hourly rate, the cost of moving these items will be higher.

Do you have questions on moving your exercise equipment? If so call Beltway Movers, we're a moving company in Washington DC, at (800) 966-8348. We look forward to working with you!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tips for Tipping Movers!

Should I tip the movers? We get this question a lot! Movers are a part of the service industry like waiters and hair dressers. And as a result, movers generally are tipped by our customers as a thank you for their hard work and to show appreciation for the level of service they gave. Tipping however is not required.

We know it’s something some people aren’t aware of and since it can be a sensitive subject, we wanted to address it for you in today’s blog post. We’ve broken the post into a few sections to answer the most frequently asked ‘tipping’ questions that we get from our customers.

How Much Should I Tip My Mover? It depends on how well the move went. Were your belongings handled with care? Did the movers ask you the questions needed to get the job done? Did you feel like you were being taken care of? Did their attitudes and expertise make your move day a little less stressful. Beltway Movers wants to be the company you like as much at the end of the day as the day you said “I do” to the move consultant

If they did a great job, we would recommend approximately $20 to $30 per mover for a small local move and approximately $40 per mover for a larger local move. It is not unusual for the crew foreman to be tipped a little more.  If you’re talking about interstate moves, the tipping price will increase. 

How Should I Tip Movers? Most companies will encourage you to provide cash.  How you hand over the tip really depends on your personality and circumstances. If you want to show your appreciation to each member then feel free to gather them together. If things are a bit hurried or you have specific instructions you want carried out then feel free to give the money to the foreman. Once the movers have left, he/she can divide the tip evenly amongst all of the movers. 

Show Movers You Appreciate Them with Water and Snacks: Let’s face it, moving is hard! We recommend providing your movers with bottled water and healthy snacks, i.e. bananas. They will appreciate the nourishment, especially on a sweltering hot day!
If it’s cold on your move day, offer the movers hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate. No one likes to be cold and the idea of a hot drink waiting for you indoors is even better encouragement to get the job done and to take a much needed break with a hand warming drink! 

For more great ideas visit our blog titled Partnering With Our Moving Crews On Move Day.
One more tip. Sales and staff appreciate positive and instructive feedback on our surveys as well as on consumer review sites. Your feedback is as good as gold.

In this blog post we've told you what we recommend you do tip wise on moving day, but we also wanted to briefly discuss what our movers shouldn't do when it comes to tips. We never want our movers to ask for tips. Tips are earned and should never be expected. Our movers are professional and should never make you feel uncomfortable. You should give tips because you want to not because you feel pressure to do so. The review listed below, we just received it!, exemplifies how we work and how we want our customers to perceive us.

"Easily the best experience we've had moving. The trio were professional, never complained once, and brought a lot of humor with them. I know it's not a fun gig (that's why we paid you!) so it was nice to have that positive energy. As a comparison, I've had appliances and furniture delivered and have been met with endless grousing and hints about tips from the delivery people."

Do you have questions on tipping movers? If so call Beltway Movers today, we're a moving company in Northern Virginia, today at (800) 966-8348. We look forward to working with you!