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Household movers do more than simply load and unload furniture in and out of a moving van. Much of their job revolves around planning and preparing for the move. Before any items are moved, the individual who is in charge (usually the driver) goes through the house to determine the order in which the household goods should be loaded on the truck. Larger, heavier items are usually put in first to utilize space efficiently and avoid stacking heavy pieces on top of less sturdy ones.
Before they pack items, movers may make an inventory list of everything that is to be moved, noting the condition of each item. They pay special attention to any existing damage to furniture and delicate objects in order to avoid potential disputes over damages made during the move. The customer receives a written copy of the inventory.
Van drivers oversee the packing and loading of items into the moving van or truck, drive to the specified destination, and supervise the unloading and unpacking, according to the client's specifications. Local drivers work in a set geographic area in which moves can be completed in one day. Linehaul drivers are employed for long-distance moves that take more than one day to complete. Drivers need to be skillful operators of large vehicles; they often have to maneuver into tight spots or back up to loading areas. They are responsible for inspecting the moving truck before and after trips, preparing regular reports on its condition, and keeping a daily log. Van drivers may be responsible for the vehicle's routine maintenance services, either by sending it to a mechanic or by doing necessary repairs themselves. Drivers also see that the inventories of the truck contents are completed properly. They collect payment or obtain a signature from the customer and resolve various difficulties arising from the move.
Moving assistants, also called helpers and packers, aid drivers in packing and preparing household items and loading and unloading the van. Following instructions from the driver, they wrap fragile items in paper or cardboard and pack them in boxes or barrels. Moving assistants roll up rugs and remove pictures from walls. They make sure that all containers are labeled with the identity of the owner, contact information, and the contents of the container. The labels are useful in organizing the items on the truck during the loading and unloading processes and also help if any items are misplaced. Assistants may use dollies, hoists, and hand trucks when carrying furniture, boxes, and other items to and from the truck. They pad furniture with blankets and secure the items in the truck into a compact load. Using ropes and straps, they carefully fasten the load in place so items do not move around unexpectedly and become damaged during the transportation process. At the destination, moving assistants unload and unpack everything, working under the direction of the driver.
Depending on the size of the move, usually three to six household movers are involved in the loading and unloading process. Their specific responsibilities can vary with the quantity and type of goods that are being moved and whether it is a local or long-distance move. If the customer is moving only a short distance, usually the same household movers load the van, accompany the driver to the destination, and unload the van. On a long-distance move, the van driver and an assistant usually drive to the destination and are met there by a local team of movers who help unload and set up the furniture.