Tips on tipping movers when moving

Movers are part of the service trade. In other words, they are service professionals and you base your tip on the services performed. Yes, you do tip movers, but it’s not expected. Most people will buy them lunch for their tip and or provide cash.

Some tips on tipping movers:
• Offer the movers to buy them lunch especially if it’s at least a half-day move. That’s just as good as a cash tip. Some people do both but it’s not necessary. If you do buy them lunch, don’t assume it should be hamburgers or pizza. Keep in mind, you are not the only one that they are moving your life belongings for. Ask what the movers feel like having.
• Make sure to have small items on hand such as bottled water (easier to carry around than a glass of water), sodas and light snacks. Don’t offer them alcoholic drinks like beer, it’s stereotypical, movers can’t drink on the job and there are liability issues.
• There’s really no percentage amount to give to movers like there is in other service industries such as restaurants where waitresses or waiters receive 20 percent for excellent service. About $10 per person is proper and if it’s a full day, then about $20 or so per mover.
• If you do give a cash tip, don’t give it all to the driver or one person but to each individual. That really recognizes each individual’s efforts and is fair overall.

If your movers are professional, polite and do a good job, reward them like anyone else in the service industry. Plus, they’ll be more inclined to ensure your belongings reach your destination safely, securely and in good shape.

Safe moving!

Tips to Taking Photos When Moving

When you plan to move, you may want to keep memories of the place you’re leaving or maybe even from the moving process itself. You can have fun posting some of the photos on your preferred social media or arranging the pictures in an album after the move is over.

Always date-stamp your photos to be able to counter false claims by proving the date those photographs were taken. Turn on the date-stamp function of your (smartphone) camera or, if that’s not possible, e-mail those photos to yourself.
Also, make sure the time and date are correct in the settings of your digital camera or smartphone before you start snapping away.

Finally, keep the photos on the memory card, right between other pictures you took at that time to counter “smart” suggestions that you may have changed the time/date setting on your camera prior to taking the photos in question.

Most importantly, have fun to keep your memories alive in your previous home!

Safe moving!

Overall tips when moving overseas

This week, general and overall tips when moving overseas.

An international move can be complicated but since I’m in the moving biz, I’m going to share with you some basic tips but very important tips before you make the leap overseas.

Yeah, that’s pretty basic but you’ll need work visas or permits to ensure you are working legally in your new country. It’s also helpful just to know the job market there and a basic understanding of the city you are moving to. Do your research on Google and other platforms to be informed regarding employment in your new country.

You have money coming whether for work or another way of income and you need to make sure it’s in a safe place. Contact some banks there and find out if you can set up an account before you leave. Know what type of fees they might charge and find out how safe your money is.

One of the smartest things you can do before your move is to know the tax system not only here when you are out of the country, but in your new land. It can be complicated so be sure to contact your accountant or hire a tax professional to ensure you have a plan and meet all of your tax obligations. It will avoid major headaches while leaving abroad, trust me.

Health insurance
This is another basic tip but believe it or not, many people don’t check to find out if they are covered overseas. The last thing you need is to get ill and be hospitalized and find out your insurance doesn’t cover you or your family. Check with your health care provider if you are insured or not and make any adjustments if needed so you are insured.

Safe moving!

Key mistakes to avoid when moving part 2

Last time, I wrote about some of the mistakes to avoid when moving. It’s so important to be prepared when the big moving day arrives.

Tips to avoid mistakes when moving art 2:
• Labels and more labels – Make sure to label all boxes that are going to be moved. Use a permanent black marker and label each box of the items that are in it. Movers will still move your boxes without labels but when they arrive at your new destination, you won’t know not only where the boxes should go in each room to unpack, but you won’t know any of the items when unpacking.
• Markers – Consider using color markers and label boxes that go into your new rooms. Write “kitchen” with all of your kitchen items, write “bathroom” for all of your bath items. Use different colors for each particular room.
• Color cards – Use different color of cards and place them on top of each box labeling where they should go. That way, your movers will know where to place each box in the pertinent areas of your new home.
• Safety – Household goods and money can easily be replaced, members of your family cannot. Stay safe and in my next blog will cover in detail safety tips you need to know about when moving.

Safe moving!

Key mistakes to avoid when moving

When you are making a move especially overseas, you want to avoid as much as mistakes as humanely possible. Even minor mistakes can prove costly in a residential or business move. You need to do your homework and select a reputable mover like us to move your household goods.

In previous blogs, I’ve covered mistakes you should avoid. This time, I’m going to give you specific tips to ensure a smooth moving day.

Tips to avoid mistakes when moving:
• Sleep – Yep, seems simple enough but some people stay up late the night before the big move and don’t function as well during the day. Get a good night’s sleep so you will alert and ready.
• Cellphone – Simply put, make sure your phone is fully charged for the day. Many folks forget this and then have to have their phones charging in a place not accessible where they need to be when moving. Charge your phone, you will thank me later.
• Errands – Ensure that all of your errands and tasks are completed before moving day. You won’t have time to do them once the moving process begins.
• Rooms – Before you go to bed and when you wake up early on the big day, go through all of your rooms to make sure everything is ready for your movers. This will give you a last chance to ensure your household items are good to go.
• Insurance – Always purchase moving insurance, it’s the only way to protect your household goods from any mishaps that may happen.

Supply Chain Issues Impacting the International Moving Industry

There is currently a shipping and supply chain crisis directly affecting every facet of international commerce; its impact is far-reaching enough to touch the lives of consumers and businesses around the world. Simple solutions are not available in our interconnected global economy. While significant industry efforts are underway to highlight the issues and draw attention to them, the international moving industry and its customers struggle to be heard by government regulators. – Source: International Associations of Movers 

Please download the full article here
IAM - International Association of Movers

Getting to know important terms about overseas container shipping

It’s no secret that the moving industry has their own common terms to describe overseas container shipping. But if you know what those terms are and learn about the differences of each one, it will provide you with important knowledge when you decide to move overseas, so you are aware of any potential additional charges when moving. Some of the terminology can get quite confusing at times if you don’t know the meanings of container shipping and charges that come with it.

I’ll provide you with important key terms and to clarify each of them so that you will be better suited to know about container shipping and especially when you are talking to your moving representative or agent about your personal belongings or other shipping items headed out of the country.

Let’s begin with container demurrage and container detention. Both are uniquely different but can be confusing at times. The term demurrage relates to cargo while the cargo is in the container. Detention is when your possessions or general equipment (cargo) is empty and out of the container after unpacking or before packing.

Container demurrage is referred to when the container with a payload has either been offloaded from a vessel, also known as import or waiting to be loaded onto a vessel, known as an export. An import container can’t be shipped out until U.S. Customs officially releases it or decides to exam the container or schedules it for an inspection. If Customs decides to do this, it can impact the delay of the shipment and accrue demurrage charges if it’s not picked up in time. An export container doesn’t usually incur demurrage charges due to the return date and port dates are for the most part, extremely narrow. But if an export container does sustain demurrage fees, it’s due to a shipper or exporter deciding to delay a container or U.S. Customs chooses to exam or inspect the shipment.

Container detention is when the container is offloaded or discharged from the port with or without a payload, and is in possession of a drayage company that will then ship your possessions to an importer’s or exporter’s facilities before it is shipped to you. Detention just means that it’s in a facility being prepared to get the shipment out to you from when it was in the port or other locations.

Other terms include demurrage charges which varies from port-to-port and increases over time depending upon the length of time the container is at the port. Please know that demurrage charges must be paid to the ocean carrier before the container can be released. Keep in mind that ports set their own port free time which means no charges will be applied while the container is at their port (ports free time days vary). If free time days are exceeded, demurrage charges will apply. In addition, ocean carriers allow drayage companies to have containers in a facility for a set number of days at no charge which is referred to as container free time.

When moving a container on the road, you need a chassis rental for a truck to move the container. When a chassis has been provided, the owner of the chassis, whether an ocean liner or port operator, will charge a daily chassis rental charge which varies depending upon the location.

These are just some of the terms used in overseas container shipping. By getting to know these terms and shipping overall (please visit to learn more), it will prevent very little surprises if some fees are charged due to delays out of the control of your shipping representative or agent who are trying to manage and limit your fees as much as possible!

Tips for Obtaining a Fine Art/Collection appraisal –

Myth: I don’t really need an appraisal.
There are many important reasons to establish and maintain an appraisal on your valuable collections:
• Avoiding underinsurance
• Estate Planning
• Tax Planning
• Understanding your assets and how to protect them
• Planning for division of property after or before: a death in the family, divorce, or the dissolution of a family partnership where the collection is an asset

Myth: It’s too expensive.
• Request a flat fee for the entire appraisal at the outset rather than an hourly rate; you may or may not achieve this, but it can’t hurt to ask.
• A well-executed appraisal will cost approximately $125 – $350 per hour.
• Depending on the nature of your collection, an appraiser can usually assess five to ten items an hour. Very important works or those with extensive provenance may take longer to appraise.
• Don’t hire an appraiser on a “per item” basis. The cost should be based on the time it will take to review your entire collection as a whole.
• Appraisal fees should never be based on the value of your property. This is a major conflict of interest for the appraiser, and appraisals billed this way are not USPAP compliant (see below) and will not be accepted by the IRS.
• Resist the temptation to hire a less expensive appraiser with fewer years’ experience. Your appraisal document should withstand the rigors of both time and the vagaries of the art market, and it is worth investing in a high quality appraisal from the beginning.
• Some insurance companies and insurance brokers have discounts negotiated for their clients with some appraisal firms. Be sure to ask about a potential discount.

Myth: It takes too much time.
• For insurance, not everything needs to be appraised. Review your fine art schedule with your broker to determine a value threshold. For example, you might not want to include items that fall below your deductible.
• Many appraisers will provide a complimentary review of your schedule, identifying the top five or ten items that may require updated values.
• Once you have a comprehensive appraisal on file, future updates become much faster and cost effective, and can often be completed without further inspections.

Myth: I can get an appraisal for free.
As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Someone offering a free appraisal often has an agenda that could influence their appraisal, particularly with an auction house or a dealer. An auction house’s main objective is to gain access to your collection so they can sell it. Their values may not accurately reflect the marketplace, or best represent your appraisal needs as a client; low values might minimize your sales expectations, or high values might tempt you to sell. Sometimes a dealer may provide you with an updated value for a work they have sold to you, but keep in mind that it benefits the dealer for that value to be as high as possible, as it shows you what a wonderful investment they’ve provided while also establishing a higher baseline for their own future sales.

Myth: All I need is a value.
• A formal appraisal should contain the following elements:
– Description of items appraised and values
– Purpose of Appraisal – this is very important as the value can vary greatly depending on whether the appraisal is for Insurance, Donation, Estate, Equitable Distribution (Divorce), Inventory, Damage/Loss, etc.
– Type of value being applied, how values were determined (appraiser’s methodology), and discussion of the marketplace
– Inspection date (nothing whether inspected in person or from images), date of appraisal preparation, and effective date of the values
– Appraiser’s biography, resume, and signature
– Fee structure
– The appraiser should also confirm:
o The appraisal is USPAP compliant
o They have no interest in the items appraised or their values
o They have no reason to question the authenticity of the items appraised or the information provided

• Each item on an appraisal should have the following information addressed:
– Full description (including title, artist, dimensions, materials, etc.)
– Provenance
– Exhibition and publication history, if applicable
– Catalogue Raisonné number, if applicable
– Condition of item
– Comparables – this establishes what similar sales were used as a basis for valuation, and may include further analysis of comparables and bearing on value of this item
– Statement of value (this should not be an estimate or a range)
• For IRS appraisals, the following additional information should be included:
– Confirmation that the IRS has not disqualified the appraiser
– Required IRS forms
– Appraiser’s Tax ID number
– Photograph of artwork – see strict IRS criteria for photographs:
• A properly executed formal appraisal should be USPAP compliant – Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice:
• The amount of information included in a proper appraisal can be rigorous. It is important that the appraisal contain this information in order to “stand the test of time” with regard to insurance values, the IRS, etc. Whether you are basing your insurance off of this value, or submitting it to the IRS, you want it to be as accurate as possible to avoid potential negative consequences of underinsurance or inaccurate tax-related information.

Myth: The IRS will know what I have.
• Appraisals are confidential, and appraisers only share their documents with you or parties you designate. Documents are not filed with any authorities or made public.
• The IRS is well-versed in personal property appraisals and understands the difference between an insurance appraisal and a tax appraisal. When the IRS reviews appraisals, it is done by a special fine art advisory panel.
• Before making any assumptions about how an appraisal may affect your tax liabilities, contact your tax attorney for advice.
• Your collection is an asset and should be considered like any other part of your estate. By taking an inventory and establishing values, you can clearly identify the complete contents of your collection for your heirs, properly understand value to set aside estate tax funds, or even minimize the tax burden on your heirs. An appraisal document is a helpful first step in allowing your heirs to prove clear title, should they someday wish to sell inherited works.

• Many of us assume we can simply tell our heirs which artworks they can take after we die. But what happens when they later try to sell this work? How do they prove their ownership? If they go to auction, the auction house will need to establish the heir has title. If the artwork has not passed to your heir through the normal channels, and taxes have not been paid, either as a gift before your death or as part of your estate, the IRS will inevitably find out whenever it comes time to sell. Estate taxes will have to be paid, and usually there will be additional capital gains on the work.
• It is a good idea to have an updated appraisal as you make estate plans. This document will give you an objective understanding of your collection’s value and can aid in how you distribute your estate. Having a clear plan in place, an appraisal on file, and a complete inventory of items will help avoid potential administrative fees from attorneys and trustees as the estate is settled.
**You should always consult with your tax attorney and accountant when making tax decisions. **

Fact: Who do I call for an appraisal?
• The appraiser should be Senior Accredited Appraiser affiliated with one of the recognized industry associations (such as the Appraisers Association of America, American Society of Appraisers, or International Society of Appraisers) and should be USPAP Certified.
• Appraisers Association of America – Organization with professional requirements in order to be a member – Search by location/type of item to find a local independent appraiser
• American Society of Appraisers – Organization with professional requirements in order to be a member – Search by location/type of item to find a local independent appraiser
• International Society of Appraisers – Organization with professional requirements in order to be a member – Search by location/type of item to find a local independent appraiser
• Winston Art Group – Appraisal Firm with many experts (artwork, jewelry, coins, memorabilia, etc.)
• Pall Mall Art Advisors – Appraisal Firm with many experts (artwork, jewelry, coins, memorabilia, etc.)
• Gurr Johns – Appraisal Firm with many experts (artwork, jewelry, coins, memorabilia, etc.) New York
• Fine Art Appraisers – Appraisal Firm with many experts (artwork, jewelry, coins, memorabilia, etc.)
• Allyson Lee Art Appraisal Services – Independent Appraiser in Boston

Fact: How do I know if an appraiser is “certified”?
• Appraisers should be “USPAP Certified” which means that they comply with the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. This dictates ethics, report requirements, etc.
• The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is the generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States. USPAP was adopted by Congress in 1989, and contains standards for all types of appraisal services, including real estate, personal property, business and mass appraisal.

See “Putting an Estate Value on the Assets Unique to You.” The New York Times September 27, 2013 for more information on this subject.
The elements of appraisals information were derived from Jane H. Willis, Appraisal Writing Workshop.

Tips moving to Tokyo

This week, I’m going to provide you tips if you plan to move to Tokyo.

Tokyo is an exciting city to visit but if you plan on laying down your roots there, you’ll need to prepare. It can be a culture shock even for those that are used to living in big cities:
• Visas – Plan at least two months in getting a visa and make sure you get the correct one. If you plan to work, apply for a work visa. Tourist and general visas are also available.
• Language – Something that a lot of people don’t know is that most Japanese don’t speak English. In addition, there are not a lot of accommodations for English speakers. Just getting around requires knowing the basics of the Japanese language.
• Apartment hunting – It can be daunting to not only find the right place for you, but to pay the upfront costs landlords require. Deposits and other fees are a lot higher there than in the U.S. sometimes requiring more than $5,000 in costs just to move in.
• City hall – All citizens staying a long period of time need to register at city hall to receive an ID card. It’s similar to a driver’s license in the U.S. This is required and you need it on you at all times.
• Like in London, you won’t need a car while in Tokyo. Their public transportation is excellent and the finest in the world.

Safe moving!

Tips moving appliances

If you are flying by plane and want to also move your appliances overseas, I would leave that up to the moving experts. But if you do want to move them, here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Freight charges – Appliances are big-tickets items and will incur freight charges. Make sure to ask your moving company the prices of the charges.
• Voltage – Most countries have their own voltage systems. Check to see if your appliances are compatible.
• Size – Make sure to check the size of your new home because some countries have smaller spaces such as for refrigerators and other types of appliances.
• Buying – You might want to consider purchasing the appliances in your new country. Check the costs, it might be a more convenient and inexpensive way to go.
• Warrantees – Check to see if your current or new appliances have warrantees that will cover the items overseas.

Safe moving!