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Homeowner's Guide to a Smooth Move: An Interview with Mina Georgalas of Bernard Movers

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Bernard Movers is a full-service moving company serving the Chicago area specializing in last-second moves. We specialize in direct service to most states and are licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. We're also proud members of the American Moving and Storage Association, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Movers and Warehouse Association and the Better Business Bureau.

We have an experienced staff of professionally trained movers, fleet of trucks, and storage facilities in Chicago's south loop. We're experts in difficult high-rise apartment and condo moves as well.

You seem to have a lot of useful tools on your website including moving tips, videos of movers, etc. Have you received positive feedback on the website thus far?

We feel a website should be a reflection of who you are. A customer should land there and find out not only the details about your company, but everything we know about the industry, who we are, and what we stand for. That's why you'll find advice and tips, but also highlighted examples of the associations we're members of and the community events we support.

How did you get into this line of work?

Bernard Movers has been serving the Chicago area since 1972, when Lynn Bernard operated a small fleet with an old Chicago family approach to business. When we bought the company in 2008, Lynn stayed on and continues to help us further and improve our approach.

As the President of Bernard Movers, I know how important a well-planned, seamless move is to people settling into a new home or apartment. When you hire professional movers you not only protect your belongings and your home, but you save money.

What sets your moving services apart from competition in your area? What do you do better/different?

Our certifications are a big part of our expertise and authenticity. We've worked hard to be accepted by each of those organizations, which don't accept you unless you meet high standards of customer service.

We feature a fully screened, professional staff of movers and we have our own warehouse, fleet and storage facilities.

We can usually help people out on short notice. When another mover lets you down, we have the staff and flexibility to bail you out.

Can you give us an example of a strange or a tough situation you have had to deal with while moving a customer in the past couple years? (a fun question for our readers to enjoy)

It was the last day of August - busiest day of the year and one of our crews finished their last moving job at 1 am. They were moving an elderly gentleman who at 1 am took out a plastic bag and paid his bill of $262.50 in silver dollar coins. It took 30 minutes to count and recount the money and meanwhile our driver was wondering if this was real money.

How early should a homeowner contact a moving services company before the day of their move?

Obviously, the sooner the better. To make sure all the proper steps are taken, and to make sure you get the best people and the best deal, you'll want to start the process at least six weeks in advance of your move. Call three companies, get three onsite estimates. Visit their offices to be sure they're legitimate. DO NOT ARRANGE ONLY BY PHONE!

Does this sound like a lot of work? Yes. But are your family treasures and all of your belongings worth it? I hope so.

What specific qualities should a customer look for in a qualified and reliable moving company?

There are three things to always keep in mind. Make sure they're certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission, be sure they have a physical location you can visit, and check to see if any complaints have been filed with the ICC. Honesty and trustworthiness should always be present. These people are handling everything you own, make sure it feels right.

We were actually featured in a blog post recently answering several questions about this: 6 Moving Company Warning Signs.

What are some common mistakes that homeowners make when hiring certain moving companies?

There are a few big issues to keep in mind. First, they choose only based on rates, not recognizing the add-ons that will come later. Second, they choose a moving company based only on online reviews. Checking credentials with the ICC or IMAWA is a better bet. Third, the homeowners do not disclose everything that needs to be moved, as well as special instructions about stairs, pets, etc.. Moving companies schedule trucks and crews based on the size or restrictions, and not disclosing this info can leave you hanging. And lastly, not being ready on the day of the move. The hours can add up!

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Call us at 773-883-0780, email us at, like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @movingchicago.

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