When you hear someone mention the costs associated with moving, you might think the person is referring to the mental and emotional toll of moving. From friends who do not show up to help as promised to moving companies losing valuable possessions, moving represents the epitome of Murphy’s Law.
What can go wrong will go wrong.
However, you have full control over a move, whether you buy a home across town or relocate for a job on the other side of the United States. The one factor you have complete control over is how much packing your stuff and transporting it to a new home will cost you.
Let’s review the primary costs associated with moving and then take a look at several tips that save you money during relocation.
The Cost of Moving
According to a study released by the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost for a move within the same state for a family of four is about $1,200. The same family of four spends on average $5,630 to move between states. Cost calculations for both dollar amounts came from moving a little more than 7,100 pounds. The moving industry advocacy group did not calculate the average cost of a long distance move.
Here are the primary costs of moving:
- Cargo weight
- Packing supplies
- Packing and unpacking services
- Moving insurance
- Storage units
- Pet service
Remember that movers determine the total cost for each move by using different factors. For example, one moving company in your area might put more cost emphasis on mileage, while another mover calculates the cost of fuel consumed during transport.
Saving Money Does Not Mean Cutting Corners
If you sacrifice quality to save a few bucks, you can expect to pay more because of the mistakes made by a mover. The following tips for saving money on your move are highly practical ways to put more green in your pocket, without turning relocation into a disaster.
One of the allures of hiring a moving company is to reduce the stress caused by performing the move yourself. You can manage stress and still save money by taking care of the move from packing possessions to driving a rental truck. By recruiting volunteers, you eliminate the high cost of labor built into moving estimates. Of course, this tip does not apply to out of city moves, but most moves involve local relocations. You have to offer incentives to recruit volunteer movers, such as paying for food and beverages throughout the day.
Moving requires a detailed plan of action, hopefully in a logical step-by-step order. Many moves unravel because of poor planning and the lack of preparing for possible worse case scenarios. Write down every step of the moving process and make quick changes as new situations dictate. Long distance moves often require a night or two of the housing. Save money by staying with friends or family members who live along the route towards your new home. Do not forget to measure all the furniture to ensure it fits comfortably through the door you plan to use for bringing your possessions inside.
Multiple Moving Price Quotes
Asking for price quotes from several movers increases the likelihood of the prospective movers competing for your business by decreasing moving prices. The Internet has made price shopping for a move convenient, as most of the major players offer online tools that factor in a wide variety of costs. Search for movers that bundle services into discounted packages, such as combining the cost of packing supplies and storage units. When the time comes to contact a mover, remember to remind the company about the estimate you received online. Here at www.truckplease.com you get multiple instant moving quotes for FREE!
The Type of Price Quote Matters
A moving cost estimate represents an educated guess, nothing more and nothing less. You have three types of estimates to consider. Avoid signing a contract that includes a binding estimate, which locks you into a legally valid agreement that fixes what you pay for and what you get. If you need additional services, you have to pay more than the binding estimate. A non-binding estimate sets the maximum price of a move to 110% of the estimate. As the third type of estimate, a non-binding not to exceed estimate ensures you pay only what the mover estimated to be the cost of relocation.
Move during the Off-Peak Season
We understand many people have no choice when it comes to the time of year for relocation. Your employer might drop a sudden request for you to transfer to another city or you plan to care for a family member living in another state. However, if you have a say in when you move, make plans to pack up the family for greener pastures after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. The time between the bookend summer holidays is when most people move. By waiting until fall, winter, or spring, you can save up to 40% on the move across town or from coast to coast.
Less Stuff, Lower Moving Cost
An in-home moving estimate allows a representative from the moving company to survey what you plan to pack into a truck. The representative attaches a weight to each item or bulk package to come up with an estimate for your move. We recommend reducing the amount of stuff you plan to transport to your new home. For example, you can leave some furniture behind to give your new home a different interior look. Charities such a Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity gladly pick up donated clothing, furniture, and electronics. You can also hold a garage sale to lighten the load for your move. The revenue you generate from a garage sale helps defray some of the cost of moving.
We know packing is one of the more monotonous things you have to do before a move. Nonetheless, you can save considerable money by packing your possessions. Moving companies like to sell additional services to fatten the final bill. You might hear “Letting us pack gives you more time to do other things.” Not only do you save money by packing your things, but you also have full control of organizing your possessions for when the time comes to unpack inside your new home. Search for businesses that discard boxes and use blankets for padding instead of paying for packing supplies.
Just Say No to Hidden Fees
As with any contract, you must review a moving contract with a fine tooth comb. Some movers tuck in hidden fees that penalize customers for making subtle changes in the relocation itinerary. You also might find hidden charges for renting equipment that most movers offer to customers for free. Some movers add clauses in the fine print that charges customers for climbing and descending a certain number of stairs. If you do not spend the time required to read an entire moving contract, you might lose hundreds of dollars when the time comes to pay the mover.
Do Not Pay a Deposit
Moving companies that operate unethically like to charge customers for deposits, preferably deposits paid in cash. If you fall for this trick, you might not ever see some of your stuff again, or if you do, some of your possessions received damage during transport. Paying a large deposit makes the moving company less accountable. We also recommend you pay for the entire move with a credit card to ensure you have a paper trail if you need to pursue legal action against a mover.
Portable Storage Units
Companies like Pods have taken a bite out of the cost of moving. You do all the packing, and a company stops by to pick up the compact container for transport to your new home. Using a portable storage company also gives you more flexibility in planning the timing of the move. For example, you can arrange to have a portable storage unit reach your new home days before you arrive. This allows you to tie up a few loose ends.
Ask for a Referral
Word of mouth advertising still has relevance for consumers looking to find the best movers. Friends and family members can direct you to a mover they used or someone they know used. Your network can also suggest affordable moving companies that offer superior products and services at prices that beat the competition. We suggest you request any moving company under consideration to provide you with at least three references from customers that hired the moving company over the past year.
Federal Law Can Save You Money
Moving is such a big deal that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a Rights and Responsibilities Handbook detailing how customers should handle issues arising from long distance moves. The last thing you want is for a moving company to undercut you on the cost of replacing damaged clothing, furniture, or electronics. You are entitled to full compensation for lost and damage possessions. Make sure to sign up for full valuation coverage to enjoy the legal protections created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Inspect every box and crate upon arrival to your new home to ensure everything has arrived in excellent condition. If you face a dispute over lost or damaged goods during a move, federal law gives you nine months to file a complaint. We suggest contacting the moving company and if you do not get the satisfaction you deserve, hire an attorney to represent you in a lawsuit.