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5 Hidden Moving Company Costs and How to Avoid Them

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It can be universally agreed upon that nobody likes to throw away money. The spectrum of frugality is wide-ranging, but the fact is simple – most people don’t like to pay for things they don’t want or use. Moving creates an opportunity to spend a lot of money… but it’s also an opportunity to find savings.

Hidden Moving Company Costs

Moving your home can be expensive. The total costs of moving can fall anywhere between $2,000 to $20,000 (or more!). And whether you’re hiring movers or DIYing the whole thing– it’s part of your job to find a balance of quality services and good rates. And one of the best ways to keep the price low is to understand some of the hidden fees of moving and determine if the costs are worth the convenience.

1. Using a Packing Service

Some movers will offer to pack up your belongings for you for an hourly rate price. The team sent in might be your moving team or specialist packers. Although they will likely pack up your home faster than you could, you will pay for the convenience.

A two-person packing team billed at $60 per person per hour to pack will cost $600 for a five-hour packing job. Hiring a team to move specialty items may cost more.

How to Save on Packing Costs:

Do the packing yourself. It will likely take longer and may have to pay for packing materials. Still, many people think it’s worth the savings.

2. Paying to Load and Unload a Truck

Some movers will charge to load all of your household goods onto their truck and then unload it again on the other end. This cost may be worthwhile since they are professionals trained to move and carry large, awkward, and heavy items. But it can be pricey.

How to Avoid Loading and Unloading Costs:

Some companies will drop a trailer off at your home, so you can load your items up at your leisure. This depends on you having space for the trailer on your property and having enough time put aside to load up your possessions.

Some movers will also leave the trailer at your new home so you can unload it on your own time frame.

Other movers may let you help out with the loading and unloading process to cut down on the labor costs associated with loading and unloading.

3. Paying for Weight or Item Quantity

When movers charge by the linear foot or pound, there is a real opportunity for cost savings. It might be a daunting task to downsize your possessions, but some items that you don’t need or use can wind up costing you money.

How to reduce the quantity and weight costs:

  • Take fewer things

Consider what you're really going to need in your new home. The organizational phenom, Marie Kondo, says to keep the things that “spark joy.” It can also be a metric for determining what to keep – whether or not it’s worth moving along with you.

Look into hosting a garage sale, give away unwanted items to charities or thrift stores, and recycle whatever you can. Not only will you be doing good, but you'll also save money on your moving costs – everybody wins!

4. Paying “Stair Carry” and “Heavy Item” Charges

If a move involves heavy carries, long carries, or stairs, there can be extra charges. These charges can be variable, but they should be disclosed in the moving quote. There are ways to avoid paying these fees.

How to Avoid Excess Carry Costs:

Plan ahead to make sure that your heavy items up stairways are on the main floor. If you have stairs outside your property, you may want to move items to where they can be easily loaded onto the truck. At your destination, let them stack boxes and items on the main floor and move them up or down stairs when you have time.

There are some who will be grateful for the extra help moving up and down the stairs, while others are grateful for the money saved.

5. Taking Apart and Setting up Furniture and Appliances

Professional movers can do almost anything for a fee. They can disassemble furniture and disconnect appliances in your old house – and set them back up again. If you agree to have this service performed (and you have a lot of furniture or appliances) – it can be costly.

How to Avoid Appliance and Furniture Costs:

Just like a lot of other hidden costs, it’s possible to take apart and reassemble everything that will be moved by yourself. You can also find handymen on websites like TaskRabbit that will reconnect appliances and set up furniture.

Do What You Can to Save Money

There will never be a “zero-cost” move -- but you can save money. When you shop around for movers, make sure that you discuss extra fees upfront. If you understand where costs can creep up, then they may be able to work with you for the best possible price.

Explain what you've done to keep costs down and ask them to provide you with a binding estimate for the work you're expecting them to do. With a little effort before the move, you can save a lot of money and feel good knowing that you’re getting a fair deal.


Myles Compton  Posted by Myles Compton on December 16, 2020

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