“It Costs How Much?”: A Look at Moving Costs

If you’ve ever had to move, which is just about all of us, you know that it can cost you a lot of money. Even when you think you’ve saved enough cash for the big event, you undoubtedly end up coming across expenses that you didn’t think about. Or, you end up with a bill from the moving company that is much higher than you were expecting.

So for this article, we’re going to look at moving costs and how they’re calculated. We’ll also go over different kinds of estimates from a moving company, so you know how to come up with a good overall approximate cost for budgeting purposes.

What Goes Into the Cost of Moving?

One of the biggest factors that contribute to people ending up stunned at the cost of moving is not accounting for everything they should be. Here’s a list of considerations for figuring out how much you can expect to spend:

  • Travel costs: This covers any money you’ll be spending to get from your current home to the new one. It could mean the cost of gas, food money, and even hotel fees. Whatever you will have to spend on physically getting to your new location.
  • Scale of the move: It should be obvious that if you’re moving more stuff, it will cost more. For instance, if you’re moving a household’s worth of things from one place to another, that will cost more than if you’re a college student who is moving just their own stuff out of their parents’ house.
  • Moving supplies: You should definitely try to collect boxes and other moving supplies for free from wherever you can. However, you’re not likely going to be able to find everything you need this way. You need to add in the cost of buying boxes, paper, bubble wrap, tape, and other moving supplies.
  • Packing services: If you opt to have a moving company do the packing for you too, you’re probably looking at an additional few hundred dollars.
  • Storage time: Sometimes there’s a gap in time from when we have our goods taken away from the old home and then delivered to the new home. When that’s the case, you’ll have to allow the moving company to store your belongings. That is going to cost you some extra cash.
  • When you move: Moving companies often have different rates at different times. There are some times of the year that are considered peak seasons. Summer would be a good example of this. A move during the peak season will be more expensive than one during off-peak times. Also, moving on the weekend is typically more expensive than during the week.
  • Insurance: You’re going to need to pay for some kind of insurance coverage during your move. It will cost you more upfront, but you’ll be happy you paid for it if the time comes for you to make a claim for a broken or damaged item.

How Are Moving Costs Calculated by Moving Companies?

First of all, a local move isn’t going to be calculated in the same way that a long-distance move would be. If you’re moving locally, moving companies will usually just charge you by the hour. Long-distance movers charge based on the load of your move.

Moving companies will look at how much stuff you have to move across the country. If you’re moving from a five-bedroom house and going to another territory, that’s going to cost you more than it would be moving from a studio apartment to that same place.

The reasons for this include that it takes more movers to move more stuff. That means more payroll for them. Another reason is the size of the truck it takes to move your goods. More stuff requires bigger trucks, which cost more to use.

You’ll also be charged more for moving specialty items. These could be things like pool tables, pianos, or collections of art statues. These things could require the use of special equipment, plus they need more effort to move usually so they will add more money to your bill.

If you have to make any last-minute changes, there might be an extra fee for that. For instance, let’s say you hear from your realtor that your new house won’t be ready as early as you had thought. So you tell the moving company they have to hold your stuff for an extra week. Well, you’ll be charged for the storage time, but you could also get charged a change fee because you altered the contract.

Moving Company Estimates

There are a few different kinds of estimates you should be aware of. But before we get to them, we want to note that it’s important to get your estimate given to you in writing. Anything that the moving company is saying they’ll put in the agreement with you should be on paper for you. Now, here are some estimate types:

  1. Non-binding estimate – These aren’t very common as they often cause conflict between the two sides. This kind of estimate has an approximate cost but not one that the moving company has to stick to. Many companies who aren’t reputable will try to use these. They give a low, low estimate to get your business and then bill you some amount well beyond what was quoted once the service is completed.
  2. Binding estimate – These are much more common. The movers have to adhere to the agreed-upon cost regardless if the true price ends up being higher than the quoted amount. The downfall of these is that if the true price falls below what was quoted, you don’t get to pay less either.
  3. Binding not to exceed estimate – This is the ideal kind of estimate you want. You get a guaranteed price, meaning you won’t pay more than that. Then, if it ends up that the estimate is higher than what it actually costs for your move, you get to pay the lower amount. You should look for a company that is willing to give you this kind as it shows they care more about their customers.
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Moving Tip

  • Get rid of the junk! Get rid of anything you don’t need or want, it will make packing that much easier and save you money.The more stuff you have will increase the time and or weight of the move and will cost you more money!
  • Do not move jewelry, money, coin collections, etc. Keep these items in your possession.
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