Reducing Moving Costs

1. Reduce the amount of stuff you need to move

The number one way to reduce moving costs is to reduce the amount of stuff you need to move. If it’s a local move which is typically priced on an hourly basis, the less time it takes to move your stuff, the more you save. This also applies to long distance moves. Long distance moves typically are priced by weight. Therefore the less weight you have, the cheaper the move.

A great way to get rid of your stuff you don’t want any more is to have a garage sale. Maybe combine your stuff with others in the neighbourhood. Not only does this get rid of the extra weight/ stuff; it can also put a few bucks in your pocket.

If you can’t have a garage sale, call Good Will, Salvation Army, church groups etc… They will usually come to your residence and pick up any unwanted items. You then get a receipt for a tax deduction and use to save a little on your income tax.

2. Be flexible on your moving date

Being flexible on your moving date and time can really save you lots of money. Most moving companies get booked up around the beginning and the end of the month as this is when leases, rents or closing dates occur. If you can move outside these date when the movers are not busy, they usually provide steep discounts as they typically are very slow this time of the month. It’s the old “Supply and Demand” thing…less demand can mean much less cost and or negotiating ability with your mover.

It is also less expensive to move during the week than on weekends. If you can ask the boss for a day off during the week to move, you should be able to save significant money versus moving during the weekends which are typically much higher in demand and therefore more expensive.

Reduce Moving Costs
Source: Photo by Nicolas Huk

3. Pack yourself

If you have the time and the energy, pack as much of your stuff as you can. Packing companies charge by the hour plus supplies. It’s in their best interest to use 10 sheets of wrapping paper to wrap 1 plate. If you can limit or avoid a packing service all together, you will save lots of money. Some items you may need help with; but if you are somewhat handy, you can probably disassembly a bed or mirror. Having these items ready to move, even wrapped in blankets cuts down the move time.

Be aware that some items require a professional to disassembly such as a billiard or pool table. Do not trust a moving company to take apart and move a real billiard table…they may offer but it take a professional with experience to do this. Same goes for pianos, hot tubs etc… You will be wasting time; money and damage by not having a professional moving company handle these types of moves.

4. Packing supplies

Months before the move, start collecting anything that could be used in the move. Keep all the newspapers you can find, these work great as packing paper, dish wrap etc…. When you get a box with the Styrofoam kernels, keep these to reuse. Collect all the boxes you can find. There are a lot of places that throw out boxes, ask them if you could take a few. They usually don’t mind at all and it saves them time crushing them and getting them ready for their recycler. Grocery stores, Costco, sporting goods stores, clothing stores, big box retailers all have extra boxes.

Keep your egg cartons, these are great to move little items that you want to keep separated like jewelry, small figurines, coins, etc… Just remember, NEVER EVER allow the movers to move your jewelery…always keep high value items with you at all times!

Negotiate with each moving company you contact. Many moving companies collect these boxes over time and are happy to “loan” them to you free of charge…as long as you move with them…so don’t be afraid to ask.

5. Get items ready to move

This is especially true if this is just a local hourly move. Get as much stuff packed up, labeled and on the first floor near the door as possible. Some companies try to charge you for stairs (which is a bit of a scam, and you should be careful to ask if there is an additional charge for stairs). By having all your boxes labeled (kid’s bedroom, master bedroom kitchen etc…) and near the front door means less walking time for your movers, which save you money.

Leave only the heavy items you need help with in the upstairs etc…

Makes sure there is ample parking in front of house or that the elevator is booked and ready to go.

6. Get written estimates

Whenever possible have the potential moving companies come to your house, have a look at what you have and you’re moving situation (stairs, how many floors, distance to moving van etc…). Make sure you ask if there will be any additional or not foreseen costs associated with your move. Ask a lot of questions such as: are there additional costs with having stairs. Is there an extra charge for heavy items, awkward items etc…

7. Moving Insurance

Ask your insurance company about insuring your items. Your own insurance company will typically be much cheaper to use than the movers insurance. While this may apply mostly to long distance moves. Most Moving companies carry minimum required content insurance. Make sure you ask how much it is and what is the coverage. It will probably be cheaper and easier to work with your own insurance company then going through moving company insurance. This will save you time, money and hassles.

8. Make sure you are organized on the other end

Is the elevator booked? Is there parking available. What door are you going to use to move items inside? Are your items labeled for each room so the movers don’t have to ask where to put stuff? Did you measure the room sizes to make sure your King size bed will fit? Will there be problems moving your dresser up the new stairs; will it need to be disassembled before you move? Will you need a special dolly or ramp to move into your new home?

Being organized and asking yourself these questions will help you save time and money.

9. Take advantage of move programs

When moving your utilities or cable/TV, internet etc… many of these providers gives incentives to keep their services at your new residence or maybe try the competitor, they usually love to steal business away from the other guy when you move and may provide huge incentives to do so.

10. Is the mover properly equipped?

Make sure the moving company uses a proper moving van. This means it has either a ramp or powered lift gate. Usually the low deck with a ramp is the best solution. Ask if there truck can load from the side as well as back. A lot of “cheap” movers rent trucks or have some old freight truck designed for loading docks….not for moving. The last thing you want to do is pay for the extra time they spend trying to lift items up into a truck. Not to mention you have a very high probability of having your items damaged using a freight truck.

A professional Moving company will use loading ramps; have proper dollies (or several and ones that can be used on stairs). They will also have special moving blankets that are padded. They will carry lots of shrink wrap to strap doors closed, wrap items, pillows together, lamp shades, drawers etc…

You must consider price versus value. A “cheap” mover has a low rate, but what does it end up costing you when he is not prepared to move your stuff and they have to “figure it out” as they go…a lot of time wasted scratching their heads. Whereas a professional mover that is a little more money per hour will come ready with both equipment and professional knowledge and will get the job done faster and without damaging your goods and will save you money in the long run.

Beware or very “cheap “rates. These guys need to make up for it by charging for heavy items or stair charges etc…Low price does not equal savings…especially when they break an irreplaceable item.

Reduce your moving expenses and find a professional moving company for the best price.

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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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