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What Does it Cost to Hire a Moving Company?

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The average middle-class American is hard pressed on their daily lives with having to work 40 – 50 hours a week, some are even working more hours each week, and the pressure that they’ve had to deal with is not easy to say the least. When they are faced with crucial decisions such as moving to another location due to job requirements, or family issues, it gets even tougher. But that’s not even where the most problematic part lies, because the charges that moving companies impose on you is what will confuse you.

This will lead you to ask questions like: “What’s included in those charges?” “Are there any hidden charges?” Today we will explore the answers to this question in this blog post and find out how much it will really cost you to hire a household moving firm.

Table of Content

Average Moving Costs

The total moving that you’ll incur will depend upon the distance between old and new apartments/houses that you’ll move out of and move into, and how much of the moving effort you’re willing to do on your own. The total weight and appraised value of your belongings will also impact your relocation budget. The typical reason why people would rather hire professional packers and movers is because they want to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Moving locally within your city under 100 miles will cost you $1,174 on average. This cost will already include $80–$100 per hour for two movers plus a hauling truck that you’ll need to rent. For long-distance moves the average cost would be $2,000–$5,000 for beyond 100 miles from your current location. Moving companies’ costs is based on a number of reasons such as how big your house/apartment is, the total weight of your personal stuff, and how far you need to go.

Other factors that people often miss is the significance of the season, as seasonal events like city-wide, nationwide and worldwide celebrations can add more cost to what you and the moving company have agreed upon. So consider all possible factors that could affect your move before formulating a plan.

Cost of Professional Movers Per Hour

On average local movers will charge you $25 to $50 per hour per staff. This is a ballpark figure and you’ll have to make sure whether or not they’ll already include the hauler truck and furniture dolly with this price, so you won’t be surprised with hidden fees.

Movers Price per Hour

  • 1-2 $50-$100
  • 3 $75-$150
  • 4+ $100-$200

The number of staff movers you’re going to need to help move your staff will depend on the mass of your belongings. If you’ve mortgaged a huge house or rented a similarly big apartment with lots of personal items in it, then ask the moving company to send you three or more members of their staff.

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Cost of Packing and Moving

Movers will charge you an average cost of $1,000 for packing services assuming you have a big apartment or house, but they’ll charge lesser than this amount if your place of residence is smaller and you have fewer items to pack and move. Keep in mind that this price only covers the packing of your stuff and again you’ll have to clarify it with the moving company whether you have to pay for loading/unloading as well as unpacking.

Full-Service Movers Cost

It costs about $2,300 or higher to hire full-service movers, depending on the square footage of your house/apartment and the distance of relocation. This service includes:

  • Packing
  • Furniture disassembly
  • Loading
  • Transportation
  • Unloading
  • Unpacking
  • Furniture assembly

Now remember that movers hired under a full-service agreement will pack, load and move your belongings by themselves with almost zero involvement from your end, and sometimes it takes them at least a week to complete the process. So if you have priority items, then ship them to your new place on your own, as it can make your life difficult not having them around when you need them.

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Moving Cross Country

The average cost for long-distance or cross country moves is between $2,200 to $5,700, and the factors affecting this cost are mostly the total weight of your freight and the distance the truck will travel in order to deliver it. According to moving companies the average mass of the stuff in an apartment or house is around 3.4 tons or 7,500 pounds.

Proactively ask the moving company that you plan to hire if their services already include long-distance trips (more than 100 miles). A lot of things can change in these kinds of trips and they can change rapidly, which will most likely cost you more than what you’ve bargained for.

The Average Cost of Moving in Terms of Apartment/House Size

On average, the cost to move items for a standard size house or apartment in a city starts from $240 to $1,500 or could cost higher depending on a few factors. The moving company will already include a hauling truck and about 2-3 of their staff to help you pack and move your belongings. However, hiring their personnel to pack and load/unload your personal items will cost you a bit more.

Here is a simple estimate on the price to move items per room on an average time set:

Bedrooms Price Hours

  1. $240-$500 3-5
  2.  $320-$700 4-7
  3.  $480-$800 6-8
  4. $640-$1,200 8-12
  5. $800-$1,500+ 10-15+

Cost to Move Other Items like Cars and Pianos

In case you have items that are too large, heavy or delicate for the movers to move, then you can ask for their special service to move stuff like your car or piano. Just remember that it can cost from $400 to $2,000 depending on the item’s size and weight

Here’s an example price for each item:

  • Cost to move a car: $1,000
  • Cost to move a piano: $400

There are probably certain things in your house that would cost more to move than to replace them such as a swing set, or other similar items. So, just leave them behind, donate them, or give them to recycling plants.

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Minimizing Costs to Save on Your Moving Trip

While it’s true that hiring a moving company to help you relocate to your new house or apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to reduce your expenditures in order to save some money and reallocate that to other important things in your life. Fortunately, you have the option to choose the best moving company that offers the most affordable services.

Here are some tips on how to scratch off some of the things in your moving list that you don’t have to pay for:

  • Priority items (clothes, bathroom essentials, personal hygiene effects, etc.).
  • Your family and friends can also help you move your stuff even just a third of the items in your house, so ask for their help to ease up on the total weight of your belongings. Remember that movers will charge you weight of your items and the distance that you need to ship them, so this would help you save money.
  • Hire the cheapest moving company yet one that offers the best services.
  • Ask for discounts.

How About Long-Distance (Interstate) Moves?

The factors that determine the charges on an interstate move include the total weight of your belongings, the distance that the moving truck will cover (over 100 miles or state to state), and other additional peripheral charges that may come up that was not planned for.

Note: At times certain movers will charge you exactly as what was stated above itineraries, which will be based on their tariff rates, while others are inclined to charge a flat rate but may still follow the general protocols according to the above mentioned.

All that was charged to you will be reflected in the Bill of Lading that the moving company will hand over to you at the end of the job order.

The two factors that will cost you the most money when you’ll hire a moving company for interstate move are weight and distance. The more massive your belongings are and the longer the distance you want them to be transported, the more costly it will be.

If in the event the moving company decides that they won’t charge the customer on hourly basis, then they will use other metrics to base their charges on such as stair charges, long carries, and shuttle services.

Below are the possible additional charges (including charges for accessory items) that you can expect to show up on your Bill of Lading when you hire a mover for an interstate (long-distance) move.

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  • Advanced Charges – These fees are charged to you in order to cover for services (usually third party firms) that the moving company is not already providing. While the mover will shell out money for it prior to your move, they will, however, include it in your Bill of Lading later at the end of the job. An example of this is when you have a 40-foot sailing yacht and it will require a crane to lift it and a semi-trailer truck to move it, then it’s obvious that such services will have to be outsourced, because the moving company does not offer such services but they are willing to assist you with such an enormous task.
  • Packing Services – You may think you’re careful, thorough and meticulous with your stuff, but sometimes professional packers have an ace up their sleeves in terms of skills and secret ‘how to pack’ tips that are unbeatable. Also most movers will require you to hire their professional packers as part of the agreement.
  • Packing Materials – In most cases, it is the movers who will provide packing materials such as boxes, tape, and packing paper – these will also reflect in the charges.
  • Long Carries – There will be times when certain circumstances will prevent the moving truck from parking near your front door, or when the movers will have to go through a very long hallway to get to your apartment, then they’ll need long carriers to carry your belongings, which will also end up in the items in your bill.
  • Stair Charges – Keep in mind that those boxes where your belongings are packed are quite heavy and will be challenging for the movers to carry up a flight of stairs, so don’t be surprised if they’ll also include this in the charges.
  • Elevator Charges – Of course, furniture will not be carried through stairs or any other areas in the house or apartment building where it becomes more of an obstacle than an actual way, so it will probably be transported via the elevator and this too will reflect in your bill.
  • Shuttle Services – This situation is the same with when movers have to use long carriers to carry your moving boxes from the truck to your house/apartment. Where an apparent landscape hindrance makes it impossible for the truck to get close enough to your front door, and they’ll, yet again, have to use a shuttle service to shuttle your personal items from the truck to your new home.
  • Parking Permits – There will also be instances where the moving truck will have to acquire parking permits in order to ship your belongings from one state to another. When this happens you will also be charged for parking permits as obviously the moving truck will most likely get a handful of them.

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Move Estimates for Interstate Moves

There are three types of estimates that movers will estimate and those are:

  1. Binding estimate
  2. Non-binding estimate
  3. Not-to-exceed estimate

It would be a big help if you are able to learn and understand what each estimates mean and determine which ones are available.

You can read more about the three types of estimates for interstate moves here.

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Possible Additional Charges When Moving Locally

Keep in mind that different movers may charge different fees even for local moves, albeit just slightly. Some of them may include all charges and fees via an hourly rate, while some will have a different pricing scheme.

In order to play it safe and not incur charges beyond what you’ve expected, ask the moving company how their service fees work.

  • Packing Materials – Typically movers will charge extra if you require supplemental packing materials like boxes, tape, and packing paper.
  • Cardboard Packing Services – Moving companies consider it a professional courtesy to provide customers with cardboard packing services when they hire their services. Sometimes movers will include all services in a standard hourly rate, but others may segregate their services and fees into categories for the customers to choose from.

On average, you can expect to not pay too high or pay additional charges when you’ll only move locally. Whether movers will charge you by the hour or a fixed rate fee, all work done – no matter how difficult or unique your move is – will all circumvent within the hourly or fixed rate that the moving company has charged you.

However, as a rule of thumb, it may be in your best interest to proactively ask whether or not they charge extra.

Additional Charges on Drive Times During Local Moves?

This is, in fact, true but it is still part of their hourly rate and nothing has changed, so the fees you’ll pay is based on the distance that you’re moving from. It can be an inconvenience to know that thy actually charge double the amount in some states.

Let’s find out what double drive time is why movers apply this charge in some states.

For example, In California the state

law requires moving companies to charge double-drive time no matter the distance of the move. This means that for a half-hour drive of a certain customer’s belongings to be moved from one location to the next will cost that customer an hour’s worth of fees. The reasoning that the state government gave for this law is to make up for the drive times when the mover’s trucks leave and return to their base of operations prior to and once the move has ended.

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Moving Insurance to Cover for Your Personal Belongings

You will not actually find any kind of insurance offers from moving companies simply because they don’t. But they do offer a Valuation Coverage, which is something similar to insurance.

Valuation is the total worth of your belongings, which will be declared by you, the customer, before you sign an agreement with the moving company to ship them to your new house or apartment.

You have the option to not acquire valuation coverage, but thankfully the mover will give you free coverage for $0.60 cents per lb. per item.

In some cases, the moving company proactively offers additional valuation coverage on top of the free standard one that’s already in place to make sure that your items are protected to some degree.

Below you will find an abbreviated version of the valuation coverage mechanisms:

The first thing that you have to do is declare the total value of your shipment. You have to include all of your belongings and not cherry-pick them to ensure that all of them are protected. High value items (i.e. expensive artwork, antiques, and similar items) must be declared separate from the full amount, as some of these things are even priceless. This way the packers will include additional materials for protection when handling and shipping your items.

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The rationale behind this is to help movers understand that they are liable for your belongings and that they should take extra precaution when handling them. With the added layer of protections you can now sleep safe and sound knowing that your items will have a less than likely chance of getting damaged while being shipped to your new home.

After that the movers will give you two options for the types of coverage to choose from:

  • Full Value Coverage – Covers the full cost of the items from the time you’ve purchased them.
  • Actual Value Coverage – Will cover the cost of the items with their actual market value today adjusted for inflation.

The moving company will also give you the option to pay out-of-pocket (OOP or deductibles), which can be a ”no deductible” or a higher deductible.

Your coverage cost will depend on how much of your stuff you want to be insured, or how much you’re willing to pay for deductibles just like buying a regular insurance. The moving company will give you an appraised valuation coverage, which will be based on the type of coverage you’ll select.

If this doesn’t satisfy you, then you may also choose a specific insurance type for moving from these insurance companies.

How Do Moving Company Storage Charge for Goods Stored in their Warehouse?

If you’ll also decide to keep your items at the moving company’s warehouse, then they will charge you based on the bulk of the mass of your belongings and for how long you want your items remain in there.

On the other hand, local moves will be charged by the hour from the time the movers will pack and handle your stuff in your old house to moving them to your new house/apartment, or bring them to their storage facility and the duration of time it will be kept there.

There may be times where you’ll be moving from state to state and your new home/apartment isn’t ready yet, so the moving company will offer you a short-term storage at their warehouse near the area of your new residence. This is referred to as storage-in-transit.

This usually cost more, as the moving company will have to charge you on multiple occasions like when the movers will pack, handle and store your stuff at the warehouse, you will be charged for the labor of their staff. The length of time that your items will remain in their storage facility will also be added to your charges, then you’ll also be charged for when they will move your items to your new house/apartment again.

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What’s Your Priority – Your Money or Your Health?

What a thought-provoking question!

It has become a somewhat inconvenient fact for most Americans that hiring a moving company to aid them with their relocation challenges is paramount.

Specialty Items – Your need for a competent moving company to help you move your household items will depend upon your house’s/apartment’s room sizes, how many of them there are, and what types of items are they. For instance, moving specialty items such as furniture, prized painting or artwork, piano, etc. will be impossible to do on your own. The risk of damaging these items of high value would be very high without proper equipment and training, which only moving companies have the capacity to do so.

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Experience – Having a previous moving experience will help a lot if you’re considering moving again. If you live in a huge house or apartment with 4 bedrooms, then you definitely should hire a pro mover to help you whether you’ll only move 5 city blocks from your current residence, or 5 cities away (if you have zero moving experience). With professional help, you’ll be able to spare yourself the effort to pack your belongings in each room, label each box, load them onto your personal vehicle, or a rented one, drive a certain distance to your new residence, unload the boxes, then unpack your stuff. While it’s true that opting to hire professional assistance in your move will cost some amount from your hard-earned money, the money you spend for such an endeavor is worth it.

Time – Time is an essential factor, especially when relocating. Given an ample amount of time in organizing and executing a plan to move locally will make the whole task super-efficient. Planning weeks or months ahead before the move will give you the edge to ace your move; however, there is a flip side to this too! Inexperience can be a costly mistake, as it can double or even triple the time required in accomplishing certain things when they should really be less time-consuming.

Price – What it all comes down to when ultimately deciding on whether or not to hire a moving company is the price. Of course, the basic expectation for people hiring a reputable mover is that they’ll get more for less, don’t we all and in all things apparently? Excellent service, professionalism, competence and affordability are among the most common things people expect from a reputable moving service.

Costs in Moving Out of State

Long-distance moves or otherwise known as interstate moves are usually not charged by the hour. Instead movers will be charging you a flat rate fee based on the weight of your belongings, your starting point and the end of your destination. The average cost when hiring movers for long-distance moves to ship your stuff over 100 miles distance is between $2,000 and $5,000 (these figures may change depending on your circumstances).

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Additional Moving Costs

You can expect extra charges to apply with both local and interstate moves:

Location: Living in an apartment building, especially on the higher floors, there’s a tendency it will have several sets of stairs and movers will charge you for those things. While it’s common for these types of buildings to have elevators moving companies may still charge you more if you live up the 25th floor or higher. Where your neighborhood is situated can factor into the total charges of your move. A moving truck is of considerable size; therefore it’s not always easy to park on any city streets. Some moving companies will automatically charge you an additional fee if they’ll be forced to carry your moving boxes beyond 75 feet from the truck to your house during loading and unloading work.

Extra Stops: Having the moving truck to make several stops for whatever reason will also cost some extra dollars on you. You might also encounter premium charges issues when the moving truck passes through metropolitan areas.

Specialty Items: Movers see large, heavy or bulky items as liabilities that would require extra work, so you can bet that they’ll charge you more for it. Moving insurance is a must for special items like large antiques, piano and similar things so might as well get one. Do no ask movers to move stuff like perishable items, pool chemicals, or car batteries, as they’ll refuse to do it from the onset. Sometimes they will proactively tell you that those things are excluded from their job description before they’ll make a survey. The moving company may also suggest that you pack your own stuff that have emotional value in them, because while most things can just easily be labeled with a price tag and ones that you can afford to lose, your cherished possessions might be priceless to you and those, you can’t lose – ever!

The Size of Your Home: Movers will typically ask the number of bedrooms your house/apartment has and the square footage of your residence when they’ll give you a quote. I think I don’t have to state the obvious here, but it will cost more to move a 4-bedroom house than a studio apartment going by the above logic.

Full-Service Moves: The benefit of hiring full-service moves is that they’ll provide you with everything from packing, loading and shipping to unloading and unpacking. Expect to pay an extra $300 to $500 when you ask them to pack and unpack your personal belongings. The charge is usually hourly and some supplies cost on top of that. The ends will always justify the means, because while it cost you a bit more to hire a full-service moves, you may have also spared yourself from the added burden of getting stressed out packing your stuff by yourself and also saved some precious time.

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Moving Cost Factors

The average amount you’ll pay the moving company for moving your belongings will mostly depend on the bulk of the mass of your items plus the distance that they have to ship it; however, there are still other few details to consider also. Keep these things in mind when you plan your move.

Moving Truck and Van Prices

Depending on the vehicle size, a moving van or truck for rent will cost from $50 to $2,000. Typically, movers will already include their standard size moving van, but if you have a large house/apartment, then it will cost more, as they’ll be bringing in a truck to accommodate your belongings.

Renting a bigger truck to help you ship your stuff to your new house/apartment would be more economical if you’re moving on a tight budget and don’t have the luxury to hire a moving company. But you may still have to hire some of the staff of a moving company to help you load and unload your belongings, or maybe even employ the help of your family and friends.

Ease of Access

Another factor that will likely increase the cost of your move is how accessible your house or apartment is. Carrying large objects (i.e. furniture, grandfather clocks and other similar items) over a flight of stairs won’t be easy and may require more manpower. In case you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your move, then it may be best to call in an estimator to give you a quote.


The most efficient time to move is during:

  • Fall and winter
  • Weekdays
  • The middle of the month

It is during holidays, weekends and summer that moving companies are hired most often. It may not be advantageous to hire them during these times, as they may have less to offer you with their hands full of contracts and on top of that they may charge a higher amount for your move due to the existing circumstances.

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Typically, it is expected from the customer to tip the movers with about 10% – 20% of the entire cost of the move, especially for local moves. Try to be a bit more generous when tipping the movers and if they did a great job, or if the total cost of the move is less than $500, then tip them closer to 20% of the total amount of your move. Of course, it’s easier to tip using cash, but you can also use your credit card to do it – whichever is appropriate at the time.

How to Hire Movers

You need to plan for your move carefully if you want it to go smoothly. Depending on how thorough your research will be, you’ll find out that there’s a wide range of prices and services available. Here are a few tips to follow to help you zero in on the right moving company:

  • Create a questionnaire detailing the rates, insurance and other stuff regarding the movers.
  • Find out if the moving company has a good reputation (check each of their staff too).
  • Check customer reviews and ratings; go only with companies that have 4 or 5 stars ratings and good reviews.
  • Get quotes from the top 3 movers and compare pricing.

Avoiding Scams

According to estimates, over 4,000 people in the United States become victims of moving fraud annually, and about an average of $8,000 is lost for each person/family. If you don’t want to be the next victim of a moving fraud, then look out for these tell tale signs:

  • They ask for an upfront payment
  • They have no real office address and only use residential or a P.O. box address
  • Can’t prove they have an active license
  • They’re not listed in BBB or the American Moving and Storage Association, or worse, they have bad reputation in these institutions

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What Does it Cost to Hire a Moving Company?

To be honest, there is no way to know for sure the exact or even the approximate amount that movers will charge you for moving your bungalow, two-bedroom apartment, or 3,500 square foot family home; however, hiring a reputable moving company will help make it more efficient. Basically, all you have to do is to pick a mover that can do that job with the kind of budget you have in hand – all it takes is a little homework.

Moving Cost Calculators aren’t Always Accurate

It’s easy to find a moving cost calculator on any search engine, but they may not be as accurate as they might seem, therefore only a moving estimator can give you the real ballpark figure of your move. We tried to use an online estimator to find out what it cost to move a 2-bedroom apartment and it said that we only have to shell out $200. But what does that amount really get you? A rental truck? The shipping cost along with the cardboard boxes? The packing tape?

In order to make sure that you get the precise amount of what it will cost to move from point A to point B, then do your due diligence and find movers with good reputation and get a quote. It may come as a surprise to you, but in reality a lot of moving companies offer quotes or estimates for free, and they’ll be able to determine what items need to be packed, wrapped and moved, as well as the number and size of the equipment they’ll need to bring for this task and how many hours it will take, which will be billed to you. There’ll be no overcharging and everything will be precise.

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Different Moves Will Costs Differently

Hold your horses! Yeah, I know it’s quite tempting to do the move on your own thinking that it’s going to be cheaper. But it doesn’t always work that way. The materials and logistics needed to move your personal belongings from one place to another will be more than enough to make you reconsider, throw in the rental costs of the moving truck or trucks (depending on how many and how massive some of your items are), fuel costs, additional moving equipment, etc. and you’ll be searching the web again for reasonable moving companies to work with again.

If you Have to, Dig Deep and Ask a Lot of Questions Even if it Annoys the Moving Representative

It does sound rude, doesn’t it? But I want you to only ask questions relevant to their business and not one that don’t make sense. Scrutinizing their services, their fees, their policies, and so on will give you a clearer picture on what they do and what they charge for it, helping you make better decisions when hiring them. Most moving company with good reputation will not make underhanded tricks when they’ll give you a quote, as they don’t like to have negative reviews in the BBB (Better Business Bureau), so you can trust that the final bill they’ll show you is accurate. Inquire whether or not they have discounts or special offers; check if you can get a cheaper option during your move date to save a few bucks. Do the rates vary between weekdays or weekends?

Normally, these things will not come to your attention at the time when you need them the most, but it pays to be prepared. Knowing all the things you need to know for your move can help you save money and making the move easier and less stressful.

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Calculating Other Fees from Movers

You may also want to inquire movers in advance about their other fees not mentioned in their services, so you won’t be blindsided by it. Depending on the state laws the moving fees might vary, but sometimes it is the movers themselves that impose additional fees like fuel and mileage fees are just a few examples of them.

Guaranteed Date of Arrival

It helps to put your mind at ease when you’ll know in advance exactly when your items will arrive when it comes to long distance moves. Typically you’ll have to ask the mover to make it a rush delivery and that comes at an extra cost too! So be prepared to pay a bit more for this kind of service.

Appliance Charge

Massive household appliances like washers and dryers, refrigerators or dishwashers are difficult to move, which is why movers charge an extra fee for it with a reason. However, there is also some benefit in this scenario, because the movers will install these appliances at your new home for free.

Hidden Costs of Moving

This is the thing with movers, some moving costs are not normally explained in their services, thus they end up as surprise charges and fees, but they are legit even if you’ll strongly disagree with them. At first glance they’re penny, nickel and dimes, but you can expect them to accumulate to an eyebrow-raising levels soon enough.

Below are some examples of them:

  • Transportation costs to get you and your family to your new home
  • Replacing the items that you don’t want to move (they may be too big or difficult to transport, especially to long distances), or lose along the way
  • Repairs to damaged items beyond what insurance covers
  • Covering the loss to your current rental’s security deposit
  • Some of your items might not fit in your new residence, so you’ll have to put them in the storage facility of the mover, which will cost more depending on how long you’ll keep them there

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Making the Smartest Move Possible

Calculating all the costs involved in your move helps you ensure that you’ll be able to afford it, but there are still some helpful tips that can guarantee you can get a better deal from the moving company that you’ve hired.

Here are a few of them:

  • This Facebook message board is a good example where you can get information, tips and recommendations about relocating to that place (or somewhere similar to it, just find a message board about the place where you want to move into).
  • Compare prices by asking for multiple quotes from different movers and go with the cheapest one, but still offers a great package deal.
  • Scrutinize the moving contracts and make sure that you’re not signing a biased agreement where the mover gets the most out of your money. If they’re really professional movers, then they should always have the customer’s welfare in mind.
  • Only work with a moving company that agrees to have everything put into writing in order to protect your interests, especially when it comes to the pricing estimates. Insist that both of you will sign a “non-binding to exceed agreement,” so that there won’t be any unexpected charges and that you’ll only pay with what was agreed upon.

Doing your homework and researching the best moving company to work with will help you keep track of the costs and be able to stick to a defined budget and not overspend. While it’s a fact that moving costs are hard to pin down, as they vary from person to person and mover to mover, working with the right information can help you make informed decisions and reduce the risk of unexpected bills.


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