Moving into a new home is pretty exciting but it is also a pricey adventure when you take stock of the expenses associated with the packing stuff, moving truck, etc.
You’ve just made the down payment along with the closing amount and brokerage fee, and the wallet is almost empty. And at this hour, an expensive moving company quote is the last thing you want.
You’re lucky as MoverJunction has got tips to pack and ship your belongings without putting much effort into your budget.
Veterans in the moving sector, we help you cut down the moving expense but still make the moving experience a memorable one.
Start planning early
Your moving process should begin at least 3 months in advance. You need time to prepare the moving estimate. Maintain a dairy about every moving related activity.
Jot down your thoughts and calculations regularly which will help you in the final stages of moving. Also once you are moved, this will help you to evaluate how much you deviated from the actual budget and identify the areas where you missed the estimate.
Expert tip: The moving dairy is not to be destroyed after the relocation. Store it safely and you’ll find it helpful in the next moving while preparing the moving budget. A moving dairy will help you not to repeat the same mistakes and to your surprise, the relocation will be more budget-friendly.
Book your move very early
Make your mind about hiring professional help or not as you need to book a moving company as early as possible. Moving company quotes are often cheaper when booked early as compared to last-minute booking.
Approaching movers at the last minute require them to tweak the schedule to find a slot and they may bill you more.
When you plan early, the promotional offers from movers will strike your eyes, and adjusting the moving days will be a lot easier.
Expert tip: Research about the moving companies and collect a minimum of 6 moving company quotes. Analyze each quote and compare them to decide which one suits the best to your business needs
Read reviews about moving companies before hiring. When you receive online moving company quotes, visit the office personally and ensure it is reliable and trustworthy.
Be shrewd while choosing the moving date
Most people prefer moving in summer making it the busy season and it is naturally expensive to plan in summer. School vacation, long sunny days – summer has got its advantages. But if cutting down the moving expense is your goal, you should make it to the off-season.
With less traffic, you have brighter chances to grab a profitable moving cost estimates.
You need to avoid public holidays and weekends as most people prefer relocating on these days.
Expert tip: September – December are generally lean months when you can negotiate for a good deal. Similarly, weekdays especially Tuesdays are the least preferred moving date. Also, people prefer moving during the beginning of a month and you better avoid this time for a cheaper move.
You can expect a good discount by agreeing to move on a Tuesday during the second half of the month.
Purge your belongings
When you plan the move, you get the time to declutter the home. You will be surprised to realize that about half of the items in your cupboards are untouched and you don’t require them at the new home.
Give them up to cut down the volume of stuff you need to move. You can either hold a yard sale or sell them through different online stores. The amount you earn can be used for moving purposes.
You can also offer items like clothes or shoes to the local community, schools, hospitals, or prisons as a charity. The less the weight of items you move, the cheaper the moving company quote will be.
Expert tip: Shopping centers have donation boxes where you can drop the items you offer on charity. But before you drop them, prepare an itemized list with the original value and take a receipt for the charity made. This can get you a deduction in the income tax against a generous donation.
Ensure there are no hidden charges in the quote
To win a customer and beat the competition, a few movers offer unrealistically low quotes which they compensate later as additional costs. On a moving day, the company will demand extra costs for insignificant purposes like the absence of an elevator, dissembling and later assembling furniture, the lack of space to park the moving truck, or the narrow passage.
Surprisingly, the final bill will have the added costs which would be much higher than what you have agreed to pay. This issue usually happens when you agree to online moving company quotes as the mover had not personally visited the home to take stock of the household belonging and had not analyzed the home in detail for moving purposes.
Reputed moving companies do not indulge in such unethical practices and never offer unrealistic quotes. But you need to be cautious while dealing with new players, especially the moving company quotes you receive online.
Expert tip: A mover’s rep should visit the home before giving you the final quote. No moving company quote via phone should be agreed upon. The quote needs to be realistic and you need to confirm that there’s no scope for hidden cost.
Be flexible on pick-up and delivery
When you both discuss a moving quote, you mention the date and time and the mover agrees upon it. But what if you permit the mover to decide a date and accept it? Let the moving company decide a date that has a free slot and you agree to it. In exchange, ask for a slash in the moving company quote.
A mover will be happy to cut a deal on the date and if you are ready to negotiate by a day or two, you may save hundreds of dollars.
Expert tip: While giving the mover the power to choose a day, confirm you are comfortable moving on that specific day. Do not accept any random date just for a hefty discount on the quote. Moving uncomfortably in exchange for a sleek bill is the last thing you want.
Hire a third party special mover
When you have a piano to move to the new home, ask the mover how much it will cost. In the meantime, consider third party movers as well and compare the quotes. You can consider entrusting the task to the third party mover specialized in pianos if the quote is cheaper.
The same can be applied to all special items at home including an aquarium, grandfather clock, antique items, or a painting.
Expert tip: Special movers charge higher than normal movers but your items are safer with them. Despite being experienced in handling delicate items, it is better not to take a risk in special moving and you can opt for insurance for the safer side. A few special movers require you to opt for insurance and always play safe.
Know the appliance-related charges
Though not common, movers have a habit of charging extra for specific appliances that require special effort to unplug, pack, unload, and unpack. You need to enquire how much difference it makes to the quote and can look for other ways to unplug and pack these items. Maybe that’ll impact the moving cost.
Expert tip: Take the help of friends or experts in the neighborhood to unplug the appliances as you should not leave any chance to trim the moving budget.
Move to the new home immediately
Rush to the new home to immediately start living. This will reduce the need for storage in the transit which would have otherwise caused additional expense. As you have paid in full, the priority needs to be to reach the home as early as possible. Unnecessary halts in between can only fatten the moving bill.
Expert tip: Do not hire a storage unit to stock the stuff just because you are late to reach the home. Plan your move in such a way that you reach the destination almost at the same time the truck reaches the home. This will reduce unnecessary costs.
Ask for a special offer
One of the easiest ways to move cheap is to simply ask for a low moving company quote. Movers usually endorse discounts and offers at different times and they can give you one if you’re upfront about it. There’s no need to be shy to ask for one.
Even if there is no discount at the time, a company can give you a decent cut in the moving quote or can offer a discount specially designed for you. Maybe, they are winning a new customer.
Expert tip: While asking for discounts, you can give examples of competitors who offered you one. If an immediate discount is not on the cards, express the willingness to wait till you are offered one. Generally, a professional company will agree to slash the cost but ensure it is almost near to your expectation and can go along with the moving budget.
Why don’t you hire mover labor services?
Hiring a full-service moving company smoothens the entire relocation process but it’s highly expensive. Instead, you can go for moving labor service where the quotes are highly cheaper than full-service moving company quotes.
A full-service moving company takes charge of the entire relocation process, starting from scratch, permitting you to sit back relaxingly and watch the workers pack the household belongings, load the truck and drive it away to the new home to unload, unwrap, and arrange them. But you don’t have that liberty with a moving labor company.
The moving labor will just load the truck and unload it. Packing the stuff and unpacking them at the new home is your responsibility. But the moving cost is extremely low here.
Moving labor will help you pack but for a cost
Packing the household belongings takes a huge chunk of a time and it is stressful. Agreed. The moving labor will help you pack the stuff but you need to include it in the initial discussion and it comes at a cost. When you add packing to the moving labor service, the quote will shoot up. As we intend to trim the moving cost, it is better to pack you personally pack the belongings than assigning an outside company.
Why don’t you get free packing materials?
When you hire the moving labor service, packing is your responsibility. Get free packing materials and boxes to save hundreds of dollars. You need to know where to collect packing materials and should get them at home a day or two before the moving date.
The best places to collect packing boxes include:
- Local liquor shops
- Neighborhood grocery shops
- Local book stores and copy centers
- Home electronics stores
Ask your friends, colleagues, and neighbors – anyone would be able to help you with clean, dry, and strong cardboard boxes that they have spared after using recently. Free or cheap packing boxes will contribute greatly to your mission to reduce packing and moving costs.
Based on how tight the moving budget is, you may need to do more. Do you know you already have a lot of alternatives at home that can successfully turn into packing materials? Buckets, baskets, trash cans, suitcases, bags, Ziploc bags, jewelry boxes, and even drawers can be used as substitutes for standard moving boxes.
Even ordinary household blankets, old bedsheets, bath towels, small rugs, and thick socks can serve as excellent wrapping and cushioning materials. Wherever you need to use space fillers or extra protection over initial layers of white packing paper, super cheap newsprint paper will help you slash the moving costs further.
What should I know about moving quotes?
There’s no fixed menu for moving company quotes. Every moving company will have a separate set of rules and regulations based on which quotes are made. You need to run through the quote in detail and should analyze how it fairs better than a competing quote. For this, you must have a minimum of 6 moving quotes in hand.
A cheaper quote is not always the best quote. To make it appear cheaper, a mover might cut down services which you might not realize until you delve in deeper or compare with multiple quotes.
When you receive an online moving company quote, you need to confirm the website is authentic and the company has an office in your locality. Visit the office to enquire personally about the services though you would have talked via phone. A face-to-face conversation is always better than a telephonic one.
Never rush to finalize a contract until you are fully satisfied. It’s your call and you should never decide just because someone told you.
Can I move without hiring professional assistance?
While moving cross-country, hiring a professional mover is the safe bet because you need to safely transit the entire belongings hundreds of miles away. However, if your new home is just within100 a mile radius, you can consider moving without professional assistance.
Let’s see the different cheaper methods of moving yourself
Hire a truck and drive to the new home
One of the best ways to move cheap is to hire a truck, load your belongings in it, and drive it to the new home. You need to do every activity starting from scratch. You take the stock of the stuff that needs to be moved, prepare an estimate, decide the truck size, buy the packing materials, pack the household belongings, load the truck, unload them, and unwrap and organize the new home.
Here, your total moving cost will include just the truck rental and the cost for the packing materials. If you manage to get the packing boxes for free, you even save that amount.
You can hire trucks ranging from 9-foot cargo vans to 26-foot trucks. While a 9-foot cargo van can fit the content of a studio apartment, a 26-foot truck is perfect enough to carry a whole more than 4-bedroom household stuff.
The truck shouldn’t be too big or too small. While a small truck may not fit in the entire household belongings, your items may slide around and break in the extra space during the transit in a larger than required truck. Similarly, you may end up paying higher rent for a large truck when the entire stuff would have fitted inside a smaller one.
A moving truck costs reasonable
As for cost, a 16-foot moving truck that can hold in the belongings of about 2 bedroom apartment will cost around $30 per day plus $0.72 per mile while moving locally. For a 26-foot truck, this can be $47 per day plus $0.77 per mile. This can go up if you have a big home and more stuff.
While hiring a moving truck, you need to consider the duration you would require it and the miles you would need it to cover as well as any other surcharges. Plus, the collision coverage and/or liability insurance would be added extra which may range from less than $100 to almost $200.
Expert tip: Just as you do with moving company quotes, compare a minimum of 4 truck rental quotes and negotiate for a better deal. You also need to verify with the rental company the day before to ensure the truck will reach home on time so that you will move as planned.
Rent a portable storage container
If time is on your side, the best way to move cheaply is to hire a portable storage container. One of the benefits of a portable storage container is that you can disassemble the home and can pack at your own pace without a hard deadline.
You hire a container that is sized to hold the household belongings and it reaches your driveway. Once the stuff is stocked inside, you inform the company which drops the container at the new address.
The portable container quotes from moving companies differ based on the size, service, and other features, and the best way to get a cheaper quote is to collect multiple quotes, a minimum of 4, compare them, and negotiate hard.
Expert tips: Portable storage containers can deliver household items even cross-country. These containers got famous recently as they can function as storage units in the absence of enough space at the new home. However, one of the major drawbacks is that you need to have a driveway or proper space in front of your home
Rent a tow behind cargo or utility trailer
When you are not comfortable with the concept of hiring a moving truck or a portal storage container for its cost, hire a cargo or utility trailer. But your vehicle must have a trailer hitch for that.
While hiring a cargo trailer, here are a few things to consider:
- How much weight your vehicle can carry
- What you’re hauling
- Which type of moving trailer you need
For long-distance moving, cargo trailers are the best as they are enclosed and lockable. You can use utility carriers to transport bulky furniture, lawn equipment, or rugged items as they are mostly open and non-lockable.
Move the stuff in a car if the volume is less
You are moving locally and the volume of items is just limited – move them in your car or MUV. Nothing can be cheaper than that. Believe me; you will be shell-shocked to realize how many moving boxes you can squeeze into a car with open seats, floors, and a trunk.
But using your personal car to move the stuff at home is a safe bet only if the transit is local. When the volume of items is more than you can fit in your car, you can take the help of a friend and his car.
And if you have large furniture or heavy equipment, hire a mini truck and distribute the stuff accordingly. In any way, the cost will be much lesser than any moving company quote.
Are moving costs tax-deductible?
As per the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you’re moving house due to a change in your job location, you are eligible to deduct your reasonable moving expenses after the move is complete.
To be eligible for tax-deductible moving expenses, you will need to meet the following 3 requirements:
- Your move must be closely related to the start of your new job
- Your new workplace must be at least 50 miles away from your old home than your old job was from your old house or apartment.
- As an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months following your immediate move to the new place
How much does it cost on average to move?
On average, a local move will cost anywhere from $500 to $1500, based on the services you receive and the volume of household belongings you are packing with you.
If the distance you intend to move is more than 100 miles, (typically called a “long-distance move), you need to look up at up to something between $800 to $5,000 and it can even go beyond that.
How much should I tip my movers?
Generally, $10 per mover, per hour is standard for local moves. However, long-distance moves cost much more and last longer and you can tip somewhere from $20 to $40 per mover, per day to compensate them well.
Should I buy insurance when I rent a truck for a day?
Despite it seems like an unnecessary expense, it’s always a smart move to pay for insurance on your rented moving truck. You need to know that most moving trucks are not covered by your car insurance and you could get penalized for scratches or dents the vehicle incurs during the move.
How do I know if a moving company found online is legitimate?
When you come across a moving website, you need to ensure it exists in your neighborhood. Check the local address and make sure the contact numbers on the website are working properly.
The online moving company quotes need to be realistic and should match with other similar quotes. It should be properly licensed and insured. As per the law, all interstate movers need to register with the Federal Government and can be found in the U.S. DOT system.
Cross-check the track record of the company, such as there has been no name change or serious client complaint in the past. Check the company’s profile on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), whether it is accredited by the BBB.
The website also must have a client feedback section and should be easily navigated.
Should I make advance payment while signing a moving contract?
Reputed moving companies never demand advance payment as they are confident about their services. And you need to be cautious about movers who demand full payment while signing the contract. Because it could be a moving scam and you should not fall into this trap.
However, certain companies would require you to deposit a little amount which you can make after ensuring that the company is genuine. This will be deducted from the final amount.