The list of to-do items in preparing for the big moving day can seem overwhelming. The secret to overcoming the related stress is to start as early as possible. By tackling your move well in advance, bit by bit, you can chip away at those important tasks and have everything ready to go without having Read More…
Q: What can I do to keep costs down during my move?
A: If you’re engaging professional movers, you should mention your cost concerns during your initial call with a sales person. Similar to airlines or hotels, many moving companies have a sliding scale of prices that reflect supply and demand on a particular day. Generally, the summer months are the busiest. Saturdays and the beginning and end of each month are busy year-round. The less busy times tend to be Monday through Thursday in the middle weeks of the month. If you are flexible with your move date – an overlap between when you need to be out of your old home and are able to get into your new home helps- you’re certain to get the best value. Additionally, your sales person can provide advice on other cost-saving measures, including efficient preparation in advance of moving day.
Q: Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move?
A: Absolutely. Having your friends move you in a rented truck is certainly the lowest-cost option-assuming nothing is broken. If items are damaged, it’s generally difficult to get an insurance carrier to replace them. If you choose to hire professional movers, your friends can be most helpful in preparing for the move–packing boxes, shoveling a pathway in the snow between the moving truck and the door, or caring for your pets or children. On moving day, you should let the professionals handle the job entirely – they are trained and therefore best suited to carry the weight and negotiate the difficult access ways. Remember that you’re paying your moving crew by the hour, and generally speaking, having non-professionals on the job alongside them only slows things down and costs you more in the long run. Also, most mover’s insurance companies will not cover damaged goods if anyone other than the moving company loaded or unloaded them.
Q: How is the cost estimate determined on a local move?
A: Most moving companies base their estimates for local moves on an hourly rate, which includes drive time from the moving company to your original home to your destination and back again to the moving company’s home base. Some customers are surprised by the extent of the drive time costs, which result from the fact that moving trucks can not travel as fast as passenger cars on the highway, and are often excluded from non-truck routes, resulting in longer trip mileage and travel time.
Q: Is labor the only moving cost I will experience?
A: Labor represents the majority of the moving expense. However, you should also budget for packing supplies-boxes, tape, bubble wrap, pads, etc. Most moving companies sell these items to customers for less than the customer would pay at a retail outlet.
Q: Are there any “unexpected” costs I should be aware of?
A: Generally, unexpected costs result from a breakdown in communication between the customer and the moving company. Do not be in a rush when you are booking your move. Taking the time up front to talk to your sales person will make both parties better aware of the situation they will encounter on moving day. For example, have you remodeled your house since you moved in? If so, some of the furniture that went in originally may not come out the same way. Have you purchased any furniture that had to be assembled in your home?
Q: How accurate will the cost estimate for my move be?
A: Most moving companies’ estimates are non-binding. This means the actual cost may vary a little or a lot from the original estimate. The best way to ensure that your move comes in on-target with your estimate is to offer as much information as possible at the time of the estimate. Since costs are projected based on an hourly rate, neglecting to mention a major point of the move at the time of the estimate does not mean that your move will cost less, but rather that your moving crew will be less prepared to do it. They may show up with fewer movers or trucks or equipment than they would have brought had they known up front what the situation would require, which may increase costs. Because you’re paying by the hour, if the move takes less time than was estimated, your actual bill will be reduced accordingly.
Q: Should I tip my movers?
A: Moving is a service industry in which workers are not highly paid. As with wait staff in a restaurant, movers usually rely on tips to supplement their income. There is not a set amount of gratuity expected by movers as there is by servers in restaurants. This is mainly due to the fact that a bill for moving services renderred is typically much larger than a bill you would pay for a meal. No mover would expect to receive 15% of the bill as a tip. On average, a good mover would usually receive about the equivalent of $4 to $5 per hour worked as a tip. On an easy, short move, they might get less while extremely difficult moves often yield bigger tips. If you feel that the job was done efficiently and effectively, you should feel free to tip your movers accordingly.
Q: Can I help the movers?
A: You can do a lot to reduce the cost of you move by being well prepared. You may help out by moving things closer to where the moving truck will be parked in an effort to reduce the time required to complete the move. However, there are 2 general rules that every moving company should insist that customers follow:
- The customer shall not interfere with the moving process. This means moving things at the same as the movers or trying to help the moving crew move something. The customer may get in the way and/or cause an accident to occur.
- The customer shall not get on the truck. Movers should always insist that customers do not enter the truck. The moving company could be help liable for injuries if a customer were to hurt themself while on the truck.
Q: Can the kids “hang out” and watch the move?
A: We recognize that children of a certain age are fascinated by the moving process, but for their own safety, we recommend that they stay with neighbors or friends on moving day. If you would really like to expose them to the excitement and frenzy of the moving process, be prepared to supervise them carefully to ensure that their safety is not compromised.
Q: Can the movers transport my pets?
A: Unfortunately, there is no safe place in the moving truck for pets to ride. They can not be transported in the cab for insurance reasons, and the box of the truck is inappropriate due to lack of climate control and the danger posed by potential shifting of heavy objects. Generally speaking, moving day is traumatic for most pets. The best way to ensure their physical and emotional safety during the move is to secure them at a neighbor or friend’s home, or in a professional kennel if necessary.
Q: I’m have no transportation on moving day. Can I ride in the cab of the moving truck?
A: Unfortunately, most moving companies cannot transport customers for insurance reasons.
Q: I think my home will close by the first of the month, and would like to move
as soon as possible thereafter. Can I move that same day?
A: Unfortunately, a complicated process such as a home closure or completion of construction is often delayed due to unforeseen variables and extenuating circumstances. Save yourself the stress–if at all possible, pad in few days. Consider booking your move 5-7 days after the estimated time your new home should be available.
Q: I want to do some packing and moving of small items before the movers arrive.
What areas would be most helpful?
A: Focus on packing, not moving. You’ll be amazed how quickly many helping hands-either professional movers or your friends-can carry all of your boxes. Don’t waste time trying to move these items yourself. Rather, focus on packing boxes so when the help arrives, you’re ready. You should prioritize your preparation into three areas:
- Sort and dispose of any unneeded items through garage sales, donations
to charitable organizations, or gifts to friends and family.
- Pack areas you don’t use often, such as basements, garages, and attics..
- Should time permit, consider moving some of the smaller items yourself ;
focus on pets, plants, pictures, collectibles and highly sentimental items.
Q: How can I prepare things to help save time and money?
A: The two most time-consuming tasks for movers are usually moving boxes and (dis)assembling furniture. Try to have your beds, tables and desks disassembled ahead of time. Use as many similar size boxes as possible, pack them well and tape them closed. Rubbermaid containers are an excellent alternative. Boxes and square furniture are usually loaded on the truck first. Place all your boxes in one area towards the front of the house but not in the way (a garage is excellent for this). Use the same strategy when unloading.
Q: What should I do with my household plants and garden shrubs?
A: Such items can be moved if properly packed, but professional movers will not insure live plants, which can be traumatized by motion and temperature extremes. And of course, plants cannot be stored.
Q: What should I do with hazardous items?
A: Even professional movers do not move items such as propane tanks, firearms and aerosols. It may be better to dispose of such dangerous items than to try and move them to your new home. Alternatively, you may wish to simply secure them in a safe place on moving day. Additionally, make certain to empty the gas out of any gas-operated items (lawnmower, weed wacker, etc.) prior to moving.
Q: I’d like to get rid of things before I move, but I’m really too busy to take the time.
Is it okay to move everything and hold a garage sale at my new home?
A: While it may be time-consuming, getting rid of items prior to your move is time well spent. Keep in mind that movers are paid by the hour, so it isn’t economical to pay them to move items you’re only going to throw away later. Same goes if you’re moving independently with the help of your friends–they may become frustrated knowing that they spent a portion of their weekend helping you carry boxes full of old stuff, only to find that you ended up throwing them out at your destination!
Q: I have some items I’d like to keep, but they won’t fit in my new home. Should I store them?
A: Discuss this with your sales person. If your items don’t fit in your new home but you’re only living there for a finite period and then have plans to move to a larger home, storage may be appropriate. Or, if your items are high-value, you may wish to store them. If your items are older or less valuable, consider the monthly cost of storage versus the replacement cost of the items. Which option is more cost-effective?
Q: I’m on a limited budget, and can only afford to hire professional movers for a
portion of my move. What should I ask them to do?
A: Have your moving crew move the dining room, living room, and bedroom furniture, as well as appliances. And of course you’ll want their help carrying heavier, larger items such as bureaus, desks, tables and sofas. Consider moving boxes, lamps, plants, and the many other odds and ends yourself.
Q: What can I do to ensure that my belongings end up in the correct room?
A: Pick a labeling system and use it consistently. You can either color code your belongings based on the rooms at your destination -bedroom: red; living room: blue, etc..(excellent idea); or label the boxes with some consistent shorthand to denote their location (DR for dining room, MBR for master bedroom, etc.) If possible, boxes should be labeled on 3 sides.
Q: What items should I pack, and what should I leave for the “professionals”?
A: Many people feel that they should move their breakables and heirlooms themselves. However, if you’ve chosen to hire professionals, let them do what they do best, including assuming the liabilities associated with heavy lifting, negotiating stairs, and maneuvering fragile items. The moving crew has experience day in and day out packing delicate items such as crystal and collectibles. Also, insurance providers to the moving industry only cover boxes packed by the moving company, not the customer. Worse-case scenario, the moving crew packs your valuables, they break, but at least the items are covered if the company is insured!
Q: I’ve got filing cabinets full of paperwork. Do I need to empty them?
A: You should always empty filing cabinets completely, especially if they have counterweights.
Q: What do I need to do to prepare my appliances for the move?
A: The moving crew can prepare most of these items for the move. However, you should make certain that your dishwasher, microwave, and washing machine are empty. Additionally, movers are not electricians or plumbers-you should arrange for the appropriate professional to disconnect your dishwasher, chandeliers, refrigerator with water connection, etc. Most importantly, movers are not licensed to disconnect gas.
Q: How will the movers know what items to take and what to leave behind?
A: Keeping the lines of communication open with your moving crew is critical during both the packing and moving process. If you have some items that should stay behind at your old home and some that go to your new home, you must clearly mark which is which. In order to avoid inadvertently leaving something behind or discarding a valuable item, your moving crew will move ALL items in your home, unless instructed otherwise. It is your responsibility to walk through your old home and do a final check for any overlooked items before the moving trucks departs for your new home.
Q: What should I do with the food in my refrigerator and other perishables?
A: Arrange for a cooler to transport such items. Your refrigerator can not be moved with food in it.
Q: How long do you have to wait to plug in a fridge after moving it?
A: In general, you should wait 2-3 hours. If the fridge was laid down, you should wait 5 to 6 hours. However, this is only required if you laid it down on the wrong side. This problem can be virtually eliminated by laying it down with the suction line, (the largest diameter pipe coming out of the compressor) downward.
Q: Can the crew members arrange the furniture to my liking in my new home?
A: Absolutely. However, please remember that you are charged by the hour, so a significant amount of time spent rearranging the furniture will add to the total cost of the move. Having a plan in mind before arriving at your new home will save a lot of time and money.
Q: I’ve got possessions that I want treated with extra-special care. How can I guarantee this?
A: You should consider moving jewelry, artwork, pictures and other small valuables yourself in your vehicle. As for larger valuables, point these items out to your moving crew. You should feel confident that your movers will pay special attention to any items you have designated as having high monetary or sentimental value. Most moving companies will have some variation of a “high value declaration” form and will request that you itemize all such items to ensure that they receive special attention.
Q: If I have items that I absolutely need on move day, should I point them out to my crew?
A: With essentials such as medication, cosmetics, toiletries, a change of clothing, bed linens, towels, and toilet paper that will be needed immediately upon arrival at your new home, you may wish to transport them yourself in your personal vehicle. Alternatively, mark these boxes and draw them to the crew’s attention, giving them specific instructions as to where to place the boxes in your new home.
Q: Do the movers take time off for lunch? Do I need to provide lunch for them?
A: Moving is a physically taxing job, and the crew needs time to eat during the day. Since you are paying by the hour, any time that they spend eating will be deducted from your bill. As for providing lunch, you are welcome to contribute monetarily to their lunch if you wish, but it is not required.
Q: I’m scaling down to a smaller home. I know my furniture will fit. Does that mean I’m all set?
A: Unfortunately, possibly not. Many people overlook the space that smaller items such as knickknacks, photos, CD collections, books, spare clothes, etc. will take up. If in doubt, you may wish to consult with an interior decorator or other professional with experience in evaluating space.
Q: Can the moving company dispose of excess trash?
A: Yes, but there is a charge for items taken to the dump, both for labor involved in driving to and from the dump, as well as a disposal fee imposed by the management of the waste disposal location.
Q: Is it possible to move during inclement weather?
A: Professional movers are prepared to move during rain, sleet, or snow if need be. They come equipped with supplies to keep your belongings safe from the elements. However, in an effort to keep costs down, you may wish to shovel or rake or otherwise clear the access in preparation for their arrival rather than paying your moving crew their hourly rate to remove such obstacles.