Frequently Asked Questions
Saving Money on Move Day
What can I do to keep costs down during my move?
Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move?
How is the cost estimate determined on a local move?
Is labor the only moving cost I will experience?
Are there any "unexpected" costs I should be aware of?
How accurate will the cost estimate for my move be?
Should I tip my movers?
If I've hired the professionals, is there any point in purchasing moving insurance?
Q: What can I do to keep costs down during
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,
most 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
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 highly 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.
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. Generally speaking, moving supplies can run approximately
20% of your labor costs.
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?
And of course, if something was craned or hoisted into
your home when you moved in, be certain to mention that
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 an ancillary
piece 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 in the end
escalate 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. While
there is not a set amount of gratuity expected by movers
as there is by servers in restaurants, for example,
if you feel that the job was done efficiently and effectively,
you should feel free to tip your movers accordingly.
Q: If I've hired the "professionals,"
is there any point in purchasing moving insurance?
A: Your belongings should be insured
during the move against any unforeseen circumstances.
Check with your homeowner's policy. If your insurance
provider does not cover items while in transit or in
someone else's vehicle, or if they only cover against
major disasters versus minor damage to individual items,
you should definitely purchase moving insurance from
your moving company. Without insurance, moving companies
are only liable to cover your goods for 60 cents per
pound. As for the amount of coverage you should purchase,
most moving companies insure the goods as a whole, and
don't insure individual items. Therefore, you should
consider the total value of your goods and purchase
enough insurance to cover all of the contents of your