10 Ways To Save On Home Moving Costs

House in Moving BoxAre you planning to move yourself or someone else this year? Moving is one of life’s most stressful and time-consuming events but it need not cost more than it should. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for your move that will also help you save on your moving costs.

  1. Lose The Weight. Get rid of heavy items you no longer use, need, or love. Long distance movers charge by weight.   Every other charge including fuel, origin and destination fees are based on a percentage of that weight.  A small box of books you haven’t looked at for years could cost you anywhere from $20-$40. Other heavy items to think twice about include: old appliances, the piano never played,  boxes you haven’t unpacked from the last move, older model TV/stereo stands and entertainment centers.
  2. Get Onsite Estimates. Don’t ever accept a quote over the phone. Ideally obtain at least two estimates from reputable movers with active licenses so you can compare. Don’t forget to show them everything you are moving – easily forgotten areas include attics, detached storage sheds, basements, patios/yard,  balconies.
  3. Consolidate.  If you plan to move items that you’ve long since kept in outside storage, consider consolidating with your existing items instead.  Long distance movers charge extra for second stops and why pay to move something you haven’t missed or used anyway.  If you need to, hire a local hauling service, at a much lower price, to move your stuff out of storage and back to your home for the movers.
  4. Donate, Sell or Consign. If you have items of furniture that you no longer love, or won’t fit into your new home (the garage doesn’t count), consider donating them or if they are in good condition, you may be able to consign or sell them privately.  Beware, however, you will still need to pay to have heavy items hauled to a consignment service so factor this into your asking price otherwise you could end up losing money.
  5. Get a Reality Check. If you are downsizing into a smaller home, don’t try to guess what will actually fit into your new home. If possible do a site visit and take measurements.  Otherwise, obtain or create a floor plan of your new home so you can visualize where you will place your furniture which will help you “get real” about what you need to let go of.
  6. Protect Your High Value Items. It seems counter-intuitive but if you have your movers pack your most fragile items, they, not you, are liable for any loss or damage. In other words, the liability rests with the packer.  Damage and loss to items you own adds to the overall cost of a move.
  7. Ensure your move is insured. If you are moving a long distance or have high value items to move, it makes sense to pay an additional fee for insurance against damage or loss.  Most established moving companies will offer insurance through a third party vendor. By law, all movers are required to insure their customers at a minimum .60 per pound of coverage but opt for the “actual value” or “full replacement value” options if you have items valued over $1000.
  8. Pack Non-Breakables Yourself. If you don’t want to pay movers to pack everything, pack non-breakables such as books, pots and pans, clothing and soft home furnishings yourself. This will help lower the cost of packing which is usually charged by the hour. And remember, heavy items such as books should go in smaller boxes as you may have to lift them yourself.
  9. Be Ready.  Or if you can’t be there on move day, consider hiring a move manager to help you plan and execute your move.  Most local movers charge by the hour.  If your movers have to wait around while you finish that “last minute” load of laundry, the meter doesn’t stop running.
  10. Purchase gently used, clean boxes – if you are moving yourself, this is a big cost and time saver. Don’t waste time scrounging around for boxes at the grocery. They can sometimes carry insects or mold which could damage your other items.  Also, avoid purchasing boxes at storage facilities where prices are typically higher.   If you are hiring professional movers, check their supply prices first and get them to agree to charging you for only what they use, not what they bring.

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