HOW MUCH DOES HIRING MOVERS COST? A GUIDE TO BREAKING DOWN COSTS
When you have decided you would like to bring in professional help for your upcoming move, the big question is; how much does hiring movers cost? For starters, if you have ever sorted, packed, taped, and stacked boxes of all sizes yourself, you know when you do it “cheap”, that definitely does not mean it comes for free. And that is before you have to beg, plead, and guilt trip everyone you know to help you out on the big day! Hiring a moving company is a financial investment but when done right, should immensely lighten the stress and workload of what can be an overwhelming experience. How do you make sure the investment is a sound one and you know exactly what you will be charged for when moving? Go through the following checklist and do your diligence ahead of formally booking.
WHAT KIND OF MOVE AM I DOING?
Simply put, moving typically means you will be taking items from one location to another, but it is decidedly not a one size fits all situation. Are you staying in the same neighbourhood or heading across town? Are you in an apartment or three level house? Disclosing the area you are heading to and the size and square footage of your home to your potential moving team is important when shopping around and collecting quotes. If you are not accurate, they will not be able to be either. Is this a long distance move out of the city? Some moving companies have specialty teams and pricing for these services and others do not offer them at all. The cost of hiring movers will vary greatly, depending on where you are going and how much you are taking.
GET ALL THE QUOTES
If you want to get the best deal, with the best crew – do your homework and check out multiple moving day options. Certain businesses will price match, some will have specials or combo deals when you also book a packing or storage service, and all should offer a quote before you hand over any money. Look for transparency here. A telltale sign you are dealing with a bonafide, experienced and professional company is whether or not they are offering you a free quote and further – if they will send an employee out to do a more detailed estimate for you. Stay wary of a ballpark, flat billing rate with a lot of potential grey area to work with. Ask a lot of questions and look for concise answers to leave zero guessing room regarding how much your move will cost. When you do receive a quote or estimate, you should be able to see a clear and descriptive breakdown of exactly everything you can and will be charged for on the day. When working with a legitimate business that is not going to take you for a ride, It is standard to see an invoice broken into how many crew members serviced your move, and how many hours they were working. Make yourself aware of the company’s minimum cost/spend to book with them and if you will be charged per hour or in smaller increments.
WHAT TIME OF YEAR AM I MOVING IN?
There are high and low seasons to moving, and how much it will cost just to book, before you add on any extras, is dependent on when it is all taking place. Ask your potential moving company what their seasonal charges are (or if/how they bill differently throughout the year) and how they fluctuate. Industry trends show that moving during the summer months will traditionally cost you more. It is most likely going to cost you less if you move:
*October-April: the majority of moving companies do their busiest work when the weather is warmer. Not only will availability probably be better in the “low” season, but you just might be able to score a better deal here too. However, as always, it is important to do your homework! Make no assumptions. Do not put off a move because you think it will automatically be cheaper in the fall or winter, ask your moving company straight up what their billing cycles look like from month to month, to see how the costs of your move could differ.
*Mid-month: this is especially important to note if you are booking your move in an area with a lot of rental condominium and apartment housing, or you are living where seasonal workers come in and out. These factors can lead to a cluster of moves during the beginning and end of the month, when leases are either starting or ending. Ask your moving company if they charge differently (ie. cheaper) if you book sometime in the middle, when they are less overrun with business.
*Mid-week: It is not uncommon for the average person to work Monday-Friday, and in turn have the weekend off or free. It is no surprise then that weekends are the first slots to fill up on moving companies calendars. If you do score one of these spots, find out if the moving company you are working with could do your job for less, if you book during the week.
It may feel uncomfortable to ask for explicit price breakdowns or attempt to negotiate the offer you have received from your potential moving company; but unless you ask, you will not know! Your move will almost certainly cost more if you do not ask questions and explore all your options.
ARE MY VALUABLES PROTECTED?
Even if you are offered the most smoking, it feels like you might be stealing, deal in regards to initial moving costs – you will pay it all back and then some if your belongings are damaged and the company you hired offered you no personal cargo insurance or protection. Even worse would be choosing a less reputable but cheaper company, and then discovering even as a business that they aren’t actually covered to bring your valuables from point A to B. It really will not matter that you saved a few hundred dollars on your movers if your television was dropped and broken, or your mattress was ruined in the process. With that said, no matter how great the reputation of the pros you go with is, there should always be some humble room left for human error. Book with a company that offers coverage for potential damage and has a comprehensive, swift resolution plan if that indeed happens.
DO I NEED A SPECIALTY MOVING COMPANY FOR SOME ITEMS?
Do you own a family heirloom grandfather clock or grand piano? Maybe you have a large, bulky piece of art, safe, or unique bed frame. To be clear on the final costs of your move, be clear about the status and size of the items in your home. While you are shopping around for a moving company to take care of you and your belongings, and safely bring them to your new home – find out the full scope of their capabilities when it comes to “out of the box” (for lack of a better phrase) items. They may be fully equipped to take these extra challenges on, and if not, might be able to point you in the direction of a great, trusted referral that can. Full disclosure ahead of time means that no one will be caught off guard when moving day comes around. This means you can avoid seeing your bill climb astronomically and unexpectedly, because your team had to spend way more time than they had estimated on speciality items.
Not unlike all of the other factors that are important to consider when you are on the brink of a move, deciphering what your exact moving costs will be takes time, effort and planning. The more work and research you pour into finding a combination of the best and safest deal, the more likely you will be to have a successful move. To get started; check out national averages here and a basic breakdown of our costs here.