9 Ways to Save on a Move
For those of us who have been somewhat transient in the past, moving invokes nausea. The fierce rip of packing tape and musty odor of boxes can make anyone's head spin — and then you fork over big bucks for movers, a truck, and storage. Relocation is beyond the definition of hassle.
There's no way to eliminate all stress associated with moving. But with some extra planning you can at least save money on the essentials. Starting early is key to keeping your financial options wide open.
1. Get moving company recommendations from friends and family.
The cheapest price may get you boxes of broken dishes and torn upholstery. On one occasion, the bottom dollar company we hired never showed up on the day of our move. Paying an extra $100 for a better reputation is well worth it. And regardless of who you use, always confirm several days out as well as just before your move.
2. Negotiate rates and/or services.
Make sure you ask several vital questions before getting a quote:
- Does the rate include a two- or three-man crew?
- How much is the trip fee?
- Do you charge extra for moving up and down flights of stairs?
- Is there an extra charge for moving large objects like pianos?
- Are dolly and moving blanket rentals included?
After you have a solid quote including all charges, call around to get comparables. Although many large, centrally run companies can't negotiate prices, they can throw in extras for free.
3. Snag boxes from grocery and department stores.
While you don't want soggy old boxes carting the family heirlooms from one abode to another, you can still find solid boxes in good shape from local merchants. Ask a manager when they receive shipment and offer to take some boxes off their hands. I picked up some wine boxes from Walmart during our last move and had built in padding for moving dishes.
4. Ask about two-way and one-way rates on trucks.
Prices vary wildly for truck rentals depending upon your destination. If you happen to relocate to a college town around the semester break, you'll probably get a stellar rate since most moving companies there need a surplus of trucks for students moving away after graduating. Sometimes it's cheaper (even accounting gas costs) to drive the truck back to its original pick up location.
5. Know when to pay by the hour or pay a flat rate.
If you are moving from a two or three bedroom apartment, you'll probably get a better rate paying hourly — especially if you have everything stacked neatly and ready to load. Moving from larger house, you'll want to get flat rate quotes since hourly will run you a higher price tag.
6. Avoid storage delivery/pickup services.
They sound too good to be true...because they are. The new thing is a mobile storage facility that's delivered to your site. You pack it and they move it to storage until you need it. Every quote I've received for these companies is at least 300% higher than the same service with a crew that helps you move boxes. You'll have to pack it yourself and even pay more than if you had professional help! Unless you're rolling in money, this will kill your moving budget.
7. Move on a weekday — preferably Tuesday.
Statistically, gas prices are cheaper on Tuesday. And most movers charge less for weekday moves. But this can change based on demand so get a quote for several dates.
8. Dump some junk.
Do you drag the same junk from house to house? If you're not going to use that weight bench anymore, why waste money moving it? Salvation Army and thrift stores will often pick up quality furniture or appliances. You can also try selling your stuff on Craigslist or eBay.
9. Inquire about truck rental and storage packages.
Some movers, like Uhaul, offer packages for folks who need truck rentals and storage facilities. Sometimes the deals can get you a month of free storage with a certain size truck rental. Make sure you check out how what type of storage is being offered — climate controlled will be more expensive than an outdoor garage.
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