What Moving Supplies Will You Need? »
Are you making a move soon? Get a breakdown of the moving supplies you'll need to stock up on, and learn about how to land free bo…
Are you making a move soon? Get a breakdown of the moving supplies you'll need to stock up on, and learn about how to land free bo…
Looking for information about how to move to a new home? Learn the steps you need to take for a successful transition.
Moving to a different state is a complicated process. Find out what you need to know to stay organized and hire the best moving company for the job.
We recently used Southside Moving and Storage to move us into our first house, and they did a fantastic job! Since both my husband and I were crazy busy at work, we needed a moving company that could pack everything for us, move us, and unpack all of the boxes. Southside Moving and Storage packed up our entire townhouse starting at 7 a.m. on a Saturday, and had us completely moved into our new house by 3:30 p.m. They came back Sunday morning to unpack boxes and finished in less than 3 hours. That is crazy fast! When we moved to Houston it took us a week to pack everything up and who knows how long to unpack all of the boxes. The rates were super reasonable as well. We paid slightly less than $1000, and that included all the packing, moving, and unpacking, as well as all of the boxes, paper to wrap things, tape, etc. (you can provide your own boxes and such, but we opted not to). That was much less than we thought we would have to spend to get a full-service move! In addition to reasonable rates, both the women who packed and unpacked our boxes and the men who moved everything were super professional and on time, which is very rare for movers! In fact, we weren't supposed to actually be moved until the Sunday after the Saturday that our boxes were being packed, but they finished so early that they asked us if we just wanted them to move our stuff on Saturday since they had a truck available. How many times have you had movers who actually got you moved earlier than you expected? All in all, I was completely impressed with every aspect of the service provided by Southside Moving and Storage and would recommend them to anyone contemplating a move.
This was the second move I made with my wife since we got married. This was her 6th move as a United Methodist Pastor. She is insistent that this was her best move ever! The crew was courteous and hard working. They seemed to have a very good attitude joking around with each other a bit and never a word of complaining about their work. I contacted 4 moving companies. One gave a price that was about half of this company but said they would come with one small truck and two or three workers. That one small truck wouldn't have held half of what we had to move. We had a previous experience where the movers moved about half and then drove off into the sunset leaving us to move the rest with a U-Haul. There was a large national moving chain that gave us a quote about double the quote we got from Absolute movers which put them out of the running not to mention the fact that they insisted the move could not be completed in one day. (Picked up and delivered the same day.) Absolute movers sent two trucks and 5 workers and did it all in one day. We got one other quote that was $60 less than Absolute. The owner of Absolute said he'd throw in 10 wardrobe boxes at no additional charge, so that was the deciding factor. In the end, everything was moved without one item being broken or damaged. The crew was professional, polite, and hard working. All went well. We would highly recommend Absolute movers!
These guys offer the best rates, and they were absolutely *incredible* and gentle with our furniture. But the language barrier nearly caused a problem. I think these movers may be eastern European, which is not an issue for us at all, except that we had a hard time understanding them. As a military family, we always ask about insurance, and the answer we got from these guys was, "company have insurance." Also, when the guys went to deliver our furniture, they demanded payment first. I can understand that from their perspective, but from ours it seemed like they had all our stuff and they wanted our money, too. So we called their "office," which I suspect is the lead mover's wife, and she told us that if we didn't pay right then that they would take us to court. That left a bad taste in our mouths. I guess that these guys will move you at a good price, and do a good job, but don't expect stellar customer service..
Every move is different, so it's vital to choose a moving company that's right for you. The first consideration you should make when hiring these professionals is how far you're moving.
Depending on the moving company, local moves are typically anywhere between one and 100 miles within the same state. Local moves are less complicated to plan, both for you and the movers you decide to hire. They're typically priced based on how much you need to move, how many movers the company plans to provide and how long the job is estimated to take.
Long-Distance and Interstate Moves
Even if you're staying in the same state, you may still technically be planning a long-distance move - though the exact mileage varies by moving company, these are typically moves that are more than 50 to 100 miles long or across state or country lines. In fact, even if you're moving within the same state but you have to go through another state or country first, it's likely considered an interstate move, rather than a local one. That's because the movers are technically transferring items between state lines, which means they'll be responsible for having the correct licensing and insurance in place.
Long-distance moves are much more complicated to plan, typically requiring you to pay numerous extra expenses for everything from shipping items to renting storage space.
Are you making a big move and trying to figure out exactly how much you should plan to spend? Or are you on a tight budget and looking to hire a mover who can keep costs low? Either way, it's important to understand how exactly moving companies charge their customers.
As mentioned above, for local moves, companies will charge based on the number of movers they provide and the amount of time they'll need to spend on the project. Generally, the more rooms in your apartment or house, the more movers and time you can expect to be charged for. The price of long-distance or interstate moves, on the other hand, will be based on the amount of belongings you have - and more specifically the weight of those belongings. The heavier the boxes or items you're shipping across state or country lines, the more expensive your move will be.
Moving costs will vary greatly, depending on where you are. Local moves in a small town in the Midwest will be much less expensive than comparable moves in New York City. For that reason, it's best to do some research about the going rates in your area.
No matter what type of move you're making, you can reach out to prospective moving companies for estimates - this is the best way to determine how expensive your move will be based on where you live and what services you're looking for. Typically, the moving company will send someone to your home who will do a walk through of each room, making note of the furniture, valuables and other belongings in each one. Then, he or she will provide an estimate. The exact amount you pay may, however, be different from the amount declared in the estimate. That's where the type of contract comes in.
Nonbinding vs. Binding Contracts
For any move, a company will ask you to sign a contract. It's crucial to know exactly what type of contract you're signing, though, to understand how much you can expect to pay. In basic terms, there are two types of moving contracts: binding and nonbinding. Binding, as well as binding not-to-exceed, contracts are the most preferable for people hiring movers. These list an estimated price the moving company cannot charge more than. So, even if your local move takes an hour longer or your belongings are heavier than expected for an interstate move, you're still only responsible for paying a fixed amount.
Nonbinding contracts, on the other hand, have no fixed final number. Instead, they list a rate - by the hour or by the pound/kilo - and you're responsible for paying exactly how much your move costs in those terms.
Keep in mind that movers provide a variety of services, many of which you may not require. These can affect how expensive your move will be. For example, a full-service move that includes packing and unpacking will be pricier than a local move that only includes loading the truck, driving it to the new home and unloading it.
For any move, there may be extra costs beyond the typical services offered. If you're asking your movers to transport large, hard-to-move items, like pianos, for instance, you'll likely pay an extra fee. Likewise, if your apartment building doesn't have an elevator or the truck has to be parked far from your home, you may be charged extra. Ask about these potential expenses when signing your contract.
Don't rush through the process of hiring a moving company. Make sure the movers you hire are dependable, reputable and the right fit for your needs.
Look for Reviews and Recommendations
When hiring movers, it's a good idea to both look at reviews online and ask your friends and family members for recommendations. Personal endorsements will go a long way toward helping you determine whether you can expect the company to do a quick and professional job.
Choose Top Candidates
As you're vetting candidates through reviews and recommendations, narrow your selection to three or four top options. Make sure the companies offer the type of move you're looking for, whether it's interstate or local. These three or four companies are who you'll contact for estimates.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
After receiving estimates, you'll have a better idea which companies are within your budget. However, this isn't the only factor you should use when choosing movers, especially for more complicated jobs. In fact, you may be willing to pay a little more to hire quality movers who can ensure the safety of your belongings. Don't be afraid to call these companies and ask questions.
During the hiring process, you want to make sure of three things: First, that the moving company is reputable and has the proper licensing and insurance. Second, that the movers are dependable, professional and committed to doing the job correctly. Finally, that the estimate provided is binding and that you're aware of any potential excess costs. With these factors in mind, here are some of the most important questions to ask a moving company:
As with any service profession, there are certain moving companies - though they are few and far between - that aren't reputable or that will try to take advantage of you. It's important to be able to recognize a scam if you come across one.
Call the FMCSA
For long-distance or interstate moves, you can easily check that companies have the proper licensing and insurance, which is a clear indication that they're legitimate. All interstate moving companies must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so call 888-368-7238 to confirm the licenses, insurance and credentials of the movers you're considering. The FMCSA can also tell you if any complaints have been filed against a particular moving company.
Check with the American Moving and Storage Association
For both local and long-distance moving companies, AMSA is another good place to check out a company's legitimacy. Moving companies aren't required to be an AMSA member, but the ones that are have committed to the association's rules and regulations, which protect both the companies and the consumers hiring them. If a company isn't an AMSA member, that doesn't mean it isn't reputable, but an AMSA membership is a clear indication of legitimacy.
One of the most common fears people face when moving to a new home is that something they own will be lost or damaged in the process. While no company will be able to guarantee everything arrives safely, there are steps you can take to make damage less likely.
Pack and Transport Your Valuables
If you have items that are emotionally or financially valuable to you, do your best to pack and move them yourself. Keep jewelry, expensive artwork, inherited valuables and even costly electronics in your own car - that way you'll have complete control over their safety at all times.
Choose a Moving Company That Plans Ahead
Moving companies can better keep your belongings safe when the movers plan ahead. What does this mean? Many companies take extra time to measure doorways, halls and stairways to find the safest route in and out of your home. They should also provide furniture blankets, covers and moving pads to keep both your home and your belongings free of scratches or other damage.
Keep the Moving Area Safe
There are some things you can control on moving day and some things you simply can't, such as the weather. If you're moving on a snowy, icy or rainy day, keeping all of your paths, stairways and walkways clear and dry is crucial. This can help protect both the movers and the large items they're carrying to and from the truck.
The subject of tipping is relatively unclear when it comes to movers. However, there is a general rule of thumb that most people in the industry agree on: Tip your movers if they've done a good job and you think a tip is warranted.
Generally, a 5 percent tip is considered appropriate, though some people recommend paying $20 per day, per mover for basic, local moves. However, almost everyone agrees you should first do a quick walk-through of your home to check for any damage to your furniture or belongings and to make sure everything is where you'd like it to be.
If you do decide to give a tip, divide it evenly and give money to each individual, rather than giving the entire sum to the head mover and expecting it to be doled out equally. One type of tip to avoid: alcohol. It's usually illegal for movers to have bottles of alcohol in the truck or van, so tipping a bottle of wine or liquor could get them into trouble.