If you find yourself in need of hiring professional movers, or just want to get an idea of what it might cost so you can decide if you want to break your back or not, then you find yourself with the challenge of budgeting for that cost.

shutterstock_183142712The first step is understanding the method by which most moving companies estimate costs.  Almost all of them will have an hourly rate per mover and for the truck.  Very simple.  However, the rocket science comes in when determining how many hours will be needed.  You have influence depending on how much work you need the movers to do.  For example, are you going to pack yourself?  Are you moving everything or just some things?  Are you making some trips with your own car and leaving the big stuff for the movers?  One of the most time consuming things movers do is disassembling/disconnecting and then reassembling/reconnecting items. Is that something you’re willing to do?

The second step is obtaining an accurate quote.  Take the time before the moving company comes out to do the in home survey to answer a few questions you may not have thought of until the moving company asks you.  Is there an attic with long forgotten boxes and old Christmas decorations?  Is the frozen swing set moving or staying?  The more prepared you are for the walkthrough, the quicker, easier, and more accurate the estimate will be.  Be aware of any undecided issues.  The most common reasons for moving costs to exceed the estimate are 1) indecision at the time of walkthrough and 2) not doing some of the cost saving things you wanted to do, but never got to.

Most moving companies are going to have very similar hourly rates.  Assuming there is no significant distinction between RATES, you need to be aware of why there may be a significant distinction in PRICE.  If every moving company performed an in home survey, they all saw the same stuff then the estimated prices should be very similar.  If there are large differences, that should be a red flag.  That means someone included or excluded work that the other didn’t.  Don’t hesitate to ask any of them to substantiate or explain their charges in more detail.  The more questions you ask, the better.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your local move:

  • Plan ahead – Don’t put yourself in a position where you HAVE to hire movers quickly.  You’ll be at the mercy of either 1) unavailability or 2) peak rates for high demand service.
  • Look for the deals – Movers will run seasonal specials and deals to attract customers during non-peak times.  Free boxes, discounted rates, maybe even some free storage.
  • Ask for price matching – If you prefer one mover over the other but the price is higher, see if they would be willing to match the competitor’s price.  If nothing else, I bet you get a good explanation of why there’s a difference in the price that maybe you weren’t aware of.

The best choice is often confirmed in hindsight – so many people make a buying decision based on price alone.  If you’ve ever moved before, you know the true measure of value is determined after the move is complete.  What things did or didn’t go as you expected and will your mover “complete” the move?  Ask your mover the “what if” questions and evaluate those answers that don’t have a price on them before you select who you’re going to hire. A professional moving company that cares about its customers’ experiences will be happy to answer your questions that help you make the best decision for your needs and budget.

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