To Hire or Not To Hire The Local Movers Conundrum

Each year, more than 1 in then Americans move their home. If you’re considering a local or long distance move, keep these tips in mind when considering whether to use a moving service and when picking between moving companies.

If you aren’t prepared to drive a truck, you need to consider a moving service.
Unless you’re 18-years-old and just leaving home to go to college, chances are you have more possessions than will fit in your personal vehicle. You can easily rent a truck to carry them, but if you aren’t confident in your ability to drive that truck, you should probably at least get an estimate from local movers or a long distance moving service.

Boxes and packaging supplies are expensive.
Moving companies will usually supply their own packing supplies, and they’ll usually charge you for them, too. If you’re planning on packing your own boxes and just having the movers deliver them, you can search for free packaging supplies by reaching out to friends and local retailers. Expect to need about 25% more than what you would think.

When you move matters.
There’s a good chance you don’t have a lot of control over when you move, but if you can avoid moving between Memorial Day and Labor Day there’s a possibility you can save money when hiring a mover. Even moving during the week instead of the weekend can save you some cash. When movers are looking for work to keep them busy, they’ll bid lower to beat out the competition.

Keep an inventory.
No matter how reputable your local movers are, you should keep a moving inventory. Long distance movers charges often depend on the bulk and weight of what they have to move, so they will take stock of what you’re moving as part of their estimate process. This is a good chance for you to start your inventory if you haven’t yet. Local movers are less likely to charge based on the weight, but they will want to get an idea of what they’ll be moving, how much space it will take, and what they might need to pack, just like long distance moving companies. A moving service projects the care it will take of your belongings on the move during the estimate process. If they rush their estimate, expect them to rush your move.

Check for references.
Even local movers should be registered with the American Moving and Storage Association and the Better Business Bureau. If they are not, make sure the get trustworthy personal references from a friend or family member, or ask for customer references from the moving service. If you get customer references, be sure to follow through and call them to see if the company you’re considering can be trusted with your belongings. References don’t mean anything if you never check them.

Don’t pay a large deposit.
Most reputable moving services won’t ask for more than a 10-15% deposit. If they ask for more than that, double-check their references before using them, and consider going with the next-best estimate. Never pay in full before your possessions have all been moved in to your new home. Most movers won’t expect payment until the move is complete. Consider tipping your movers if you’re impressed with their service. A decent rule of thumb is five dollars per mover per hour.

Don’t wait to unpack.
You typically have about 90 days do make a claim on any damages from movers. If you stash those boxes of dishes in storage only to discover next Easter that they’ve been shattered, it’s too late to make a claim with the movers. At the very least, pop each box open as they go into storage to check for damages.

Ultimately, moving is about due diligence and not procrastinating. If you wait until the last minute, you won’t have time to do the proper checks and inventories, which can lead to missing your things at your new home.

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