Moving newbies and experienced movers alike know that moving means lots of details and expense; both groups want economical ways to move. If you’re one of the 37 million people who move every year and are looking at a move of 100 miles or more, you may need a long-distance moving service. The American Moving & Storage Association reports that the average cost of a 1,225-mile interstate household move in 2009 was $4,300. Plan ahead to keep your long-distance moving services bill as low as possible.
When you start looking at long-distance moving services, ask what they do for free. Try to find a service that offers free, on-site written estimates for the best chance to keep your moving expenses under control. Moving services and supplies add to your total moving bill. Ask about free moving boxes, free protective supplies such as bubble wrap and furniture blankets, free door-to-door delivery and other free services such as packing or furniture disassembly.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Prepare a list of questions to ask moving companies to make it easier to compare and decide which to use. Ask about service details such as free on-site written estimates; written inventories; door-to-door delivery; assembly and disassembly; and policies for lost and damaged items. Ask about financial details about how rates are charged: by weight, mileage, volume or a combination. Inquire about deposits and cancellation fees, minimums and additional costs such as insurance and bonding. Ask the company if it offers any discounts, specials or sales. Make copies of the list of questions to use with each mover you contact and write down the date and name of the company representative.
Get several estimates and ask for a fixed estimate rather than an itemized estimate for the best deal. Compare the estimate you receive to your list of questions for that mover and ask about any discrepancies. Consider using a mover referral service such as UShip.com, Moving.org or MissouriMover.org. Have movers quote you for your moving job; supply accurate descriptions for accurate quotes. Compare at least three estimates; more if you have time.
Watch Out for Hidden Charges
If you have unusual items to move, such as a piano or an extra-wide refrigerator, be aware they may cost extra to move. Difficult entryways, stairs, elevators or other unusual access situations cause movers extra time and liability and they pass the expense to the customer. If you receive a fixed estimate and made the mover aware of any unusual items, read your contract to check for any clauses about things not covered in the estimate.
- The Moving Survival Guide; Martha Poage
- Slick Move Guide: Secrets You Need To Know If You Are Moving; Jodi Velazquez
- Secrets How to Survive A Move; Jamie Allen and Kazz Regelman
- UShip.com: Move Anything, Anytime, Anywhere
- American Moving & Storage Association: About Our Industry
Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.