January 29, 2014

Understanding the Costs of Moving

Hiring a full-service moving company can certainly seem like the answer to all your moving hassles -- the company packs your things, the company loads the truck, the company drives to your new home, and the company unloads your boxes in the proper rooms. But moving company prices can leave movers with a bad case of sticker shock, especially if the moving estimates they received at the beginning don't look anything like the final bill. Here are a few of the less obvious factors in moving company prices that you need to know before signing a contract.

Does the Company Charge by Cubic Foot or by the Pound? Not many average people can give a ballpark measurement of cubic feet or weight just by looking at something. Rather than guess at the weight of your belongings or at how much space they'll take up in a truck, have a professional come in and assess each room for you. Giving a moving company an inaccurate estimate of your total cubic footage or weight can result in a huge difference between your initial estimate and final price.

Know What Questions to Ask About Insurance. First, check your homeowner's policy to see if your possessions are covered during a move. If they're not, then ask the moving company specifically what kind of insurance they offer. Ask if there is a different kind of insurance required if you do the packing yourself. And be sure to ask if the insurance they offer is for market value or replacement value.

Can You Find Ways to Lower the Price? Many movers offer some flexibility when it comes to their services. If you agree to pack, load, and unload your own boxes, you can save a significant amount off of the full-service moving company prices. However, if you're willing to do that much work anyway, you might also want to check the prices for moving van rentals. Realize, though, that with a rental van you will also be responsible for driving the vehicle, which can be a major hassle and source of stress.

Many companies offer online moving cost calculators, factoring in distance traveled, weight of your belongings, and timeframe for the move, in order to give you a rough idea of what your move will cost. These tools can be a useful starting point, but never take them as the final say in what you will pay. Know your options, understand your costs, and communicate thoroughly with your moving company at every stage of the journey, so you can avoid any financial surprises at the end of it all.