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How to Save Money with a Moving Company

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U-HaulAs we wrote a little while back, we bought a house and will be moving pretty soon. One of the worst parts about buying a house is that you have to move. We’ve spent the last eight years in this house, a wonderful eight years, but that also means we’ve accumulated eight years of junk.

In previous moves, I was always moving from one apartment to another. Or moving from an apartment to a house. I didn’t have much of anything really. A couple friends, a U-Haul, and an afternoon was all it took to move from one place to another. Fast forward to today and that’s simply not possible anymore. We could still go the U-Haul route but we’d need a larger truck, more friends, and probably a lot more time. So we’ve decided to go with a moving company.

So, in preparing for this move, we’ve learned a few things that I hope can be helpful for you:

Moving Companies Bill by the Hour

When a moving company comes to quote you a job, they eyeball everything and give you an estimate based on cubic square feet and the number of hours they expect their crew to work. They know their charge by the house, estimate travel time, and provide a quote based on that.

Anything you do to reduce the number of hours it takes, or the amount of stuff you need, will result in a cheaper move. That means if you pack it yourself, you save money on time. If you move it yourself, you save money on time and cubic space used (which is used to calculate time anyway).

Always get multiple quotes. This is the number one tip for whenever you buy anything – get quotes! With just one quote, you will have no idea whether you’re getting a good deal or a bad one. If you get 3-4, then you can be certain you’re getting a reasonable price (both too high and too low, you may not want that lowball bid because they might be cutting corners).

Four Tips to Reduce Costs

Here are the four things we’re doing to reduce costs:

  • Pack it yourself. By far the number one way to save money on a move is to pack it yourself. Find some boxes, buy some boxes and packing material, and pack it all yourself. Be sure to label where it is going (not where it is from) and any pertinent notes (like “fragile”).
  • Move it yourself. This sounds obvious but we’re going to be moving some of our stuff on our own because we don’t trust the moving company to be delicate with fragile items. The house isn’t very far away so this is a feasible solution. We’ll leave the heavy and large items for the professionals.
  • Sell it. Not a lot of our old stuff was worth anything but whatever did have some residual value found its way on eBay.
  • Throw out, recycle, give away things you don’t want. I had a lot of old computer chassis from years ago sitting in the closet. They all had great plans but as the years went by they were less and less likely to become those projects. Just one trip to a local office supply store and they were recycled.

Scour for free boxes. I hate buying boxes, it feels so wasteful and stupid. The easiest way to get free boxes is to ask for them from liquor stores or Costco or other big box stores, they usually give them away. The next easiest way is to search Craigslist or Freecycle for someone giving them away. Finally, you can always buy them from moving companies and while it stinks to buy boxes, it’ll save you a lot of time.

If you are the type of person who has a difficult time getting rid of stuff, it might help to put it into financial terms. Moving a cubic foot will cost you a certain amount, it’s useful to price it out that way. Moving one cubic foot for us was about 80c. Every cubic foot you move yourself is a savings of 80c.

So think about that old desk and how much it’ll cost you to move it. Is it worth it? It might not be and thinking about the money aspect might make it easier to trash.

(Credit: Tim Patterson)

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4 Responses to “How to Save Money with a Moving Company”

  1. KimmyLikes2Ssave says:

    That’s a good thought to pack and move your own things. Just like you’ve mentioned in your blog, you can save your money BIG TIME! It takes a lot of effort to move to another place, get rid of things you no longer need, and to pack your things yourself. Most moving companies will cost you a pair of arms, a pair of legs and maybe your brain. :-)

  2. SLS says:

    We’re moving from one apt. to another next month – for the first time in 5 years – and we’re downsizing in the process. The new place is less than a mile away and there are no significant stairs for either place (which can add to your moving costs – be sure to ask the companies you seek estimates from). I plan to hire movers only for the larger furniture – couch, bookcases, and bed, so no one has to hurt themselves over it. We’ll move our zillion boxes of books, our clothes, and our kitchenware ourselves.

  3. Shafi says:

    6 years ago we moved from one place to our present place – about 4 miles away. A friend of ours has a good-sized truck. He helped us a lot. We paid for his gas and his lunch.

  4. Shirley says:

    Our friends with pickups pitched in and moved everything when we bought a house and moved the two miles. The guys set up our furniture and the gals helped make beds and unpack and put away the kitchen gear. It was a hard work day but also a laugh filled day and we all had a BBQ in the back yard that evening. It was indeed the perfect way to move!


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