Saving money when moving

By glblguy

Counting today, we move in 17 days. While I am incredibly excited, I am also a nervous wreck. Moving stresses me out. Ignoring all of the psychological reasons and sheer amount of work, moving is expensive. I received our first quote the other day from a major moving company, $4000.00. Yikes! Way more than I anticipated. We have two other “local” moving companies coming out this week to provide offers. I’m hoping they will be far less expensive.

We’ve also considered moving ourselves, which I had really hoped to avoid, but unless these other companies come in significantly less expensive, moving ourselves is looking like the best option. I did a quick quote and renting a truck one way with some pads, a dolly and a car carrier is $800.00 (cost of fuel included). BIG difference.

Saving Money when moving

For months now, I’ve been collecting tips for savings money when moving and thought I would share a few that I think are useful:

  • Sell what you don’t need – Have a garage sale and get rid of everything you absolutely don’t need. We’re having a garage sale next weekend. Our garage is already full of things we don’t need/ Not only will a garage sale earn you some extra cash to pay for the move, but it will eliminate many of things you need to move. Less weight, less cost.
  • Get multiple estimates – Most articles I have read recommend getting quotes from at least 10-11 different moving companies. I’m not convinced we have 10-11 moving companies in our area, but by the end of the week, I do intend to have a least 5. I’ll then begin getting them to compete together for my move. The lowest bidder I feel comfortable with wins. The more estimates you have, the more leverage you have. Don’t feel bad about doing this either. With the economy the way it is right now, these companies will work hard for your business.
  • Understand and get additional charges waived – Moving companies are smart (remember, they do this everyday). They have all kinds of creative little fees: long-haul surcharges, shuttle charges, fuel surcharges, expedited charges, etc, etc. Get any and all of these waived. If they won’t waive them, take your business elsewhere. When I spoke with the first representative she wanted to add on a shuttle charge. This was due to the location and street design of our home. I told her I wouldn’t pay that. She quickly said “No problem, we’ll just absorb that”. She didn’t even flinch.
  • Appliances – Fortunately our new home has really nice appliances. The one’s in our current home aren’t anything special, with the exception of one: our washer. We have Bosch front load, heavy-duty washer. Even though the appliances in our new home are nice, we want to bring this Bosch washer with us. It’s going to cost us though. In order to move these washer’s, you have to purchase a drum lock-down kit. While not real expensive, it is an extra cost and some hassle. Appliances can be expensive to move. If you can avoid it, don’t move them. Sell them with your home, in the garage sale or on craigslist.
  • Pack it yourself – The most expensive cost from our initial moving quote was packing. I had them include it just to see how much it would cost. Now I know, packing is expensive. To save considerable money, pack your own stuff. If you do decide to go this route, make sure you understand and meet the movers packing requirements and have everything packed and ready to go when the movers arrive.
  • Don’t pay for new boxes – The best way to get boxes dirt cheap is to find someone in your area that recently moved and either buy the boxes from them, or just take them off their hands. Have a new neighbor that just moved in? Chances are they have boxes. Another great way is via Craigslist. I just responded to 3 different ads for people that had more than 100 boxes from just recently moving.

I have tons of little tips on my list I’ve been collecting over the months but these are the big ones.

This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.

How about you? Have any tips or insider information on how to save money when moving? Share them by adding a comment!

Photo by: Brett L.

16 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Saving money when moving”

  1. ABCs of Investing Says:

    A suggestion if you do the move yourself is to hire some muscle to help out. If you can find a couple of strong guys (maybe upper high school kids) to help out with the heavy stuff then you should be able to move yourself.

    Remember – packing is the key to a good move!

  2. glblguy Says:

    @ABCs – Well, I have 5 boys so I think’ll be able to help a lot. Plus a few friends that are body builders, and they said they would help as well, so I should be covered.

    I just found some boxes on Craigslist that were listed just after I published this article for $125. More than 150+ used once boxes just a few miles from my home. They also still had all of the wrapping paper too. Jumped all over that deal. Worked out to just over $1.00/box!

    I love Craigslist!

  3. Rika Susan At Home Says:

    Thanks for the practical and useful moving tips! In the end, it comes down to planning. My parents will have to move soon, and I will make use of your advice to help them to save a bit. The packing is going to be a problem, though. But we’ll make a plan somehow.

  4. Frugal Dad Says:

    The box deal on CraigsList is a steal! Our largest expense was finding adequate boxes. We moved ourselves across our home state with a large U-Haul, and it was an ordeal. Be sure to factor in time, mental and physical health, etc. If I could have got a deal a little closer to my costs of going it alone I would have gladly paid for movers to handle it. In your case, it sounds like the premium may be too much. Hope it works out well for you.

  5. Momma Says:

    I work for a moving company, so I have a couple of tips for you. Local movers are frequently underinsured and make a lot of use of day labor (workers that are picked up on the side of the road and paid cash to help for the day) who have not had background checks, probably have criminal records, and can’t be trusted around your things.

    Don’t take the lowball bid. It may seem like a better deal, but there is often a reason they’re so cheap.

    Make sure to get a Binding, Not To Exceed estimate. This means that the moving company can not charge you more than the estimate (unless you make changes or add items that you said weren’t going) BUT if the weight or services is less than estimated, you will pay less. This puts the onus on the moving company to provide an accurate estimate.

    Always get the Full Value Protection valuation. Most major moving companies have affiliate programs that will provide this valuation for free. (Atlas Vanlines has an affiliation with AAA to provide free full value protection with $0 deductible for all AAA members who provide their number.)

    These are just a few tips. Email me if I can give you any other tips.

  6. Kristen Says:

    Movers are expensive, but they can be a life-saver. My husband and I just moved into our first home last weekend from a very small rental home we were living in. One thing to consider is that if you have very large or very heavy furniture, movers know a lot of tricks and have a lot of tools at their disposal that we don’t.

    If we had not hired the movers, I would have a living room full of bedroom furniture right now. There is no way we would have gotten my bedroom set up the narrow, steep steps of our cape cod by ourselves.

    We did all of our packing ourselves. A friend of mine owns a store that sells packing materials, and we had gift cards to Home Depot, so the packing materials didn’t cost us too much. All in all, it was well worth the expense.

  7. Shawna Says:

    My family of four just moved across the country (from Michigan to California…yay!) back in April. When we looked into movers, the cost was astronomical. We opted to move ourselves, which was a pain, but worth the savings. One thing that we did to save money was we went to local supermarkets, Costco, etc, and got tons of free boxes. It does make things less uniform, but if you can handle that, it saves tons of cash! Make sure to check the boxes for bugs though, especially if you are getting them from grocery stores.

  8. Nathalie Lussier from Billionaire Woman Says:

    I used to move every 4 months because of my school’s co-op system. Oftentimes it was to a different country, and once to a different continent. Talk about stressful! I think the best tip is to bring only what you really need. Your garage sale tip is most important.

    I never used a moving company, but your details helped me to understand how they work better. :)

  9. ABCs of Investing Says:

    Gibble – great score on the boxes – you can never have enough!

    With your army of kids plus some friends – I have no doubt you will have a great moving day. I actually really enjoy helping people move (if they are packed correctly), too bad I’m not in the area! :)

  10. credit rewards Says:

    nice tips. We are planning to move out soon. Hopefully, this year just before the month of December starts. I agree with you on “get multiple estimates”. I think thats the best way to save money. The moew estimates you have the more options to choose from.

  11. plonkee Says:

    You should get some Tiger Tacos – they’re brilliant for holding boxes open and I don’t think they are very expensive. Mine are pink, so you might want to see if there are some different colour choices though.

  12. Frugal Vet Tech Says:

    Gather up friends and family to help you move. Feed them well for their efforts.

    Check with your car insurance company to see if they cover the moving truck. Ours did, so we didn’t need to buy U-Haul’s insurance. I think that saved us about $15.

    Try Freecycle or local grocery/department stores for boxes. Or friends who moved just before you did :)

  13. hayze Says:

    Moving a refrigerator is especially difficult. If you tip it over too far when you’re trying to load it, it may never work again. I didn’t know about the lock-down drum, but if it’s a Bosch, it’s worth it.