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Top Ten Moving Scams – and How to Avoid Them

Top 10 Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them

Can you spot a moving scam from a mile away?  Most would answer no.  Moving companies can have years of shady business practices before actually being shut down… only to  open up in the next town over with a new name.  We are going to outline the top 10 moving scams and how to avoid moving scams as well as providing moving help for local and long distance moves.

moving scams
Top 10 Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The best protection against a moving scam is to stay informed and do your homework.  Moving is arduous, and having someone else do it for you doesn’t mean you can leave all the details in their hands. Here are the Top Ten Moving Scams:                                                                                     TOP TEN MOVING SCAMS
  1. A moving company that doesn’t answer the phone  with the company name that is advertised.  An example would be a moving company that is advertised “Nationwide Van Lines” but answers the phone  “movers,” something mumbled “movers” or another  generic company name.  This usually means the moving company is hiding their true name from the government, IRS, unhappy customers, etc.  It could also mean that the company has changed names which indicates they had to shut down and stop using their name to avoid – taxes, lawsuits, etc. MOVING HELP TIP: LOOK FOR ESTABLISHED MOVERS THAT HAVE USED THE SAME NAME FOR 10+ YEARS
  2. The low-ball quote.  This occurs daily in every city in every state.  There is no avoiding the moving scam- it’s up to you to do your due diligence in order to get an accurate moving quote.  I suggest using a moving calculator. Now, most moving company moving calculators ask the number of rooms.  This is highly inaccurate and often results in both parties arguing and moving prices increasing.  MOVING HELP TIP: USE AN ACCURATE MOVING CALCULATOR THAT ADJUSTS YOUR MOVING QUOTE PIECE BY PIECE FIND ONE HERE.
  3. Moving companies that ask for any more than $100 for a local move or 10% for a long distance move should be avoided at all costs.  Many long distance moving scams occur when long distance movers ask for 30-50% down.  Simple you are thinking, you can just cancel your credit card if they don’t show up, are late, break things, etc.  It’s not that simple.  Moving company scammers are so crafty they have you sign to agree to the  move.  Then, when you go to cancel your credit card, they will say the deposit was non-refundable which is usually in the fine print for the move.  Some moving documents are pages long and have multiple “outs” for movers to keep your deposit.  This scam is frequently used by agents for van lines as they have the legal support to back up the paperwork.  MOVING HELP TIP: NEVER PAY MORE THAN 10% FOR A LONG DISTANCE MOVING DEPOSIT OR $100 FOR A LOCAL MOVE – ANY MORE IS HIGHLY SUSPECT
  4. Additional moving fees are usually not included in a basic moving quote.  For example, if you get a moving quote but did not indicate one of the following, many movers will take advantage and charge you more: multiple flights of stairs, elevator, long haul, shuttle fees, taxes, tolls, etc.  Besides being up-front with your mover, you should get a guaranteed moving quote.  MOVING HELP TIP: FIND MOVERS THAT DON’T CHARGE ADDITIONAL FEES, GET A LIST OF ANY FEES THAT THEY COULD POSSIBLY CHARGE
  5. Many moving companies have great websites.  It would be normal to expect your moving company to show up uniformed, with a clean truck, clean moving blankets and provide a professional service.  The fact is, most moving companies will show up with an unmarked truck with a crew with ripped jeans and dirty moving blankets.  MOVING HELP TIP: LOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND MOVING COMPANIES THAT HAVE THIER OWN CLEAN TRUCKS AND CREW

    Moving Company You Can Trust
    Finding Good Movers
  6. All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods that they transport. However, there are two different levels of liability that apply and you should be aware of the charges that apply and the amount of protection provided by each level. MOVING HELP TIP: FIND A MOVING COMPANY THAT OFFERS BOTH TYPES OF COVERAGE
  7. After your move is complete, you will have 15 days in order to file a claim.  After that, the window of opportunity has passed.  Many moving companies work with a claim company that will strictly adhere to the 15-day window.  The problem is, most consumers are not aware of this window and it is usually written in fine print on the contract. MOVING HELP TIP: MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR CLAIMS IN WRITING TO YOUR MOVERS WITHIN THE 15 DAY TIME LIMIT
  8. Federal law requires one of two kinds of moving contracts. A non-binding estimate means the company cannot require payment of more than 10 percent above the original estimate, due at delivery.  It also goes the other way – the moving company expects a certain amount going so your price will be only 10% lower at most. A binding estimate is supposed to be a guaranteed price for the move and all extras.  Some moving companies will charge by the cubic foot.  Well, essentially you can easily add hundreds of cubic feet on to a move by not packing tight.  Moving companies, especially containerized movers are notorious for packing to add less weight and more cubic feet. MOVING HELP TIP: GET A QUOTE BASED ON WEIGHT
  9. Say no to low-ball bids. Watch out for rogue movers who get your business with bargain-price estimates. After filling the truck, they hold your possessions hostage until you pay thousands more. “Hostage load” movers tend to be smaller, unlicensed companies that may advertise on Craigslist or roadside signs. You’re safer checking listings on moving.org, a website run by the industry’s trade group. For moves between states, go to protectyourmove.gov, a federal watchdog website that verifies interstate moving companies’ licenses and complaint histories. One way to save is by moving midweek or in the middle of the month, in the fall or winter.  Rogue movers are rampant in the summer and fall months.  When moving the famous “you pay for what you get” advice is especially true.  MOVING HELP TIP: GET ESTIMATES FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES AND CHECK WEIGHTS WITH AN ONLINE MOVING CALCULATOR TO MAKE SURE YOUR MOVERS ARE IN THE BALLPARK
  10. When hiring a van line, there are many dynamics involved.  Your items will be picked up by one vendor, loaded, offloaded into storage, picked up by a truck, possibly swapped onto another truck or offloaded/reloaded at another storage facility, and eventually delivered by another vendor.  The damage and loss that occurs with van lines is incredible.  The first moving company could wrap and protect your furniture perfectly but no furniture can withstand constant loading and offloading.  Many van lines have gone bankrupt or merged with other van lines.  If you don’t purchase full replacement coverage, any loss will be valued at $.60/lb/article.  Van lines offer full replacement coverage at a much higher ( approximately 80% higher) than a private moving company because they expect loss.  MOVING HELP TIP: FIND A PRIVATE FULL SERVICE LONG DISTANCE MOVING COMPANY AND AVOID VAN LINES

If you’re among the 35 million Americans relocating this year, add the need to avoid cons to the other stressors that result from moving. About 3,600 complaints out of 800,000 moves were filed last year by people who hired interstate movers, you will need to heed some advice to make sure you are not a victim of a moving scam.

 

HOW TO AVOID MOVING SCAMS

 

Know your paperwork. Keep a copy of everything you sign — especially the “bill of lading,” which is a legal document that acknowledges the carrier is in possession of your cargo and serves as a receipt. An “order for service” lists what the mover will do, as well as pickup and delivery dates, and an inventory list shows each item you shipped and its condition (cross-check it after delivery). With nonbinding estimates, movers may be legally allowed to inflate charges about 10 percent. Binding estimates provide a fixed price but tend to be higher. Movers typically provide minimal insurance; before buying replacement-value coverage, check if your homeowners policy covers items lost or damaged during a move.

 

1. Ask your friends who they have used
You can research a mover online until the cows come home, but the fact is that websites are easy to put up and take down, online testimonials are easy to fake, and Internet credentials are just words. Talking to a friend or family member, or soliciting the advice of a trusted real estate agent, are better ways to obtain the names of reputable companies.
2. Check your movers out
There are several options for investigating movers, including government sites like ProtectYourMove.gov, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) site, FMCSA.gov. There are moving scam sites that are actually owned by moving companies.  Xpress Movers owns mymovingreviews.com.  MovingScam is owned by a van line.  Be careful there are many moving scams out there.  It is best to hire movers that your friends have hired, you have seen in action or have a third party moving company reviews site like customerlobby.com that does not alter reviews based on payments.

3. Ask about additional fees    Your movers should be upfront with all additional fees and what your your moving fees should depend on.  Here is a quick video for long distance moving costs which are more complicated than local moving costs

 

4. Get multiple estimates and use an online calculator to check
Shop around and get three estimates, in writing, after the aforementioned home visit. This is especially important for state to state moves, where the logistics are even more critical. Walter cautions against simply accepting the lowest bid. “It can be a red flag if one of your three bids is much lower than the others.”says Walters. “It’s not always a scam, but ask yourself why is it so low.”
5. Don’t pay your bill upfront
Some companies require long distance moving deposit as high as 50% percent of the total move, especially for a state-to-state relocation. Reputable companies should not require you to pay everything, or even half, upfront.  Opt for 10% as a maximum deposit.

Moving scams are the worst.  Usually movers will scam people out of a few hundred dollars.  A significant amount but not enough to spend hours of time to report, hire a lawyer or even more time-consuming – go to court.  They understand this so you must be prepared to use this knowledge so you don’t become a moving scam victim.

99 Ways to Save Money When Moving | Mover Help

Moving expenses can get out of control really quickly – you need to prepare yourself to save money when moving from the very beginning – here are 99 Ways to Save Money When Moving:

 

Moving
99 Ways to Save Money While Moving – Mover Help

1. Buy disposable booties for movers if it rains during your move – this could save money getting carpets cleaned.  This is especially true if  you are moving into a newly constructed building where the landscaping hasn’t been finished.

2. Schedule your move for off dates mid-week. The beginning, middle and end of the month are usually very expensive and book early.  Plan for a weekday from the 7th-12th or 19th to 24th for the best rates.

3. Don’t pay for moving insurance if you already are covered through homeowners insurance – you will have to call and check your policy.

4  Donating your items to Salvation Army or other non-profits will reduce moving costs and provide you with a tax-deductible receipt which will save you money during tax season.

5. Using a moving calculator, get your weight and negotiate the best moving company rates.

6. When moving long distance, you have to consider if your items are worth shipping – for example if your mover charges $.80/pound to move from NYC to Miami – a 200 pound table is going to cost $160.  You may be able to get a new IKEA table in Miami  rather than pay for shipping your old one.

7. Don’t pay for packing materials.  You should be able to find slightly used boxes on craigslist, liquor stores, big box stores like Costco, Walmart.

8.  Move during the off-season.  January-March are usually much less expensive than June-December.

9.  If you are moving to/from a major city – think Boston, NYC, DC – steer clear of long distance movers who charge shuttle fees.  A shuttle is a smaller truck that can get into smaller roads and on Manhattan – this can save thousands.

10.  Ask your moving company to include any and all additional fees that may pop up.

11.  When packing, use towels, socks, clothes to cushion breakables.

12. Pack vertically to save space and reduce chance of breaking dishes and items.

13. Make sure your movers provide free moving blankets.  If they do charge for rentals, you can use your own blankets.

14.  Get a flat rate moving price when you move.

15.  Nest smaller items in larger items to save moving boxes.

16. Consider buying see through plastic crates that you can reuse instead of boxes that will be thrown out.

17. Garage Sale – nuff said.

18.  Enlist your friends instead of paying for moving labor if you are loading/offloading a shipment.

19.  Dishes can be packed using packing paper – don’t pay for bubble wrap.

20.  Pack all of own stuff.  If you really cannot pack everything – leave anything expensive and annoying ( dishes and breakables) for your moving company since they are responsible for anything they pack.

21. If you need storage, find a facility that will give you a month free.

22.  Make sure your movers will not charge for stairs or a long haul.

23.  Organize your move – write down crucial steps to your move so you don’t forget any necessary steps.

24.  Use a moving checklist to help you organize.

25.  Consider shipping books via FED EX or USPS  – it may be less expensive than paying heavy weight charges on long distance shipments.

26. For a local move, move over boxes and breakables yourself – hire movers to move big, heavy items that could injure you.

27. Negotiate moving fees – suggestions would be negotiating taxes, tolls, mileage or fuel fees.

28.  Make sure your movers have a flat rate for travel time – you don’t want to be paying for them to sit in a traffic jam – or worse hanging at the gas station.

29.  You can sell moving boxes at Box Cycle

30. The Dollar Store has cheap plastic bins and cleaning materials for the

31. Find movers who will keep your items on a truck if you need storage for a few days or overnight.  You don’t want to pay for 2 moves.

32. Find movers who have their own storage facility just in case there is a last minute change.

33.  Make sure storage fees are prorated – you don’t want to pay for an additional month if you are only there for a few days over.

34.  Measure your furniture before moving it and know where it’s going – most local movers pay by the hour.  Don’t pay for them to move furniture twice.

35. You can move non-perishable food.

36.  Movers don’t move flammable materials including gas tanks for grills so make sure yours is empty or plan on moving it yourself.

37. For an extensive wine collection, hire professional movers and make sure it is insured.  Many movers are not qualified and don’t understand the importance and proper packing procedures for wine and specialty materials.

38. If you are moving a piano, hire movers that move pianos as well.  A private piano moving company can cost over $1000 for a same town piano move.  If you hire movers that move pianos as well – they will be trained piano moves but will only charge around $350 for the same move.

39. Most movers will do junk removal – but make sure they are not using the same trucks that they use for moving for junk removal or you could end up with unpleasant after effects.

40. Hire movers with clean trucks and that steam their moving blankets.

moving
How To Save Money While Moving

41. Hire movers that have their own trucks.

42. Make sure your movers have new trucks and change their fleet every 3-5 years max.  There is nothing more costly than waiting for a broke-down truck.

43. Skip UHAUL – they will not reimburse for broken down trucks also if they don’t have a truck for your reservation – you’re out of luck.

44. Leave kids/pets at a family member or friends house during your move.

45.  You may want to sell your house furnished – saving you and possibly the new buyer decorating and furniture fees.

46. Rental truck companies will usually price match other competitors – call the 800 number and check.

47. Make sure your movers know if they will need to hoist anything.  If they don’t find out until that day, you may need to pay while you wait for other movers to come or you may need to wait until the next day if other movers aren’t available.

48.  Find movers who have an online inventory so you can ensure you can input all your furniture so both parties are on the same page and you can be sure moving rates wont change.

49.  When moving yourself, drive in off hours saving gas and time.

50.  Movers are not responsible for IKEA or pressboard furniture – you really need to consider if it is worth it to move those pieces.

51.  Sell your used furniture on craigslist or donate.

52.  Optimize utility shut-down dates.  Do this in advance – especially if moving out of state so you don’t have to pay for additional days.

53. Make sure your realtor/lawyer accounts for any oil leftover in a tank.

54.  Instead of tipping your movers big bucks, consider purchasing a less expensive lunch or snacks and drinks which are usually more appreciated.

55.  Appliances may not be worth it to move if they are older – especially if you are moving out of state.

56.  Moving a hot tub is not possible to move in the winter if you live in the north.  Plan this out in advance.

57. Consider moving yourself by renting a moving truck.

58.  If you are looking for a discount moving company – you may want to check craigslist or angie’s list – these companies are not recommended if you have really nice stuff but they can usually handle a dorm or the like.

59.   You may be able to find moving company coupons.  Do a quick google search for the name of your moving company coupons.

60.  Priceless antiques or other expensive items should never be entrusted to a moving company that doesn’t have a great reputation.  Seek out movers in your area that have won awards and are active in the community – these are usually the best moving companies.

61.  Some moving companies offer veterans discounts as well as educator discounts.  Most are only 5% off but if you are moving long distance and your move costs $5000+ – that could be a big savings!

62.  Save TV and computer boxes to use for your move – it is really expensive to get custom boxes for these items.

63.  Save moving receipts -some moving expenses like realtor fees, etc may be tax deductible.

64. Hire a moving company that charges by weight – not square feet.  Square feet depends on the way a shipment is loaded, weight is a true, factual measure of the items you are shipping.

65. Label boxes as you are packing so the movers place them in the right rooms at your new residence -this can save lots of time.  As we all know, time is money.

66.  Disassemble your furniture when you arrive.  But remember, movers cannot put together what they take apart.  This is especially true for baby cribs and bunk beds.

67. Swingsets and hot tubs cost a bundle to move.  Strongly consider selling these items with you house.  It just isn’t worth it to move these items.

68. There is a box service called box buddy that recycles boxes – right now they will send 30 boxes for $90 – these prices are about 25% than your local mover but they do reuse which is earth-friendly.

69.  Use coffee filters or Styrofoam plates in-between dishes.

70. Put hanging clothes in garbage bags – you can save money on wardrobe boxes.

71. There are charities that will pick up your old, unwanted furniture for free.  Some moving companies offer a free delivery of furniture to charities as well.

72. Some cities have utility concierges that will negotiate utility expenses to find the best deals for you.

73.   Have any special tools ready for the movers.  Moving companies usually have a basic set of tools including allen wrenches.  However, if your furniture was purchased overseas there may be special tools that are needed to disassemble and reassembled.

74.  Upcycle moving boxes to make them awesome.

upcycled box
Upcycled Craft Cardboard Box

75.   Try not to close on the last day of the month.  Sometimes there are delays in recording the property which will mean your items will have to stay on a truck overnight.  Overnight fees should be about $150/night.

76.  Take pictures of your space before you move in and after you leave in case there are landlord issues.

77. Use old toilet paper rolls to hold jewelry so it doesn’t get tangled en route.

78.  If you are moving long distance, call a reputable mover in the city you are moving to.  They can usually book at much lower rates because you would be a back-haul.

79.  Basic moving coverage is always free – movers must award it to you.

80.  Don’t trust a low-ball estimate – you pay for what you get and no truer words were ever spoken when this relates to moving costs.

81.  You can leave fitted sheets on mattresses to protect them although your movers should put shrink wrap on them too.

82.  Be precise with your moving company.  Your estimate is only as accurate as you are.

83. Don’t pack liquids.  You really don’t want spillage all over your items.

84.  Find long distance movers with guaranteed delivery and pick-up dates – the last thing you want to do is wait around in anticipation for “up to 14 days.”

85. Use a moving company that won’t sell or barter or trade your move – make sure they do their own moves.

86. Make sure you get copies of weight tickets – any moving company can claim your shipment weighs a certain amount – make them prove it with copies.

87.  Your moving company should give you a detailed inventory of the items you have moved – keep this with you.

88.  Make a necessities bin which includes everything you need for your first night – toilet paper, cleaning products, sheets, clothes, medications, etc.

89. Portable storage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – check the reviews.  Also, they are very easy to break into.

90.  Hire a safe, reliable moving company – you don’t want rogue movers showing up at your house.

91.  Make sure your moving company CORI checks all crew members.

92.  Have cold drinks on hand – everyone works better when hydrated.

93. Take a picture of your electronic cords or label them so you can remember what they go with.

94. Keep all screws, bolts and nuts in baggies so they don’t get mixed up with your shipment.

95.  Check moving company reviews before hiring.  Remember yelp reviews aren’t reliable as moving companies can pay for good reviews.  Trust customer lobby or google.

96.  Find the best questions and the answers your movers should have by using a compare movers worksheet handy.

 

97.  When hiring packers make sure you are getting charged by hour instead of by the box.  You will unpack to find three cups in one box…trust me.

98.  If you have awkward items that don’t weigh a lot like kayaks or basketball nets – you may be charged a bulky item fee.  See if your movers charge additional fees for bulky or unstackable items.

99.  Make sure your moving company isn’t going to offload, reload or swap your shipment before delivery.

Being frugal while moving can be a challenge.  These tips are priceless and can help you navigate to a low-cost move.

 

Best Moving Advice for 2017

Now that the 2017 moving season is getting closer, we have compiled a list of current trends and advice for all your moving and storage needs for 2017!  There are many changes happening in the moving industry – most are positive but there are still a few moving scams in 2017 that should be avoided.

Best Moving Advice for 2017

Long Distance Moving

1. Private Long Distance Moving is on the Rise – Gone are the days of  waiting 14-21 days to get your long distance moving shipment.  Many companies who used to rely on van lines for corporate relocation are now opting for a faster, more efficient moving service to get their employees to their new jobs faster.  This trend is taking place for traditional long distance moves as well.  You can find private long distance movers  by performing a simple google search.  Most private long distance movers will use smaller trucks ( 26 foot) and will be able to give you exact pick up and delivery dates.

2.  Prices are Much More Competitive than Last Year – Since private long distance movers don’t have to pay overhead to corporate like van lines, you will see that long distance moving prices should be less than last year by about 1-2%.

Long Distance Moving Scams 2017

  1.  Moving Brokers Posing as Helpful Services or Actual Movers – There are many moving brokers that charge a fee and sell moves to an independent contractor that will actually do the move.  Sometimes the independent contractors are not even licensed which puts your belongings at risk.  You should always ask if you are hiring a moving broker when you book your move.  It is highly recommended that you hire a moving company that performs all of their own moves and will not sell/barter/trade you move with another. Our best moving advice for long distance moving in 2017 is to ask your long distance mover questions – lot of them!

2.   False Locations are Listed, even on Google – There are many companies that have listings on google maps that are not actually located at that address/in that city.  It is very important to hire a mover that services your area.  If you are in Boston and accidentally hire a mover based out of California – you could be waiting days if they don’t have  truck in your area or if another shipment was heavier and cannot pick up your shipment.

 

Moving Tips
Moving Tips

 

Local Moving Advice 2017

  1. 2017 is Going to Be Full of Rogue Movers – Rogue movers aka. craigslist movers, unlicensed movers, movers without licenses are  on the rise.  It is so easy for anyone to create a fantastic website these days and pose as a professional moving company.  Then when some untrained guys in a budget truck show up at your house  – this means you got scammed.  Our best advice for hiring local movers is checking out their Facebook and twitter page that should have plenty of updated pictures about their business, their crew, and their trucks.
  2. Services for Small Moves are Abundant – If you are moving a few boxes, or anything less than a dorm room, there are many companies trying to become the next “Uber Movers.”  Essentially they will bring a pick-up truck or a van/car whatever they have and you can load your items in their truck for a much smaller fee than a typical moving company.  Our advice – if you have anything heavy – hire movers – these companies only provide transporation.
  3. Hire in Advance if You Need Overnight StorageOvernight storage moving companies are very hard to find – especially in cities like Boston ,NYC, Orlando, DC…  You will need to book way in advance if you have a bridge loan in which you will need to hold your stuff on a truck for a few nights.  Expect to pay $100-$200/night for overnight storage.

 

Moving Company Pricing Guide

MOVING COMPANY PRICING GUIDE – Navigating the costs of moving

Obtaining moving company prices from local and long distance movers is enough to make one want to do the unthinkable.  Hold in there, pull yourself out of the corner of that wardrobe box.  This moving company pricing guide will help you navigate through completely  unregulated and obnoxious pricing schemes to help you get the best value for your move.

Moving Company Prices
Moving Company Pricing GuideI

Before getting down to the nitty gritty of moving company prices – you should know a few simple things about moving companies in general.  Just like health care professionals or restaurants  – there are many different kinds of quality movers.

I have found this article about movers from quora to be an insightful explanation of  moving companies and the quality difference.  Here’s the gist of it – there are three different “types” of movers:

  1. Van lines – Usually priced about 25% higher than private moving companies because the 25% goes to a corporate office.
  2. Moving Brokers – Buy, sell, trade, barter your move to independent contractors – usually 5-10% less than private moving companies but you never know who will actually be delivering your items.
  3. Private Moving Companies – For the rest of the article, I will be giving you private moving company fees – you can adjust these if you are considering a van line or moving broker.  In my opinion, the best value for a move will be through a private moving company.  Generally, they have their own trucks, own labor, don’t have to pay a corporate fee and have the best reputations.

Other terms you will need to know:

Full service move – this is where a moving company loads, drives and delivers your shipment.  You don’t do any work except packing.  All full service movers I know offer packing services as well.

Interstate move – any move over 150 miles ( even if it is in another state)

price/lb – this is the price per pound that a long distance mover will charge.

MOVING COMPANY PRICES – HOW THEY ARE DETERMINED

When I was in college and before working in the transportation industry, I got three moving quotes because that’s what I was told to do.  One was astronomical – about $1000 over the competitors, one was so low I was scared and one was just right.  Moving companies really haven’t changed much.  You have most likely experienced a similar situation.  Here is how moving companies price moves:

Full Service Move Prices

If you have chosen to a full service mover for your move this will be more expensive by about 10-15% than doing the actual moving yourself.

If you are performing an interstate move, then the relocation cost of your move will be based on a few factors:  distance your old residence and the new won, time of year you are moving,  the amount you are moving.  Full service movers charge by weight.  I do not suggest getting a price by cubic feet as this adds an additional variable to your moving cost equation.  What if your movers load your shipment to take up more space?

A quick example – if you are moving from Boston to DC and you have an 2 bedroom apartment your weight will be right around 3000 lbs.  The average rate to go to DC from Boston is $.60/lb.  So, you would multiply 3000 x .60 – $1800 plus the labor which will average $400 so the total moving company price would be $2200.

If you are not using a full service mover, the $400 for labor will be omitted.

Full Service Local Prices

Average Cost of a Move
Average Cost of a Move

If you are using a local mover for a move less than 150 miles,  the moving price is calculated by hour. Here are some considerations if you are doing a local move:

  1. If you are moving a small amount of furniture/boxes, most local movers have a minimum -usually of four hours.  Per DOT and labor laws, movers must pay their workers 4 hours even if they work only two – so essentially movers have implemented a minimum hours per move.  So, if you think your move will take less, find something else for them to do – for example, rearranging furniture or bringing items to the salvation army.

2) In most cases,  local movers charge on an hourly basis for all moving services. For example, whether they are packing, carrying your household items outside your home, loading these same household goods into the moving vehicle, driving to your destination, unloading your stuff, or carrying all your furniture pieces, household appliances and cardboard boxes over the threshold of your new apartment or house.  However, some movers charge differently for different services for example when packing – they charge per box.

3) There is a travel fee for all movers that is usually non-negotiable.  However, make sure it is flat-rated.  Most private movers and trustworthy ones, have a flat rate of an hour or less.  That fee covers the expenses in terms of fuel and time your local moving company needs to reach your home, and then travel back from your second location.

 

Average Cost of Packing for a Move

If you are in a mood to pack your belongings and box every room, your average moving bill will be much lower than if you choose to have professional movers do the packing for you. Based on my experience in the field, packing costs can be similar to the moving cost itself. A 4 bedroom house can take more than 12 hours to move from one town to another. In this case, your average moving costs will be around $1800-$2500 with no packing included.

Average Local Moving Prices

Average moving rates vary considerably depending on where you live and the cost of living.  For the most part:

2 men and a truck $100-$150/hour

3 men and a truck $150-$200/hour

Anything outside of this range, I would be rather weary on.  Either the movers are making minimum wage and won’t be professional or there is so much being taken off the top you are being ripped off.

Studio apartment: 4 hours  for 2 men an a truck x $100/hour – $400
2-bedroom apartment: 5 hours  for three men and a truck x $150/hour = $750
4 bedroom home: 10 hours x 3 men and a truck x $150 = $150

If you are moving from a 3 bedroom 1500 sq. foot home or larger, you really need an on-site or in-home estimate.  Your best bet is to have three movers come to your home to estimate and give you moving options.

Average Interstate Moving Prices

Interstate moves are not charged by hour.  The average moving costs for interstate moves are calculated by 5 factors.:

  1. The Distance Between pick-up and delivery.
  2. Shipments are priced per pound.  Logically, the more weight you have the more expensive it will be.  However, weight and price per pound are directly related.  As an example consider these scenarios:  Boston to Orlando with 2000 lbs is $.75/lb.  Boston to Orlando with 7000 lbs is $.70/lb.
  3. Date Flexibility.  If you need guaranteed pick up and delivery dates – it can get pricy.  For example the average fee to incorporate guaranteed pick up and delivery dates is right around $500.
  4. Additional Moving Services. The price estimates you receive from reputable long distance movers should include the basic move Additional services will be moving pianos, pool tables, or major items. Other moving services are packing, unpacking, long term storage or overnight storage.
  5. Time of Year – The least expensive time of the year for an interstate move is the end of January through April 1.

The most important thing to remember here is that the following moving costs are only approximate values that can serve you well to get a general view of what your cross country move will cost you.   I suggest using this instant moving cost estimator for any interstate move.  It will give you an instant moving quote to compare to other movers.

HOW TO NEGOTIATE THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR MOVE

With 20 years of intimate knowledge of the moving company industry here are the most helpful tips and tricks to use when negotiating your move:

Moving Company Price
Negotiating Moving Company Prices
  1. First off – don’t settle for “additional fees.”  Additional fees are all costs that moving companies add on top of the bottom line to make additional money off of the consumer.  I have seen some really crazy fees as of late such as “interstate optional pick-up charge.”  Optional pick up ?  The other additional charges that you need to stay away from are: taxes, tolls, stair fee, elevator fee, certificate of insurance fee ( this is FREE through your moving companies’ insurance company), long haul, long walk, mileage charge, interstate move fee, fuel surcharge.  Oh, and my favorite – the shuttle fee.  This is a fee for a long distance move when a big rig cannot fit in your city/neighborhood and they need to bring a small truck to shuttle it.  Find long distance movers that do not charge this fee – it’s a doozy and averages $800!  Additional moving fees that are usually not negotiable are overnight storage fees, storage fees in general, fees to move pianos, pool  tables, or exercise equipment.
  2. Do not get an interstate moving price based on cubic feet.  If your movers need/feel like charging you additional money it is easy to load shipments with more/less space.  Only get an interstate move estimate based on weight.  Weight is not a variable where cubic feet are.
  3. Tell your movers that you were referred to them after you get a quote.  While working at a van line recently, their data suggested charging an additional 14% to people who have been referred or any corporate relocation accounts because they have found, statistically, that they can still book the move with that kind of a pricing increase.  Get the quote first so you can negotiate the moving price and any additional costs and don’t let your moving company know you are going to book them.
  4. Be flexible.  Moving companies are usually booked the first five days of any month, the last five days of any month, and a few days around the middle of the month.  Most leases and closings happen around these dates.  If you are flexible – say around the 8th-10th or 18-24th of the month, your moving company will usually have lower rates.
  5. If you are hiring additional packing services to your move – don’t let them charge you per box.  I have heard that some movers will place a few items in a box which means you will have more boxes and get charged more.  Make sure all moving services and charges are detailed and at guaranteed prices.
  6. Take only what you need.  A move is priced per pound – do you really want to take that pile of wood or bricks that has been sitting in your garage?

Upcycling Cardboard Moving Boxes

Since most people move during the summer and fall months, the best ways to upcycle moving boxes are most definately for use as halloween costumes.

Here are a few of our favorite upcycled moving box ideas:

FOR HALLOWEEN

upcycled moving boxes
Halloween at Monster Movers

This costume takes a bit of time to put together ( not to mention an extra old outfit.  Our moving crews had a great time putting it together!

upcycled cardboard boxes
Upcycled Moving Box Halloween Costume

Our staff created this US Mailbox out of two upcycled cardboard moving boxes. It was a little more difficult than it looks to create.  After the build, we realized there wasn’t enough room to put your arms out so this upcycled Halloween costume isn’t recommended.

upcycling cardboard boxes
Upcycled Cardboard Moving Boxes

This costume is such a cute Halloween costume made from a small wardrobe moving box.  Again, it is a difficult costume for actually collecting candy on Halloween but it’s worth it.

upcycled moving boxes
Upcycled moving boxes

This upcycled Halloween costume takes a bit of work ( and a good x-acto knife.

cardboard box upcycle
Cardboard Box Upcycle

This upcycled moving box can be also made as a rubix cube, a hungry hippos box, a cereal box or any cube/rectangle shaped box.  This upcycled Halloween costume is super easy and super cute.

 

FOR HOME

Using old moving boxes to organize your home, office or arts and crafts room is pretty easy.  The only rules are arming yourself with a ruler, plenty of cardboard, paint, perhaps some cloth, ribbon and feel and you will find endless ideas.  And don’t forget a heavy duty X-Acto   knife!

upcycled box
Upcycled Craft Cardboard Box

At Monster Movers, we have made office bins out of moving boxes.  We highly suggest using chalkboard paint to pain the outside of the bin so you can mark and reuse these upcycled cardboard moving boxes.

Upcycled moving box crafts
Upcycled Cardboard Crafts

These cute little crafts made out of upcycled cardboard moving boxes are adorable.  We have made Christmas tree and other 3d creations.

Should You Help Your Friends Move?

Should You Help Your Friends Move?

Have you ever wondered how strong of a friendship you and your bestie have?  You can gauge your comraderie by their level of help during a move.  Let’s put it this way  – if there was a ceremony for friendship the “friendship vows” would be  ” in moving and in chillaxing.”   Check below for our “Should You Help Your Friends Move?” guide – also an accurate evaluation of your bromance.

Everyone who has moved while in college or shortly thereafter knows how precious moving day help can be.  Let us help you find out if you should help your friends move:

TYPES OF FRIENDSHIPS and RESPECTIVE MOVE SCORE

  1. Enabling Friendship:  Move Score 8                                                            This friendship is a special bond between buds that empower each other to do the impossible.  This friend will boost your ego and are definitely one of the best types of friends to call for a move.
  2. Hot and Cold Friendship: Move Score 5                                                           The Hot and Cold friend is like a corked bat. Your hot and cold friend may show up, show up late or not at all but they do, they will easily provide that extra umph to get you home.
  3. Class Clown Friendship: Move Score 3                                                              One of the worst friends to help with a move – this friend loves pranks and those are not appreciated while moving.  Also, you will be so busy laughing – nothing will get moved.
  4. Bromance: Move Score 9                                                                                              You know that friend who completely admires you for whatever reason.  This is the best friend to invite for a move. This friend will do the entire move for you – to show up and just to be around your awesomeness
  5. Drinking Buddies: Move Score -10                                                                        Just.  Don’t.
  6. The Long Distance Friend: Move Score 6                                                       If you are moving long distance and actually hiring long distance movers – the long distance friend is a great for moral support – mainly because they won’t actually have to do any heavy lifting.

Helping your friends move can make or break a friendship.  Your patience will be tested but after all the back-breaking effort – you’ll become better buds after a move together.  Just don’t forget the pizza and drinks.

Of course, you could avoid all of the moving drama by hiring local movers, movers within 100 miles of your original residence or long distance movers.

Moving for Millennials

Moving for Millennials

Guide to Moving
Moving for Millennials

I am pretty sure this is going to be my favorite post about moving – ever.  While I am not quite in the millennial cutoff, I feel a kindred spirit to the average millennial- and that’s probably why – millennials are never “average” – a blog about moving to these unique beings with elevated thoughts and feelings seems so basic.

I have read story after story from companies marketing to millennials and how they have to convey their “story” to this crowd.  Well, most corporate “stories” sound like they are mixtures of Ferris Bueller meets Ernest.  You’re too Young…Let it Go. Yet corporations still try to classify and advertise their so-called “stories” to these special snowflakes.  I think not, I have a feeling most millennials can smell a B.S. marketing agenda a mile away.  

Being part of a moving and storage company, not exactly the most buzz-worthy of industries but there are a few things that millennials are doing to affect this industry:

  1.  Millennials don’t move as many things as baby boomers, generation x, y and so on.  Most millennials are super eco-friendly and we love it!  Millennials are more content donating/giving away old furniture than paying for it to move across the country.  The usual millennial move is a few pieces of really nice furniture, a  computer, flat screen tv and about 40 boxes.  There are many moving companies catching on to this and changing the way ( and the speed) in which they get shipments to their customers.
  2. Millennials hate moving companies, and companies in general, that are scams.  Slowly but surely, all of the rogue movers are disappearing.  Millennials are great at exposing exposing scam companies – and writing about it.  So movers – be good!
  3. Most millennials will pay more money for a better moving service.    We have found that millennials are inclined to pay for things like expedited service, same day moves from NYC to Boston/Philadelphia/DC/Providence.  Essentially, millennials don’t like to wait and are willing to shell out a few additional dollars to avoid doing so.  There is no better mover that feels the pain of waiting for things more than Monster Movers – with expedited shipments and advanced logistics – you won’t go wrong.  They haven’t been called the “relocation innovators” for nothing.
  4. Millennials move – a lot!  Although millennial moves are smaller they move every few years or less and usually to other major cities.   There are some major long distance movers that are really catching on to this crowd.

 

 

 

Top Ten Moving Fails

Top Ten Moving Fails

 

Our all-time favorite moving fails – because who doesn’t love a good fail – especially on Friday the 13th.

 

Moving Fail # 1

Low Bridge

 

Rental Truck + Low Bridge = Moving Fail

Moving Fail #2

Packing Boxes That are Too Heavy

Books + Big Boxes = Moving Fail

 

Moving Fail #3

Not Emptying the Fridge

Not Emptying Fridge + Stairs =Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #4

 Not Hiring Professional Mover

Not Hiring Professional Movers = Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #5

Saving Packing for the Last Minute

Last Minute Packing = Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #6

 Not Shutting the Back of Your Moving Truck

Not Shutting the Back of Your Truck = Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #7

Not Hiring a Company that uses a Lift Gate

No Lift Gate – Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #8

Overloaded Your Car 

Overloaded Vehicle = Moving Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Fail #9

 Getting Overcharged

Getting Overcharged = Moving Fail

Moving Fail #10

Trying to Park Your Truck Somewhere it Doesn’t Fit

Bad Parking Job = Moving Fail

#Move4EDU

#MOVE4EDU

#Move4Edu is our way of giving back to some special people who have helped us become who we area and who are helping us grow and learn.  Monster Movers offers a  5%  DISCOUNT OFF OF EVERY MOVE to any educators and teachers.

You teach 7th grade? Swimming Coach? Daycare Provider? Cub Scout Parent? Leading a Robotics Club?  We support all those who educate others – young and old.  We celebrate you…every day!

MOVE4EDU
#Move4EDU

 It’s actually really simple to access this 5% off coupon – just tweet @monstermovers or Facebook #move4edu and tell us your story with a few words or a picture and you will instantly get 5% off of your moving costs!

Monster Movers also donates 1% of all income to educational charities including local non-profits, sponsoring educational pursuits and awarding funds to other educational endeavors.

The #Move4Edu discount is good for all local moves and long distance movers!

** Only one discount per move regardless of how many awesome people ( educators) are part of yours 🙂

The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Movers

The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Movers


I must say, I have been patiently waiting to write this post on the worst advice we’ve heard about movers for a long time.  Having been in the moving and storage industry for over 20 years, we have come across our fair share of horrible advice when it comes to movers.  Here is our all time crappy advice list:

moving advice
Movers
  1.  Use a Van Line for Long Distance Moves – Just. Don’t.  I cannot believe the moving and storage industry is so out-of-touch with current business practices.  Millennials, baby boomers and those in-between have grown accustomed to getting anything they want – fast.  Long gone are the days of a van line sticking your stuff on a truck and delivering it 14-21 days later!  This just doesn’t make sense anymore.  There are innovative moving companies applying tech and big data to their systems making long distance movers ultra-efficient.
  2. Trust Moving Reviews.  Okay – this one you can take with a grain of salt because some moving review sites work, like moving company reviews from customer lobby.  Others, like yelp and bbb are actually paid sites.  Movers will have to pay to post reviews on yelp and pay to become “accredited bbb movers.”   Now researching the BBB isn’t a bad thing – this outlet gives a rating and if you see a big fat F or even a E or D – stay away.  BBB “paid members” always have A ratings even if  the reviews are horrible so… I would suggest the best movers have a ratings without being accredited which means they didn’t pay for their A
  3. You Don’t Need Insurance.   It is more likely that your things will be damaged in transit than sitting at your house.  If you do have homeowners/renters insurance, I would always suggest purchasing additional coverage.  All movers in the USA are liable for $.60/pound/article which doesn’t equate to much.  Find movers that offer additional coverage for a reasonable rate – this should be around $200 for a 2-3 bedroom home or up to $750 for a 5000 + sq. foot home.
  4.  The Best Movers Rank High on Search Engines.  The “internet of things” tends to rank national sites like yelp and van lines over smaller niche markets which seem to rank movers instead of a higher quality move.  Searching with the term movers near me will give some great local results – you can even search at www.moversnearme.com . The best movers are active in their state/community and have a long history.  You can do a corporation search to see how long your movers have been in business.
  5. You can move yourself.  LOL, No ROFL.  Please, hire movers!  The damage you can do to your vehicle, back, friend’s backs, furniture, dishes, etc.  is not worth the amount you save.  Trust me, hire professional movers – they do this everyday and are experts!  Moving is so hard if you aren’t properly trained.  And, if your friend, etc. gets hurt you could get sued!

I hope this article on the worst advice about movers has helped you in your search and shed light on some of the “good advice” you have heard!