Top 10 Tips for Saving Money When Using a Moving Company

Sarah Pritzker
Money
Whether it's a local move or cross country, a newly bought home, or a rental, you may be considering hiring the services of a moving company to help with the transition. While there are certainly benefits to DIY moving, like saving money, a professional moving company can get your belongings to their next destination intact and hassle-free.

How much you'll need to budget for a top moving company generally depends on where you live, the distance you are moving, the amount of weight you are moving, and the number of movers you will need to hire. Movers typically charge between $30 to $50 per hour per mover, including truck rental. So, if you hire four movers for six hours, the total cost of hiring a moving company will be between $720 to $1200. For farther distances, this cost is understandably higher. The national average for an out of state move is around $4500. However, if you are moving a very far distance - for example, from New York to Calfornia, or are moving heavier items - for example, a piano, this cost may be far higher. So, how can you budget a moving company and keep costs down? Here are the top 10 tips for saving money when using a moving company that we have come up with:

1. Plan Ahead

Moving in a rush means you won't have time to research the best moving companies for your needs, strategize a cost-saving moving plan (i.e., packing your own belongings and collecting packing materials), or have the freedom to pick a cheaper time of year to move. If you do wait until the last minute, you may find that you are paying a premium for procrastinating. The moving company you want may already be booked, or you may not be able to secure the best price. The best plan is to plan ahead; that way, you give yourself the time to get organized and save money.

2. Pack Light

Another benefit of planning ahead is it gives you time to minimize what you'll be taking with you to your new home. Chances are, if you have the time to go through your possessions thoroughly, you'll find that a lot of it is unnecessary. Less stuff means less packing and less stuff in the moving truck, which means less weight or space associated charges. Give away unwanted items in good condition to charities or shelters. Many organizations will even come to pick up donations for free.

3. Book Off-Peak Season

Seasonality is one of the hallmarks of moving costs. With the summer moving rush coming soon, avoiding the high season by booking your move now could save you money. Most moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, from the end of May until the beginning of September; the rest of the year is likely a better deal.

4. Book Mid-Month And/Or Mid-Week

Seasonality is one of the hallmarks of moving costs, but this extends to the time of week and month you choose to move, as well. Many people prefer to move as close to the 1st of the month as possible, so being flexible about moving mid-month could save you money. The weekend is a far more popular time of the week to book a moving company since it makes it unnecessary to take time off of work. Less demand midweek is more cost-efficient - but only if you don’t lose more wages than the savings are worth.

5. Get Free Packing Materials

It takes some forethought and planning, but you will likely be able to collect all of the packing materials that you need for your upcoming move without spending a dime. Store-bought supplies are temptingly convenient but can add up quickly, and purchasing from a moving company can add a big chunk of change to the final moving costs.

6. If You Have to Buy, Buy at Bargain Prices

Look around for sales and stock up ahead of time, so you aren’t stuck paying full price at the last minute. Some moving companies may include packing materials as part of the package price, so when you are researching which company to choose, make sure to ask about what is included in the booking package.

7. Compare Moving Services

Not all moving service companies are created equal, so do a little digging before you lock something in. There are so many to choose from, and since people don't move very often (this may be your first move!), it can be hard to know what you're looking for. The good news is that it's easier than ever to find out more about the companies you're looking at. There are vast online resources to help you narrow down your pick of professional movers, including:

  • Online reviews on third-party sites can tell you a lot about a company. There are plenty of reviews by consumers just like you available to verify whether the company you are considering is reliable, so check them out before signing any contract.
  • Crowdsourced recommendations are always useful - word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about a moving service company. Are they punctual? Courteous? Do they hire legal workers? Will they break stuff? It's quite likely that someone that you know has used a great mover that they can recommend.
  • Moving service aggregator sites let you get offers from several partner companies so that you can compare them with ease. While this helps you narrow the competition based on price and included services, it is still worthwhile to look at reviews and recommendations.

8. Book an In-Home Consultation

Reputable moving services will schedule in-home consultations so that both parties will have a better idea of what to expect on moving day, both in terms of costs and timing. Schedule with your top few picks once you've narrowed them down and make sure you go over all of the details so that when you are given an estimate, it will be as accurate as possible. You may be considering paying extra for packing services or purchasing packing materials from the company, so be sure to discuss these options before getting an estimate so that you don't wind up surprised at the end of the move.

9. Use a Checklist

Get organized when comparing moving companies - choosing an unreliable moving service could wind up costing you more in the long run. There are lots of factors aside from cost that you should consider before choosing, so put together a list of questions or crucial points of comparison.    

10. Research How Much the Move Will Cost

Pro moving services: hourly wages for professional moving services range from $30-$50/hour per mover, so the total hourly cost will be largely dependent on how many movers you’ll need and for how long. 

Size of move: Studios or one-bedroom apartments generally require 2 workers for 2-3 hours, so $90 to $300 for a local move. The more time and help needed, the greater the cost. The cost will also increase with distance.

Distance: Long-distance moves are generally charged by weight or volume of items being moved. For a one-bedroom apartment with around 2,000 lbs of weight being moved, the moving costs can range from $500 to $2,500+ depending on the distance. For 5,000lbs of content weight, the moving costs will range from $1,500 to $7,500+.

Season/time of the month/time of the week: As mentioned, summer moves will likely be more expensive, as will weekend moves or moves at the beginning or end of the month. Budget more if you need to schedule your move during these peaking moving times.

Specialty items: Pianos, jacuzzis, and other large specialty items will likely incur an additional cost to move. Make sure that you mention any such items before receiving a price quote.

Supplies: If you haven't managed to collect all the packing supplies that you need beforehand, you may find yourself buying them from the moving service. Some companies do include these for free; otherwise, budget around $100 for boxes and supplies for a 1-2 bedroom apartment.

Added services: You may not have time to pack or unpack, but most moving companies do offer this as an added service. Packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking could add up to around $1000 depending on the size of the move, so take a moment to consider if this is worth it.

Insurance: Moving insurance is usually charged as a low percentage (around 1%) of the total value of the contents being moved. While this is an added cost, it is one that could save you money if anything goes wrong.

Tips: Movers work hard, and if they do a good job, it is common practice to tip between $4-5/hour per mover. Pizza for lunch is also a nice touch.

Now that you know more about how to save money when booking a moving service company, it’s time to pick your top companies for a consultation.

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a content writer with years of experience and a keen interest in the vast world of online consumer products. She enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market in a variety of fields.