Moving can be a disaster
No one wants to max out their credit cards when moving. But that’s what happened to John Winston of Salem, Massachusetts: “We were a simple move…going to a neighboring city. Our moving company promised that it would cost $875, and a possible added cost for extra time. That was reasonable.”
In the end, the moving company gave John an onsite estimate of $1,950, after his things were loaded on the truck. Fearing the movers would hold his property hostage, he decided to pay the bill with a credit card and dispute it with the office later.
The dispute with the office never happened, however, because the moving company closed before John could contact them. The company completed the move, but John ended up paying the entire $1,950. The contract he signed clearly stated that any disputes had to be handled prior to moving.
How to move without breaking your budget
Moving can be a disaster if consumers aren’t prepared for the transaction. People who are moving should settle the details before the moving truck shows up. Here are some tips for moving without breaking your budget.
Do some comparison shopping
Moving costs can vary widely based on the company you choose. Check with at least three companies before signing on the dotted line. Visiting CityMove.com is a great way to get online bids from several moving companies. Consumers can compare quotes and decide which services are most important and most cost effective.
John Katz, CEO for Flat Rate Moving Company advises, “Request the moving company visit your home prior to moving so they can see exactly what items, big and small, are going to be going. You don’t want any surprises on the day of the move for yourself or for the company.” Also, make sure that quotes include an estimate of how long the job will take. The last thing you want is additional charges to your credit cards for over-time hours.
Perform background checks
Consumers should also run background checks on every company they are considering. The Better Business Bureau can give valuable information on the business dealings of each company and consumers can see the complaints, if any, that have been filed. Make sure the company doesn’t have any repeat offenses, such as continually showing up late, misrepresenting themselves, or overcharging. BBB.org or Yelp.com can provide reviews of businesses. Consumers should also ask moving companies for three recent client references.
Sort through your stuff
Moving time is a great time to get rid of things you don’t use or need. Moving estimates can be made on either total weight or per-hour rates. Either one can be minimized by less having less to move. Garage sales, donations, and give-a-ways are great ways to get rid of things you don’t want to pay to move. Not only does getting rid of excess baggage cut down on moving expenses, it provides extra cash from garage sales or a tax deduction receipts from donations.
Jon Sorber of Two Men and a Truck, suggests people move small items themselves. Sorber said, “Every time a mover has to go into the house, that’s more time [you're paying for].” It’s often easy to move lamps, plants, books, china, and toys for yourself. You can also can pack items, roll up rugs, and break down bed frames yourself rather than pay movers to do it.
Invest a little extra effort
With a little extra effort, consumers can spare themselves unnecessary expense when it comes to moving. Rather than maxing out credit cards, paying twice as much as the estimate, or paying for unnecessary things like packing, consumers should take a proactive approach to moving. Doing so will save time and ultimately, money.