The two essential ingredients of
a successful move are "personpower"
and hauling capacity. Whether you
rely on friends and borrowed
vehicles or hire local college
students and rent a truck to do the
job, you need not only enough strong
helpers but also the right hauling
capacity. If you lack either of
these, it's best not to self-move.
Convincing friends can be tricky.
If the move is short, the weather
cooperative and you have enough help
to make the work light, a move can
actually be fun. A quick shuffle of
furniture followed by pizza and a
house-warming party is a
do-it-yourself mover's dream. But
consider all that could go wrong: a
strained back, a broken heirloom,
and, worst of all, bruised
Is it really cheaper?
Consider whether moving yourself
actually makes economic sense. If
you are moving a long distance,
calculate the cost of travel: gas,
tolls, meals, lodging, and so on.
Add in the costs of renting a truck
large enough to handle all your
belongings, insuring valuable
possessions, hiring additional help,
and even the cost of pizza at the
post-move party. Then get some
estimates from professional moving
companies and decide how costs
compare with a self-move. If a
professional move will cost you more
money, ask yourself if it's still
worth the decrease in stress and
hassle. In the end, you might find
it's easier and more worthwhile to
hire professionals. But if you
decide it makes sense to take on a
self-move, the next step is to
examine the details.
The three "Ps" of moving
Pack: Well before moving
day arrives, pack up everything but
the bare essentials in your old
home. Well-packed goods take up less
space, are easier to handle and are
less likely to be damaged.
People: Line up as many
people as you can at both ends of
the move. More people means less
strain on each individual and a
faster move. Even so, be sure to
match individuals with tasks. The
people you ask to carry the couch up
two flights of stairs should be in
Power: Make sure the truck
is big enough for the job. The goal
should be to have enough space to
make loading and unloading easy, and
to complete the move in one trip.
Following is a guideline for
estimating how much truck you'll
10-foot truck: 1 to 2 furnished
14- to 15-foot truck: 2 to 3
18- to 20-foot truck: 4 to 5
22- to 24-foot truck: 6 to 8
* Equipment varies from one
company to the next, so ask for
advice from your truck rental
Choosing professional movers
Choosing a moving company may
seem like an overwhelming task.
Where do you start? What qualities
should you look for? The following
checklist summarizes the steps in
choosing a moving company.
Give yourself plenty of time
Planning well in advance makes it
more likely you'll find a good
company, and also gives you time to
figure out how much the move will
cost. Start your research at least
eight to ten weeks before the move.
Ask family and friends for
Were the movers on time? Were
they professional? Did they have
enough people and the right
equipment for the job? Did they
damage anything? If you need more
information than your friends can
provide, contact local consumer
protection groups for performance
records on movers. If your employer
is transferring you, ask your
Determine the size,
distance, and timing of your move
How much do you want to spend on
your move? How much work do you want
to do yourself? Knowing these
important facts will help you get a
cost estimate and decide what
company is best for you.
Size: The weight of your
move. The more weight, the more
Distance: The number of miles
you're traveling and the states of
your old home and your destination.
Some carriers only serve certain
Time: The time of year you
decide to move. Moving during peak
times, such as the summer or
holidays, means that you'll pay more
for your move.
The final major cost factor when
hiring a professional moving company
is deciding between a "self-service"
and a "full-service" move. In
self-service moves, the company
transports your belongings from old
house to new, but you have to pack
and unpack everything at both ends.
In a full-service move, the moving
company not only transports
everything, but also packs and
unpacks all your household goods.
Most people who hire professional
movers choose full-service. Although
you could do a self-service move to
save money, long-distance moves with
lots of heavy, valuable items are
best left to the professionals. In
addition, cargo insurance for
do-it-yourself moves is limited to
$25,000 and covers only damage
caused by such disasters as crashes
Obtain a written cost
Most companies give free
estimates, so be sure to ask ahead
of time. If the estimate is not
binding, however, the final cost may
differ. Factors that might affect
the cost of the move include:
- Packing: Many moving
companies will help you pack, but
keep in mind that help costs
money. If you want to save money,
it's best to pack as much as you
can on your own, leaving only the
hardest tasks for the movers.
- Appliances: Many movers
will disconnect major appliances
(for example, washing machine, ice
maker) at your old home and
reconnect them at your new home.
However, movers typically charge
for this service.
- Staircases: Do you love
your new four-story house? Movers
won't. Expect additional costs
based on the number of staircases
they need to use.
- Pianos: Despite the
beautiful music they make, pianos
are big, unwieldy objects. Movers
typically charge extra for each
piano they move. Many companies
will provide quotes online.
Determine what items moving
companies will not transport
Some common examples include
hazardous items such as paint,
cleaners, aerosol cans, or gasoline;
personal valuables such as jewelry,
important documents or furs; pets;
Decide on coverage
Valuation is carrier liability
and is usually based on weight.
Valuation should be not be confused
with insurance. The coverage only
applies to cases in which carrier
negligence can be proven. It covers
your property by assessing the three
different value categories described
- Standard coverage:
Movers provide their customers
with minimum insurance for every
item. This coverage is based on
weight alone, and is required by
law to be at least $.60 per pound.
So if your 1 lb. Babe Ruth
autographed baseball was destroyed
during the move, standard coverage
would only insure it for $0.60.
- Assessed value coverage:
This coverage is based on how much
you must pay to cover the assessed
value of any of your property if
it's damaged due to carrier
negligence. If the computer you
bought for $2,500 now goes for
$300, the current price is all
- Full replacement value
coverage: This coverage is
based on how much you must pay to
cover the full replacement value
of any of your property if it is
damaged due to carrier negligence.
Under this coverage, the carrier
must pay to obtain a new
replacement, no matter the cost,
of any piece of property damaged.