How To Avoid Surprise Moving Charges

Don’t Let Moving Charges Sneak Up on You…

There is nothing simple about uprooting your life and moving a household – regardless of distance.  Never mind the personal trials, the process of negotiating a price with your moving company can present a legal challenges as well.

Ultimately your best course of action is to choose a trusted mover, experienced with planning and quoting complicated moves.  A good mover will minimize potential risks and surprises.  Be prepared to discuss the following items with your mover to simplify the planning process.

  1. Packing Services
    Some might say that packing is the most stressful part of moving. It can be a slow, emotional and sometimes overwhelming process. It is no wonder that many people with moving experience choose to hire professional packers. Be honest with yourself upfront and budget for some help before you endeavor the process on your own.
  2. Packing Supplies
    Whether packing for yourself or hiring a professional, you need to keep track of your supplies.  As a rule of thumb, it is better to budget for an excess upfront rather than run short at the last minute. Proper packing makes a difference; don’t compromise your efforts with a lack of supplies.
  3. Unexpected Inventory
    Every now and then Murphy’s Law like to challenge us with the unexpected.  When moving, it is easy to forget to check the shed, the attic or an off-site storage unit.  These unfortunate oversights often lead to additional charges, especially if you leave out something big like a lawnmower or grandma’s favorite couch.
  4. Electronics and Appliance Service
    There are a number of items around your home that require the attention of a service technician before and after a move.  Most moving companies will not move connected audio/visual equipment or washers and dryers. These appliances should be properly serviced and secured by a professional.
  5. Special Handling
    Many oversize, delicate or high-value items require special equipment, packing and handling during a move. Notify your mover of any specialty items so they can properly quote for any necessary additional service, materials and protection.
  6. Stairs, Elevators and Distances
    Some moving companies charge extra if their crew has to negotiate obstacles when loading and unloading. Notify your mover of any stairs, elevators or excessive distances they may encounter during the move.
  7. Shuttle Fees
    Depending on the location of your home, the streetscape or local ordinances may prevent a large moving truck from providing direct service to your door. If this is the case, your mover may have to shuttle goods between your home and a convenient off-site location before loading and unloading can occur.
  8. Storage
    If your home is not ready on move-in day, you may need to temporarily store some of your household goods. Depending on your circumstance, this additional ‘storage-in-transit’ service may accrue unexpected warehousing and delivery fees.
  9. Parking Permits
    Some cities and municipalities require special permits for loading and unloading moving trucks. Check with local governments at your origin and destination to familiarize yourself with zoning ordinances and inquire with your moving company to see if permits are covered by your estimate.
  10. Scheduling
    Some moving companies use demand-based pricing schedules that increase prices during busy periods. Keep this in mind if you decide to change you moving dates at the last minute. Just changing days within the same week could result in a price change.
  11. Gratuity
    While it is not a requirement in any industry, many service providers appreciate a customary tip.  If you are pleased with your service, search the internet for “tipping movers” to see what qualifies as proper etiquette in your area. 
  12. Binding Estimates
    The best way to avoid surprise moving charges is to insist on a binding moving estimate. With a binding estimate your mover is bound to the quoted amount regardless of actual weight. While exceptions apply, a binding estimate allows you to move with the confidence that your moving charges will not unexpectedly change prior to delivery. 

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