Understand the Real Costs of Moving
When budgeting for an impending move, there is more to consider than money when evaluating cost. You’ll want to understand the true financial, physical and mental investments before making your final decision. After all, if you underestimate the cost of your time, health and emotions, your move could cost you a whole lot more than originally expected.
Evaluate Your Financial Costs
1) Packing Supplies
An investment in proper supplies will pay dividends when your belongings arrive at your new home. Sturdy boxes, packing paper, dollies, wraps and straps will ensure that items are secure when being loaded and delivered. Ask your local agent about the supplies they furnish and sell before buying supplies on your own. They may be able to estimate your needs more accurately.
2) Hired Help
The help you choose on moving day can dictate the relative ease and error you are prepared to compromise. Friends and family are attractive options for those willing to stomach the inherent risks, butif you are looking for a little more peace of mind, professional movers can help the process go as smoothly as possible.
3) Professional Packing
It is all too easy to underestimate the time, materials and effort required to pack and move your home, especially when all of your belongings are all stored neatly away in your closets and cabinets. Consider the following.
- Do you have special cargo? You may not want to risk packing and loading all of your belongings on your own – especially if they carry a higher value. You may want to seek the advice of a specialist before moving antiques, electronics and large furniture. It’s absolutely necessary to consider potential damage and breakage as you calculate the cost of packing and moving yourself.
- Make a Supply Run. You’ll need to purchase boxes, blankets and bubble wrap when moving yourself. Proper packing demands professional materials including special boxes, wrapping paper, furniture padding and tape. And don’t underestimate your needs or you’ll be making multiple trips to the store to restock.
- Can you drive large moving van? If you live in a moderately-sized home, you may need up to 1,600 cubic feet of moving space. This endeavor is more than many drivers can handle – especially if you are tasked with navigating narrow suburban streets and alleyways.
- Your Time is Money. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of your time, especially if you are taking off work to pack, load and deliver your own belongings. If you opt to handle the entire move yourself, consider setting aside 2 or more days for both loading and delivery.
When planning a move, your choice of transportation is potentially the most cost contingent. When it comes to containers, trailers and trucks, your expense will likely scale with the level of your need. You’ll want to consider the timing, distance, volume and complexity of your move before contracting services or renting equipment.
5) Travel & Living
Regardless of distance, the moving process tends to inflate travel and living expenses. In addition to potential lodging and air fare, incremental purchases like food, fuel and convenience items can add up unexpectedly, especially when you are doing most of the packing and moving yourself.
6) Distance Adds Up
As a rule of thumb, the longer the distance, the more cost-effective professional movers tend to be. This is due to a number of factors.
- One-way rental price may include additional fees. The price you pay may include fees to cover the cost of inventory maintenance and truck relocation when you return your moving truck to a location in a different city.
- Mileage, Fuel and Insurance costs add up. Truck rentals may require that you pay these fees on top of the base price. This can end up being rather significant considering that some moving trucks only get between 6 -15 mpg.
- Unexpected delays add to rental costs. Just when you think everything is going according to plan – something always tends to happen, right? If you fall victim to Murphy’s Law during a move, delays could cost you extra in rental fees.
- Longer trips are a greater risk. Let’s face it, you may be able to pack like a pro, but can you drive like one? The longer you are on the road, the more you’ll face opportunities for damage and accidents. When you rent, these risks are placed squarely on you.
7) Real Estate Expenses
For most of us, the moving experience comes coupled with at least one real estate transaction. Whether buying, selling or leasing, you’ll need to calculate the costs associated with your real estate to properly budget for your move. After all, contracts, estimates, titles and utilities can put a significant dent into your bottom line before you even start to pack.
Every major move comes with incidentals. They are virtually unavoidable given the scale of the undertaking. Even the most careful shippers are susceptible to mishaps. No matter how well you plan, or how careful you are, it is inevitable, supplies will run low, pictures will break, bulbs will burn out and paint will be spilled. It’s best to budget a couple extra dollars for human error.
Evaluate Your Opportunity Costs
9) Missed Work
Even when everything goes according to plan, a move can be a timely endeavor. The effort required to research, coordinate, pack, and move is significant. Consider contracting a couple extra hands or a full-service solution so that these tasks don’t translate into missed work. Just remember, vacation days have a monetary value too – so don’t waste them on anything less than a trip to the beach.
10) Personal Time
As moving day approaches and critical tasks intensify, time can seem to escape you. Without professional help, you’ll likely be consumed by paperwork, appointments and last-minute packing; unable to negotiate a single moment for family time or rest. For these reasons, you may want to consider the cost of your free time when weighing a do-it-yourself solution.
11) Recovery Time
You should carefully consider your ability to handle the physical demands of your move long before you start packing and loading. With a couple days of intense lifting, cleaning and traveling ahead of you, personal limits and recovery time should be at the forefront of your thought process.