The Hidden Costs of Moving

If you are moving out of town because of your job, then you have lucked out in the moving lottery since your employer will help you with the moving costs. For the rest who are moving on their own, there are really only two options that you face: hiring a moving company or moving yourself. Both of these are going to cost you, but you should be aware upfront about the possibility of “hidden” moving costs cropping up without your knowledge. However, if you are prepared then you run a very good chance of keeping these costs to a minimum.

Pros and Cons of Two Moving Company Options

Obviously, the more expensive option is hiring a moving company, as you will be paying for their labor and transportation charges. However, what you lose in monetary payments, you make up for with a less stressful move. If you choose this option, keep in mind two distinct possibilities:

  1. If the movers are paid by the job and not hourly, they may try to rush the job so that they can move on to the next assignment. However, this can also mean that the movers may make sloppy mistakes and mishandle your belongings, leading to damage.
  2. If the movers are paid by the hour, keep in mind that they may work more slowly. This will drive up your total bill as they take their time trying to make as much money as possible.

Because of the potential problems with each of these options, make sure that you check your contract carefully and review what other customers have said about the company to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable provider.

Check the Fine Print

Once you have a contract in front of you, you should check the fine print closely for hidden charges that may be assessed. These can add up quickly and you want to avoid them if at all possible:

  1. Heavy items such as pianos, lawn-mowers, snowmobiles, and bulky furniture can be assessed a higher charge.
  2. Specialty items can also run you a higher charge, especially if the movers have to bring in an expert to take these items apart. If they have to take apart pianos or pool tables, you can expect a bigger bill.
  3. If you are moving in a large city, labor rates for the individual movers tend to be greater. As such, many moving companies pass this on to the consumer in the form of a “transportation surcharge.”
  4. If you are moving out of an apartment building and the movers have to walk an extensive distance from the apartment to the truck, you can also expect a higher fee. (Usually the distance is anything greater than 75 feet.) Also, if they have to take items down stairs, there will probably be a surcharge.
  5. If your street is narrow and the truck cannot make it in close to your building, you can also expect a “shuttling” surcharge as they either have to walk the extra distance or transfer a smaller vehicle to move the items from the house to the main truck.

Some Things to Consider if You Are Moving Yourself

If you are renting a truck and doing the move yourself, here are some other issues you may wish to consider:

  1. Does your automobile policy cover you if you have a wreck in the moving truck or van? Also, will your homeowner’s policy cover items damaged during the move, or will you need to purchase an insurance rider?
  2. Is the truck in good condition? If not, a breakdown can cost you more money out of pocket while you wait to be paid back by the company. It can also lose you money in the form of lost time once your schedule is thrown off.
  3. Did you do any damage to your old home as you moved out? If so, you may be held financially responsible by the family that is moving in.

Finally, you should also remember to get extra cash out before the move for incidentals, such as food, gas, and road tolls.