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Which is Better for Me to Hire Movers: Hourly vs. Flat Rate?

Hourly vs. Flat Rate

When you start the process of hiring a mover, you may not anticipate that there would be so many options. Full-service moving or only pickup and delivery? Buy packing materials from the company, or crowdsource yourself? Lastly, do you choose a flat-rate pricing option or go for hourly? The option that will best serve you depends on your moving situation. We’ve broken down the instances when you should choose hourly and when you should go flat rate because there are a few things that can impact how much it costs to hire movers:

Choose hourly rates when…

  • You’re moving locally, and you plan to pack your house yourself
  • You are only moving a small apartment, like a studio or partial household

Hourly rates generally start at a minimum of three hours, and a smaller move like these could likely take a mere 3-4 hours if the moving company provides the right number of people and you are fully organized. Ask how many movers they will be sending to do the job in this scenario, as they may send less labor to do the same job — meaning it will likely take longer since the movers are not incentivized to work efficiently.

Once you’ve gotten a time estimate from the local moving services, try to cap it there — you may even consider requesting a clause in the contract that establishes the upper limit of costs. If you fall into this category of move, a flat rate quote would likely be far higher than what the move should actually cost for the amount of work required! Do consider scheduling your move to avoid rush hour traffic, because that wait time will be figured into your total hours regardless of how little control you have over its duration.

Choose a flat rate when…

  • You are moving long-distance, more than an hour or so away
  • You are moving a large house or condo, or a lot of boxes and furniture
  • You are moving in a location that regularly has a lot of traffic

Any of the above situations will likely lead to a more lengthy moving process and could vary widely, meaning a flat-rate quote will probably serve you better. The rate will be established prior to the move based on an inventory of items to be transported, and you won’t have to worry about being charged while the movers are stuck in traffic or if the couch proves harder to get through the door than you thought. You know exactly what to expect for fees, the movers can finish your job and move on to another one because they are motivated to be efficient, and nobody has to feel uncomfortable about how charges are being calculated.

Just be sure you are clear about what is included in your move down to the detail to avoid any last-minute changes in how much it costs to move long distance. A signed, detailed quote will do just the trick!

Find out how much to pay movers per hour.

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Unpakt Team