We know you: you’ve done your homework. You looked at all every cost you could find associated with your upcoming moving day. You compared DIY van rental to hiring a moving company, and you looked at whether you should sell your stuff or bring it with you. Now you’re comparing a variety of moving quotes to find out which moving company is the best choice. But with all of the fine print, you’re starting to suspect: there may be some hidden costs in moving quotes!
Luckily, you’ve got us here at Unpakt to decipher it all for you. So before you sign on any dotted lines, use our guide to figure out what’s included — and what isn’t — in your home moving quote in 2020.
How is your estimate determined?
If you are moving locally, your moving company may offer you a quote based on an hourly estimate of how long the move will take. Keep in mind, some companies will offer a realistic quote while others will low-ball the numbers to entice you to hire them! Be skeptical of any company that assures you their crew can move your belongings in record time. In this case, you may end up with added costs when the move takes longer than initially quoted. Find out the hourly rate, and be prepared for overage.
If you are moving long distance, your estimate is probably based on the weight or volume of your shipment. The key factor to watch for here: did the company ask for an in-depth inventory or a walk-through to assess everything you’re shipping? If so, they probably got a good sense of how many large pieces of furniture or unique, fragile items they will need to move. This will allow them to give you the most accurate estimate, with less chance of major changes on moving day.
Whether you’re moving long distance or locally, pay attention to how much detail is included in your estimate. The more comprehensive the estimate is, the more accurate it will be on moving day.
Is anything omitted from the moving estimate?
Here’s where reading the fine print pays off. You might assume that certain things are logically included in your moving insurance, but it’s possible they aren’t. Look through the fine print for:
- Packing supplies fees. If you hire the company to pack your belongings, do they include enough supplies to get the job done or will they charge you extra beyond a certain number of boxes?
- Extra charges for bulky items. That overstuffed sofa may be comfy, but it’s awkward to carry. Look for language that suggests your movers could charge you more for that item.
- Long carry fees. If your movers are forced to carry things for a longer distance than usual due to parking availability or lack of elevator, expect to pay for it. Moving companies will usually have a flat fee per so many feet. You can prevent this fee by arranging for a parking permit to secure a spot near the door. Or if your movers will be forced to carry things long distances, get this included in the up-front estimate.
- Flight charges. If your building doesn’t have an elevator or, for some reason, the elevator isn’t available, there may be charges for each flight of stairs. Take note of how many flights of stairs are included in your quote. From there you can determine if there might be extra charges, and how much.
Miscellaneous extra charges
Once you receive your final bill, you may be surprised to see any of the following fees included. Things like:
- Environmental/disposal fee. If your movers do your unpacking too, they may charge you for disposal of the used packing materials. This is one of the most unexpected charges for many people, so do yourself a favor and ask your mover about this hidden moving cost ahead of time.
- Travel charge. If you’re moving locally, you may see this added on to your hourly rate charge. It essentially covers the time it took for your movers to travel from their office to your home.
- Storage or delayed delivery charge. This is more common for long-distance moving. If you need your shipment delivered on a specific day, your movers may need to store your belongings in their warehouse for a period of time. Each day of storage will accrue a storage charge, so try to be precise about the timing of your shipment to avoid these charges.
Tipping your movers
Tipping your movers is customary, so plan ahead for this cost. For hourly rate movers completing a local move, consider tipping them between $5-8 per hour, per mover. How much you tip depends on how good a job the movers did, of course! For long distance movers who don’t work by the hour, $50-$200 for a multi-day move is customary. Be sure to double-check that the company doesn’t include “gratuity” or a service charge on your bill! You want to thank your movers, but probably not with double the usual tip.
With some careful preparation and attention, you can catch all of the potential hidden costs in home moving quotes ahead of time. This will allow you to budget for your move appropriately and sail through moving day without issue. Happy moving!