What factors impact moving company costs?
Moving estimates can vary by thousands, depending on several factors. Some of them include:
- Whether the move is full service or not
- How much weight needs to be moved
- The presence of challenging obstacles, like stairs
- Whether fragile or delicate items need to be moved
- The time of the year
- The mover’s experience and efficiency
Most of these factors are known upfront, but a few, like the weight involved in transport, will only be obvious once you’ve received a few estimates. As such, it’s a good idea to get a few detailed estimates before choosing a mover, as this will give you a clear idea of what factors impact moving costs.
Full service moves cost more, but save time
There are two types of moves in the residential moving industry. They include:
During a standard move, the client packs all of their belongings and generally makes the home ready for as quick a move as possible. The moving professionals show up with a moving truck and all necessary moving equipment, like dollies, and load everything on the truck. Once everything is on the truck, the movers drive it to the new home, unload everything and carry it to where it needs to go in the home.
Full service moves
During a full service move, the professionals take care of everything the client doesn’t want to deal with. If all a homeowner needs is help with loading and unloading, a standard move is sufficient. However, professionals can also pack everything and disassemble everything at the old home, and then unpack and reassemble everything at the new house.
The more services you’ll require, the more the move will cost. However, for people with physical or time limitations, letting the professionals handle everything may be well worth the cost. Professionals are willing to customize their services, too, so it’s rarely an everything or standard choice. If you would prefer to let professionals do the packing, but you want to handle the unpacking, professional moving companies can adjust their fees accordingly.
Both standard and full service moves can be local, long distance, interstate or international.
Does it cost more to move fragile items?
Experienced moving companies expect to handle some fragile items during the job, and they have special packing materials and boxes for this task. In most cases, there won’t be a fee associated with transporting fragile items, but there are a few exceptions. For example:
1. Pianos – In general, anything that is bulky, heavy and fragile is going to cost more to move, and a piano checks all three boxes. Pianos are extremely expensive and susceptible to damage, including cosmetic damage. An errant bump may be enough to affect the piano’s sound or function, too, so there is a lot to consider when transporting one of these instruments.
That’s why many homeowners select professional movers that have experience with moving pianos. It normally takes extra labor and equipment, like special piano dollies, to methodically get the piano out the front door. If the front door isn’t an option, a crane may be needed to fit the piano through a large window.
2. Pool tables – Pool tables are a common specialty item that professional movers will charge extra to transport. Like with a piano, pool tables are heavy, bulky and easy to damage. Pool tables are also finely calibrated for proper play, so movers must be careful when handling them.
3. Artwork – Fine art requires a fine touch, as few items are as delicate as a piece of artwork. Professional movers will charge more to transport fine art, but there’s a lot of variance in what they will charge. For example, it might not cost much more to move a few standard size paintings. However, moving a sculpture that weighs several hundred pounds will take added labor and equipment. Particularly delicate items, like crystal or glass chandeliers, require extra care and attention, and maybe additional truck space to transport safely.
Items like these will increase the cost of a move, but with an experienced moving crew, you’re getting a team of people that know how to safely transport valuables. You’re also getting enough labor and equipment to move those things carefully, so the chances of an accident are kept to a minimum.
How does the home’s layout influence moving costs?
Professional movers are prepared for most residential properties, so they can move efficiently through the home and get everything out in short order. In some cases, though, there may be obstacles that slow the movers down or require them to exert themselves more. Professional movers may charge extra to navigate these obstacles, which may include:
- Stairs – Most professional movers will charge a flat fee for each flight of stairs, so for the vast majority of properties, only a single instance of this fee will be incurred.
- Elevators – Professional movers may also charge a one-time fee if your belongings will need to be taken down an elevator. The tight confines involved may also slow the movers down.
- Restricted areas – If the movers cannot access parts of the property and have to adjust their route accordingly, an additional fee may be required.
- A difficult parking situation – Moving trucks are tough to maneuver and if your home doesn’t have enough parking space to accommodate one, the movers may need to walk further to load things into the truck. That may come with an additional fee.
Do moving services cost less during the winter?
Homeowners can reduce their moving costs by picking the best time of the year, and month, to commit to the process. The spring and summer tend to be the most active months of the year for moving companies, so if you schedule your move then, you may have to pay extra or choose a moving service that has trucks and labor available.
Further, the beginning and end of every month are when people do most of their moving, as this is when most leases terminate. If you can time the move for the middle of the month, your expected moving costs will likely be lower.
Do experienced movers cost more?
Like with most industries, you get what you pay for with a professional mover. Cheap movers may not be insured, may not have enough equipment or manpower, or they may make up for this by speeding through the moving process and being careless.
An experienced moving team may cost a bit more, but that experience means the movers will be able to work efficiently without compromising safety. A more efficient move may cost more per hour, but it will often take less time. The tradeoff is worth it for many homeowners.
There are several factors that may affect the cost of your move, but many of those factors are in your control. Be sure to choose a reputable and experienced moving company for the peace of mind that money can’t buy.