Have you passed beyond that stage in life where moving meant calling a few of your friends to give you a hand? If so and you have a move in the works you may be in for some sticker shock. The American Moving and Storage Association, as published on USNews.com, recently released figures that the average cost for an in-state professional move is now $1,170 – assuming 7,570 pounds of stuff. And good luck if you’re moving from one state to another because in this case the cost averages $5630.
Fortunately, you can keep your moving costs under control. The way to begin is by creating a master checklist to collect information and consider all the costs and possible aspects of the move. This could even include a pro and con list where you address all the conceivable lifestyle and economic outcomes – which are the real long-term costs and benefits of the move. If after weighing the pros and cons you decide the move is still a good idea or if it’s a move you’re being forced to make because of circumstances there are things you could do to control its costs.
Get multiple estimates
You should ask at least three US Department of Transportation-registered movers to walk through your place and give you an estimate as to how much the move will cost. They may also be able to give you some help in determining how you could cut costs by getting rid of some stuff or storing it instead of moving it. There are also online resources available that can help you with these estimates.
Find some good advisors
Do you have a home that you plan to sell? Then get a licensed real estate broker or agent to do an evaluation of your property’s value and suggest any improvements or repairs that could help maximize your sale price. You might also discuss your move with a qualified financial planner or tax advisor as to how it will affect your finances. And, of course, if you’re selling your property make sure you get an experienced real estate attorney to review your broker and sales contracts.
Began downsizing now
By far and away the best way to reduce the cost of a move is to reduce the amount of stuff being moved as moving companies base their fees on cargo weight and any vehicles being moved. If you get early estimates from those three movers we mentioned earlier this should help you decide what you can take versus what you need to leave behind. If you have valuables, such as antique furniture you won’t be moving and believe you could sell, get a professional appraiser or at least checkout marketplace sources such as eBay. This will give you a realistic idea of their value. If you won’t be moving some fairly decent stuff then invite your friends and family members to come and take whatever it is they want. That way you’ll know some of your stuff is going to a good home. If the stuff you’ll be leaving behind isn’t all that valuable think about having a garage sale and earning some extra money for the move and then donating whatever is left over to Goodwill or the Salvation Army where that old stuff could convert into a nice deduction.
Start saving boxes
Buying boxes from the moving company cost a lot more than you might imagine. So start saving boxes as far in advance as you can to reduce that cost. One of the best types of boxes for packing stuff is a copy paper box. They’re lightweight, strong and can be easily picked up and carried. Plus they are the perfect size for many household items.
Pack stuff yourself
Another way to save money on your move is to pack things yourself instead of paying the mover. You can carefully wrap up things in blankets, sheets, thick towels, comforters or even old newspapers. This eliminates the need to buy costly bubble wrap and other packing materials or pay the mover. Just make sure that you pack things carefully. Also, understand that the moving company won’t take responsibility for anything you packed yourself that gets broken in the move.
Time the move if you can
According to the data from Census.gov, one in nine of the people in this country move over a one-year period. We understand that you may not be able to time your move but if you can be sure to schedule it between September and May. The summer months of June through August are the busiest time for movers because families want to make their moves when their children are out of school. If you move between September and May you should get the best rates, which could save you some real money.
Some moving companies offer what’s called a transport only option. This is where the company drops off a storage container at your house and then gives you several days or weeks to fill it. When you have it filled, you call the moving company and it picks it up and takes it to your destination. Of course, you will then be responsible for unloading the container’s contents and moving everything into your new place.
Ask if your employer will help
If the reason you’re moving is for business purposes, make sure to ask your employer if it will cover some of your moving expenses. The current trend is for employers to offer their people a lump sum to cover their moving costs. If you are fortunate to have one of these employers and watch your moving costs very carefully you could actually make money on the move. If your employer doesn’t cover any of your moving expenses you should still be able to deduct some of them from your income tax return, which would soften the blow a bit.
Insure the items you’re moving
Make sure that you properly insure the contents of your move. According to an article published on Moving.com, there are more than 40 million moves happening in the US each year. You can be sure that there are some who will encounter problems in transit. The Insurance Information Institute has a helpful guide with information about properly insuring the possessions you’re moving. Your moving company may offer this insurance. If not, you will need to talk with your insurance agent.
Have a cash reserve for fees, deposits and incidentals
If you’ve never made a major move before you could easily be blindsided by dozens of small unexpected expenses that can jump up and bite you before, during and after your move. Make sure that you budget for these hidden costs, which typically includes deposits, groceries, and trips to the discount or home store.