Post details: Choosing a Mover


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Choosing a Mover

Should you hire movers or do it yourself?

General Tips

Your lifestyle and the distance of the move could be determining factors for deciding whether or not you hire movers. If your move is local, for instance, it may make more sense to handle it yourself and save hundreds of dollars.

Also, consider the work involved: a houseful of wicker, for example, costs much less to move than a houseful of heavy antiques. (But paying the movers to lift that heavy armoire may be worth the price.) Moving during peak times -- the usual school breaks -- costs more, and homes with minimal access or apartments with lots of steps will add to the final cost.

Allow some leeway in your moving schedule, so you don't end up behind before you pack a single box. Hire a moving company or contract to rent a moving truck at least eight weeks before your planned moving date.

If you're planning a summertime move, you may have to move during the week. Weekends are the busiest times for moving, and the equipment you need may not be available.

Using Professional Movers

The simplest way to move is to hire professionals to pack up your household and drive away. If you do this, ask several moving companies to come to your home and give you cost estimates. The estimates are generally not binding, but some movers will give binding estimates guaranteed to be your final cost.

Although you will know exactly what your moving costs will be, the binding estimate could actually be higher than the cost based on the weight of your possessions. If, however, your goods end up weighing more than the mover estimates, the mover cannot charge you more.

Packing materials can add quite a bit to the cost of moving. Whether the movers are doing your packing or you are doing it yourself, try to get used boxes from the moving company -- they should cost you about half as much as new. Or visit your local grocery store -- it may have free boxes for the taking.

Even when you use a professional mover, there are ways to cut expenses. If possible, avoid the peak summer season. Minimize accessory charges -- hooking up appliances and moving heavy furniture up more than one flight of stairs. Also, do as much of the packing as you can (leave expensive and fragile items to the movers for insurance reasons) and don't take expendable items.

Moving Yourself

If you pack your possessions and move in a rented truck, you'll probably cut your moving bill in half. You will save money, but you'll also increase the amount of work and worry for yourself, and there is a financial drawback.

Generally you can only insure up to $25,000 for personal property, and claims are valid only for major damages (fire, accident, etc.). If your grandmother's cut-glass bowl gets broken because you have to slam on the brakes, that's a packing problem not covered by most companies.

The day you reserve a moving truck is a good time to review your homeowner's insurance policy to determine if it covers your possessions during a move. If it doesn't, you can usually buy cargo insurance through the truck-rental firm. Cargo insurance protects against accidental loss or damage to your possessions while in the rental truck.

Whichever method you use to move, be sure to save receipts. If you are moving in conjunction with a job, and itemize on your tax returns, you can write off all moving expenses at tax time.

Better Homes and Gardens



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