One of the most common questions we get when someone calls about moving is “How much is it going to cost to move me?” So since this is the most common question that people have we thought we’d discuss this some and help you understand your total moving cost.
We know this sounds like a simple question to answer but it can be quite complex. Lets break things down into 3 simple sections to help you understand. Direct Cost, Indirect Cost, and Hidden Cost.
Whether you are doing a full service move, or a DIY move, there is a direct cost associated with it. With a full service move this would be the cost the moving company charges you to move from point A to point B. Most often this is called your estimate or moving quote. The cost is most generally determined by how much weight you are moving and how far you are moving. On local moves it would be based on how much time we anticipated the move to take. To determine your direct cost we encourage you to get several visual estimates, unless you have a moving company that comes highly recommended, then maybe just get one other estimate.
When you receive your estimates they will each have a bottom line number and that is your estimated moving cost. But wait, don’t stop there and say – this one is cheapest I need to go with this one. First thing you need to do is see what services are included in both estimates. Did they quote the same amount of weight? Do both include same valuation coverage? What about packing services and boxes used, are they about the same? Does their inventory (they should provide you a written inventory of their assessment of your home) match the items that I have in my house that stated were being moved? Is their price guaranteed? What dates did they quote in the estimate? Do they match the dates of the other quotes? All of these things can greatly impact the direct cost of your move, and if you only look at the bottom line, you may not be getting an accurate cost, or services you really want.
Indirect cost are the costs associated with your move, but don’t show up on a document showing as a moving cost. These would include things like travel expenses such as hotels and meals and the purchase of incidentals such as additional clothing, toiletries, etc while waiting on your shipment to deliver. If one company guarantees to deliver on a Tuesday and the other company says we’ll deliver you sometime between Tuesday and the following Monday, then you have the possibility of being without your items for 6 days more. There is an indirect cost associated with that. You might be able to stay at a friend and it doesn’t cost you anything, but what if you and your family of 4 is in a hotel for 6 extra days. What does that cost you in lodging, meals, stress of living in hotel, etc. What about your pets? Additional days boarding for them? All of these things are indirect cost of moving. So if you have one moving company that is $1000-1500.00 cheaper but has a week longer delivery then that $1000-$1500 may not actually be cheaper. Make sure to ask your moving company exactly when they will deliver your items and have them put the delivery schedule in writing on your estimate.
The hidden cost associated with moving can actually be significantly more than the direct cost and indirect cost combined. The hidden cost show in 4 major areas: Damage/Loss, Late or Not Showing Up, Moving Scams/Holding Shipment Hostage, Personal Exposure.
Damage/Loss – If a company says they never have damage, and recommend the legal liability coverage then you could additional cost because of theft, damage, repairs, lost or ruined items. One of the hidden cost of moving is the cost of damages done by the moving company that you have to pay for because of inadequate coverage.
Late/Not Showing Up – Two common practices in the moving industry are showing up late, or calling to say they overbooked and can’t show up today for your move. This is extremely common when using less reputable moving companies or moving brokers. What could it cost you if your movers showed up several hours or days late to load your shipment? Could it cost you an additional month or rent or a closing on your house? Missed flights or travel arrangements? Missed work? All of these hidden cost can avoided by avoiding companies who are known for these practices and also show the lowest direct cost on their estimates.
Moving Scams/Holding Furniture Hostage – The internet has made it easy for virtual moving companies to appear reputable and experienced. They are notorious for collecting deposits, demanding more money and holding your furniture hostage until additional payment demands are made. These practices are extremely illegal, but they happen every day to unsuspecting customers who selected a moving company without referrals based solely on price. If you mover doesn’t have a physical location, and someone you can actually meet face to face, then run from these companies or expected significant hidden cost to drive up the true cost of your move.
Personal Liability Exposure – Some moving companies in order to keep cost down don’t have insurance coverage or workers compensation coverage. If something happens on your move and someone gets injured you could be opened to financial and legal liabilities. Make sure your movers are registered with the State of Ohio PUCO and their coverages are validated through them. If they are not listed on the approved movers in the State of Ohio then choose someone else who is.
We know that this may sound like a lot of work and information to navigate so we’re here to help. Part of our free service is to help you have the best moving experience you can. We will be glad to help you analyze all of the different moving companies and give you an honest assessment of what is included in each estimate and what is not. Ultimately we’d like you to chose us, but sometimes we’re not the best fit for your move. We care more that you have a safe and positive moving experience.