Frequently Asked Questions Saving Money on Move Day What can I do to keep costs down during my move? Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move? How is the cost estimate determined on a local move? Is labor the only moving cost I will experience? Are there any “unexpected” costs I should be aware of? How accurate will the cost estimate for my move be? Should I tip my movers? If I’ve hired the “professionals,” is there any point in purchasing moving insurance? Q: What can I do to keep costs down during my move? A: If you’re engaging professional movers, you should mention your cost concerns during your initial call with a sales person. Similar to airlines or hotels, most moving companies have a sliding scale of prices that reflect supply and demand on a particular day. Generally, the summer months are the busiest. Saturdays and the beginning and end of each month are busy year-round. The less busy times tend to be Monday through Thursday in the middle weeks of the month. If you are flexible with your move date-an overlap between when you need to be out of your old home and are able to get into your new home helps- you’re certain to get the best value. Additionally, your sales person can provide advice on other cost-saving measures, including efficient preparation in advance of moving day. Q: Can I keep costs down by having a family member or friend help with the move? A: Absolutely. Having your friends move you in a rented truck is certainly the lowest-cost option-assuming nothing is broken. If items are damaged, it’s generally difficult to get an insurance carrier to replace them. If you choose to hire professional movers, your friends can be most helpful in preparing for the move–packing boxes, shoveling a pathway in the snow between the moving truck and the door, or caring for your pets or children. On moving day, you should let the professionals handle the job entirely–they are highly trained and therefore best suited to carry the weight and negotiate the difficult access ways. Remember that you’re paying your moving crew by the hour, and generally speaking, having non-professionals on the job alongside them only slows things down and costs you more in the long run. Q: How is the cost estimate determined on a local move? A: Most moving companies base their estimates for local moves on an hourly rate, which includes drive time from the moving company to your original home to your destination and back again to the moving company’s home base. Some customers are surprised by the extent of the drive time costs, which result from the fact that moving trucks can not travel as fast as passenger cars on the highway, and are often excluded from non-truck routes, resulting in longer trip mileage and travel time. Q: Is labor the only moving cost I will experience? A: Labor represents the majority of the moving expense. However, you should also budget for packing supplies-boxes, tape, bubble wrap, pads, etc. Generally speaking, moving supplies can run approximately 20% of your labor costs. Q: Are there any “unexpected” costs I should be aware of? A: Generally, unexpected costs result from a breakdown in communication between the customer and the moving company. Do not be in a rush when you are booking your move. Taking the time up front to talk to your sales person will make both parties better aware of the situation they will encounter on moving day. For example, have you remodeled your house since you moved in? If so, some of the furniture that went in originally may not come out the same way. Have you purchased any furniture that had to be assembled in your home? And of course, if something was craned or hoisted into your home when you moved in, be certain to mention that as well. Q: How accurate will the cost estimate for my move be? A: Most moving companies’ estimates are non-binding. This means the actual cost may vary a little or a lot from the original estimate. The best way to ensure that your move comes in on-target with your estimate is to offer as much information as possible at the time of the estimate. Since costs are projected based on an hourly rate, neglecting to mention an ancillary piece of the move at the time of the estimate does not mean that your move will cost less, but rather that your moving crew will be less prepared to do it. They may show up with fewer movers or trucks or equipment than they would have brought had they known up front what the situation would require, which may in the end escalate costs. Because you’re paying by the hour, if the move takes less time than was estimated, your actual bill will be reduced accordingly. Q: Should I tip my movers? A: Moving is a service industry. While there is not a set amount of gratuity expected by movers as there is by servers in restaurants, for example, if you feel that the job was done efficiently and effectively, you should feel free to tip your movers accordingly. Q: If I’ve hired the “professionals,” is there any point in purchasing moving insurance? A: Your belongings should be insured during the move against any unforeseen circumstances. Check with your homeowner’s policy. If your insurance provider does not cover items while in transit or in someone else’s vehicle, or if they only cover against major disasters versus minor damage to individual items, you should definitely purchase moving insurance from your moving company. Without insurance, moving companies are only liable to cover your goods for 60 cents per pound. As for the amount of coverage you should purchase, most moving companies insure the goods as a whole, and don’t insure individual items. Therefore, you should consider the total value of your goods and purchase enough insurance to cover all of the contents of your home.