Summer is, of course,
the peak moving season.
Some people will move themselves,
renting a 24-foot truck from U-Haul
or Ryder and paying friends with food
and beer to help. Others will hire
professionals, with mixed results,
depending on the reliability of the
moving company and the quality of
In any move, timing is essential.
With so many people moving in so short
a time, moving companies can be booked
so far in advance that the best you
can do might not do at all.
The experts suggests that four to
six weeks in advance of the move is
a good time to begin contacting companies
The best thing to do first is to
decide what you will be moving. That
is, you should think about getting
rid of the stuff you don't need, and
that will make your move easier and
There's no reason to pay to move
junk you'll never use from one house
to another. If you can't get rid of
stuff yourself, you can always hire
a professional to help you.
By the time most people have reached
their 40's and 50's, they have been
collecting stuff without pause for
more than 20 years. Garages hold a
collection of bikes and lawn equipment
instead of cars. Closets have clothes
that their owners would wear again
if only they could lose 10 pounds.
Remember that moving companies base
estimates partly on the number of
pounds they have to move. So the less
extraneous stuff to move, the better.
If you hire professional movers,
a good source for names is your real
Though professional movers generally
return telephone calls from prospective
customers, that's no guarantee that
the first one you call will be able
to pencil you into the schedule.
So get several names and keep calling
until you get one whose schedule meshes
with yours. By calling several weeks
in advance of the move, you give the
mover a chance to look at what has
to be done at your end.
You get what you pay for. Usually,
the size of what is being moved is
not as important as how it is being
moved. And if you go for the lowest
price, you take your chances.
Rates, while regulated, are somewhat
competitive and dictated by consumer
Local moves are based on an hourly
rate and the amount of time it takes
to load and unload your possessions.
There usually is a minimum charge,
often three or four hours.
The minimum depends on the time of
year. If you move locally at peak
time, it could be as much as eight
Laws in many states provide a choice
to movers and consumers on whether
the charge is determined by hour or
It is customary to give each member
of the moving team a tip. If you are
uncertain of the amount, you should
ask the representative of the moving
company when he or she visits to provide
The final cost of the move is based
on the weight of the shipment and
whatever additional services you asked
the mover to perform, such as packing
your belongings or crating delicate
items such as computers and television
sets or works of art.
The costs of packing material also
In pricing a move, the estimator
takes a number of things into consideration
other than weight.
Most movers don't depend on weight
as much as they do on volume or quantity.
It involves determining how much space
the items being moved will take up,
how large a truck will accommodate
it, and how much one guy can move
in X number of hours.
In addition, the estimator considers
the physical barriers that may be
involved that will make the work longer
and tougher -- lots of stairs, difficult
turns, big furniture, whether the
building has an elevator.
If the estimate was too low, you
will likely be asked to pay it and
up to 10 percent of the overage upon
delivery, with the balance due in
By law, payment of the estimate is
made before your possessions can be
unloaded at your new address. In addition,
payment must be made by certified
or cashier's check, traveler's checks,
or a money order payable to the mover.
No personal checks are accepted.