How to avoid last-minute moving costs?

There are proven ways to avoid last-minute moving costs.More about Ethan Greenfield

It is a well-known fact that moving is expensive. It is no secret that there are proven ways to reduce the moving costs either. So, if you’re planning a residential move, you have probably researched your options, found out how much money you’re going to need for each stage of the relocation process, evaluated your finances, set up a moving budget, and used all the tricks for cutting down the final cost that are applicable in your case.

What you may not have foreseen and planned for, however, are some unexpected moving expenses that may be incurred in the last minute – extra fees, additional charges, forgotten or hidden costs, etc. Such surprising last-minute costs can add greatly to the financial burden of moving house and leave you upset and frustrated (especially so when you realize that most of those extra expenses are perfectly avoidable).

In fact, careful planning and insightful thinking is all it takes to avoid last-minute moving costs and save your relocation budget. Just follow the helpful tips below and you’ll be able to keep your money in your pocket on moving day:

Save on unnecessary extra services

Different accessorial moving services may or may not be necessary for the successful completion of your move. It depends on your particular needs and requirements, as well as on the specific circumstances in your case. What matters, however, is to know what services your movers consider to be additional moving services and how much they charge for them (each moving company has the liberty to set its own rates).

Once you decide on the extra services you’d like to use (or won’t be able to do without), make sure they’re explicitly stated in the price estimate and double-check not only their respective charges but also the conditions under which they will be performed. Then, do your best to eliminate the factors that may necessitate any other additional services and incur extra moving expenses:

  • Pack your belongings yourself – Using professional packing services will save you a lot of time and effort (the pros will pack your entire home in the course of several hours) and will ensure your peace of mind (your items will be provided with the best possible protection), but will significantly increase the final moving cost – you will be charged based on the time required to pack your items, the amount and the type of packing materials used, and the complexity of the job (click here to see the average costs of packing a house). If you pack your items yourself, you’ll save all that money, of course;
  • Pack properly – If you have packed your belongings yourself but haven’t done it properly (if you haven’t provided adequate protection for your items, packed non-allowables, etc.), the movers will either ask you to repack or will offer to do the job for you. Naturally, this will incur an extra last-minute packing fee;
  • Be ready by the time the movers arrive – The better prepared you’re, the faster and smoother your relocation will go. If you’re not ready, however, the movers will have to wait or to take care of the remaining tasks – disassembling furniture, disconnecting appliances, preparing household items for shipment, protecting your old home against property damage, etc. In this case, you’ll be charged for the extra time spent in completing the necessary preparations, as well as for the additional services;
  • Reserve a convenient parking place for the moving truck – If the movers have to carry your belongings for a considerable distance (more than 50-75 feet) between your home and the parked moving truck, you’ll be charged an additional long carry fee. Reserving a parking place directly in front of the entrance to your residence will allow you to save on this unnecessary extra moving cost;
  • Reserve an elevator – If you’re moving out of or into an apartment on the upper floors of a building and the movers have to take your items up or down the stairs or to wait for the elevator, you’ll be charged an additional elevator fee or flight charge (calculated per flight of stairs). All you need to do in order to avoid this last-minute cost is to reserve the elevator for the time period of the delivery/pickup;
  • Get your new home ready in time – If, for some reason or another, you can’t receive your items at the pre-agreed time, the movers will wait for awhile and then take your shipment to storage. You’ll be charged for the waiting time (calculated on an hourly basis) and if your items are put into storage, all the incurred extra costs will be at your expense. Besides, you’ll have to pay a re-delivery fee for having your belongings transported to your home for a second time. To avoid paying for storage, you need to have your new property ready by the time your shipment arrives.

Last minute extra services result in extra last minute moving costs. To avoid such unexpected moving expenses, you need to plan your relocation well enough to eliminate the need for undesired additional services and to outsmart any cunning strategies set up to drain your wallet (it is common practice for dishonest movers to come up with deceitful ways to overcharge their customers for alleged extra services).

Avoid costly last-minute mistakes

Making last-minute moving mistakes is another sure way to incur last-minute moving costs. To avoid such emotionally- and financially-draining moving scenarios, make sure you:

1. Don’t hire movers at the last minute – Waiting till the last possible moment to book your move will cost you dearly – not only will you have to pay more for last-minute moving services, but you’ll have to take whatever is available (inconvenient pick-up and delivery dates, inexperienced movers, etc.). Not to mention that you won’t have the time to research the moving company and may easily fall victim to moving scams.

2. Provide your chosen movers with all the necessary information – When a representative of the moving company comes to your home for a visual survey, make sure you disclose all the relevant information about the items you want to relocate, the specifics of the pickup and drop-off locations, any possible difficulties that may occur, any special handling requirements you may have, etc. It is important to discuss the details of your move before the final estimate is prepared, so that all the conditions and costs are included in it and no financial surprises occur on Moving day

3. Avoid last-minute packing mistakes:

  • Deciding to pack a few more items in the last moment will increase the weight of your shipment and will result in extra moving costs;
  • Running out of packing materials on moving day (when you need to pack a few forgotten items, or need to repack some improperly packed objects) will leave you little choice but to buy extra packing supplies from the movers at very high prices;
  • Packing something you’re going to need on moving day or during the next couple of days in some of the boxes that are meant to go in the moving truck will result in wasted time (opening the boxes, searching for the necessary items, resealing the boxes) and will incur an extra fee for waiting.

4. Keep your essentials with you – Make sure you have all your documents and valuables, as well as your box of essentials, with you all the time. Otherwise, you may end up buying things you already own (a new toothbrush because your old one is packed away in a moving box and loaded on the moving truck that is due to arrive in 4 days, for example) or getting in trouble because you don’t have a document you need.

Avoid last minute fraudulent attempts

Some unscrupulous movers may try to rip a little more money off you at the last possible moment. Be careful not to:

  • Sign a new estimate, no matter what unforeseen conditions or unexpected circumstances the movers may claim to have encountered during your move. (See also: Everything you need to know about moving company paperwork);
  • Entrust any valuables to the movers, as they may “mysteriously” disappear during the transportation. (See also: What items to move yourself);
  • Make any upfront payments or agree on payment methods, different from the one specified in the moving contract. (See also: The red flags of moving fraud)

One last piece of advice – plan your moving days costs in advance, so that you don’t end up without enough cash to provide for:

  • any necessary extra packing supplies, protective materials, and/or cleaning supplies;
  • hiring a babysitter or a pet sitter;
  • snacks and drinks for you and your family, as well as for the movers and/or friends who come to help you move;
  • tips for the movers;
  • fuel, road tolls, parking fees, and other travel expenses (as well as meals and lodgings on the way, if necessary).

As can be seen, careful planning and proper preparation is all you need to avoid last-minute moving costs. It is, therefore, perfectly possible to ensure that no unpleasant financial surprises ruin your moving experience. Good luck!

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