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Top 7 Hidden Moving Fees and How to Avoid Them

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Moving your home can be expensive, with the total cost of moving falling anywhere between $2,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on what you're moving, how far you're going and several other factors. One of the best ways to keep the price low is to understand some of the hidden fees of moving, decide if you want to pay them, and if not, see what you can do to eliminate them.

avoid hidden moving fees

Below we'll cover some of the common fees you might expect to pay and let you know how to avoid of them. Of course, in some cases, convenience will outweigh the costs -- talk to your family and your moving company to see what you want to do to save money and what you want to leave to the professionals.

Let's get into it.

1. Paying movers to pack up your belongings

Movers will offer to pack up your belongings for you, for a price. They typically charge by the hour to have people come in and pack up your home. These may be your moving team, or they could be specialist packers. Although they will likely pack up your home faster than you could, you will pay for the privilege.

For example, if you pay $60 per person per hour to pack, then having the two of them spend five hours packing up your home will cost $600.

How to avoid packing costs: Avoiding this fee is simple, just do the packing yourself. It will likely be slower, but you and your family can do it at your leisure, and the only cost, apart from your time, will be packing materials.

  • Talk to local grocery and other stores and see if they have spare boxes you can take
  • Research buying packing materials online as you may be able to find them cheaper than a mover will sell them for
  • Talk to other people in your area who have just moved and ask if you can reuse their packing materials
  • Look into reusable packing materials, movers may be able to rent these to you at a reduced cost

2. Paying movers loading and unloading costs

Movers will charge to load all of your household goods onto their truck and then unload it again the other end. Bear in mind that this cost may be worthwhile -- they are professional trained to move and carry large, awkward and heavy items.

How to avoid loading and unloading costs: Many movers will drop a trailer off at your home, so you can load your items up at your leisure. This depends on you having space for the trailer on your property and having enough time put aside to load up your possessions. Likewise, some movers will also leave the trailer at your new home so you can unload it on your own time frame.

3. Paying movers based on weight or quantity of items

Take care of your physical health and avoid injury when loading or unloading items, especially when carrying heavy possessions.

How to reduce quantity and weight costs: The easiest ways to reduce these costs is to have less stuff. Consider what you're really going to need in your new home. Chances are, if you haven't used something for the last two or three years, you're not going to need it again.

Look into hosting a garage sale, give away unwanted items to charities or thrift stores and recycle whatever you can. Not only will you be doing good, you'll also save money on your moving costs -- everybody wins!

4. Paying movers stair carry costs

Stair carry costs are often charged when a mover has to collect or take goods to a different floor in the house, or has to negotiate steps outside your property when loading or unloading the vehicle.

How to avoid stair carry costs: The only way to avoid stair carry costs is to make sure movers don't have to carry items up or down stairs. This means you'll need to move the items to the main floor yourself. If you have stairs outside your property, you may want to move items to where they can be easily loaded onto the truck. At your destination, let them stack boxes and items the main floor and move them up or down stairs when you have time.

5. Disassembling, disconnecting, assembling and connecting furniture and appliances

Movers or other professionals will charge you to disassemble furniture and disconnect appliances in your old house and reverse the process in the new one. If you have a lot of furniture or appliances to move, this can be costly.

How to avoid appliance and furniture costs: There are a few different ways to eliminate or reduce these costs. The easiest way to avoid paying these fees is to do everything yourself.

  • Disassemble and reassemble furniture yourself -- just make sure you know where all the hex keys/allen wrenches are
  • Websites like TaskRabbit allow you to hire someone to disassemble and reassemble furniture, often at a very good rate
  • Speak with a tradesman -- like an electrician or plumber -- about a fixed price quote to disconnect and reconnect various appliances
  • Consider leaving furniture and appliances behind, selling certain items with the home and buying replacements in your new property

Although these are the main fees, there are a few others you can consider and plan for:

  • Insurance costs for moving items to protect them from damage
  • Storage unit costs for holding on to items before or after you've moved them
  • Costs for takeaways and food for the first few days
  • Costs for professional cleaning of your old or new home

Once you've done what you can to realistically reduce costs, speak with various movers about fees. Explain what you've done to keep costs down and ask them to provide you with a solid estimate (preferably binding) for the work you're expecting them to do.

Paul Maplesden  Posted by Paul Maplesden on October 26, 2018

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