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Going The DIY Route
It's no surprise that moving professionals think you should hire them. And if you have anything more than a small van load, they have a valid point. “Anyone who tries to move on their own forgets how completely exhausting and difficult it is,” says Josh Cohen, Founder and CEO of Junkluggers and Luggers Moving.
He also has a good point that anyone who dreams of just using an Uber XL often forgets: “There are so many things that can go wrong that will end up costing you more than just hiring a professional mover from the start.”
Throwing everything in a bag may work for a weekend getaway, but when it comes to moving to a new place — even if it’s just a bedroom’s worth of stuff — you're dealing with a whole different beast.
“Time and time again, we see customers who underestimate the amount of time needed to prepare for their move,” cautions Randy Rachell, Mayflower Moving training and development coordinator.
Rachell also points out that those who plan to do all of their own packing often find themselves too stressed to complete the job before the scheduled move date, and sometimes even end up asking for help from professionals at the last minute, which significantly increases the cost of the move.
While the pros we talked to say it's smart to compare rates from different moving companies, they cautioned against putting too much emphasis on comparing online quotes.
The only way to get an accurate quote is to have the movers come and conduct a physical survey of your space and stuff, explains Andy Kroll, general manager of North American Van Lines. That way, the number will be much more within the range of what you’ll actually end up paying on moving day.
A Lack Of References
A positive word-of-mouth recommendation is the gold standard for a moving company, so ask around. And resist the urge to go with a "man with a van." If the person is not licensed, he or she won’t be liable for damage. You should be looking for a mover who is licensed with the American Moving and Storage Association, which has a consumer protection and certification program for professional moving companies.
Cheap-O Moving Supplies
While it might seem wallet-friendly to get free boxes from a local store, it puts your belongings at risk by exposing them to possible moisture and even vermin (ew!). Rachell points out that upcycled boxes also tend not to be as sturdy and well-sized for the movers to stack. A small investment in professional packing materials — rented bins are great if you’re trying to be eco-friendly (and they're sometimes more affordable) — goes a long way towards ensuring the move goes smoothly and your belongings arrive unharmed.