Schedule Early and do your Research:
You should be scheduling your movers 1-2 months in advance. Especially if you are moving during the spring/summer months. They book up super fast during that time of year!
I strongly advise you to do some research online before selecting your movers. Research at least 4 different Moving Companies and check out their rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). You'd be surprised how some of the most popular movers have an F Rating. The most complaints we came across were movers breaking items and not wanting to replace them etc. So do your research! Once you do that - schedule for at least 3-4 different Moving Companies to come out and give you a Free Estimate. This is crucial. You will be utterly surprised at the difference in Estimates you will get! Our quotes ranged from a company charging $1000 more then others to as much as 50% more, which is ridiculous! Example one moving company quoted us $5500 and another $2000. Big difference in price! So YES, check around! And schedule early! Most of the less expensive movers will fill up very quickly. You don't want to be stuck using the most expensive moving company.
Bigger isn't Always Better - Don't Dismiss the Little Guys:
Don't be afraid of the smaller name moving companies. We found that many of them actually had better ratings then some of the big guys and cost ALOT LESS! We hired a Moving company from Pittsburgh called Gardner Moving and they brought a 5 man crew, were very professional and actually ended up finishing under estimate. So we were very pleased and are using them this time around too. Our estimated moving cost is around $1700 and that includes packing 3 Large Flat Screen TVs, 2 Glass Curio Cabinets, 2 Large Glass Tops for Tables, 15 Wardrobe Boxes, plus Dissembling and Reassembling 3 Large Beds.
Boxes, Boxes, Boxes:
For free moving boxes, check with your local Dicks Sporting Goods, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Other Grocery Stores, Dollar General, and Department Stores - many times they will have free boxes available. It's best to call ahead to check.
Other places to get free or cheap boxes is on Craigslist and Facebook.
For Cheap or Low Cost Boxes - Check on Craigslist, Facebook and if all else fails...Lowes has cheap boxes - Small to Medium are less then $1 and the Large ones are like $1.15.
Rent your Wardrobe Boxes instead of Buying them! To rent our wardrobe boxes from the movers it was only $5 compared to $15 to buy them. If you really want to buy the boxes, check on Craigslist first! We snagged them last year when we moved for just $5.
Cut Cost by Moving Boxes and Smaller Items Yourself!
In addition to our moving company - the weekend before our move - We are going to rent a Uhaul this time around to cut cost. The 10' - 17' Uhaul Trucks all cost the same which is $29.95 plus .99 Cents per mile. We are not moving that far away so total miles is like 40 for there and back. We also added 2 Dollys to our order. So the cost will be around $100 total to rent the Uhaul and dollies.
We plan to load it with as many of our boxes and smaller items as we can like lamps, glass top smaller tables, glass shelves, smaller flat screen TVs, plants, etc.
Move Expensive Items Yourself:
We will also open box up our computers and laptops and move them ourselves. I wouldn't dare but these on a moving truck. Nothing against them, just my preference. Mainly for the fact that I don't feel like packing them with bubble wrap etc, that just seems like a pain in the butt. I would recommend doing the same if you have expensive jewelry etc. Just box it up and move it yourself in your car for peace of mind.
This will cut down on our moving cost as our mover charges by the hour.
IMPORTANT: The 10' Uhaul Truck does not have an EZ-Load Ramp on it so I would advise not to get that size truck! We learned that the hard way last year when moving my office...my son and friend were not happy LOL! So take it from me, it'll make your life so much easier with the EZ-Load Ramp when unloading the boxes with the dolly.
MOVING SALE - Get Rid of What You Don't Need and Make a Profit:
It makes no sense to pay movers to move junk or stuff you no longer want or need! When we downsized from our last house - We had a HUGE Moving Sale! We knew certain furniture pieces wouldn't fit in our new home plus we didn't want to pay for storage for a year for things that wouldn't fit in our temporary home! So we sold as much as we could! That in itself is another post LOL! So stay tuned for that post and tips on how we were able to make an amazing $12,000 at our Moving Sale!! :)
Other Places to Sell:
Oh we got real creative - What we didn't sell at the Moving Sale - We sold on the Pittsburgh Facebook Fleamarket. Most cities and townships have one so replace city/township name with your own. It's free and allows you to post pictures etc. I set up 6 foot tables in my garage and people would literally find me via my free facebook ad, and call to schedule an appt and come out after work and shop through the tables I had setup in the garage LOL. Fun stuff! This to me was safer then Craigslist as we could put a face with the person and know they were legit.
You can sell things on eBay too. But since I sell on eBay anything that was eBay worthy was already not sitting out in my Moving Sale Lol!!
Donate Items You Can't Sell:
We literally donated about 25 bags to our local Goodwill LOL! Plus was able to write off the donations at tax time. So whatever doesn't sell at your moving Sale - donate it to the Goodwill or Thrift Store and write it off at tax time :)
Clearly Mark Your Boxes Unless You Want a NIGHTMARE!
Although all our boxes were clearly marked, with our previous move to our Heartland Nantucket, I had told the guys to just dump all the boxes in our Kitchen and Morning Room! Why! Why! Why! LOL! Boy did I regret doing that. It was a nightmare to say the least. Mounds and mounds of boxes piled 5 and 6 feet tall LOL! That was a goofball move on my part trying to save a few bucks by with the time LOL! BIG MISTAKE!
So make sure you mark the room where your boxes go Clearly for them to understand which room it is with BIG BLACK MAGIC MARKER on the Front of the Box. Plus if you have kids, put their names on the boxes too! This will save you so much time and confusion when you go to unpack!
Another reason why I think I told them to dump all the boxes in the kitchen is because I got sick of them saying which room is this or where does this go 100 times! LOL!
So another GOOD TIP! On 8x10 Pieces of White Paper - Write your room names in BIG BLACK MARKER on the paper to correspond with your boxes, and the day before the move - tape it to the outside of each room at the New House so your movers will know which boxes go in which room and can quickly get them to the rooms. After all, your typically being charged by the hour so we want them to be able to just keep the flow going. So don't just write Janie's Room - the movers do not know who your little Janie is LOL. If you do this - make sure to have a piece of paper saying Janie's Room on the outside of Janie's room! :)
This little tip will save you time and money.
Protect Your Flooring!
Be sure to tell the Movers to cover all your flooring with either plastic or drop clothes so that they don't scratch or dirty up your flooring during your move. PS. Thanks for the reminder Darla lol :)
Keep Your Receipts for Tax Write Off:
You may qualify to write off your moving expenses. So be sure to keep all your receipts! Especially if moving a home office.
Don't Forget to Tip for the Movers :)
We tipped each mover about $20- 25 each. Average tips should be 5% of your total bill. This is optional of course, but they don't make much so they really appreciate the tip. So if you have it in the budget, it's nice to do so :)
OK Guys and Gals - I think these are all the tips I can think of for now! If I think of more, I will let you know.