Thursday, August 20, 2009


Has anyone ever had a good experience with movers?

Moving is one of the biggest nightmares in life. All the junk you have to sort through.....all the dust you've well as all that stuff you had to save that has never seen the light of day since the last time you moved.

That little litany reminds TEAM CHEAPIOSITY of a major moving disaster that happened to a couple of old friends. They did everything right, preparing for their move cross country from New York City to Los Angeles. They used a major nationwide mover. They carefully packed all their cherished possessions in bubble wrap and labeled everything perfectly. In their empty apartment, they waited patiently for their belongings to arrive. A couple of days passed, and a representative of the major nationwide mover called to let them know that their moving van was in an accident, flipped over and caught fire. Everything they owned was gone, every stitch, every page, every single thing EXCEPT for one item, a wedding gift that they hated!

True story. Why would anyone make that up? Recognizing that our friends move was catastrophic and probably quite rare, your knowing how to intelligently face one of life's bigger stresses can save you a lot of money and a lot of anxiety. And there's probably some comfort in knowing that no matter how badly any move of yours may go, you'll probably do way better than our friends did.

Here's some more useful tips:

Shop around
Moving costs vary wildly so be sure to get estimates from at least three moving companies before you hire someone. As free site: lets consumers put out a call for bids, and registered movers can then respond online for easy comparison shopping. (Make sure estimates include how long the job will take so you can effectively compare flat-fee and hourly bids.)
Also ask the mover to inspect your home and goods in person ahead of time to make sure there aren't any surprise charges come moving day. And inquire about any other fees that could come into play, and under what circumstances. Some movers, for example, pay any parking or traffic tickets incurred during the move, while others pass them along to the customer. Good to know in advance.

Conduct a background check
Picking a mover based solely on price is a big mistake. Check and for consumer reviews, and ask the moving company for three recent customers to call. Your state's public service commission should also be able to tell you if a mover is licensed and in good standing.

Pare back on belongings
Whether a moving estimate is based on weight or a per-hour rate, more stuff almost always results in a bigger bill. As you pack, weed out items to sell at a yard sale, donate to charity or throw out. Not only will you save money on the move itself, but you'll also get some cash back in the form of yard-sale proceeds or tax deductions. (Don't sell things to save on the move if you're going to need to buy them again at the other end. Do the math.)
Reduce the mover's workload
Move un-packable items like lamps and houseplants on your own — or at least carry them out to the moving van. Every time the movers go into your house, it takes more time, which you're paying for. Also, disassemble items like bed frames before movers arrive so you don't have to pay for the time it takes them to do it.

Know what's covered
Some homeowners insurance policies cover belongings in transit. Moving company policies typically pay out by pound, rather than by the item's value. Of course, if your belongings aren't covered by a homeowner's policy, then getting coverage from your mover is better than nothing.

Ship certain items via common carrier
Many times we have items that can easily be shipped via the Post Office Parcel Post or UPS Ground/FedEx Ground, etc. For example, books, linens, towels, folded clothes, etc. You can ship ahead of time so your packages will be waiting for you at the other end. You'd be surprised how much less it costs than the movers.

Grab the tax break
The IRS allows consumers to deduct all the costs of a job-related move, provided you meet certain criteria. You must move within a year of starting the new job and remain employed for at least 39 weeks after the move. The new job must also be at least 50 miles further away from home than your old job.

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