How to Avoid Extra Charges During Your Move

Okay, so you’ve got your quote from the moving company. Moving day comes and goes and suddenly you get hit by a bill that’s larger than what was discussed.

What gives?

Not a lot of people realize that a quote is also quite often an estimate. The number you see is assuming everything goes according to plan and nothing extra gets tacked onto the bill.

If you’re the kind of person who is very hands-off when you move, it’s pretty likely that you were (or will be) hit with a bill that was larger than expected.

To make sure you stay on top of things the next time you’re planning on changing addresses, here are our top tips to help you avoid incurring extra charges during your next move:

1) Make sure you supply your own packing materials. There is nothing that makes a moving company happier than when they get to tack on some additional charges for obvious things like packing supplies.

Remember to plan ahead: you’ll need more than just boxes. You’ll also want to pick up tape, markers and labels, shrink wrap and bubble wrap, and mattress covers. Whatever you pay when you do the shopping yourself will be less than what a moving company will charge you.

In case your schedule is really packed, there’s also a lot of places that let you order these online and have them delivered to your door – the same the moving company would do, but at a lower cost!

2) Pack your boxes like a professional. We’ve written extensively about this before, but it never hurts to reiterate some of the main pointers.

First, make sure you’re organized when packing. When boxes are uniform in size, with closed lids and even weight, the move will take less time than if everything is in mismatched crates or bags with bits poking out. After all, if your move takes longer than your initial quote, you’re gonna be charge extra.

Second, make sure you start packing early. Like real early. There’s nothing worse than getting started a couple days before your move and realizing you need more supplies or have a whole bunch of stuff you’d rather get rid of rather than bring along. Having ten boxes of things you will toss our later is just gonna balloon your moving costs unnecessarily.

3) Sort out your designated parking ahead of time. If you live in the DMV area, we honestly can’t stress enough how limited parking availability is.

Securing a parking space right outside your building as opposed to down the street can reduce the time of your move by 45 minutes to an hour – that’s a sizable chunk of time and money right there! It also saves you from paying meter parking or other fees.

If you’re not sure where to begin looking, talk to your condo association or local municipality. In many areas around DC and Arlington, it’s possible (and easy) to reserve the space online ahead of time, saving you plenty of headaches.

4) Keep in mind your ideal truck size. If you’re moving a one or two bedroom condo, you definitely don’t need a massive 26-foot truck. A small 16-footer or a medium 20-foot truck would be much better suited for your move.

Apart from sometimes being charged more for a larger truck, larger trucks might also add time to your move, as it could take them longer to get around town if the traffic is bad (and if parking hasn’t been arranged).

5) Compartmentalize your furniture and boxes. Make sure you and your movers have space to move around is key. If they’re having a hard time getting in and out of your house, it’s gonna cost you more in the long run.

If you’ve gotten a head start on your packing, pick a room that you can use to store your boxes and furniture. Stack up your boxes, disassemble furniture and place everything in there as neatly as you can. Having your hallways and doors clear will help your movers work quickly and efficiently.

6) Check how to assemble and disassemble your furniture before hand. This helps with the steps mentioned above and will also save you headaches when it comes time to put everything back together at your new place.