When planning a household relocation, it is essential to get the best deal on moving service, and saving some money on professional moving companies. There is no doubt; relocating to another home is an expensive task. In this case, negotiating with a mover is very important to get a better rate for your moving services.
There are many factors that determine the total cost of your move, namely; the distance, the type of mover, the weight of your shipment, additional services, and the time of the year you are moving. You must know that in general, the majority of movers don’t have a fixed rate for their services so that you can bring on your negotiation skills. At least you stand to lose nothing if you try to reduce the moving cost.
Steps to Negotiate with Movers
For you to be able to negotiate with moving companies effectively, you need to gather some information and take some protective measures for your move. Identify your goals, set your priorities as well as your needs. Although there are different approaches to negotiating with moving companies, it is better to stay honest while negotiating with them. Make sure your moving details, as well as your budget, are known to the moving company before you start negotiating with them.
Below are some steps to negotiating with a moving company:
Step 1: Identify the Possibilities
Be sure to gather information on things to consider in a moving company, as well as what’s fair in the moving world before you begin your moving plans and getting moving estimates. This means that you have to know how much it cost to hire professional moving services in your area, gather information about your options, and figure out the perfect moving company for your move. Below tips will be of help:
- Research the average cost of moving the size of the household from your location to your destination.
- To estimate the cost of your move, use a moving calculator.
- Check the websites of various moving companies you are considering, compare their prices, their discounts and promotions, the quality of services, the website quality, the company name, phone number, address, and email address. Be sure also to check their USDOT number; it is usually on the “About Us” page.
- Read online reviews from previous customers of the moving companies to have an idea of how their services could be.
With this first step, you will have an idea of what options you have, your expectations from the moving companies, the mover to consider or not, as well as the overall cost for your relocation.
Step 2: Request Moving Quotes from a Least 5 Moving Companies
Moving quotes can leave you with a different mindset about moving companies as you will be presented with estimates with different overall costs – some lesser, some higher. Make sure the moving quotes are given to you free of charge and avoid any moving company that requests for money before they give you a moving quote.
To get the actual quote for your move, it is important to let the movers visit your home, do an on-site survey, determine the weight of your belongings, and issue you a moving quote base on their evaluation. This will help you avoid being overcharged or having to pay for anything they missed during the online quote process.
While the online moving quote is not your actual estimate, it helps you in moving plan to have an idea of how much your move will cost before the mover effectually visits your home.
If they charge you per hour rate, request for a moving estimate that states the total hours to be spent on the job and ask if you can complete the job within an hour, so you don’t have to pay a huge amount of money.
The moving companies can accurately estimate how long it will take them to finish up your work, but it is your responsibility to describe perfectly how your current and destination home looks like. Inform them of the number of stairs, the doorways, the parking as well as the hallways.
Check their fine print to know more about their additional charges. You can then proceed with negotiation with your moving company using these details and also inform them of the lowest bid at hand and if there is anything they can do to match or beat it. While getting the moving quotes from the movers, make sure you work on the following to eradicate any issue of surprise charges. Below tips can be of help:
- Identify the number and type of additional services you will need from your moving company. You can negotiate the price of most of these extra services, so be careful to discuss each of the services with your movers before you decide on which one is necessary. Your moving company will be willing to reduce the price of any offered additional service if you choose to drop them.
- You have to decide whether you will do the packing or your mover.
The best deal here is to pack up your light belongings by yourself and allow the professional movers to pack up bulky items such as your furniture, as well as special items like antiques, piano, a grandfather clock, etc.
- Any additional charges that may increase the overall moving cost should be discussed at length. Your moving company might surprise you with extra charges for such services like carrying your furniture through narrow hallways, or over a flight of stairs, or disassembling and reassembling of your furniture both in your old and new location. Make sure these moving details are sorted out before the exact moving day.
Beware of ridiculously low moving estimate from any moving company as it might be a sign of potential moving fraud. Unreliable movers will lure customers with lower prices and then abscond with the deposit or surprise the customers with exorbitant additional fees from additional services during the relocation process. It is, therefore, our strong advice that you do not hire a mover based on their cheap price. Read our post on moving quote.
Step 3: Deal Only with a Licensed, Reputable Moving Company
Conducting comprehensive research is the first step to find a trustworthy mover. Looking for the best local mover online is one of the proven methods. You certainly know it is a bad idea to choose a mover based on neither the lower price nor the first moving company that pops up. A cheaper mover doesn’t guarantee quality services. Gather a list of moving companies you like and research them properly. Use the following as a checklist:
- Find out if the moving company is registered to conduct business and ask for their license. You can find out all these by visiting their physical address.
- Request for a tour around their office and check their fleet together with their moving tools and equipment.
- Lastly, read reviews about the moving companies on their websites. Previous customers of the company will share a lot of experience.
You can then proceed to negotiate after learning a lot about the moving company. You can even negotiate with any top moving company in the country regardless of the number of customers they have.
Make sure you dig up the background of any moving company you are considering before you hire them. You can dig further by doing the following:
- Check whether the company is licensed and insured, accredited with BBB, registered with FMCSA, professional membership with AMSA, and so on.
- Check complaint histories of the company and place a call to the FMCSA’s customer complaints hotline to know more about complaints about a particular moving company and also check the databases of Moving Feedback, movingScam.com, www.protectyourmove.gov, as well as Yelp to find out more about any issues about the movers.
- Get reliable references from online websites and recommendations from your friends and family on a particular moving company.
- You can as well take time out to drive to the physical office of the moving company to determine their reliability, the caliber of staff, their equipment, their fleet of moving vehicles with the company’s logo embedded on them.
Step 4: Strategize your Negotiation
You can now negotiate with your movers that you are sure of ways to avoid moving scams. This is the right time to use the different moving estimates you’ve received from different movers to your advantage of landing the best deal. Follow the tips below to negotiate tactically and effectively with your mover:
- Typically, moving companies would prefer to lower their quoted prices than to see you go to another mover with your moving job. You can use this as your negotiating leverage unless you are moving at peak season.
- It would help if you come to a conclusion on a moving company you would like to hire. You need not worry if the mover has offered you a reasonable price for your move. If the reverse is the case, call the company and inform them of your willingness to partner with them on your move, but their price is on the high side compared to what other moving companies had offered you. Tell them the lowest bid you have and ask if they will be willing to match or even beat the best moving price you have. They will definitely try to win you over by doing either of the two options.
- Note that there is no arm in negotiating with a moving company. Arriving at a conclusion that favors both parties is a vital key to a successful negotiation. You also must engage in some cost-reducing task for the relocation price to be more convenient for you. Such tasks include an early reservation, off-season moving dates, etc.
- Try negotiating with the moving company a couple of days later if they are not willing to lower their price the first time you try. This is because you may be connected to a sales representative from the company that will offer you a better deal fair to the previous one.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if movers do not pick up or deliver my items during spread dates?
If movers deliver or pick up your items outside of the dates specified on your moving agreement, you can file a claim with your moving company. When doing so, be sure to have receipts of all the expenses accrued while waiting for your items to arrive, such as food and lodging.
Claims filed must be submitted to the moving company within nine months of your delivery date. However, movers may disallow parts of your claim and you may need to press further by pursuing civil action.
Is there a minimum amount of hours I will have to pay for?
Typically, movers will have some sort of minimum requirement in order for individuals to receive moving services. Oftentimes, minimum hours range between 2 to 3 hours, which means that you will be paying for this time even if it takes less time to move your items.
If you go above the minimum, though, you may need to pay for any additional time based on your moving service agreement. Long distance moves, though, do not have a minimum – you pay per hour and your final bill is calculated based on the other factors in your move, such as the total distance traveled and any additional moving services tendered.
When and how do I pay for moving services?
The method of payment used for your move and when payments are due will depend on the moving company you work with. Movers will provide you with all the details you need about paying for moving services as well as whether or not you will be required to pay a deposit.
Most moving companies accept various forms of payment, including major credit cards, debit cards, bank checks, and money orders – some may even accept payments via PayPal. Many companies will require full payment before unloading your items, so be prepared to settle your bill if you want your items delivered.
Be wary, though, of moving companies that charge high deposits – these should not exceed 15% of your estimate.
Is getting supplemental moving insurance worth it?
The purchase of additional insurance from a third party is often recommended depending on the value of your belongings. If your moving company will be transporting high value goods, you may find it in your favor to purchase supplemental insurance.
You may consider your homeowner’s insurance good enough supplemental insurance but be sure to know the ins and outs of your policy to avoid misunderstandings. For example, some policies only cover your belongings while they are being transported inside the moving vehicle, so anything damaged after items start being unloaded would not be covered.
What insurance options will movers offer?
Moving companies typically provide you with three kinds of protection for your items in the event of an item getting lost or damaged.
Limited liability is basic coverage that all movers are required by law to provide, which is of no cost to you. With limited liability protection, movers are responsible for a portion of your item’s value – $.60 per pound.
Added valuation is another coverage option that enables you to recover the replacement value of any damaged belongings, minus depreciation. The costs of added valuation vary and will depend on the declared worth of your belongings.
Full value insurance comes at a premium cost but covers the entire replacement value of your items without taking depreciation into account. Before purchasing this coverage, it is recommended that homeowner’s check their insurance policy to find out if items are covered during moves.
Finally, note that ridiculously low prices can only be from non-reputable moving companies. These movers will lure you into paying a deposit, and once they have your belongings in their possession, they will demand exorbitant fees before they can deliver your items to your destination home. This is why you must research and hire a reputable moving company that is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau. While negotiating for the best deal, beware not to fall a victim of moving scam.