Mar 9, 2022

How do I save the most money on my move?

Nat Miller

While we wish it weren’t so, at the end of the day a long distance move is going to be fairly expensive. Even if you were to use one of the cheaper options - such as renting a truck and doing all the packing and moving yourself - the rental of the truck alone could cost several thousand dollars. Of course this still beats quotes for a full service moving company - in which a moving company handles everything including packing, unpacking, loading and driving - which will generally be in the $4,000 to $7,000 range. But these quotes can sometimes be far under what actual moving costs can be - we’ve heard stories of people paying over $15,000 for their relocation move. Given the way that moving costs can quickly pile up, it’s important for people to know how to move as cheaply as possible.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

While people may often skip this step, the easiest way to save money on a move is to plan ahead by carefully considering all the things you want to bring with you, and those that you want to leave behind.  Narrowing down your belongings to only those possessions that you want to bring will serve a couple of key purposes. First, by knowing exactly what you want you can accurately assess what your moving needs will be (and avoid overpaying your movers by booking too large of a truck). Relatedly, by taking an inventory of your possessions and narrowing down only to those things that you really want to bring you can make sure that you are shipping as few pounds as possible. As we’ve covered elsewhere, the cost of a long distance move is primarily determined by the weight of the possessions being moved, so every item you throw out is that much less you’ll pay in moving costs.  Some people bring in professional organizers for just that reason - by carefully paring down your items to those you want to keep, and those you want to donate, sell, or throw away, you can save thousands of dollars on your move (making the professional organization service pay for itself). 

Because moving companies charge by the amount of weight they move, getting rid of as many things as possible before your move can lead to huge savings.

Next consider when you want to move.  Do you have to be in by a certain date?  Can your stuff be picked up at your home or dropped off at your destination on a flexible time and date? Oftentimes it will be cheaper for you, and easier for the mover, if you can allow a moving company several dates with which to work. Now of course this isn’t always possible, sometimes things need to leave or arrive on certain dates, but having this information in hand can help when negotiating rates with moving companies.

Choose the right moving method

Generally, the cheapest way to move is to do it yourself.  However, even if you do decide to move yourself it will not be cheap as renting a truck can still cost a thousand dollars or more (assuming you are bringing more things than can fit in your car or in a trailer). Plus a multi-day drive will entail hotels or arranging other stops as you travel. And even if you do save money, moving a life’s worth of possessions is no easy task - a reason why many people opt to enlist professional help.

The next cheapest option is to use a freight truck to ship your goods interstate.  When you use a freight truck moving company they bring the freight to your home, and then you pack it yourself. The freight company then drives it to your destination where you then unpack it yourself. While this option trims some costs from a professional moving company, it still leaves you with a lot of the leg work, often including palletizing your belongings so that they fit in the truck.  

This leaves the generally most expensive, but also most pleasant way to move long distance: hiring professional movers. Professional moving companies can help handle the entire moving process, not only all the heavy lifting but breaking down and re-assembling your furniture and packing your things into boxes. With all of the leg work taken care of, at the end of the day the only hard part about using a professional moving company is finding the right one. With so many options, and a lack of clarity on which ones are actually quality, it can sometimes take a lot of searching and pecking to find the right company for you. On the other hand, you can also trust Sunbound to handle it all for you.

Timing Can Be Everything

Finally, timing can be everything. Like all companies, moving companies are effected by the law of supply and demand and therefore changes in peoples' moving patterns throughout the year can effect the cost of a move. Because of this, winter is generally the cheapest time to move as the least people are moving. Another good side effect of this is that because business is generally slower, moving companies will only keep on their best or most reliable employees - meaning that you may end up with a slightly better experience even using the same company. Now of course moving in the winter can cause its own stresses - there’s the weather to worry about and holidays to work around - but for cost alone this can often be a smart move as some moving companies will charge as much as 20-30% more when they become very busy in the summer. Accordingly, you can often expect best prices between October and March each year. Another tip is to try and move in the middle of the month. Because leases turnover at the end of the month, there are generally going to be more people moving at the start and end of every month.

If you're interested in finding out more on how to have a cheap and organized move, reach out to us at info@sunboundhomes.com or check out our services page to find out how Sunbound helps people have their easiest moves yet.

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