Flat-Rate Movers vs. Hourly Movers: Which One Saves More Money?

Are you thinking of moving? As the customer, it makes sense for you to review each company and the prices. Flat-rate movers may sound like the best deal. You pay one moving rate, no matter what. But when hiring a moving company, you want to save money, right? Sometimes hiring the flat-rate movers can end up sending your moving costs through the roof.

It turns out that the whole hourly versus flat-rate moving question largely boils down to the size of your current home and the distance you’re traveling. Here’s how to weigh each moving company option and decide which one is right for you (the customer!)—plus measures to take to keep the price low and get the best offer in either case.

When to hire hourly movers

Here’s a sample scenario: If you’re moving across New York state to a new home or within the same New York City apartment building, this is considered a local move, and therefore the hourly option is better.

A price based on time, which can range from $100 to $150 for two or three movers, often starts with a minimum of three hours, plus an hour for travel. A two-bedroom apartment might take three to four hours to move; a three-bedroom house could take seven or eight.

If you’re worried about your moving costs spiraling out of control, ask the moving company whether it can cap the cost for customers at a certain amount, even if the time spills over.

When to hire a flat-rate moving company

A flat rate is exactly that—a number that’s determined after an in-home or virtual assessment by the moving company of the size of your space and the amount and type of furniture you own.

A flat rate is typically the right choice if you’re planning an interstate or cross-country move, or moving a greater distance, like to a new apartment a couple of hours away, since moving like this contains more unknowns. If your moving truck gets stuck in gridlock traffic, we doubt you’ll enjoy paying your movers an hourly rate for this added time.

But don’t be fooled: The flat-rate price or flat offer you get from a mover may not include all the costs associated with your move.

“In many cases, flat rates are not flat at all,” warns Manuela Irwin, a moving expert with MyMovingReviews.com. Sometimes professional movers will charge unexpected fees for things you might assume are included (e.g., moving furniture up stairs or moving specialty items such as a pool table, piano, or bulky exercise equipment).

To avoid getting blindsided by hidden company fees or a surprise rate from your movers, it’s better to take the time and have an in-home estimate of your move. This way the movers can’t say that you hadn’t mentioned you have a piano when they saw it for themselves.

Also be sure to ask the movers or the customer service office if there are any extra fees if they end up moving certain items or providing extra services or spending more time (like unpacking your belongings, hauling away packing materials, or disassembling furniture). The more details you can provide about your move, the less likely it is that you’ll end up being surprised by unknown moving charges from the company.

To get an estimate of how much it will cost to move into your new place, check out this moving cost calculator, where you can punch in your number of bedrooms, beginning and ending ZIP codes, and move date.

Or use the phone number for your moving company and ask for a free quote. Ask movers about their fees for interstate and local moving so you end up with great service and a (relatively) stress-free move.

Source: realtor.com

7 Surprising Items Many Moving Companies Won’t Ship

A long-distance move can be tricky. In addition to having to pack up every possession you own, you’ll also have to figure out how to get it all to your new home. While some people choose to drive their stuff themselves across state lines, that might not be feasible with an entire household’s possessions. That’s why shipping is sometimes the preferred method when moving a considerable distance. It’s simple, really: The bulk of your possessions get boxed up and shipped to your new home, and you take all the invaluable items (e.g., your ID, birth certificate, medications, etc.) with you on the plane.

Many homeowners will hire a moving company, but did you know there are limits to what most companies will ship? Some items are just too fragile, valuable, or hazardous, and your movers won’t be allowed to take responsibility for them.

Of course, different moving companies will have their own rules for the types of items they won’t ship.

“Talk directly to the moving company and ask them what they are willing and not willing to do,” says Justin Hodge, co-founder and president of Muscular Moving Men based in Phoenix. Good communication with your movers will help reduce the number of last-minute surprises on move-out day.

While you’re in the throes of planning your move, consider the following items many movers won’t touch—and then plan accordingly!

1. Photos and photo albums

Photos and photo albums are very fragile and could easily get destroyed. Although they might not be of high monetary value, photos can have high sentimental value. Plus, once photos are ruined, they’re likely gone for good.

“If there was a situation where everything was damaged, you would have peace of mind of knowing you’re in your own control, not the moving company you’re working with,” Hodge says. Many movers opt to avoid the risk.

2. Unsealed personal care products

As obvious as it may seem, unsealed lotions, shampoos, and skincare products will likely give your moving company pause. If one were to spill, it could ruin your entire shipment, and your moving company doesn’t want to be on the hook for that.

Hodge says you could pack sealed personal care products in your suitcase, give them to a friend, or just throw them out if they’re nearly empty. Hey, you have a new place to live—buy some new stuff!

3. Expensive clothes and accessories

If you own any expensive or unique designer clothes, formalwear, or accessories, it might be better to take them with you on the plane.

Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in New York, recommends creating an inventory of your truly upscale items.

4. Flat-screen TVs

Many movers are reluctant to ship flat-screen TVs because they’re pricey and notoriously fragile. Plasma-screen TVs are especially delicate and need to be kept upright to avoid damaging the glass panels inside. If you do have a flat screen you need to ship, be sure to mention it from the get-go before hiring a moving company

5. Nail polish

If you have an extensive nail polish collection, you’ll probably have to transport it in your luggage on the plane. Zafrani says polish is a perfect storm of shipping badness.

“It’s a liquid and in a glass bottle, and if the bottle is not securely tightened, it can leak and cause damage,” she says. It’s also flammable and could catch fire during the move. Pack it with you it, toss it, or give it to a friend.

6. Fine art

Need to ship a one-of-a-kind Picasso? While fine art doesn’t show up on everyone’s inventory list, if you do need to transport artwork of value, your standard moving company probably won’t be up for the task.

To make sure your precious cargo gets to your place safely, look into professional art shipping services. Many of these companies will offer insurance and white-glove service.

7. Food in glass containers

You know that fancy bottle of olive oil you brought back from Tuscany this summer? Delicious! Too bad it’s simply too fragile to ship. The same goes for other glass containers filled with food.

“Glass bottles are pretty thin, and if the box is accidentally dropped, the bottle can crack,” says Zafrani.

Broken glass—and spilled food—will be the last thing you’ll want to contend with when unpacking. You already have enough to worry about.

Source: realtor.com

5 Most Horrifying Things Ever Packed for a Move

Broken plates and a mangled lampshade are fairly standard moving mishaps. But sometimes the truly crazy, surprising, or even embarrassing things happen when homeowners need to relocate. Even with the best intentions—and mountains of bubble wrap—people end up packing some strange and just plain off-putting things in an effort to get their possessions from point A to B.

Want proof? Enjoy the following moving tales so you’ll know what not to pack, lest you become a cautionary tale yourself.

1. Trash cans full of … trash

Larry Perlstein moved cross-country from Stamford, CT, to Los Gatos, CA, several years ago and appreciated the thoroughness of his packers. Everything was neatly wrapped and boxed and made it safely to the West Coast, he reports. But when he opened his wastebaskets, he realized they’d arrived full.

“The movers packed all the trash cans—with the garbage still in them,” he says.

Lesson learned: Empty your bins before the move, or your banana peels will join you on the journey.

2. A song that wouldn’t stop playing

Soon after Jenny Lilienthal and her family loaded their belongings in a 24-foot van and started driving it from Massachusetts to Florida, they heard a funny sound coming from the back of the truck.

“After we listened a bit, we realized it was our 3-year-old’s game, Gone Fishing, which was somehow triggered and playing music,” she explains.

Unpacking the truck to turn it off wasn’t an option. So, they spent the next three days listening to this jingle nonstop until it became forever drilled into their heads, like a moving theme song.

“It played cheerfully the whole way,” she adds. “And it nearly drove us nuts!”

3. Last week’s meal

Reba Haas, a real estate agent with Team Reba of Re/Max Metro Realty in Seattle, helped sell the home of a client who had hoarder tendencies.

“On moving day, the moving company told me that there were dirty dishes in the homeowner’s sink and she somehow convinced the movers to pack them up,” Haas explains.

Making matters even grosser, this was an international move—from the U.S. to Costa Rica.

“Nothing that might attract bugs or rodents can be moved,” notes Haas, who doesn’t know whether those dirty dishes made it through customs.

The movers admitted it was the most disgusting job they’d ever been a part of, but Haas insists they don’t know the half of it: “They have no idea what I went through for months just to get this client’s home ready to sell and pack!”

4. Stolen goods

It’s hard to leave certain things when you move, but some items must remain in place if they’re included in the purchase agreement. Haas, for one, recalls one seller who proceeded to make off with things that were supposed to stay.

“This seller stripped the house of its curtains, even though she’d earlier acknowledged that all window coverings were to stay,” Haas recalls. “She even dug up plants in the front yard and took them with her. She didn’t even bother to refill the holes with dirt!”

5. A dead person’s ashes

During one move, pro mover Yuval Beton and his team were prepped in detail about a client’s vase.

“We were told it was very important and that we were to take any precautions necessary to make sure it arrived safely,” he explains. With further probing, Beton discovered that the vase was actually an urn—and it contained the ashes of the client’s late husband.

“It was a nerve-wracking move,” he admits. Luckily, the urn was moved in one piece.

Source: realtor.com