Beware: Moving Mistakes That Will Cost You
Every time you end up saying “If only I had done it that way instead of this way!” you regret an action or a course of events that could have been easily altered by as little as careful planning and insightful thinking. Sometimes, a little research is all that it takes to make an informed decision and avoid great troubles. When it comes to a residential move, for example, researching all your options, planning ahead, and paying meticulous attention to every aspect of the overwhelming moving process can make all the difference between a smooth relocation and a horror story.
Simple moving mistakes can totally ruin your moving adventure and even cause you a nervous breakdown, especially if they result in lost money and wasted valuable time. Moving house is quite a laborious and expensive process in its essence, so the last thing you want to do is create further complications and incur extra expenses by making perfectly avoidable mistakes.
In order to avoid such emotionally and financially draining mistakes, however, you need to be aware of the different ways you might lose money on a move.
1. Signing Up For The First Moving Services You Come Across
You can find a large number of moving companies out there competing to attract more customers and to make greater profit. They all offer moving services, of course, but their services may be radically different in terms of rates, quality, and reliability. Even if their intentions are honest, different movers just have different levels of competence, different equipment, different experience and different tariffs. You need to ask for references and to conduct a thorough research in order to find the best movers for you.
So, don’t just hire a random moving company – consider all your options and make the most beneficial choice for your own specific moving needs and requirements:
- ask for several moving quotes;
- interview a few selected movers;
- request on-site written biding estimates for your move;
- compare and analyze the received offers.
Don’t forget to give your movers all the relevant information (number of household items to be moved, final destination, any possible obstacles and special requirements, etc.) and clearly state your wishes and preferences in order to get a realistic offer. Look for high quality services at a reasonable price and ask your chosen mover for discounts, specific conditions, guaranteed pick-up and delivery date and time, etc.
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Believing that an estimate over the phone or e-mail is good enough;
- Not giving the movers all the relevant information;
- Hiring movers on a random principle.
Good to remember: All movers claim to be “the best in business”. If you take their words at face value, you may end up paying too much for services that are neither outstanding nor as problem-free as you’d like them to be.
Money lost – up to 25 % of the final moving cost!
2. Going For The Lowest Estimate Without Researching The Company
If an estimate is too good to be true, you should look for the catch. You are probably dealing with one of the following:
- rogue movers who seek to disappear with the money from your deposit and your valuable possessions;
- incompetent movers who want to secure the job with sweet promises but will do a lousy job;
- scam artists who will request a much greater amount than previously negotiated for alleged accessorial services and will not deliver your household goods before you pay them the exorbitant extra fees;
- moving brokers who will sell your move to a third company which will have its own tariffs.
In all of the above scenarios, you will end up paying large amounts of money for… nothing. Check the legitimacy of your chosen movers before signing a contract (verify their USDOT number)
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Not getting acquainted with the movers’ paperwork;
- Not checking the credentials of your chosen movers;
- Signing blank or incomplete documents.
Good to remember: One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make when moving is to hire bad movers. Avoiding moving scam should be your primary concern to ensure your peace of mind and the well-being of your belongings. So, make sure you understand and agree with all the provisions in the movers’ paperwork before signing the documents.
Assets lost – all your earthly possessions!
3. Moving With The Crowd
Your moving costs will be sky high if you move:
- during peak moving season– moving services are in great demand for the period between May and September and you will have to pay a lot to secure a moving crew and a moving vehicle within these five months;
- during the weekends – most people prefer to move during their days off work, so moving services are much more expensive on weekends;
- at the end or at the beginning of a month – for a number of reasons (end of a lease agreement, start of a new job, pay-day, etc.) most residential moves take place during the last or the first few days of a month, so moving companies will charge you more for booking your move on these dates;
- on holidays – the capacity of the moving industry is pushed to its limits during national holidays, so you will have to pay a lot for your move.
You will not only have to pay extra for moving during peak periods but will also need to put up with hasty moving procedures, inexperienced moving crews, overloaded moving trucks, inadequate moving equipment, delivery delays, etc.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Scheduling your move for a bad time.
Good to remember: When moving in peak times, you won’t be able to avoid the rush and will be forced to pay more for mediocre or even plain bad moving services. If possible, be flexible and take all the relevant factors into consideration when deciding on a moving date.
Money lost – up to 30 % of the final moving cost(as well as much wasted time)!
4. Hiring Movers At The Last Minute
The earlier you book your move, the cheaper it will be. And vice versa. Not to mention the restricted choice of available moving dates, moving crew and equipment. If you have too little time left until Moving day, you will have to take whatever is available, which might mean paying more money for inconvenient pick-up and delivery dates, a larger truck than you need, inexperienced laborers, etc.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Waiting till the last minute to book your move.
Good to remember: Plan ahead and don’t procrastinate – the painful moving process will only become more troublesome if you leave everything for the last possible moment.
Money lost – hundreds of dollars!
5. Not Having A Moving Strategy And A Moving Budget
An insightful moving strategy is the best navigational tool that can lead your moving adventure to a successful end. If you fail to plan ahead, your entire moving experience can be nothing short of a failure. Disorganization and lack of foresight will cost you dearly. So, create a detailed moving calendar and try to provide for all kinds of unexpected situations. If you can, devise a plan B as well – there is no such thing as being too organized or too prepared for a move.
While planning and organizing your move, don’t forget to create a moving budget as well. It will help you keep track of your expenses and will remind you of how much you can spend, so that you have enough money to cover all the moving costs. What’s more, setting a moving budget will motivate you to search for possible ways to save on the moving costs and avoid expensive moving mistakes.
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Underestimating the importance of a meticulous plan;
- Failure to set up a moving budget.
Good to remember: Develop a winning moving strategy backed up with a realistic and reliable moving budget.
Money lost – how could you possibly know if you don’t have a moving budget?
6. Overlooking Additional Services
Additional moving services are not automatically included in the moving estimate, so people tend to forget about them and their charges. Besides, each moving company has the liberty to set its own rates when it comes to extra services. So, some movers try to take advantage of this commonly overlooked aspect of the moving process in order to rip off their heedless customers. To avoid being forced to pay for accessorial services that might have been or might not have been necessary, decide in advance what extra services you will need and make sure they are included in the estimate. Double-check not only their respective charges but also the conditions under which they will be performed and do your best to eliminate the factors that may necessitate an additional service (reserve an elevator if you live in a tall building and a parking place in front of your home, pack your own belongings properly, make sure your new home is ready on time, etc.).
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Forgetting about additional services and their charges.
Good to remember: Research the extra services your movers offer and save on the ones you don’t really need.
Money lost – about 10 to 20 % of the total moving cost!
7. Packing It All
The final moving cost is determined by the actual weight of the items you are going to move to your final destination. So, if you just throw everything you own in boxes and move all your furniture and appliances as well, you will end up paying an enormous amount for the shipment of your belongings. What is worse, it may turn out that you will never be able to use some of the items you paid for shipping – your old furniture may not fit through the doors, your winter clothes and equipment may be totally useless in your new sunny southern state or your golf set may be gathering dust in your new home simply because there are no golf courses in the vicinity, etc.
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Failure to create a floor plan of your new home in order to know what larger furniture and appliances will fit in the available space and will match the surroundings well;
- Failure to sort out your belongings in order to take only items with high practical, aesthetic or sentimental value;
- Failure to declutter your home and get rid of everything too outdated, worn out, damaged or just no longer necessary.
Good to remember: Sort out your items in order to decide which of them are worth moving and create an inventory to document their current condition.
Money lost – the entire amount you paid for moving unneeded items!
8. Packing The Wrong Way
Packing is not only the most time-consuming and tedious aspect of the moving process but also the trickiest one as a single mistake can cost you dearly and cause a lot of headaches. Proper packing requires a lot of preparations and careful planning in terms of supplying sufficient amounts of adequate packing materials, starting the packing procedures as early as possible, packing efficiently, providing maximum protection for your items, and so on. If you don’t manage to pack everything in time or run out of adequate packing, you will have to buy extra supplies from your movers at an additional price or will have to pay professional packers for packing or repacking your items. Even worse – if you fail to pack your belongings properly, they may get damaged and it will certainly cost you a lot of money and nerves to repair or replace them, not to mention the eventual loss of cherished possessions with high sentimental value.
Costly packing mistakes to avoid:
Failure to create a customized and prioritized packing checklist;
- Not getting hold of enough quality packing materials – boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, etc.;
- Purchasing new boxes – you can get clean and sturdy boxes in good condition for free from local businesses or you can use various containers (bags, buckets, baskets, etc.) that you own and will take with anyway;
- Underestimating the time required to pack your entire household and especially the storage areas – you will have to deal with packing in the last minute which results in disorganization and damaged items;
- Using too much space – research innovative packing techniques that have proven to be highly efficient in terms of saving space and time;
- Failure to provide sufficient padding – you need to prevent shifting inside the boxes to reduce the risk of damaging the items inside;
- Forgetting to create a detailed inventory of the items you are going to move and to take pictures – they will serve as a proof about the good condition of your items in case something gets damaged while in the carrier’s custody;
- Packing your valuables with the rest of your items – expensive possessions tend to disappear miraculously on the move;
- Failure to pack an essentials box – if the delivery is late, you will have to buy all the essentials you need to survive for a couple of days in your new home;
- Making the boxes too heavy – heavy boxes are difficult to carry, so the risk of dropping them and damaging the items inside is greatly increased;
- Packing non-allowables – your movers will not load them on the moving truck;
- Deciding not to dismantle furniture or not to wrap it properly in moving blankets – once again you risk damaging your belongings.
Good to remember: Learn some clever tips and tricks for packing efficiently and safely and allow yourself enough time to properly organize and secure your belongings.
Money lost – from tens of dollars for extra packing materials to thousands of dollars if expensive items are stolen or broken in the moving process!
9. Ignoring Proper Insurance
Opting for limited value protection may seem to be the frugal option but this is a mistake that can cost you dearly if the movers damage your household goods. You will only receive 60 cents per pound per item, so you will have to pay the entire sum for repairing or replacing your ruined belongings. You are recommended to go for full value replacement instead and even to purchase additional insurance for your more valuable possessions. Keep in mind that many insurance providers will reduce rates if you take advantage of bundle deals. Ask if your regular insurance covers moving accidents and research the options of bundling different insurances, such as auto, umbrella and condo, because the bundle will probably cost considerably less than individual insurance policies.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Not providing adequate insurance.
Good to remember: You’d better pay a few dollars more to ensure your peace of mind with proper insurance than risk replacing your damaged belongings at your expense.
Money lost – the value of all your damaged possessions!
10. Failure To Put Your Documentation In Order
When moving house, you need to change your address, transfer utilities, transfer your driver’s license and update your car registration and insurance, retrieve medical records, cancel subscriptions, etc. Take care of all your documents and legal responsibilities while you are still in your old city, so that you don’t have to travel back and lose money and time arranging the paperwork. You are advised to pay up all your current bill and taxes, fees and debts, etc. in order to avoid forgetting about them and having to pay the interests later on.
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Using a non-USPS website to change your address – Updating your address at the official USPS site costs $1, while other sites may charge you up to $20 for the service;
- Missing deadlines for updating your documents – you will have to pay the corresponding fee;
- Transferring utilities or connecting services in the last minute – you will have to pay higher deposits and charges;
- Having your medical or school records forwarded as you have forgotten to retrieve them in person – not a great financial burden but still wasted money;
- Paying yearly subscriptions in full – if you’re moving in the middle of a year-long membership (such as at a gym, library, theater, etc.), ask about cancellation options so that you don’t have to pay for the remaining months. There should be no cancellation fee in the event of moving house.
Good to remember: Take proper care of all the paperwork in time.
Money lost – about a hundred dollars
11. Not Researching Your New Area
You need to research your new area very well in order to be able to choose a good neighborhood and an appropriate home to move into. It is recommendable to get a proper idea of the overall spirit in your new community and to take into account the housing prices, crime rate, infrastructure, proximity to amenities, distance to your workplace and your kids’ school, health care centers, available recreational and entertainment options, etc. when looking for the right location for your new family home. Once you have found favorable new surroundings, it’s time to locate an appropriate new property to buy or to rent. If you fail to do so, you may end up moving to a place that doesn’t meet your requirements and doesn’t suit your lifestyle, not to mention the possible dangers or bad living conditions. If your new home needs lots of repair works and renovations, it will be an additional burden on your tight post-relocation budget.
Costly moving mistakes to avoid:
- Arranging permanent living accommodations at an inappropriate location;
- Renting/buying a property you haven’t inspected closely.
Good to remember: Research your future city very carefully in order to choose a good location and an appropriate property for your new family home. You may even consider moving into temporary housing first to be able to research your new area in person before making your final decision about a convenient new home.
Money lost – your deposit if you decide to move out of a newly rented property or the money for restoring a residence in a bad overall condition that you have already purchased.
12. Performing A DIY Move
It is true that you won’t have to pay a moving company if you move by yourself, but besides the obvious disadvantages, you should also take into consideration all the frequently overlooked costs of moving out on your own. When you combine all the strenuous efforts you will have to make with all the expenses for renting a truck, paying for the fuel, the vehicle insurance, the road tolls and the parking fees, purchasing insurance for your household items, ensuring meals and lodgings on the way, rewarding friends who came to help, etc., you will be right to have second thoughts about the efficiency of a self-move. Not to mention that your lack of knowledge and experience may result in damaging your prized possessions. So, unless moving across town, a DIY move usually turns out to be much more expensive (and troublesome) than hiring movers.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Assuming that a self-move is cheaper than hiring a moving company.
Good to remember: Take all the hidden costs and all the possible problems into account before deciding whether to move by yourself or to hire professional moving services.
Money lost – depending on the severity of your mistakes up to thousands of dollars.
13. Not Keeping Receipts
It is quite possible the expenses for your residential move to be eligible for tax deduction at the end of the year. However, you must present all the relevant receipts in order to prove where your money went and how much the entire process cost you.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Not being able to prove your moving expenses.
Good to remember: Keep all the receipts related to your move – not only for hiring movers but also for the purchased materials, car shipment, temporary housing and storage, various fees, etc. You can always discard the ones that will be of no use later on, after you have deducted all the possible taxes.
Money lost – the amount of your annual tax.
14. Overspending After The Move
You may want to transform your new place into your dream home right away, but you will be wise not to rush into the stores immediately after arriving in your new residence. Allow yourself some time to evaluate how much money you have left after the move and what you really need at the moment, as well as to learn which the best places in your new city are to purchase specific items and what frugal options you have for entertainment, transportation, etc. You can always wait until your next salary for some desirable extras.
Costly moving mistake to avoid: Spending money for things you don’t really need at the moment (such as fancy furniture, modern equipment, boutique clothes, meals in luxurious restaurants, etc.) or shopping at too expensive places as you don’t know your way around yet.
Good to remember: Take advantage of some practical money-saving tips after moving to a new city.
Money lost – all the remains of your already drained relocation budget.
How can you lose money on a move? Share your experience and opinion with us!