Thinking about making a move? January may be the best month to get the cheapest price, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars getting to your new digs.
You can be brave and try it all yourself for the biggest savings, but often that is just not feasible. That's why so many turn to moving companies.
"Stress is what it’s called," said Bill Wallbruch, who recently made a move from Chicago to the suburbs.
On a fixed income, every penny counts.
"It’s a huge endeavor, it’s going to tap me."
But Ron Manzella with All My Son’s Moving and Storage says there are ways to cut costs.
"Anywhere from November to March, not much is going on. Movers are going to give you price breaks," he said.
Manzella says the end of the week and the end of the month are also peak times with higher rates and should be avoided to save 10 to 20 percent off the move.
Packing yourself can also lead to huge savings.
The average pack job for a 1,500 squart foot home can run $1,200. But spend $200 on your own boxes and pack yourself, and you can save yourself $1,000.
"You're saving 90 percent. You're looking at $4 a box vs. $40 dollars for the service," said Manzella.
To save money on boxes, try on-line sites like BoxesDelivered.com or use hit the local businesses for castoffs.
To insure a trouble-free move, make sure you get three estimates in person and make sure the mover you select is licensed and insured, or any savings with a "fly by night" operation may cost you so much more in money and headaches.
Also, be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against companies you are considering. The American Moving and Storage Association is also helpful and can even line you up with movers for estimates.
The BBB says it took in more than 1,000 complaints in 2010 locally.
And take note: reputable movers won't require huge deposits to hold dates. Also, never pay in advance, only on delivery.
Here are more tips from All My Son’s on how to cuts costs especially for local "pay by the hour" moves.
- De-clutter your home and throw out what you don’t need, especially books, papers and anything else that is heavy. One hundred trips to the basement for junk will cost you.
- Pack up all of your belongings yourself and use boxes. They stack better than loose bags or over-filled boxes and take more trips for the movers to get them into the van.
- Take as many small things as you can in your vehicle. Leave only boxes or furniture for the mover, nothing in between that will take time to gather up, especially cleaning products that can leak or spill in the truck.
- Make sure you reserve parking for the moving van either with your building in the dock area or on the street in front of the home. This will avoid unnecessary long walks costing you more money. A city permit can run $20 but save you tons more in moving time.
- Before purchasing valuation or trip transit insurance from the mover, check to see if you are covered by renters or homeowners insurance.
- Use a BBB-referred mover. Cheaper is not always better for hourly rates. Use value and price when making a decision.