Moving industry insiders have a secret they don’t want you to know. It’s called the “full-service move hack.”
It’s a way for you to afford whatever help you need to make your move easy – yes, easy. And you don’t even have to hire one of those really expensive full-service moving companies. While they do everything short of carrying you out on a couch, that means they’ll be charging an arm + a leg + rights to your future first born child.
Since you most likely want to keep your baby and some of your money, here’s how to hack your move so even though you’re “moving yourself” you don’t lift a thing - and, most importantly, you’re still keeping costs down:
1. Go hybrid.
It’s not what you think. Going hybrid means combining elements of DIY moving with the benefits of hiring professional movers. You gather your friends and family, who are willing to pitch in (DIY), and then hire moving labor just to do the heavy lifting (movers). Thanks to the beauty of the world-wide-web, you can now find and book move help online through a number of moving labor marketplaces. When the moving crew you hire arrives you can assign them to pack and load everything or just have them load the heavy stuff.
2. Pack yourself.
Sure, you can hire the professionals to put all your worldly belongings in boxes, but you are charged by the hour and that’s probably the longest task in the moving process. Instead, get family and friends to help you to do that. Have the professionals load and unload the boxes and furniture onto the truck or portable storage unit (you know, those PODS containers you see sitting in driveways around town. We’ll get to those). Besides, packing yourself will allow you to pack everything by room, so unpacking will be easier for you.
3. Pay someone for the delicate stuff.
While you should pack almost everything yourself, you should consider hiring professionals to pack up delicate or difficult-to-move items, such as a piano, family heirlooms, or fine art.
4. Play truck driver…or not.
Price out your options for moving truck rentals that will allow you to carry your entire life from one destination to another. You’re not limited to U-Haul, by the way. There are others, including Penske, Budget, Ryder, and Enterprise.
If driving one of these big boys sounds like torture, you might consider portable storage units (also called portable moving containers) or professional transportation. Companies, such as PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT will pick up your packed storage containers and transport them for you. And the likes of ABF UPack and Estes SureMove have professional drivers, who carry your load with other customers on their semi trailers and make deliveries along a specified route. Remember, these guys don’t offer any moving labor help, so you’ll still need someone for that.
5. Stick to a schedule.
Many of the additional costs surface because people take too long to load trucks or keep professional movers waiting. If you’ve hired professionals to pack the truck, make sure you have the boxes ready to be loaded when the movers arrive. Be ready to move – literally and figuratively – as soon as the clock starts ticking on your time with the rental truck, professional transportation, or portable storage units. If you stick with the schedule that you’ve agreed to with the rental services, you won’t end up paying extra. Everything will run more smoothly, too.
6. Learn the law.
Every city has its own rules and regulations about parking big trucks and storage containers. For example, Chicago and New York are notorious for their restrictions on dropping of portable storage containers on city streets - which means you may need to also rent a truck to shuttle your stuff from the container delivery headquarters to your new apartment.
Find out the policies both where you live and where you are moving. Follow the rules, or risk, at worst, paying fines and, at best, being inconvenienced on moving day.
7. Shop wisely for supplies.
Rental truck companies and other movers often offer the chance to buy boxes and other materials. You can save money by shopping around and looking for sales at office supply stores. Some stuff, such as packing tape, is often available at your local dollar store. What you might want to do is rent loading carts and furniture pads from the truck or moving container rental company.
8. Avoid supermarket boxes.
Free boxes sound like a good deal, and lots of people source their supermarket for them. But boxes that have carried food can be ripe with mold, mildew, and bugs. And you don’t want any of that getting into your stuff or your new place.
Rather, visit your local liquor store, book store, and/or coffee shop for free boxes.
9. Don’t forget the T.P.
Be sure to keep toilet paper on hand and in an easy-to-access place. Chances are someone will have to relieve him or herself before you take off or when you arrive at your new place.
10. Feed the help.
You’re saving hundreds, if not thousands, on the cost of your move by making a hybrid move, the least you can do is offer beverages and pizza to friends and family who are giving up their precious time to help you move. Besides, food and drink makes it seem more like a party and less like a job.
Moving to your new home, new job, or new life is exciting. It shouldn't be stressful or expensive. Now you know how to hack your move to keep it cheap, without moving it all yourself.
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