First Time Hiring Movers: The ULTIMATE Guide

Wheaton bed assembly

If it’s your first time hiring movers it can be a little intimidating and you may not know what to expect. No problem. We have compiled the ultimate guide for the first time you hire a moving company. After you read this you will know all you need to know and be able to move forward with confidence.

Hiring Movers vs. Moving Yourself

Hiring Movers

It’s a common misconception that hiring a moving company is going to break the bank. Whether you are buying a new house or moving into a new apartment there are going to be several costs incurred with your move and you are probably trying to save money where you can. But moving your home by yourself, or with your friends, may not be the best place to cut corners.

If you want to compare the cost of moving yourself against hiring a professional moving company you need to take several factors into consideration. First, how big is your current home? One of the main factors in the price of a professional move is weight, or how much stuff you have to move. If you have a studio, or relatively small home, the price point will be very low. The cost will increase accordingly with the size of your home.

(Read: Local Moving Services)

The second factor in pricing is the distance of your move. A move across town will cost you less than a move across the country, obviously. Stairs, elevators, and long hallways will all add to your final bill with a moving company. But keep in mind that moving isn’t free for you if you decide to do it yourself. Consider the cost of renting a box truck, gas, moving supplies, boxes, renting a dolly, and pizza and beer for your friends. Know the real cost, in dollars and cents, of moving yourself before comparing the prices against hiring a professional moving company. A professional moving company will come to your home and give you a free quote for your move so you will know exactly what you are looking at.

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Time and effort are a huge factor in the debate between moving yourself and hiring movers. Professional movers are fast and efficient. What might take you and your friends 10 hours, to sloppily box up and load a U-Haul, then unload it into your new home, will most likely take a team of movers less than 4. In addition, you will have to do all the heavy lifting yourself rather than sitting back and leaving it to the crew. Knicks and dings on your walls and your hands, along with a sore back and utter exhaustion, should be expected. You will also be morally obligated to help any member of your friends-and-family crew move for the next 3-5 years.

(Read: Printable Pre-Move Checklist)

Think about how many high priced items you have in your home. Do you really want to trust your cousin Jimmy to move your new flat screen TV in his ‘92 F-150? Professional movers know how to pack your things and load their truck in a way that will protect your valuable possessions as best as possible. They use furniture blankets, proper packing supplies, and best moving practices to keep all of your items in the same condition in which they found them. They also have insurance so that if any of your things do happen to get damaged you will be covered. Your friends do not have movers insurance.

So, yes, it might be a little bit more expensive to hire a moving company but you will save time, effort, and the risk of breaking your mirrors, table legs, and finger. What’s your time and your peace of mind worth to you?

Tips for Keeping Costs Down When Hiring a Professional Moving Company

Save Money Hiring Movers

If it’s your first time hiring a moving company you probably don’t know all the tips and tricks to save a few bucks. To put it simply, the easier the move is, the cheaper it will be. And there are some things that you can do to make it easier. Remember the main factors in pricing are weight, distance, and time. So the first thing you can do to reduce your costs is take less stuff! Host a garage sale, donate items to charity, give things away to friends and family, and throw out the rest.

(Read: Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Moving Sale)

Try to only take the things you really need and you will see a big drop in price. But, to avoid any financial surprises, show the move estimator that comes to give you a quote EVERYTHING you intend to take with you. Make sure that you include the attic, basement, garage, and storage closet. If there are unaccounted for items on move day you will get your bid adjusted for the higher.

According to the AMSA, the average cost for a move in-state is $1,170 and the average out of state move is $5,630, but you can reduce the cost of professional movers if you do simple things yourself. Like packing. Movers come fully equipped with boxes and moving materials, but that will show up on your bottom line. If you can get free boxes from Craigslist, and pack them yourself, you will save some money. Put all of those boxes in an easily accessible place for the movers to get to so that it cuts down on the amount of time they need to load the truck. Disassemble any bed frames or large furniture so that the movers don’t have to do it when they get there.

(Read: Ultimate Guide to Moving Boxes)

Reassemble it yourself in your new location. Label the boxes with color coded stickers and put the corresponding colored sticker on the door frame in your new home so that the movers know exactly which room each box goes into without you having to stop and look inside or direct them each time. Burn your CD’s onto your computer so that you don’t have to transport them individually and look into mailing the books in your library to your new home. The special post rate for books may save you money over packing them in the moving truck. These easy tasks will save you on your final costs.

To recoup some of your losses you should request an itemized list of all the things you donate to charity. This will come in handy come tax time. And if you are moving for work keep all the receipts associated with the move. This includes transportation, lodging, meals, and more. These are all great tax write offs.

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How to Choose the Right Moving Company

Unloading Moving Truck

Okay, so you know that you want to hire a moving company for the first time, and you know that there are some simple ways to keep the costs down, but how do you know which movers to choose? Great question. There are plenty of moving companies out there and some of them are less than reputable. But the cream always rises to the top and there are some sure fire ways to know that you are trusting your possessions to a quality moving company.

Right off the bat you will want to make sure that any moving company you are looking into has all the necessary licenses. Movers are required to be registered with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can check the DOT website or call them to ensure that the company you are checking on is in good standing. There are other moving associations that reputable companies belong to without being required, such as the AMSA, ProMovers, Office Moving Alliance, etc. Ask the moving company what associations they subscribe to and check the websites of the major associations for recommended movers in your area. And while checking their credentials, don’t forget to look at the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Yelp for customer based reviews of the company.

(Read: Finding a New Place to Call Home)

If they pass the first screen you can dig a little deeper and ask them a few questions. How long have they been in business? It’s good to hire a moving company that has been in business at least 10 years. Do they hire their workers or do they employ temporary labor? Full time movers will be more experienced, and handle your things with more professionalism, than a hired hand who was brought on for the day. Do they background check and drug screen their employees? These are people you are trusting to handle all of your things. You would hope that they aren’t career criminals. Ask about their insurance and how you will be covered. If your mover is not insured then your items are also not insured and you may have a hard time being reimbursed for anything damaged or missing. See if they plan on sending someone out to do an in-home estimate or they just want to give you a quote over the phone. If your moving company doesn’t come and inspect the move in person you could be in for some major surprises when it’s all said and done.

(Read: People Share Their Biggest Moving Oppositions)

When you find a few companies that pass your rigorous interview process then it’s time to compare quotes. Make sure you read them thoroughly so that you’re comparing apples to apples. Does it include packing, packing materials, boxes, unpacking, insurance, etc.? Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. A good moving company will have a representative that will be happy to answer them for you.

(Read: International Moving Services)

Be wary of any quote that is significantly lower than the others. Chances are something isn’t right or something isn’t being accounted for and you will be charged for it later. And when you have it narrowed down to 1 or 2 companies you should reflect on who was the most responsive to you, in the best manner, during this whole process. Communication is essential to any stress-free move. If they have proven to be attentive up to this point then that trend will probably continue.

Lastly, Things to Expect the First Time You Hire Movers

family moving

So now it’s actually time to do the move. Move day. You’ve picked a great company, kept your costs down, and now it’s time to shine. But you don’t want to be caught off guard. If you didn’t read through all of the sales material that your company gave you, or even if you did, you could still run into some unexpected situations.

(Read: The Complete Guide to Moving for College)

There are certain things that moving companies will not take with them. Flammables, aerosol cans, perishable foods, and more. Your moving company will provide you with a full list of these items. You will want to make sure you have the gas and oil drained from your lawn equipment and your fridge emptied before moving day. And when your movers show up, you are responsible for providing them with a place to park. No problem if you have a big driveway. But it might be more of a challenge if you are relying on an open street parking space.

(Read: How to Best Move the Elderly or Disabled)

Cone off an area, give your neighbors a heads up, or park your cars there until the movers arrive to make sure you can get started right away. Snacks and bottled water are always appreciated by your movers. This will help keep morale up on those hot summer days. Tipping, as with most service industries, is common. If your movers do a great job you might want to have some cash on hand to reward them for their hard work and professionalism.

Hiring Movers Conclusion

You are all set for the easiest move of your life. You know the differences of hiring movers vs. moving yourself, you know how to save money during a move, and you know what to expect. Just follow these simple tips and you will hire your first movers with no problems at all. Good luck!

Do you have any tips for hiring movers? Let us know in the comments section below!

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25 Responses to “First Time Hiring Movers: The ULTIMATE Guide”

  1. Sean Phillips

    To amplify what others are saying about cleaning up first: maybe instead of packing, you might consider doing a de-clutter before the packers come. It’s surprising and illuminating to unpack worthless stuff that you would have taken straight to the curb or the trash if you’d been packing yourself.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Exactly Sean! It can save on moving costs too if the movers don’t have as many items to transport.

  2. Georgia B

    Thanks for the tip on emptying the fridge before moving day! I hadn’t thought about the need to do that in the craziness of packing everything up. It would definitely make the fridge a little bit lighter for the movers, and also make sure that nothing makes a mess or gets spoiled!

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      It’s never fun to clean out the fridge, but you’ll be glad you did it!

  3. Deb Pearl

    My family and I do have to move soon, but it isn’t too far away, but someone suggested we look into hiring a moving company anyway. It would be really nice if we could get professionals to help us move in one trip. That would take out a lot of stress from trying to move in a lot of multiple runs and trying to lift everything ourselves. We will have to consider it more! Thanks for the information!

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Hi Deb, we’re so glad you came across our blog! Hiring a professional mover can save you a lot of time and stress. Give us a call if you’re in WA state, or we can always refer you to another agent in your area that’s part of the Bekins Van Line.

  4. Lawerence

    Amazing article!

  5. Taylor Bishop

    It’s good to know that professional movers will know how to pack and load everything in their truck safely. My sister has been thinking of moving recently and it sounds like it could be good for her to maybe talk to the movers about what she could do in the move. Maybe they could give some good tips depending on certain furniture items.

  6. Gerty Gift

    Thank you for explaining the different ways we can save money on hiring a moving company. My husband and I have always been self movers, but this time around, we feel like it would help more to hire someone. I like the idea of having a yard sale, mostly because it reminds me of when I would move in college and I would donate a lot of my things before I would go to a new apartment. I will be sure to keep this in mind for our move.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Downsizing can have a huge advantage financially and mentally when moving. Glad to hear you’re considering a yard sale, and hiring professional movers.

  7. Ashley Turns

    My husband and I have just bought a new house, so we are wondering how to find the best residential moving service to help us. So thanks for advising that we check on the DOT website to make sure that the service we are considering is in good standing. We’ll be sure to find a residential moving company who is in great standing according to the DOT website.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Ashley, the DOT website is a great place to start. You should also check online reviews, and websites such as the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Good luck on your new home!

  8. Silas Knight

    You’ve got great tips for hiring movers for the first time. I like how you said that professionals, while costing more, are fast and efficient and do all of the heavy lifting for you! We’re hoping to move in the near future, so I’ll have to remember what you said here and find a moving company.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Thanks for the great feedback, Silas. Let us know if we can help with your move in any way!

  9. Ellie Davis

    My husband and I just bought our first house and are getting ready to move in. Thank you for pointing out that professional movers are experienced and know how to pack properly. We will have to find a company to come and help us.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Ellie, we are glad we could help you make the decision to hire professional movers. Let us know if we can be of any further assistance. Good luck with your move!

  10. Bethany Birchridge

    I like that professional movers will disassemble large furniture for you. I’ve been thinking of moving, so this is some great information to have. Is there anything else I should keep in mind if I hire a moving company to help me?

  11. Duncan Lance

    I think it is pretty cool that the article makes a few suggestions about which questions you can ask a moving company. After all, you will want to make sure that you know how many years they have been in business. That way you will know whether or not you can trust them to help with your move.

    • Olympic Moving & Storage

      Thanks for reading, Duncan! Stay tuned for new articles to help your move go smoothly.

  12. Carly Mckeen

    Thank you for stating that one factor in pricing is how far away where you’re moving to is. My sister’s husband just got a new job that requires them to move to a new area, and they need the help of movers but have never hired any before and don’t know how to go about it. I will definitely pass along all of your great tips and information to my sister, so she can successfully hire a moving company.

  13. Sophia Slate

    Thank you for your great article on hiring movers! My family needs to move because of my husband’s job. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when hiring movers.

  14. Callum Palmer

    My cousin is going to be moving soon. I think it would be good for him to hire someone to help him move. Knowing that there are many companies out there that could help us, we’ll keep an eye out for those that are licensed, as you did say.

  15. Oscar Morrison

    It’s helpful to realize that the more I do myself, the less it will cost to have someone else do the rest. My wife and I need to move next month for work and don’t have the time to do it ourselves. We want to keep our costs down though, so maybe we’ll try packing things up in our spare time this month so there’s less left to do when movers come.


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