Moving Fees

This section discusses options to reduce moving costs and get a refund on unnecessary fees. There a few options related to the process of moving:

  • Hiring a full-service moving service
  • Using PODS
  • Rent a moving vehicle | Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

In every case, as with many services, get multiple quotes for the job and negotiate with each one prior to making a final decision.  Most moving and logistics companies will have calculators on their website to analyze scenarios to help you minimize your moving costs.

As with many goods and services where allowed, paying with cash, Venmo, or some “fee-less” method, usually comes with a discount. The company you’re paying is probably savings 2-4% in transaction processing fees whether it is from a credit card, PayPal, Stripe, etc. Ask to pay with cash for a 5% discount. 

Packaging

Sometimes you may be able to reduce the fees by packaging items yourself. Obviously this reduces the labor cost of the moving company.  

Buying packaging suppliers from the mover can be expensive but it can also be convenient to get all the supplies in one stop. If this is a signigficant additional costs you may be able find boxes, tape, bubble wrap on your own. Boxes may be available from your local retail or grocery store. Make sure this is permissible with your moving company as some boxes have integrity or infestation risks. 

Protection blankets should be provided by the mover. If you have a concern about an item request extra padding between/around items. 

If renting a moving vehicle, they also have every imaginable moving supply available. They may equip the truck with a dolly. If you use it, there will likely be an extra fee.

Get Lean

Clean House

Moving offers a good time to rationalize your items and consider keeping and moving whats really necessary.

Donating items to charity, selling items through a marketplace, holding a moving sale, are ways to generate a little income and reduce moving costs.

This becomes more relevant if you’re contemplating paying for storage of extra stuff. Avoid that hassle, even more cost, and instead make a little money by decluttering.

 

Timing

As with any service that has seasonal or timing demand variation, moving with a full-service provider is likely cheaper during off-peak periods. Obviously weekends and holiday periods are higher demand and mid-week dates are usually in lower demand.

Colder weather periods usually have more availability on the calendar as well.  If you have the flexibility ask your mover for a lower price if you select a time that suits their schedule the best. 

Size Matters

Size Matters

Do you still play that piano? Or is that kitty condo still being used? Items that are unusual in shape, heavy, and/or fragile may draw additional charges. If using PODS or as a DIY, large items (heavy or light) take up a lot of space and potentially air space that could be better utilized. 

If practical, you personally may want to move items that require special handling to avoid extra fees. Such as if you have extra space if your own vehicle. Speaking of vehicle and depending on your situation, consider asking a friend for a truck or larger vehicle to help move larger items.

Just because an item is light in weight doesn’t mean it meets standard moving rates. You may consider disassembling bulky items, or partially, to reduce the costs or allow you to move it on your own. Exercise equipment, treadmills, furniture, are items to consider.

Taxes

Moving expenses may qualify a tax deduction but generally moving fees are no longer eligible federal tax deductions, except some military personnel. However, some states may allow a deduction on your state tax return.

Consult with your tax advisor and keep your receipts for all related moving costs. 

 

Tax Incentives

Fuel Surcharge

Fuel Surcharge

Surcharges have become a more popular nickel-and-dime technique to provide an unbiased approach to fees related to commodities such as fuel, metals, gas, chemicals, and more. The intent was to provide a fair mechanism that charges based on an independent published index that account for volatility in the cost of the items. The problem is it isn’t always fair.

If your a DIY’er and renting a moving vehicle, a popular surcharge related to moving fees is a Fuel Surcharge. If hiring a full service company the cost of fuel is likely blended in your quote. You may see a separate line item on your bill related to Fuel Surcharge. This is usually based on the costs of gas or diesel according to an independent index that fluctuates each month. 

When the index price is lower, the amount you are charged should also reduce compared to the previous month. Sometimes there is a basement and if the index drops below that basement level, there shouldn’t be a surcharge.

Check the parameters of this surcharge especially if moving a long distance and make sure your bill accurately reflects the proper surcharge. If you see a fixed fee related to Fuel Surcharge, or any surcharge, and you know the index is low (or the price is known to be relatively lower that the past), ask questions and challenge the fee.

PODS (Portable On Demand Storage)

These small portable containers have become a commonplace. They exploded on the scene about a decade ago and now several companies like PODS, U-Pack, and SMARTBOX are competiting for this business. 

The total costs of choosing this path are usually costs between a DIY move and a turnkey full-service mover. This allows you to do more of the work signicantly reducing the labor costs yet you don’t need to worry about finding the vehicles for transportion nor do the driving. 

PODS

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