Hiring professional movers doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to many aspects of the laborious moving process. However, the kind of additional services you request from the pros can make quite a difference.
In addition to shipping your household items, most companies offer a number of accessorial services available for an extra charge. These services are not automatically included in the moving estimate — you have to specify which of them (if any) you’re going to need.
And it’s not always a matter of choice. Often, the circumstances of your move will necessitate a specific accessorial service, such as carrying your belongings upstairs if you move to a building without an elevator.
Each moving company creates a list of the extra services it offers and sets the rates. While shopping around for movers, research the available accessorial services to find the ones that best correspond to your requirements and your budget. When you receive a moving estimate, make sure it includes all the requested services, and double-check the conditions and the charges before hiring a moving company.
Packing and unpacking
Packing is not only the most time-consuming task in the relocation process, but also one of the most crucial aspects of the moving preparations. If you don’t wrap and pack your cherished possessions properly, you risk damaging them during transit.
If you can’t dedicate enough time, and/or don’t have proper packing and padding materials, find a moving company that will pack for you. They will complete the task quickly and efficiently, and, what’s more, they’ll be liable for damage.
Delicate pieces of art or other valuable and oddly-shaped possessions may be safest if you invest in crating, a packing service in which your items are contained in custom-built wooden crates or cardboard boxes cut apart and form-fitted around each piece for better protection.
Unpacking services are available upon request at an additional fee, usually calculated on an hourly basis. If you want the moving company to collect the packing materials and dispose of them, you will pay a disposal fee as well.
Furniture disassembly and reassembly
Your movers can lend you a helping hand when it comes to dismantling your larger furniture, but you will have to pay for the service. However, if you aren’t sure how to properly disassemble a valuable piece, don’t risk ruining it while trying to separate the detachable parts. Your movers will have the required equipment and knowledge to dismantle your furniture without inflicting any damage.
Once you have reached your final destination, the movers can reassemble the furniture. You’ll have to pay for the service, of course, but it will save you precious time, and allow you to jump in and start unpacking.
Handling special items
Movers are not responsible for disconnecting or connecting electrical appliances. If you want them to take your devices to their rightful places and set them up, you’ll have to pay an extra appliance servicing fee.
And many movers charge an extra fee if they need to handle extremely heavy and bulky items — such as pianos, hot tubs, safes, and pool tables — that require special packing and treatment.
If the moving truck delivering your household items must park more than 50 to 75 feet from the entrance of your new home, the movers are not required to take the shipment inside unless you pay an extra fee. They will just unload the truck and leave, and you’ll have to find a way to move your possessions into your new property.
If you want the moving crew to perform this service for you, you’ll have to pay an additional long carry fee, which is based on the distance the movers need to carry your shipment from the moving truck to the residence.
To avoid such a troublesome situation, be sure to reserve a parking space directly in front of your new property for the agreed time of the delivery.
Many movers assess an additional flight charge for taking your household items up the stairs. The cost is calculated either per step or per flight of stairs.
If you can use an elevator to move your items to the floor where your apartment is located, this will partially solve the problem. However, movers usually charge an extra fee if they need to wait for the lift. So, if possible, reserve an elevator in the building for the time when your belongings will be unloaded from the truck and moved to your new place.
Lowering or hoisting (rigging)
If your furniture doesn’t fit through the doors or along narrow staircases and hallways, your movers may set up a rope-and-pulley system to take the pieces in question out of your old home or into your new one through a window. This service comes at an additional price, and is only offered if the moving company has the specific equipment and competence required to perform it safely.
Exclusive use of the moving vehicle
Your household items may be loaded on the same truck with a couple of other shipments transported along the same route — especially when you’re moving across the country. Consolidating shipments helps moving companies deliver goods more efficiently, and also keeps your final moving costs down.
However, you may have to wait longer before you can receive your items, and there will be no guaranteed delivery day. If you don’t want your household goods to be consolidated with other shipments, you may need to pay for the exclusive use of the moving truck.
If a larger moving truck cannot access your property due to its size, smaller vehicle(s) will be used to transport your items — but you’ll be charged extra for the service.
Split pickup and delivery
If circumstances necessitate that items you are going to move to your new home must be picked up from several different locations, or if you need some of your belongings to be delivered at your final destination and others to be transported someplace else (such as a storage unit or temporary lodgings), you’ll have to pay an additional fee for split pickup or delivery services.
Waiting time and re-delivery
In case you can’t meet the moving truck at your new property on the agreed date, the movers may wait and charge a fee for waiting, or may place your belongings in storage at your expense.
Storage and warehouse handling
Storage-in-transit may be required if your new home is not ready in time, if some unexpected problems arise, or if you can’t pay the required sum of money for the pre-negotiated legitimate moving services at delivery. The moving company will charge an extra fee, and the longer your belongings stay in storage, the more you will have to pay.
Remember that any specialty services provided by third-party companies are not included in the standard relocation services, and therefore incur additional charges.
Additional services and their rates vary from one company to the next. Research all your options carefully beforehand and make sure all the services you have requested and the charges your movers require are explicitly set in the mover’s paperwork.
- Get to Know Your Mover’s Paperwork
- Time-Saving Packing Hacks for Your Next Move
- Picking a Moving Company: How Do Your Choices Stack Up?
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
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