Moving tip number three: Be prepared for the hidden costs of do-it-yourself moving

When I moved into my home nearly 10 years ago, I did the same thing I’d done five times before:  I rented a truck and then bought pizza and beer assuming my friends would smell it and offer to help me move. It worked, but it was the last time. We were moving from our first home which we believed wasn’t much larger than an apartment. Amazingly, our 1,600 square-foot house held enough junk to fill a 5,000 square-foot home. Unfortunately, we don’t have a 5,000 square-foot home.

So, we moved nearly all of it into storage while we waited for our new home to be built. In the meantime, we moved into an apartment. Then, when the house was ready, we did it all over again. I can’t tell you what the bill for the truck, the storage, the pizza or the beer was. I just know we spent a lot – particularly on pizza and beer.

And then there was the incident with the truck. Seems that a 26-footer doesn’t corner like a small Volkswagen. Before coming to that realization, I rounded a corner at the end of a row of storage buildings – literally rounded – and dented and scraped the side of the truck. That certainly added to my bill.

Clearly, my wife and I have grown out of the do-it-yourself moving business. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a place for rental trucks, storage facilities and portable storage and moving containers….and, of course, pizza and beer. At Wheaton World Wide Moving we believe strongly in meeting customer demand in ways that satisfy the customer’s needs. Certain customers need the type of hands-on flexibility that those services afford.

But our studies show that many customers of rental trucks or portable storage and moving containers, for example, end up using those services because they believe that full service moving is simply too expensive. In most cases, that’s simply not true. In fact, it’s often just the opposite, particularly when you consider the whole concept of do-it-yourself.

Within only a few hundred dollars difference, many customers can hire a full service moving company, like Wheaton and its agents across the country, to perform a top quality move. That includes moving all the furniture and cartons out of a home or apartment at origin, onto the moving van, and then off the moving van and into the new home. So…your friends will thank you, profusely. And, your pizza and beer bill will go way down.

In addition, there’s some recourse if things don’t go exactly as planned. If you break your own vase, you are, as they say, SOL. If a full service moving company breaks your vase, you always have a minimum level of protection that offers you some value for your items. If you elect to increase your Replacement Value Protection (RVP) to full coverage, you’ll pay a little more up-front but you’re protected even further.

But that’s not all. Depending on your budget and the value of your time – and your spine – your full service movers can also help you pack your items for relocation before the moving van ever arrives. Again, packing isn’t free. But when you consider the time and effort that it takes to ensure your prized possessions are packed properly so they won’t break in-transit, it may be worth exploring. Even if you decide to pack yourself, Wheaton has some great information on how to pack items for transport – especially delicate items like China and crystal.

Bottom line? Before you decide that the do-it-yourself route is the way to go, at least talk to a full service mover and get an in-home estimate. Wheaton and its agents around the country offer in-home estimates at no charge and with no obligation. We’ll be happy to do it and leave behind packing information and tips for saving money even if you decide to do it on your own. Please keep in mind; we’re not authorized to provide lessons on how to drive the rental truck.

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