The busiest moving season is right around the corner. The weather is finally getting nicer, the kids will be out of school soon, and the home-buying season is in full swing.
However, if you’re planning a move between Memorial Day and Labor Day, experts say don’t waste any more time if you haven’t already made plans. An estimated 43 million Americans move every year and a whopping 65 percent of those moves occur between the two holiday weekends.
This increased demand for dependable moving services – including professional movers, rental-truck companies and self-storage facilities – can cause gridlock and pose challenges for movers.
“I would definitely say consumers have fewer options and they may wind up paying more during that peak time,” especially if they don’t plan ahead, said Jason Clark, senior manager of sales at Moving.com.
Get a Head Start
Moving is stressful enough, even without these added “peak-season” complications.
“They say moving is the second most stressful thing in your life next to the loss of a loved one,” said Monica Friel, owner of Chicago-based Chaos to Order. “It’s important that if you know it’s going to be that kind of an upheaval and stressful situation to do everything that you can early enough by creating some kind of a timeline. Just by being organized about the whole thing does eliminate a lot of the stress.”
A moving checklist is helpful to use when moving, but here are some things you can do ahead of time:
1. Book Movers Early
Start looking for a professional mover at least two months before your move. There’s really no such thing as doing it too early. Get quotes and referrals from multiple companies.
Waiting until the last minute limits your options and may mean that you won’t be able to hire a reputable mover on the date you choose, Clark said.
Movers are managing extremely tight schedules during the summer and most require a deposit to hold your reservation.
2. Be Flexible
Most people prefer moving at the beginning or end of the month, as most rent and mortgage payments are due on the first. If you can move in the middle of the month, you have a much better chance of landing the mover you want and the pickup and delivery dates you need, according to Clark.
Also, if possible, avoid moving on the busy national holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day).
Keep in mind that the middle of the week and later in the day also open up more time slots.
“Middle of the month, middle of the week are always the best bets,” said Brandon Scivolette, president of Elite Moving Labor. “Most people tend to want weekends, and the first thing in the morning is usually the preferred time. Those fill up fast… Also, June and July are absolute peak months.”
“If you’re flexible with the days of your move, companies can sometimes be flexible with their pricing,” said Jon Nobis, COO at Two Men and a Truck. It never hurts to ask your moving company what promotional discounts they offer.
3. Hire a Reputable Mover
“Be careful on looking for the best ‘deal,’” Nobis warns. “All moving companies are not the same. These people will be in your home handling your most important belongings so make sure you know what you’re getting.”
Do your homework and get referrals. Starting early ensures you have time to properly vet the company that will be handling your valued possessions.
4. Remember Time is Money
“Once you hire a reputable mover, if you plan to do the packing yourself or with some friends, that will certainly save you money,” Nobis said. “The more you have packed and organized for your movers, the better.”
Also don’t forget to sort and purge. “You pay more to move things that you ultimately are going to get rid of, so why pay the movers to move it and then toss it? Toss it before you move,” Friel said.
If you’re using packing services, make sure the belongings you want to move are clean and organized. This will help the packers complete their work more efficiently.
5. Reserve a Truck Pronto
Going the DIY route?
Determine what size truck you need it’s important to make your reservation in advance to ensure availability.
Moving trucks often are harder to book between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The end of the month is especially busy, so if you wait until the last minute you might be out of luck. Play it safe and reserve your truck at least a couple of weeks before your move.
“Renting the truck should be made in advance as they do run out of trucks,” said Marc Goodin, founder/president at Storage Authority Franchise. “And then call back two days before and again the day before to make sure they have a truck.”
Goodin has seen instances where companies rent trucks, but don’t have any on-site. They expect customers to drive to a different location instead.
6. Avoid Peak Days
The busiest time to rent a truck is on the weekends and at the beginning and end of the month. If possible, avoid these times and you may possibly get a better rate.
“If you need a truck on a Friday or Saturday, you would need to make a reservation at least a week or two before the move date,” advised James Eckhart, manager at 14th Street Self Storage in Atlanta. “Truck rentals are much easier to get during the week, which is Sunday through Thursday. The price for the trucks doesn’t change, but the mileage rate for trucks/vans is higher on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, when reserving a truck always give yourself at least a few more hours than you think that you need.”
7. Make a Plan For Storage
8. Lock in a Good Deal
More demand during busy summer month means more competition for units. Rates may increase and there may be fewer move-in specials. Also, competition heats up for small- and medium-sized units from college students moving out of dorms and storing items over the summer.
To help save money, avoid areas around college campuses, and if possible, rent a unit earlier in the year when you can lock in a cheaper rate.