Moving can be a chaotic and stressful experience, and with everything going around you all at once, it can be quite easy to miss a few things. No matter how carefully and meticulously you planned your moving budget, a couple of well-hidden and strategically placed “extra charges and fees” can derail things pretty quickly. Even if you have found a reputable and highly trusted moving company, it’s possible that you can be hit with a few unexpected charges when it comes time to pay the bill.
Hiring a moving company can be a big purchase to make, and just like with any big purchase, you’re liable to find a few ways in which the company can sneak in some extra fees and hidden charges to milk their profit. Whether you’re buying a car, a house or just a plane ticket, the American consumer has become conditioned to looking for any hidden charges and fees and making sure to avoid them, so picking out a moving company should be no different.
Here’s a few common ways in which your moving company might try to hit you with some hidden charges, along with some of the best ways to avoid them:
1. Charging for Packing Materials and Supplies
If you have chosen a full-service moving company to assist you in every aspect of your move, including the packing of your belongings, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you since packing and all of the supplies associated with it will be included in your price. However, if you have chosen to pack everything yourself but weren’t thorough enough about it, extra packing supplies provided by the moving company may add a lot of money to your final cost. So, if you go the pack-it-yourself route, make sure you pack everything completely and thoroughly, with the correct packing supplies and sturdy boxes, so that the moving company doesn’t have to finish the job for you and add unnecessary charges behind.
2. Stair or Long-Carry Charges
Walking can be rough, especially when you’re carrying heavy furniture. For that reason, some moving companies may choose to charge extra for carrying your belongings up the stairs. They may even tack on some extra fees if the walk from your house to the moving truck is especially far. How can you combat this? By preparing. It’s a good idea to ask your moving company if they charge extra for stairs and, if they do, make sure to work this into your budget. Also, you can minimize the distance the movers have to walk to get from your house to the moving truck by bringing all of your packed belongings and furniture outside of your house on the day of the move, so that they don’t have to walk back and forth a hundred times.
3. Gas Charges
Gas is expensive these days. This may cause your moving company to add an extra charge to your total to cover the gas if they’re hauling your belongings a long distance. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this. If you are moving a long distance, paying for gas is inevitable, whether you are handling the move yourself or you have chosen to pay a company to do it for you. Just because you can’t avoid it, doesn’t mean you can’t plan for it though. Make sure to ask your moving company if they have a gas surcharge, and if so, plan it into your budget, that way it doesn’t blindside you after your move.
4. Paying With a Credit Card May Cost You
Yes, just like those convenience store signs that warn you about an extra fee if you pay with a credit card, your moving company may do the same. Although this practice is prohibited by a few of the major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard, it doesn’t stop many companies from enforcing it. You can prevent this extra surcharge by calling up your credit card company and notifying them of the fee.
In short, the best way to avoid getting hit with hidden fees and charges is to do your homework and make sure you read the entire moving contract and paperwork through before you sign it and agree to anything. Making sure that you are aware of all charges and costs associated with your move is the best way to prevent yourself from paying extra for things you can avoid.
Robert Moreschi is the content writer for Movers.com, an online moving resource dedicated to providing its customers with free moving quotes from some of the top moving companies in the business including long distance movers, local movers, international movers, and auto transport as well as helpful moving guides and videos. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and currently resides in North Brunswick, NJ where he enjoys spending his free time writing and playing basketball.