6 Hidden Moving Fees

Ask questions to unearth hidden costs

Even legitimate movers might not spill all the costs unless you ask. To get an accurate picture of your total, find out if the following fees will apply:

Packing or disconnecting fees. Even if you're paying for your movers to pack up your goods, some movers will charge extra if it's more complicated than box-and-carry. As each company gives you its estimate, ask if it will charge extra to disassemble furniture or disconnect gas lines. If you're filling the boxes yourself, the company may also charge if they decide your cartons need to be repacked to make the trip trouble-free.

Extra fees for unusually heavy items. Companies often need extra manpower or equipment to move weighty items like grand pianos, hot tubs, all terrain vehicles or appliances. Make sure your company includes the heavy lifting fees in the estimate so the movers are prepared for the extra pounds and you're prepared for the final bill.

Additional cost for an inconvenient location. If you're moving to or from a seventh-floor apartment, the company may charge extra for all that additional cardio. More fees might also apply if movers can't reach your home because of a narrow driveway or natural obstacle. Ask if your location will cost you extra when the estimator is at your home.

A thumb-twiddling fee. Besides leaving you frazzled and disorganized, waiting till the last minute to pack can also cost you money. If you're packing up yourself, you'll need to be done before the movers arrive. Any extra time they spend boxing up your possessions will be billed at the hourly fee. Also, try to arrive at your new home before the moving truck. They may bill you while they wait for your arrival.

If you're moving locally, ask if you can get a larger truck for the same rate. Some local companies charge the same hourly rate for a 50-foot van and a 12-foot van. Make sure your estimator has allowed for plenty of empty space for incidentals in the van. If you're being charged by the hour, double trips will tack unexpected fees onto your move.

You'll need money to move yourself, too. Don't forget to include the costs to get yourself from point A to point B in the budget. If you're traveling a long distance, you may need a place to stay while your belongings are en route. And don't forget refreshments for your friends, family and movers!


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