You’ve packed the house, mapped the driving route to the new place and color coordinated your boxes. The preparation is smooth as butter, until the moving company shows up and refuses to work until you pay an arbitrary fee exceeding the amount of Costa Rica’s gross national product. This may seem like a nightmare, but don’t let it become yours. The Arizona Republic recently reported, “Unscrupulous movers hit unsuspecting customers with hidden fees, bad service, even intimidation; lowest cost should not be only factor in decision.” Although hiring a moving company can seem like Russian roulette, research and knowledge of potential scams can help avoid rogue movers. Before signing a contract, take note of common and uncommon fees listed below.
Common Fees Associated with Moving
Upcharge for Heavy Items
Moving in itself seems like it should cover heavy items, but in most instances it doesn’t. If items are heavier or oversized you will be charged extra. This would include pool tables, pianos, lawn mowers or other hard-to-transport items.
Packing supplies may not be included in a mover’s contract. Often, a moving company will communicate after the move that additional boxes or packing material was needed to avoid damage to items. This is common, and expectations should be communicated prior to the move. Providing packing supplies and a few extra boxes can help avoid scams.
Elevator and Stair Fees
Many moving companies will charge a one-time fee if stairs are involved. This is especially common when hiring movers by the hour. Inquiry regarding this fee will guard against surprises.
Distance fees are also known as supplementary or ‘shuttle’ services. If moving furniture to a new home located remotely, or where a large truck will not fit, movers will transfer your belongings to a smaller truck in order to approach the house. Likewise, if the truck is a certain distance to the doorstep you can be charged by the foot. On average, $90-$120 for every 75 feet from truck to door is customary. If moving to an area with heavy traffic, ensure a parking spot close to the front door. You may also receive a parking permit from the city for your movers on moving day. Speak with your movers to determine if this is necessary.
Automatic basic coverage, otherwise known as valuation, is typically $0.30 to $0.60 per pound for items and comes with a basic moving contract. This does not cover the value of the items. Additional insurance would need to be purchased to protect yourself properly, called full value protection. Full value protection guarantees reinstatement and replacement for damaged or missing items.
Uncommon Moving Fees To Be Aware Of
The disposal or environmental fee is supposed to cover the removal of used moving boxes, garbage and leftover moving supplies. This is an attempt to inflate overall moving costs, and is rarely charged among most moving companies.
Ask in advance if there is a hoisting fee for large or heavy items. This fee is included when large or awkwardly shaped items are not able to move out the door, but must be removed through the window.
The price of the fuel should be included in the basic moving service. It is illegal for moving companies to charge for the so called fuel surcharge.
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