How to Negotiate with a Moving Company? Save Your Money

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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Hiring a moving company comes with a price, so you want to be sure that everything goes smoothly and you don’t get a bad deal. While working with professional movers can make your life so much easier, signing a weak contract for your move can end in a disaster. To ensure that your items arrive safely and you get the best price possible, it is important to know a few basics for negotiating with a moving company. This article will provide you with professional advice on how to negotiate with a moving company.

Background Check

It’s absolutely necessary to run a background check on every moving company you consider to hire. Moving scams are pretty common. It is a good idea to run a background check on the moving companies you may choose. First, check if your moving company is part of the American Moving & Storage Association and therefore certified. Check online for recent reviews from customers of the moving company or ask around for personal recommendations. A marketplace based provider such as CitizenShipper includes customer reviews in their service, so you can make a choice on a transparent basis. If you’re working with a local provider, a good way to check they are legit is to drive to the physical location of the business and check out their branded moving fleets. This will help you see the quality of their trucks or vans and the way they present their business. 

Price Comparison

If you are asking yourself, how to negotiate moving costs? Start with a price comparison! 

Request at least three quotes from three different moving companies for your move. First, gather specific information about your move. The more accurately you know what exactly it is you need to move- the more accurate a quote can be. Most moving companies make a price either based on an hourly rate (local moving companies) or on weight or volume (often interstate movers). If you choose to go with an hourly rate, it is important that you share physical information about your old and new house, because the number of stairs or parking possibilities can influence how long the move takes. 

If you are unsure about how stairs or other physical architectural elements may impact the cost fo your move, request the moving company to come to your house. This way they can accurately examine the number of belongings you have as well as the logistical circumstances, so they can offer you a fixed and binding estimate. Insist on this estimate in a written form, so you don’t get surprised on a moving day by a much higher price than you expected. 

When you have several estimates, you can decide on which moving company seems to suit you best. A good negotiating tactic is to mention the price of their competitors and negotiate with them based on this price. Perhaps you can get it cheaper, faster, or with a better insurance option. 

If there is a company that you really prefer, but they are still too expensive, see if they have a price-matching policy. Or ask them if there are other conditions that would help lower the price, for example, moving in the middle of the week.

It’s All About the Fine Print

It is important that you read the fine print of your contract with your moving company for hidden additional fees. Make sure you find out precisely what is and what is not included in your moving companies’ price offer. Many moving companies may charge additional fees for things you wouldn’t expect such as poor weather, or traffic delays. It is important to read this before you sign, as it may be possible to negotiate this fine print. 

Look Out for Hidden Details in Moving Contracts:

  • Longer distance than expected or discussed that the movers have to carry your items
  • Disassembling or assembling your furniture 
  • Moving your furniture into a smaller truck, because your home is not accessible with a regular large one
  • Carrying items up and down a larger number of stairs

Ask the moving company for a written list of additional fees they may charge as a part of your contract. Read them carefully and negotiate them in relation to what factual information you can provide about your move. 

Don’t Forget About Insurance

Make sure to prepare for the worst-case scenario: your precious belongings get broken or lost. Standard insurance or compensation from moving companies is to pay 60cents per pound as compensation for your damaged or lost items. If are moving valuable light objects, this is clearly not a good deal. Another common insurance concept between moving companies is replacement value protection. This covers much more than standard insurance but can add steep additional costs to your move. If you require this more extensive coverage, be sure to negotiate the condition to get the best deal. A good place to start is to get quotes for this insurance from both your moving company and an independent insurance company. If your moving company doesn’t do coverage of the full-value, it’s likely that they cooperate with an outside insurance company, so they may be adding extra fees on to what they will pay. So if you go straight to the source, you may save some cash. 

Watch Out For Discounts

Most moving companies have their off-seasons between October and May, so you’ll have a better chance of negotiating a good deal for a winter move rather than a summer one. The same counts if you are flexible in scheduling your move to take place during the week instead of weekends when there is more competition. Some companies also offer discounts for students or other groups, such as veterans. Ask your moving company about discounts and promotions. Another good tip is to simply ask your moving company for a special offer. Don’t be shy, maybe they can give you a better price.

Persistence is Key

These tips will guide you through how to negotiate with movers. Negotiating is not hard, it’s just important that you stay persistent in requesting a fair price for your move and safety for your household items. Always make sure you read the contract and be vigilant to avoid those hidden fees!