What can you do to remove the cost of a long-distance move?

Long-Distance Move

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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My family is planning on moving from California to Texas. We're a family of four in a three bedroom, two bath home with a garage and storage shed for lawn equipment in the backyard. We really can't afford to hire a professional moving company. How can we reduce the cost of the move? We don't mind doing some or all of the work ourselves if it will save us money.

Call Around

There are differences in price amongst the many moving companies. Ask if they have any specials or specific days/dates when prices might be lower.

I've not tried it, but have heard of sharing a moving van with others moving to the same general area and not needing the whole truck for their own belongings.

Could your vehicle pull a storage trailer? I would think a trailer versus a truck might be less expensive. The trucks come in different sizes; compare and get one just large enough to fill it completely up.

If you do rent a truck, you can rent a car dolly, which is towed by the truck and should be cheaper than hiring a separate trailer for the car.

The more furniture you can sell or give away, the less expensive it will be to move. Keep your favorites, but don't plan on taking everything.

You Load It and They Move It

My family and I moved from Memphis, TN to Northern Virginia one year ago. We didn't have much money. My husband's employer was not going to pay for the move, so I had to do a lot of searching. Self-driven moving trucks were extremely expensive and then there was the additional cost of gas or diesel. The POD units were also very expensive and were too small. We would've needed about three of them.

Finally, I found ABF movers. They dropped off a short semi-trailer and let us load it up. When we called them, they came and took it to our new home. Our one truck cost us $2145 total to move all the way to Virginia. The service was amazing. They called us to let us know that the truck arrived at a nearby city and would be waiting for our call to make the delivery. When we called, the driver was so polite and helpful. He dropped it off on a Wednesday and picked up on a Monday after we'd emptied it.

Our friends were so very helpful at packing everything so carefully, and all our stuff arrived in great condition, which was amazing because of all the mountains that the truck had to cross.

Hire Help through Craigslist

Our smart neighbor used Craigslist to hire a couple of strong men to load his rental truck and then used Craigslist again to meet him at his new home 2,500 miles away. He was able to return the rental truck without any late penalties, and all the heavy lifting was done very fast. He saved time and money and was able to start the unpacking sooner. The only tricky part was that the men he hired wanted to be paid in cash. He used his cell phone to keep in touch with them.
Kristina in Ohio

Reserve a POD

Check out PODS.com. They deliver a container. You pack it. They pick it up and move it. We used it for a move across town about eight years ago. It worked great.

Color Code Your Rooms

I have done seven long-distance moves in seven years (New Orleans to Minneapolis being one) and I have a few tips.

Start packing right away! Go through your things and pack away what you don't use everyday. It's better to pack great-grandma's dishes when your not tired and it's the last thing to pack. I've always done a better job this way, and I haven't had a broken dish yet!

Clear out an area near the door you will use to take your items out. A garage would be ideal. When you pack your boxes, put them in the loading area.

Persons on Freecycle will take all of the unwanted items, couches, beds, pianos, clothing, etc. They will even come by and haul it off for you.

Color code your rooms! When you are packing your boxes assign a color code to the rooms and write what is in each box. When you get to your destination, post a page to the outside of each room that states which color goes in that room. It makes your job a lot easier.

On their site, U-Haul lists local moving helpers. Many of these are college students, and you can hire them to move the items into the truck. You can hire another set of movers to unload your items when you get to your destination. They post references and how much they charge per hour on the website.

If you do use "full pack and move" movers:

  • Ask them if they can insure your move.
  • If you stage everything in the loading area and they only have to move the large items, ask if you can get a discount on your move.
  • If you are not in a rush, find out if you can get a discount if you move "off season."
  • If you and a few friends help, ask if you can get a discount on labor.


Take the Next Step:

  • For more ways to reduce the cost of local and long-distance moves, please visit here.
  • Make sure you're not overpaying on your mortgage. If you haven't looked for a lower mortgage rate in the past year, use our simple tool that compares different lenders to see what your monthly mortgage payment could be. It's private, only takes a minute and could show you how to save thousands!

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