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October 17, 2007


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When i moved i used to help me - its really good for planning your move but saves you loads of money with tips and discounts too.

I have been preparing to move cross-country for family reasons and have been doing extensive research on the various ways to do this cheaply and quickly on my own as well. I have already helped my girlfriend move cross-country and have assisted several others move regionally, cross-country, and internationally through self-moves and with government paid moves. Here is a few I would like to add.

-if renting a Uhaul or penske truck/trailer/van for a long distance 1 way move the price will vary wildly by where you are going to move to. If you are moving to a small area then the fees can be 2-3 times as much. In my case it was going to be $1500 to rent a trailer but if I returned it in a neighboring larger city it was only $600!

-when negotiating salary or benefits with a company in the new area that does not offer relocation ask if they will do a partial relocation package. The companies are normally figuring on a complete relocation package for a 3-4 bedroom house as well as temporary housing while house hunting in the local area. For a cross-country move with complete door-to-door services including boxing, packing, shipping, and unloading it can easily range from $20-50k+ from a reputable mover! For most mid-career postions this is an expense that I understand most companies do not want to pay for but most will be willing to pay a smaller amount. Several companies which did not offer relocation packages were easily convinced to offer a smaller amount ($5k) as a hiring bonus. This amount would have easily covered my personal moving costs which included Uhaul rental, mileage rate, per diem (lodging and food), and packing supplies. Many companies will also allow you to inprocess at the company before the move and this allows time to house hunt at the same time.

-paying for professional movers for a long distance move is never cheaper! It is much more convenient but never cheaper. I obtained numerous quotes and it was literally cheaper or a similar cost for me to buy a full size truck, enclosed trailer, pay for gas/time/food/hotel, ship my car, and move myself! To completely move my girlfriend's sparsely furnished small 2 bedroom apartment from DC to the Seattle area was between $25-30k!

-while definitely not cheaper it is often more "frugal/economical" to buy generic rubbermaid type containers if decent boxes cannot be found for free or nearly free. I did not believe this until I put it into action when helping my girlfriend move cross-country. It was a short notice move and we could not find boxes quickly of a quality that we would trust with her things so we bought numerous plastic containers on sale for a price that was 2-3x the cost of cardboard. They were used to pack, move, and then after the move the boxes were loaned out and given to others moving or in need. The remainder are used at her place for storage, organization, and several other uses. There was a higher initial cost but the multiple uses of them over time drove down their per-use cost

-hire out the help loading and unloading when doing long distance self-moves through moving services such as They will pack and load your things into a rental truck/trailer faster and more efficiently than most people can. There is a minimum amount of time or money they will come out for but the time savings was well worth the reasonable cost. A discount can often be negotiated if it is an off-time or between large jobs.

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