The Hidden Costs and Fees of Moving

GoodMigrations Whale


Don’t be caught off guard with the hidden costs of moving. Moving is an expensive undertaking. Local moves, are estimated to cost an average of $1,250, with long-distance moves of 1,000 miles and above bound to set you back approximately $5K ($4,890 to be exact).

Thats no chump change.

One often overlooked aspect is that moving costs can spill beyond the moving fee you pay to a professional moving company.

To save you some nasty surprises during your move, we decided to compile a list of some of the unexpected moving expenses – from the forgotten, to the hidden, and some more uncommon ones – that are easy to overlook, ending up poking holes in your moving budget.

Moving Supplies

If you’re assigning packing duties to the mover, they should come with all needed moving supplies and materials – factored into the moving costs, of course.

However, if you’re going DIY with your packing, it’s easy to overlook how much packing supplies can actually affect your moving costs.

Take an example.

If we’re talking a two-bedroom house, a moving kit with 50-60 boxes and tape can fetch in the range of 150 to 200 bucks. You might also end up shelling an additional $100 for a kit that protects your china and glassware.

Elevator Fees

If you live at the top of a high rise, be prepared to part with an elevator fee.

This is a surcharge that is usually fixed, often costing an extra $50 to $100, so ask your mover 1. if this is separate and 2. if so, how much they charge for it.

Parking ticket

There is a possibility the moving company will receive a parking ticket should they be found parking “illegally” when loading or unloading your belongings. Usually, you will be the one to fork out this fee should that happen.

But there is a workaround to it. We say illegally because the proper way of going about it is to obtain a parking permit from your community’s City Offices.

If parking is an issue around your place, consider getting one a week or two in advance of your move to avoid these hidden moving costs.

parking violation

Heavy Items Surcharge

Most movers include most furniture and appliances in their basic moving estimate.

However, it is important to keep in mind that heavy or unwieldy items like a grand piano, pool table, ATV and such items are often characterized as “special items” and therefore charged for separately. So, be sure to take the time to mention these items to your movers. 

Specialized Items

Speaking of specialized, not every mover is equipped to move special items that require more care and attention – think fine art and sculptures, antique dishes, the aforementioned piano etc.

Most won’t admit to not specializing in this type of moving, despite the lack of such a service offering on their website. So, if you plan to move items like these, make sure to do your due diligence.

While you’re at it, enquire on the cost of moving these items, and understand if this will be paid for separately.

Ideally, you want to hire a multi-faceted mover who provided different services, specialized items included, as hiring two different moving companies – one for the special items and another for your other belongings – doesn’t make sense.

Moving Insurance

Every moving company is required to provide basic mover’s insurance by law.

However, don’t take it at face value when a mover tells you your possessions will be insured in transit. In reality, the basic coverage offered by movers (also known as basic carrier liability or released value) is not going to match the actual value of your items.

If you want better protection, you will have to purchase full-value protection which makes the mover liable for the replacement value of every damaged or missing item. But even this is mid-level coverage.

The best form of coverage is third-party coverage, although this is best suited for high-value items such as art collections, antiques and crystals, precious stones, oriental rugs, furs, computer equipment, cameras, and video cameras, and jewelry.

Ask your selected mover to explain the different coverages on offer and be on the same page with them as to how much the insurance will cost. Know what questions to ask regarding relocation insurance.

Overnight Fees

If for some reason the mover is unable to unload your items on the planned day, there is a chance you could end up paying an overnight fee.

However, this said reason should not be of the mover’s own making – such as delayed hours on their part, should you happen to hire some unreliable characters – of which they totally need to cater for.

But if the delay was caused by either you or something you overlooked – for example, restricted services hours in the neighborhood you’re moving into – you might be required to part with an overnight fee for the change of plans.

This is why it pays to plan for a move early on as some of these minute details can be overlooked when preparing your move in haste. Nobody wants to pay $300 or more in the name of overnight fees just because of a little something that was overlooked.

Furniture Disassembly and Reassembly

This is another cost you definitely don’t want to be surprised with at the end of your move.

Let the mover clarify if they levy extra charges on furniture disassembly and reassembly before you sign up.


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