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Basic inputs about Moving
What are the components of a Move
The purpose of these lines, unless if you are an expert in moving homes, is to help you understanding how moving companies work and what makes the cost of a move.
Below are explanations on how the cost of a move builds up.
Wrapping paper, boxes, tapes are the base materials used when moving. They are to be considered as consumables, material that can't be reused for another move.
There are boxes of different sizes to pack different items such as hanged clothes, lampshades, books...
Quality of the cardboard used is important, as how hard and thick it is will determine how good it will be to amortize shocks and how high you can pile up the boxes, especially when packing heavy items such as books.
In case you move locally, with the same region, nationwide or even within Europe, blankets can be used to protect your furniture. This happen when the same truck / team or driver is travelling between origin and destination. The blankets are used move after move and attention is brought to keep them clean. They are replaced when too worn out. Such a wrapping for furniture is protective enough for most of furniture and is economical as there is little waste with it.
When the house move is to another continent, by sea or air, or to a far away place, the shipment is packed with single use material. Thick multilayer materiel is used for furniture instead of blankets. The packing of such shipment is slower and the wrapping material comes more expensive than blankets.
Other materials and equipments are used on a packing job: cutter, scissors, hand tools, trolleys and other rolling equipments to ease the task of men handling boxes and heavy furniture day after day. Those equipments are expensive and need maintenance and replacement.
Vehicles are necessary to move men and materials to clients homes and to move belongings from one home to the other. Most companies own a range of vehicles of various sizes to meet the different needs and also rent some depending on specific needs or when the company meet high activity perod such as summer months. When packing is over several days, a transit van will be enough for the first days and the bigger transport truck may come only on the loading day.
In a packing and moving team, each worker have a wide scope of abilities but each one has his specific taste and preferences for packing chinaware, dismantling furniture, carry or load the van.
Quality of a move has a lot to do with the quality of men on the job. Their experience will prevent many gross mistakes a just-for-the-day mover would do.
When you have a professional mover in front of you, trust him ! Of course, you can help him pointing out the possible issues you are aware of and guide him as you know your house and your belongings better than he do but trust he has faced a number of similar situations so you can rely on his experience. They are a team so they will combine their skills to find a way to do things.
It can be road, sea or air, direct or through a temporary storage.
A special transport we be done on the dates you wish.
A shared load, combined trip or groupage transport means your shipment is combined with other shipments, either sharing the truck or shipping container or because your shipment will be transported on a return trip of another shipment. This permit a better rate as the trip cost is shared over several shipments. The backside of it is that there is a dependance on someone else for dates, time and generally speaking the overall organisation of the move.
Transit through warehouse is usual for smaller moves by air or sea as they need a special packing.
Depending on transport mode, you can be delivered by the same team in origin who packed your move or by another team.
With the same access conditions, delivery is usually quicker than packing and loading.
Date can be set in advance or flexible depending on your obligations or moving company's constraints, for exemple in case of combined trip.
What does a move cost?
To keep it simple, cost of a move is made of: packing materials + labour + transport + delivery + margin.
Depending on what you ask (pack everything in the house or only part of it, assuming you pack yourself the other part), the packing material and labour part will be more or less important.
Cost of transport varies depending destination, volume of goods, distance, popularity of the destination and date of the move.
Cost of delivery is mostly labor and recycling of the used packing materials.
The moving company's margin may seem to you the part you can squeeze a bit. It is true till a certain point. A good transport manager will balance driving his crews and truck earlier, even if empty, rather than saling a job at cost. He may rather have rested motivated crews than exhausted crews because too much is on them. It is legitimate for a company to make some profit out of its work and it should be a criteria when selecting a provider.
Only read moving companies online comments from clients and you will see what happen with companies playing 'too tight' either when planning the operations or costing their jobs. They are the ones with 'crew arrived late as their truck broke down' or 'only a team of 2 came to move our 4 bedrooms house'. The same company overworking their staff are often the same with important damages made to you belongings and dodgy insurance policies.
How to reduce the cost of my move ?
Most moving companies offer various levels of services.
The more you do, the more reduced the price will be. So if you are able to properly pack your goods, having the time and the materials for it, this is a way. However, be careful not to overestimate what you can do.
To make an economical move a success, you need to pack evreything well, with good quality material, not leaving it to last minute.
Have also in mind the mover's liability is not the same depending what he packed.
Here are the usual 3 levels of services you will be offered by most movers. From one company to the other, there may be some different options?
Economical: you dismantle your furniture, pack all items and objects in boxes. The moving company will load its truck, with blankets wrap of the furniture, transport and unload your belongings but won't unpack anything.
Standard: you pack all non-fragile items such as clothes, books, toys, lamps, ktichenware and bo it up. The moving company will box up all fragile items such as chinaware, glassware, paintings, lampshades, will dismantle your furniture and load its truck, transporte, unload and unpack the same fragile items packed in origin.
Superior: you disconnect your appliances and the moving company will care of packing everything.
Dates may also play a role in the cost of a move.
Moving is a seasonal activity with higher demand at some time. This may have as a consequence higher rates and, unfortunately, a lower quality of work in the companies who don't measure well the worklaod they can take.
Be careful, at very busy time (end of month, in summer...) it is very difficult to find a moving company available.
Planning and booking your move long time in advance, you insure a moving company work in the future. It alwys them to plan its ressources accordingly, rationalize its routes and generally speaking help him to organize better its work with is good for him but also for you as a client.
You will take off your mind a major concern and waive the risk of a dodgy last minute organisation with an exhausted crew, too small truck or too tight planning.
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