Reduce the Moving Expenses – A General Negotiation Tip

by David Ning · 7 comments

moving boxes

We are moved in to our new apartment and pretty much all settled at this point. Thanks to my wife, everything went extremely smooth. She not only helped coordinate everybody to help with packing, but she also found a good moving company to do the actual moving. Just to give you an idea of how efficient the whole thing went, we got married on Saturday Feb 9 with nothing packed, rested the whole day Sunday and was in the new apartment by Tuesday Feb 12.

So before I say anything else, I’ve got to say THANK YOU to my wonderful wife. (Okay, on with the article…)

Thinking back, there would be one thing we thought could’ve been better, which was having a smaller moving bill. The moving company told us that they charge $100 / hr for their service from the get go. When asked about what the total charge would be, the mover told us that it is quite difficult to calculate it since they haven’t seen our place and don’t know how long it will take. He went on further to say that we can just wait for everything to be all set and done and then talk about it at the end. We agreed to this, and it was our big mistake.

On moving day, the movers came and very carefully moved our furniture, taping up everything to make sure nothing can be damaged. This wouldn’t be bad normally but we instantly knew we would be in trouble because it will take a long time. As the day went on, our bill kept on going up. What ended up happening was that they took 5 hours to move our 1 bedroom apartment (1 hour was to drive from the old apartment to the new), totaling $500 at $100 per hour. At that point, there weren’t much we could do since we already agreed to calculate everything at the end and we were aware of the $100 per hr charge. We were able to negotiate it down to $400, but it was still a lot of money.

We are fully aware that if we set the price in the beginning, the movers could’ve taken 3 hours to move everything instead of 5. However, as it is advantageous for them to take their time, they did. Next time, we will negotiate a final moving price before we give them any commitment. This is known as negotiating from a position of strength because they want our business and we are the decision maker. If they want our business, they will have to give us a satisfactory final moving cost and not try to charge us by the hour.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiscal Musings February 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm

This is a great point to mention. Having an open ended deal with someone puts you in a difficult position.

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lena the thinker February 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Thanks for sharing. Sometimes other people are really abusive and we must keep pur grounds.

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Mark @ TheLocoMono February 25, 2008 at 6:46 pm

You can always ask for a cap on the moving expense if the movers don’t want to quote a fixed price and rather stick to a per hour quote. That is before you get them to start moving.

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Nina February 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Thanks for this; I’m moving this weekend, and similarly, the moving company I’m using charges by the hour. They also have a minimum of 2 hours, so I plan to tell them that I only want their services for 2 hours and anything after, I’ll move myself. Because you’re right; they’ll move everything slower to make more money.

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Stuart William July 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Hi, Its really nice article. Thanks for sharing with us. Keep it up………

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George Bell September 12, 2008 at 2:22 am

your blog is very informative. you use very attractive and user friendly words.thanks for sharing with us.

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promotional merchandise man October 28, 2008 at 1:40 am

This is a classic example of an hourly rate versus a fixed cost. The same would also apply to household repairs and refurbs. Always get a fixed cost quote, i.e. a price to do the whole job from start to finish as an hourly rate is open ended and can be easily abused to make some nice profits.

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