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Real People: Last Minute Moving Tips

Posted in: I'm Moving, Moving Stories

Picture of Shiromi A.Today’s Real People post is from Shiromi A. of Seattle, WA. If you’re a dedicated follower of our antics here at the HireAHelper Blog, you might recognize Shiromi’s name. That’s because this is her second Real People story (she’s moved a lot!). Her first story was about her pod container move with a head-to-head comparison of PODS shipping containers vs. ABF U-Pack ReloCubes. Today Shiromi shares some helpful last minute moving tips from her first hand experience using cheap movers and the wrong size Penske moving truck.

When my husband and I moved to Seattle, we were ready to settle down. While we rented a duplex, we went on the “great house hunt,” eventually finding one we loved. Unfortunately it was a short sale. Everything took so long that we barely made our closing date. Our mortgage broker had to rush the paperwork, and we didn’t know when we were getting the keys until just a couple of days prior to moving in.

Pic of Last Minute Moving Tips Seattle Banner

Well, we ended up closing at the end of the month, in July, with just two days notice. Everything was boxed up and ready to go, but booking a mover in the middle of summer ended up being a lesson in what not to do.

Last Minute Moving Tips

Moving Last Minute = Limited Choices

After researching online, we called to see who was available at such short notice. As you can imagine, most companies were booked solid.  Desperate, we settled on a small company in South Seattle. Having done several moves in recent years, we were able to give them an accurate estimate of how much stuff we needed to move, and they gave us what seemed like a reasonable quote.

On moving day, two movers arrived in a 12 foot Penske rental truck. Upon seeing it, we knew it was too small to move everything in one go. In fact, it took two trips.  Also, the movers didn’t bring a hand truck, so loading and unloading was slow-going. All told, it took two movers, with help from my husband and I, almost seven hours to finish. True, part of it was traveling to and from the new house, but that was just a ten minute drive from our old rental. Because the move took so long, we ended up paying considerably more money than we were quoted, even after they agreed not to charge us for the travel time.

Picture of a Small Toy Penske Moving Truck

Built at a Home Depot Kid’s Workshop featuring toy Penske moving trucks.

As Soon as You Set Your Move Date, Book Those Movers!

So, what did I learn from this whole experience? Book in advance! Calling around, we discovered that the companies that were rated the best were booked out two weeks in advance, which is why it’s important to book as early as possible. In our situation there wasn’t a lot we could do. We had already stayed in the rental longer than anticipated. However, if we had had more time, we would certainly have gone with a different moving company.

Be Wary of Cheap Rates

The company we used also happened to give us the cheapest rate, but we ended up spending more on this move than we had on previous local moves. Again, this goes back to booking in advance so you have more choice. Had I seen some of the movers reviews about people paying more than they were originally quoted, I would have gone elsewhere.

Confirm the Details

While we received a call to confirm the time the movers were coming, we didn’t confirm any of the details like how much we needed to move, the size of the truck, nor how many people would be coming. I don’t think I would ever have thought to ask how big a truck they had or what equipment they were bringing, but it was these factors that made this move such a headache.

Above all, I wish I had addressed the problem. The truck was too small. They didn’t have enough movers or equipment. Yet we just wanted to get the move over with. That was a costly mistake. It’s too easy to feel like you don’t have any say once the movers arrive. If you have an issue with how your move is being conducted, talk to the movers, call the office, see if you can work something out.


Seattle skyline photo credit to Bryce Edwards

Sidenote from Daniel at HireAHelper: If you happen to find yourself moving at the last minute, I put together my own slacker’s moving checklist to help descramble some of your chaos (moving last minute should be an example definition in Webster’s Dictionary under “chaotic”). Also, you can always read about a mover’s performance before you book them, even if it’s last minute, via HireAHelper’s mover reviews. While you can find last minute move help in HireAHelper’s moving labor marketplace, if at all possible you should book your move as far in advance as you can. Booking a mover early will alleviate a majority of your move stress.


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