What to Do If You Need to Move Right Now, for Cheap

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Do you need help moving, like, right now? Moving is chaotic under normal circumstances, and it can be a hurricane if you have to move in a rush.

Okay, so here’s the good news: if you don’t have a boatload of friends who can help you at a moment’s notice, finding move help only takes a few clicks nowadays, thanks to the invention of several websites.

Perhaps your hurricane move can be downgraded to a tropical storm. You just need to know your options for the best deals.

Do: Get yourself a moving truck ASAP

Moving trucks on HireAHelper

How do you find safe, last second help and save money? It involves getting to your nearest moving truck location first.

“Moving truck”? Didn’t you just say you needed help? Well, a lot of people don’t know that you can drastically chop down moving bills if you:

  • Get your own moving truck or transportation
  • Hire moving labor separately.

Some people call this the “Hybrid Move” because it steals the best parts of doing everything yourself versus calling a moving company and having them do everything for you. In other words, if you pay for the transportation, the actual lifting part gets way cheaper to hire. (And sure, forgo this if you A) own a decent sized pickup truck and B) don’t have a lot of stuff.)

What if they’re sold out?

If you’re in a big city, you might have a hard time finding a moving truck to rent overnight, because those things get snatched up quickly.

To help, the website Moving 101 is a really useful resource that lists virtually every company under the sun (with years of their reviews and up to minute prices), so you can compare and contrast rental truck companies you might not have thought to call.

Protip: If you have a tiny bit more time, don’t rule out other moving options either, like pairing moving containers with professional movers to load or unload your stuff.

Don’t: Call a moving company cold turkey and ask for last-second help.

Last second moving

You got the truck, now you need the help. But don’t necessarily just Google “mover near me”, unless you want to probably spend more money going through a company directly.

That’s because movers who own their own trucks with their own businesses – the kinds you think of when you hear “moving company” – primarily offer Full Service moving services. And that can often be super expensive if you don’t know the difference and get up-charged.

Even if you’re aren’t moving a 2+bedroom home, most moving companies usually dole out moving quotes that easily clear a few thousand dollars.

And even if you have the dough, last second moves are also tough to coordinate, given movers are usually booked well ahead of time – especially during the busy summer months. There’s a site to check out which movers are available right now.

Don’t: Try Craigslist. Trust us.

Okay, so forget moving companies. What about Craigslist?

This is an option a lot of people check out, if only out of morbid curiosity. But it’s not recommendable. Anyone can just call themselves a “mover” these days, and the results can be shockingly bad.

I’m not only talking about no uniforms or breaking stuff without recourse: fly-by-night moving “companies” swindle good people out of their money and goods creating, basically, hostage situations.

How does it happen? They show up with their truck, load your stuff, then demand way more than they initially told you in order to get back your stuff. How do so many people get away with it? It’s a state-by-state issue, and the law just hasn’t caught up with them, especially when they go over state lines.

You’re way better off finding a service that vets the movers for you with reviews and access to reputable professionals, which is super easy to do on sites like HireAHelper.com.

DO: Check labor marketplaces for the best deal on movers.

Movers near me
Search HireAHelper.com in your city

So now you know you can avoid big moving quotes in favor of hourly help to save money. But who has time to call up 100 different companies to find the best rate? Not you – you need to move now!

How do you pick who will save you the most money?

Front page of Google is a scattered mess, at best, but you can still find local movers that way to call for labor-only (don’t forget!). The people at the rental truck place might try and sell you people, but you still have to double check their prices manually since they will often try and upcharge you.

What about Yelp? They have a handy mover search guide, but you’re still on your own figuring out what you really need, including what you need to know the most:

  • Side-by-side price ranking
  • Actual years in business
  • Service radius
  • Tools they will provide
  • # of no-shows
  • Confirmed reviews

Yes, confirmed reviews matter because literally anyone can leave a review on Yelp, no matter the circumstances – including if they’ve even hired them or not.

Get Help Loading Your Truck

See prices for movers by the hour – instantly.

Read real customer reviews.

Easily book your help online.

 

HireAHelper is a useful tool not just because you can compare far less expensive options for a last-second move, but because you can even call and talk to a friendly move coordinator for free! With only a ZIP Code and a date, they go through their database of hundreds of local movers and immediately tell you which ones are the cheapest movers, plus hook you up with the best movers that are available right this second.

Try getting Yelp to do that. Yeah right.

The bonus here is that if anything goes wrong on moving day, not only did you secure cheap and fast help, but HireAHelper will take care of any problems if anything goes wrong, including last second replacements. (Plus, your friends will still be your friends after the move. Nice.)

Do: Get to packing and start putting stuff in boxes right now.

While you should be attentive to protecting fragile items, such as flat-screen TVs and fine china, you should not get hung up on keeping like items in the same box.

You’re in a hurry. What’s most important is getting stuff done. That might mean putting things from the den in the box for the bedroom. No big deal.

Yes, try your absolute best to pack things in a way where they are less likely to break. Above are some videos on how to pack weird stuff.

Also, leave clothes on hangers to help you unpack as quickly as you packed

This simple tip can be a big help when you arrive at your destination. You’ll just have to hang the clothes in your closet.

Do: Put aside essentials and keep them on you

Before you start throwing stuff in boxes in a hurry, grab a duffle bag or small luggage. Set aside:

  • Chargers
  • Important papers
  • Essential toiletries
  • Medication
  • Toilet paper
  • A few outfits

You want access to the necessities when everything else in your world is in sealed boxes in a flurry.

What if I don’t know where I’m going yet?

Perhaps you know you have to leave the old place, but you’re not quite sure where you’re going yet. Or maybe you actually have time to kill between leaving and moving into the new place.

Don’t sweat it. In those instances, a moving container or two can be helpful.

What’s a Moving Container? A Guide for Everything You Need to Know

If you have at least a little bit of cash, you can keep your stuff in mobile storage in the meantime, meaning your stuff can be driven to you whenever you figure out where the heck you’re going. The good news is that container companies charge monthly for storage, not daily or even weekly.

Do: Maximize your use of trash bags, which are more affordable and easier to obtain in bulk than boxes.

They’re not just for throwing stuff away. Items that can’t break – bath towels, sheets, etc. – can get thrown in trash bags, which are easy to carry and affordable. Buy them in bulk, quick.

Do: Get rid of stuff. The more you get rid of, the cheaper the move.

Whether it’s due to space on a truck, time needed to carry it out of your house, or overall weight costing you more gas, quickly assess the items in your home and throw away or donate what you don’t need.

Get rid of food and half-used items (such as bottles of liquor). You can give them away to friends, neighbors, and family if you don’t want to be wasteful. What you don’t want to do is hang onto stuff you don’t need.

Protip: Are you leaving a place where you put down a deposit? Prioritize all the time you have cleaning to get it back. Every penny will matter.

Don’t: Freak out.

Camping out with your friend, your car, or at your makeshift home might be your reality, at least initially. Asking for help is not shameful. And if you have a hundred bucks or two to spare instead of thousands, getting movers just by the hour might totally save your life, no matter how crazy your scenario.

When you’re finally inside four walls again, you’ll probably have to lay a mattress or two on the ground until you get everything sorted. If you want to know the most efficient way to unpack your stuff, here is a professional guide.

Protip: You might also want to pick up some takeout menus for your new town until you can locate your wooden spoons and pots and pans.

Breathe deeply and often.

Everything is going to be all right. You – and your stuff – will make it to the new destination. Eventually, you will open up all those boxes and make a home of your latest abode. You just need to ask for help and get to it.

Now, move!

How-To Guide for Getting the Best Rental Truck For You

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You’ve spent weeks packing up. You’ve spent days cleaning your bathroom and your floors. You’ve spent hours tying up loose ends and your last few spare minutes posting about how crazy your move is making you. Now all you have to do is rent a truck.

A truck! Crap, I forgot!

If you planned well ahead and reserved your truck, you’re part of an admirable, enviable minority. If you’re moving tomorrow and haven’t started comparing rental trucks for moving? May the gods of the move be with you. (But seriously, we”re here to help.) Deciding what size truck to get to searching for a decent deal, renting a truck blindly can be as bumpy as driving one, so here are some key areas to focus on for smoothing things out.

Properly Measure How Much You Need to Move by Trying This

For most people, it’s hard to believe how much stuff they really have. It’s even harder trying to figure out how big a truck they’ll need. If you’ve rented a truck before, your experience will be invaluable, but if this is your first time, don’t underestimate how bulky your world has become!

Not a blind endorsement for Penske, but it’s a valuable tool


General packing guidelines, based off a typical move

Penske’s online “Truck Wizard can help determine what size truck you’ll need. Inputting items like furniture and appliances is easy. But estimating how many boxes of varying sizes you’ll have is tough if you haven’t already packed up. As an experiment, I tried it out using my own place. At first, I couldn’t believe I’d need that big a truck. But the next size down ended up being too small. 

Finding out halfway through your move that your stuff won’t fit in your truck is a nightmare you don’t want to live through. So when estimating how much stuff you have, be over the top thorough. And don’t forget all that stuff in the closets and the garage!

Pick Your Move Day Wisely to Get a Good Deal

Do you have any flexibility at all in scheduling your move day? If so, take advantage. When trying to rent a truck, moving on a weekday in the middle of the month versus moving on the last or first day of the month is the difference between heaven or hell.

If your flexibility is limited and you find yourself running into roadblocks trying to nail down that rental, try a few of these tricks:

  • Rent round trip if possible. Dealers need to keep their inventory of trucks in places that are busiest. Otherwise, they have to move the trucks around themselves. Got a car? Leave it behind, make your move, then return your rental and drive your car to your new home. (Or have a friend follow you in your car.) They can help you unload and drive the rental back. (Check with your rental company’s policy on this.)
  • Try a dealer somewhere out of town. The smaller dealers out in the boonies might have trucks hanging around while their colleagues in the city are scrambling.
  • If your move is local, consider making two trips in a smaller truck.
  • If you’re moving long distance, try drop-off points that may not be in your new town. For example, if you’re moving to Eugene, OR, look for a deal that involves dropping your truck off in Portland. Again, inventory logistics can drive a rental company’s truck availability, not to mention the price. You might even ask where they need trucks and try to figure out a deal. Even with the extra day or the cost of getting back to Eugene, you may still come out ahead.
  • As implied in that previous point, it pays off to physically call all the rental companies. Speak to people. Ask about possibilities that don’t show up online. Be friendly. Be inquisitive. Be persistent.

Dealing with Price Differences

The quotes you get from the various truck rental companies out there can vary significantly. Put as simply as possible, there are three main reasons for this:

  • The quality of trucks available that day
  • The quality of customer service
  • Hidden charges

Ultimately, because prices depend so much on where you personally live and who else is moving that specific day, it’s impossible to flat-out say which company has the best deal every single time. However, you can find all sorts of information on truck rental companies online. 

Moving101 is an exhaustive resource with as much information about every moving truck company under the sun, including dimensions, tons of real, up-to-the-day reviews, and a ton more.

moving101.hireahelper.com/

In addition, here’s one fairly comprehensive forum thread that may be of interest that discusses a few tips and warnings that may also be useful. Keep all of these resources in mind, as your personal (and figurative) mileage is subject to local quirks.

Some (Not So Obvious) Protips

  • If you’re worried about insurance on your rental truck… good! It’s not likely that your credit card or your personal car insurance will cover you in the case of an accident. Thus, you’ll want to know exactly what you’d be facing in case of a mishap and what kind of insurance is available to avoid a financial disaster. Rental companies will offer various types of insurance, and sometimes at different levels. Here’s a good rundown by ValuePenguin on the wonderful world of rental truck insurance terms.
  • If you’re worried that the truck you reserved won’t be there waiting for you, you’re not crazy. It happens (maybe with some companies more than others). Trucks break down, people return them late and some trucks just seem to vanish. To increase your chances of getting the truck you reserved, one idea is to get to the rental place early. Another idea: if for whatever reason you are super-concerned you won’t get the best one, arrange to pick up your truck in the evening after people have already (presumably) begun dropping them all off.
  • If you are booking your rental online, HireAHelper does offer discounts on Penske and Budget
  • If you are in a real pinch and you don’t have all that much stuff, think about renting a trailer from Uhaul instead of a truck (from anyone). Even if you have to pay to have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle, the money you save renting a trailer instead of a truck will in all likelihood more than cover the cost. Plus trailers don’t break down nearly as often as trucks. Just make sure there’s a spare tire!

Price, quality and customer service. Insurance, truck size and availability. It’s a difficult road to navigate – we know – but with knowledge, persistence and a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be well-equipped to handle this last, important piece of your moving puzzle.

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