The Best Way to Unpack After Moving

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Unpacking should be the best part of the entire moving process. No, really!

You’ve already coordinated all of the logistics of renting a truck and hiring Helpers, you’ve packed everything up, moved, and unloaded your rental truck. Now all that’s left to do is go through all of your boxes and get everything in its place so you can enjoy your new home!

So why do some people still dread unpacking? Well, imagine sitting amiongst a mountain of boxes with no clue what’s inside any of them or where everything is going to go. Okay … yeah, that does sound pretty dreadful. But it doesn’t have to be that way! By planning your unpack, you can save time, money and headaches.

How to Make Unpacking Easier Before Moving Day Happens

We all know the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The most important step to a smooth unpacking experience is proper planning before your move. 

Of course, you’ll have some planning to do if you’re getting movers and renting a truck … but you still need to spend some time packing. And no, we’re not talking about randomly throwing items into boxes and calling it a day.

Here are some things you should do before moving day to make unpacking easier.

Take Photos Before You Start Packing

Before you touch anything, we want you to take out your phone and have a little home photo shoot. 

Here are things you especially need photos of:

  • Bookshelves
  • The back of your TV
  • Kitchen drawers
  • Desk area
  • Tool shed

We urge you to snap pics of the areas in your home that you love! We know all too well how long it can take to get a shelfie looking just the way you want it. By snapping some reference pics now, you’ll be able to replicate that new look in your home in no time.

Create a Number and Color-Coded System For Your Boxes

After the photo shoot, gather all of your packing supplies (boxes, paper, tape, scissors, markers … the works!) and start packing boxes like a pro.

Try to only pack up items from one to two rooms inside every box. This will make your life much easier when it’s time to unpack later.

Got a bunch of stuff on shelves? Create a numbered system to remember where everything goes. That way it’s easier to get them unpacked and into their new permanent spots.

And we can’t forget our favorite tip of all … our color-coded box systemWith this technique, you get to use our most beloved crafting tool—washi tape! Get the full instructions from this post, but the short version is that you need to separate your boxes by the room, marked with bright washi tape so your movers know exactly where to deliver them. Genius and oh so colorful!

Make it Much Easier to Unpack Essentials

There are 7 items you’ll want to have on hand for moving day, but we also think you should create a box of moving day essentials. Because imagine the night of moving day when you’re tearing open boxes trying to find pajamas, your toothbrush, and your medication for the night. Sounds like a disaster to us.

This is what should go in your “Moving Day Box” so you don’t have to tear through your moving truck:

  • A change of clothes
  • Utensils
  • Toiletries
  • Prescriptions
  • Phone charger

Be sure to label this box and keep it near you!

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Clean The 5 Most Important Things

We know you have approximately 10,000 things to do to get your rental deposit back. But trust us, now is the time to give your new place a thorough cleaning because it’s empty. You simply put items in place rather than cleaning and unpacking at the same time. Want to know the five most essential things to clean?

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • The Refrigerator (and refrigerator fan)
  • Bathtub and any tub jets
  • Outside (and Inside) the stove
  • Washing machine

If you want to know more, click here.

Unpacking Tips

You’ve done the prep work (even the cleaning, you rockstar, you!), and now moving day is here! Even if you hired help for your unload (great call), there are still things you can do to make unpacking time a little easier. 

Place Your Boxes in Rooms by Color

It may sound easier to just have your Helpers pile up all of the boxes in one spot of your new place, but unpacking will be a lot easier if you follow your color-coded box system to get each box in the correct room. If you followed our washi tape tips, you should have each door in your new place marked so the Helpers can easily drop the box in the right spot!

Protip: Get your “Moving Day Essentials Box” opened right away so you have everything you need to make it through the next day or two.

Use Washi Tape to Figure out Your Furniture Layout

As long as your movers are there, have them get your furniture in the spot where you want it! We love the idea of using painter’s tape to mark out the layout of furniture right on the floor.

Before you move (or even while your movers are bringing things in and out),  go around your place and put tape on the ground to outline your furniture. That way the movers will know exactly which wall to put your bed on and where that long dresser goes. You can always move things later on, but getting items in the correct space will make your life a lot easier in the coming days.

Unpack the Bathrooms and Bedrooms First

Moving day will be exhausting, so if you’re going to unpack anything immediately, make sure it’s your bed and bedding. Once your movers get the mattress into place, find the sheets, comforter and pillow and make your bed. If you have kids, do theirs too. Having a comfy spot to sleep at the end of the long day will feel amazing!

Unpack your bathroom boxes too. That way you’ll have all of the toiletries and medications on hand for the night and morning. A fresh shower after a long day of moving will be heavenly, trust us!

Save the Kitchen for Tomorrow

The kitchen is the most time intensive room to unpack, due to the amount of tiny and heavy items, so don’t unpack it on moving day. Your brain will be tired by the end of moving day, and you’ll want to be refreshed and recharged before you tackle this space. Save the kitchen until morning when you can make a fresh pot of coffee.

How to Stay Organized After Moving Day

You’re into your new home and you’re surrounded by all of your possessions. First, take a deep breath. You’ve made it this far! Now it’s time for the actual fun part … making your house a home.

Avoid Distractions, Don’t Unpack Games or TV

We might suggest making a playlist of music to entertain you, but we don’t think you should get your TV setup and turned on right away. You may find yourself sitting on the couch instead of unpacking if you have a TV show or movie on. So much temptation…

Another distraction? Little ones. You’ll additionally want to make a plan for your pets when you’re moving and unpacking, so they don’t get in the way. Same goes for kids. Have a plan to keep them occupied or if you can, drop them off at grandma’s house so you have uninterrupted time to unpack. It’s all about keeping the distractions to a minimum so you can devote enough hours to get your house in tip-top shape!

Unpack Only One Room at a Time

Instead of hopping from space to space, we suggest making a list of your rooms in order of importance. Then, don’t move onto another space until the one you’re on is done.

The kitchen, bedrooms and kids’ rooms should be up high on the priority list, while the guest room and garage may not need TLC right away. Also, make sure you have furniture and appliances setup before you get too carried away going through boxes. Did you clean your counters first? You’ll want to have spots to put all of the items as you whip them out of the boxes, so having dressers and cabinets ready to go is a must!

Break Down Boxes as You Go, in Real Time

As you unpack boxes, it may be easy to just throw empty ones in a big corner. But trust us, that pile will quickly get out of control and soon you won’t be able to walk around your house without an empty box tumbling down on you. Take one box and make it the designated paper box. As you unpack boxes, crumple up the paper and shove it into that box. Then, be sure to break down boxes as you unpack. You’ll want to have a utility knife on hand so you can do this quickly.

(And Don’t Unpack Everything)

There may be some boxes that don’t actually need to be unpacked. We’re looking at you, Christmas decorations. Make a large pile of items that may be heading to storage or the garage. Then be sure to get those items to that space in the coming days.

What to Do After You’re Unpacked

You’ve made it! You survived moving day and every box in your place is unpacked. You should be feeling pretty darn good about yourself right about now, but the fun isn’t over just yet. There are still a few things you can do to really get your unloading and packing done.

Make Use of Those Moving Boxes

If you will be moving again soon, then you may want to hang onto some of the boxes that are still in good condition. Organize your boxes and find a spot to neatly tuck them away. Are you thinking, “What the heck do I do with all of that cardboard?!” Don’t fret! Instead, try out some of the cardboard hacks.

If getting creative with cardboard isn’t your speed, you can recycle your moving boxes. Check out this searchable database that’ll let you know the closest place to recycle anything (including moving boxes!). Just be sure to set a deadline for yourself to get those moving boxes out of your new place, so they don’t stay piled in the garage forever.

Use These Organization Protips

We’re all guilty of just shoving random items into a cabinet or closet and calling it a day. But to really feel settled in your new home,  be intentional with what goes where.

Whenever we’re on an organization spree, we go room by room with a notepad and write down areas that need our attention. Then we’ll spend 30 minutes each night giving those spots some TLC. Those short increments of time seem much more doable than an entire day spent organizing an entire home.

Let the Decorating Begin! (In a Month)

We always say that you need to live in your home for a while in order to decorate it well. So many people quickly buy furniture and accessories for their place without ever giving each room a test run, and they end up with design regret. Yep, don’t paint the walls until you’ve spent a little time in your new place!

We promise that you’ll make much smarter decor decisions after 2-3 months.

Here’s how to get started when it’s time to begin: 

It may not seem like it, but unpacking can be the best part of the moving experience! We promise that these tips will make your unpacking experience easier and more efficient.

The sooner you unpack, the sooner you can enjoy your new life!

8 Jobs That Are Great If You Move A Lot (And How Much They Pay)

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Do you long for a job that pays you to travel? If you’ve been stuck in the endless nine to five slog for a long time, the idea of traveling the world can seem like a distant and unattainable dream.

However, thanks to the internet and our always-connected world, there are plenty of jobs out there that can offer the freedom and fun of being constantly on the move alongside a regular paycheck. It’s true! Here are just a few of the remote-working jobs that will take you out of the cubicle and into the world.

Web Designer

This classic, on-the-go title is a classic for a reason.

Thanks to the wonderful technology of the internet, many jobs no longer require you to be physically present in the company you’re working for, which has created a generation of people who call themselves digital nomads.

What do web designers do?

Web design is the process of creating websites, from the aesthetics right down to navigation logic and, by its very nature, is done entirely online. This means that if you’ve got a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection, it usually doesn’t matter where in the world you are.

How do I get started?

There are a number of routes you can take to become a qualified web designer, and because they’re so different, each employer will tend to have their own explicit definition of “qualified” which will often be detailed on a job listing. 

For most employers, entry requirements include skills in visual design, UX, SEO, coding software (like HTML, CSS and Javascript) and design software (like Photoshop and Illustrator). Many websites curate freelance job offerings, like the site Working Nomads, allowing you to make sure you’ve always got another project in the pipeline.

Want to start taking classes? Know that some employers may only be looking for a candidate with a college-level certificate in web design or a multimedia subject.

Once your skill set is up to par, you’ll be greatly rewarded. According to Payscale, entry-level salaries for full-time web designers can start around $33k, but quickly rise to $73k with more experience.

If you’re going freelance, you can set your own rates that reflect your level of experience, how picky the client is, how difficult the project is, etc. According to NJ Creatives Network, the average rate per hour is $59. That’s not bad going if you’re a nomad on the move.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) work remotely, and their job is to carry out administrative tasks for various clients. These tasks could be within the professional, technical or creative sectors and could include anything from bookkeeping and data entry to social media management and desktop publishing.

What do virtual assistants do?

Businesses tend to hire VAs because they don’t need someone full-time and in-house to do certain admin tasks. By taking on a VA, this saves the company money on space and providing full-time benefits.

To get started as a VA, you will need a reliable phone and internet connection, and at least five years of experience in a senior admin role within an office environment. If you can’t deal with a PC meltdown on your own, or can barely stay on top of your own to-do list, this may not be the role for you.

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How do I get started?

But if you are an organized person with in-house admin experience and a decent understanding of word processing, email and contact management software, you’re on the right track to becoming a VA. Bear in mind that your prospective clients will want to be sure you know what you’re doing before employing you. Therefore, getting some experience within a VA company, such as Zirtual, is also a good idea before you take the plunge.

Once you’ve learned the ropes, it’s fairly easy to fly solo. First steps include deciding your niche, setting up your brand and website, marketing your services, and getting your kit ready, such as a work phone and laptop.

But you’re not doing this job for free—so you’ll need to decide your rate too. Though the earning potential at a basic level is low, you can make up to $100 an hour for a specialist virtual role, which is why it’s important to seriously consider your niche before you launch your brand, rather than take on any client that needs a hand with admin.

Source: Indeed

The real appeal of being a virtual assistant is working at home, working when you want, and supreme job flexibility. Also, if you find that freelancing as a VA is not working for you, but you love the job, you can always transition agency-side and reap the benefits of a permanent position once again.

Digital Marketer

Digital marketing is another job that perfectly suits remote working, as all you need is a laptop and a café or hotel with a decent Wi-Fi connection.

Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that sits under the umbrella term “online marketing.” Working inside the digital marketing industry involves developing a range of multi-channel communication strategies, such as social media, SEO, PPC, email, mobile marketing, and affiliate marketing. You can work horizontally across all of these things, or you can specialize in a certain vertical.

What do digital marketers do?

As a digital marketer, general duties include, creating and uploading website copy, writing and sending email campaigns, designing website banners, communicating with affiliate networks and partners, and managing contact databases, just to name a few.

How do I get started?

Start by getting some full-time, in-house experience. While employers will take on entry-level professionals with no experience, many seek candidates with a business, marketing, media, or journalism degree. If you lack this certificate, there is a broad range of digital marketing taster courses available online, such as the free courses from Google Digital Garage, which will help boost your skills for the digital world and help you land a work placement.

This time spent boosting your knowledge, ability and experience will eventually pay off. The average entry-level salary is only around $28k, but it quickly raises to at least $50k with a little experience.

Source: Payscale

Online Tutor

Did you know that you can teach online too? There are places on the web where tutoring is a viable job, and it can be a great job to have if you’re moving a lot.

What do online tutors do?

Traditional tutoring involves one-to-one teaching sessions with a student, helping them improve academically. As a tutor, you may go through the class material, homework, or help your pupils improve their note-taking.

Online tutors, or “e-tutors”, conduct the same line of work, but via online media. Sessions are typically carried out through video chat, but also phone calls and email. This means you can be anywhere in the world and still communicate.

How do I get started?

To become qualified, you tend to need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject, but be aware that the credentials to teach as a tutor vary from state to state. You need to be aware of homeschooling laws which may interfere with your work, as they are a completely different ball game regarding qualified teacher status.

If you’re inexperienced, it may be worth working for a tutoring company as it will deal with finding your clients and paperwork. Alternatively, you can go solo. Both options involve the potential to tutor on the move.

Online tutoring is well-paid work when you consider how few hours tutoring can take up. Glassdoor reports that the average hourly rate is $12 per hour, but salaries can go up to $55k in certain areas of the U.S.

Freelance Photographer

Becoming a successful freelance photographer requires tenacity as much as talent, and an income is never guaranteed. But travel photographers and photojournalists see some of the most amazing parts of the world, as well as some of the most distressing.

What do freelance photographers do?

Studio photography, product photography, stock photography, nature photography, pet photography … there are as many different types of freelance photography as there are things in the world! There are also some incredible options for travel, and quite often all you need is a camera and a laptop, enabling you to send your photographs to editors across the world in mere moments.

How do I get started?

A photography degree will be useful but not always necessary, as the most important thing is a good eye for a shot and a well-put-together portfolio demonstrating your talent.  

Pricing photography is quite a difficult task for any professional. Put your rate too high, and you may scare your prospect away. Too low though, and you could end up forcing yourself out of business.

Advice from photography expert Rosh Sillars states that if you’re an amateur, you should aim to charge between $25 to $100 an hour. You should go for the higher end if you have an online portfolio or dedicated website for your services.

If you’re a student photographer, shoot for anywhere from $35 to $90 per hour. This should increase to $50 to $160 per hour for semi-pros, and to $75 to $300+ per hour for the seasoned professionals.

Translator

Whether you can speak one other language or many, your skills as a translator are invaluable. How invaluable? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is currently set to grow 46% by 2020, with the projected workforce of interpreters reaching almost 93,000 strong.

What do translators do?

The work usually involves converting written material from a “source language” to a “target language,” which is done on a computer and doesn’t require you to be physically present.

There is a variety of content that translators work with, including commercial, educational, legal, literary, and scientific, so previous experience or expertise in one area will be necessary, and you will have to do some training in translation before you take on any clients. 

How do I get started?

Translate Media boasts plenty of research for in-house translation opportunities, internships, and yes, freelance translation.

Translators can make a lot of money, especially if you specialize in a more difficult or in-demand language. Most translation agencies allow people to work at home, and freelancing is widespread throughout the industry. Here is a handy map of translation salaries from 2014, ranging everywhere from just under $30 thousand a year, to just over $70 thousand a year.

Freelance Writer

Are you reading this right now? Do you read articles online often? Thank your local freelance writer, and they’re easy to find, as many of them work remotely filling up coffee shops all around the world.

What do freelance writers do?

The internet is made of words, and somebody needs to write them. From copywriting to ghostwriting to content writing, there is an abundance of freelance writing opportunities if you know the right places to look.

How do I get started?

It can be difficult to get a freelance writing career off the ground, as most potential employers will want to see a large portfolio of good quality writing before they agree to give you a gig. But if you’re prepared to start small and put in the effort, this is very achievable.

If you have very little experience, the easiest way to gain some is by contacting small blogs and the websites you love for guest writing opportunities. While you may have to do a small amount of freebie work, it’s the simplest way of boosting your portfolio without enrolling in a course. You just need the drive and basic knowledge of spelling and grammar to succeed.

Your freelance career will take off more quickly if you have a background in writing, such as journalism. Job sites like Upwork are a great place to start getting clients and building your portfolio as you can advertise your services and display your most recent projects.

Most freelance writers charge by project or per number of words. The rate you should choose all depends on your years of experience and your subject matter knowledge. Typically, entry-level freelance writers can earn $30 per 800 words, whereas experienced writers can earn up to $100 for the same project. While you debate your rate, it’s also worth checking out the site Who Pays Writers to see what businesses are willing to pay for your talents.

In other words, that means that the average freelance writer makes .17 cents a word.

Caption: Venngage

While you’re at it, if you’ve got solid writing skills, setting up a website of your own is a great way to monetize your talents. Blogging is big business.

You might consider running ads on your blog. These “Ads by Google” will appear on your website and reflect the content you post—therefore, they don’t interfere too much with the aesthetic or branding of your blog. Every time a blog visitor clicks on one of these ads, you earn yourself some cash.

You can also monetize your blog by writing affiliate reviews. That means you write a review of a product on your blog. In your review, you insert a link that users can follow to buy the product. If a user clicks that link and makes a purchase, you can receive up to 10% commission. Now that’s easy money for a remote worker.

E-commerce Merchant/”Dropshipper”

One final flexible income route to go down if you move a lot is creating a dropshipping store. That might sound like a bunch of buzzwords, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

What do e-commerce merchants/”dropshippers” do?

This job involves displaying products from someone’s digital store on your site. Once a customer buys one of these products, you place the order with the third-party supplier, and then the supplier pays you, as you’ve just given them extra visibility and a sale. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get set up as an e-commerce seller (other than selling on Amazon using their Fulfillment By Amazon option).

How do I get started?

This is less of a job you seek and more of an additional income if you have the right avenues open to you. But it can be underutilized.

E-commerce is a potentially lucrative market to get into—if you get the product price and value proposition right. Though the initial investment in time and strategy can be hefty, the potential for earning a solid monthly revenue is high:

Just remember to keep innovating and listening to your customers, and e-commerce could be the key to your remote work success.

These eight jobs are just a few of the options available if you’d like to make the leap from desk-bound worker bee to free-flying digital nomad. Especially as freelancing is convenient for the worker and reduces costs for the employer, it is an increasingly popular method of employment, offering you an incredible opportunity to travel while still earning a good salary. That’s what I call a win-win for everyone involved.


Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offers tips on how ecommerce business owners can take advantage of the latest technology in the industry.

Every Major Moving Report of 2017 Analyzed: Where Is Everybody Going?

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Migration reports are out in full force, including the famous United Van Lines yearly report.

But while United handles more moves annually than any other mover network in the country, their numbers are not definitive across the industry board.

North American, Atlas and Allied all see slightly – and in some cases, wildly – different results in their migration study results. Not a surprise, because as a Full Service move provider, United handles a somewhat different clientele compared to companies like ABF, U-Haul and PODS – companies whose numbers might look a lot different. Then there’s that little thing called the Census.

Yep, the state-to-state migration numbers for 2017 are out – and folks, we have new inbound state championsHere are the results:

United Van Lines

Vermont Takes United 2017 Inbound Crown

In 2015 they came in at third on the inbound rankings. In 2016 they inched their way up to number two. Now, this tiny state known mainly for skiing and maple syrup has captured the coveted top inbound spot on United’s 2017 National Movers Study.

Yes, the champagne is indeed flowing like syrup in Stowe, Killington and Montpelier as Vermont looks back on a year that saw a whopping 68% of their interstate moves coming in. 

Reasons

According to United’s survey, “family” was the most common reason respondents gave for relocating to the Green Mountain State. Retirement, lifestyle and job also figured fairly evenly into the equation.

On the other hand, a full 75% of people moving out of state gave employment as their reason. This helps explain why half of all outbounders fell into the Under-35 age category – and another 25% were between 35 and 45 – while 40% of those moving into the state were 65 or older.

Those mountains may be green, but with those unemployment numbers, it looks like the valleys are starting to turn gray.

But before we start replacing all those ski lifts with wheelchair-friendly escalators, let’s take a step back and look a little closer at where the stats behind Vermont’s inbound crown come from. Keep in mind we don’t know how many moves Vermont actually saw by their report. (68% can be broken down to 17 inbound moves and 8 outbound moves – which hardly amounts to a mass migration to this land of wooden bridges and Bernie Sanders.)

Inbound:

1. Vermont
2. Oregon
3. Idaho
4. Nevada
5. South Dakota
6. Washington
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina
9. Colorado
10. Alabama

This past year saw some familiar names on United’s Top Ten Inbound States list. Oregon, Nevada and North Carolina are all there, as they have been every year since 2011. Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, South Carolina and Arizona are also back after making 2016’s inbound list. Newcomers include Alabama and Colorado. Meanwhile, Florida has dropped off the inbound list after a strong three-year run.

This past year’s top inbound states are also fairly spread out around the country. The same cannot be said about United’s outbound states.

Outbound:

1. Illinois
2. New Jersey
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Kansas
6. Massachusetts
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Utah
10. Wisconsin

As with the previous few years, the major exodus seems to be coming out of the Northeast and the Midwest, with Utah adding a little “outbound yellow” to the otherwise blue western region on United’s interactive migration map.

Perennial outbound states New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois have been the most unfortunate ones; we’d have to go back to 2010 to see any of them as balanced. (New York and Connecticut were both spared the shame that year).

North American Moving Services

northamerican.com

Arizona Takes North Americans 2017 Inbound Crown

North American’s inbound champ is Arizona, with 67% of their interstate moves coming into the Grand Canyon State. Other top inbounders not on United’s list include Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Texas – all south and southeast states. (Those North American drivers must really love the south.)

Inbound:

  1. Arizona
  2. Idaho
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee

Outbound:

  1. Illinois
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. California
  5. Michigan

Like United, North American has Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut at the top of their outbound list (with New York a notable #8). But the rest of their top outbounders – California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Maryland (#4-8 on the map) aren’t even on United’s radar.

Interestingly, North American’s #10 outbounder is Washington, which ranks #6 on United’s inbound list.

In accounting for these discrepancies, it is worth noting what North American says of their report’s methodology:

We define the top inbound and outbound states as those that have the highest proportion of moves where the absolute value difference of inbound and outbound moves is greater than or equal to 400. This weeds out states that had a small number of moves but would have a high ratio of inbound/outbound moves.”

This may explain why United’s 2017 champ Vermont and #5 South Dakota (United’s #1 in 2016 by the way) aren’t anywhere on North American’s Top Ten.

Atlas Van Lines

atlasvanlines.com

Washington Takes Atlas 2017 Inbound Crown

Atlas Van Lines offers some relative surprises too. Idaho, Washington and Nevada as their top three inbounders may not raise any eyebrows. But Alaska, Maine and New Hampshire at #5, #6 and #10? Oregon is a familiar name, but seeing them at #8 seems in contrast to their recent United Van Lines inbound championships.

Atlas’s top outbounder, meanwhile, is Illinois (same as both United and North American – those Fighting Illini have a real stranglehold on that top spot!). And their #2, West Virginia, was a strong outbounder for United for six years straight before balancing out in 2017.

But Nebraska at #3? Nebraska has been balanced for United since 2001! And #4 outbounder South Dakota has been an inbound darling for United the past three years.

Rounding out the Atlas top outbound list are Hawaii, Indiana, Delaware and Louisiana, all of them somewhat surprising since three of them have spent the last ten years on United’s “balanced” register. Only Indiana has managed to make a blip on United’s outbound radar in that time frame.

Inbound:

  1. Idaho
  2. Washington
  3. Nevada
  4. Tennessee
  5. Alaska
  6. Maine
  7. North Carolina
  8. Oregon
  9. Alabama
  10. New Hampshire

Outbound:

  1. Illinois
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nebraska
  4. South Dakota
  5. Hawaii
  6. Indiana
  7. Delaware
  8. New York
  9. Louisiana
  10. Kansas

In contrast to the percentages United and North American provide, Atlas gives actual numbers of inbound and outbound moves for each state. Here we see that Vermont has seen just a fraction of the moves so many other states see, so it’s easy to imagine why they wouldn’t have made it onto North American’s list. (Meanwhile, once again, Canada’s Yukon Territory has seen zero moves. We’ll blame it on the roads.)

Allied Van Lines

allied.com

Florida Takes Allied 2017 Inbound Crown

Allied Van Lines keeps it all very short and sweet. They report only their top fives:

Inbound:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Texas

Outbound:

  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. New Jersey
  5. Michigan

Based on this limited report, we’re able to come to at least one solid conclusion: Allied’s drivers love moving people south even more than North American’s do.

U-Haul

Texas Takes U-Haul 2017 Inbound Crown

Because news outlets predominately focus on Full Service van lines, it can easily be argued this eliminates an entire sector of the migrating public. (In fact, Full Service van lines actually conduct less than half of all moves performed in the US every year.)

Do U-Haul’s numbers reflect what the van lines suggest are moving trends?

Nope.

Inbound:

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Arkansas
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Connecticut
  9. Colorado
  10. Vermont

Outbound:

  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Michigan
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Arizona
  9. Maryland
  10. Georgia

Texas tops U-Haul’s 2017 Growth States list. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Texas has fared well recently in the inbound-outbound game. In 2017 their inbound percentages with United, North American and Atlas were 54, 53 and 53, while Allied put Texas down as their fifth biggest inbound state.

Oddly, Texas won U-Haul’s Growth State crown by bringing in – get this – a whopping 50.3% of all one-way truck rental traffic crossing Texas’s borders. That’s right. Fifty. Point. Three.

This hardly lends a whole lot more understanding to the migration trends we’re trying to dissect. But here we are, so let’s keep moving.

U-Haul rounds out its top five Growth States with Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee. Yes, Arkansas – which has been balanced on United’s report 37 of the last 40 years. Then again, Arkansas remained balanced in 2017 on United’s ledger with a 54% outbound rate, so that they are U-Haul’s #3 Growth State is rather surprising no matter how minuscule their positive U-Haul balance might have been.

And who comes in at #8 on U-Haul’s list? That big loser with United and North American (but not with Atlas), Connecticut.

On the flip side, U-Haul has Colorado at #9 – exactly where United and North American have them.

United States Census Bureau

Idaho Takes United States Census Bureau 2017 Inbound Crown

Yes, the Bureau has all the moving numbers we could possibly want. So many, in fact, that it could take until next January to weed through them all.

But thanks to Business Insider we don’t have to.

In this piece with the strangely long title: While the Bureau considers “a variety of components” in determining what’s happening among the more than 325 million people who make up the US population, Business Insider brings us what we need: domestic migration.

Here we see the net population gain or loss for each state for 2017. Births, deaths and international immigration are not counted; this is simply and strictly an account of how many people moved into or out of each state. (Again, not moves, but individual people.)

Inbound:

  1. Idaho
  2. Nevada
  3. South Carolina
  4. Oregon
  5. Arizona
  6. Washington
  7. Montana
  8. Florida
  9. Colorado
  10. North Carolina

And in this, the winner is Idaho, with a net domestic migration gain of 14.6 people per 1,000 residents. In second place comes Nevada, with South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona rounding out the top five. The second half of the big ten winners are Washington, Montana, Florida, Colorado and North Carolina.

These results actually mirror the van lines’ findings to a striking degree. Only Arizona, Montana and Florida don’t show up in United’s top ten. Seven of the Census top ten are also on North American’s top ten. Unbelievably, Colorado is #9 on all three lists.

As for the Net Domestic Migration losers? Yes, Illinois is up there, but at #5, maybe this is the survey they should be talking about in Chicago.

Outbound:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Alaska
  3. New York
  4. Hawaii
  5. Illinois
  6. North Dakota
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. Louisiana
  10. West Virginia

The big loser in the 2017 migration tournament is Wyoming, a surprise since the Equality State doesn’t show up on any van line outbound lists – or inbound for that matter. United had them at 53% inbound for 2017. North American had them at 54% in. Only Atlas has them as outbound – based on a grand total of 330 moves.

The Bureau’s next three biggest net migration losers are Alaska, New York and Hawaii. Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which show up anywhere for United or North American, are Atlas’s #5 inbound and #5 outbound, respectively. North Dakota, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and West Virginia complete the Bureau’s top ten.

Again, while there are outbound wild cards, we still see some consistency between the Bureau and the van lines. Atlas and the Bureau actually have seven migration losers in common between their top tens. Looking at the US Census Bureau’s Net Domestic Migration map we can clearly see the winners clustered in the south and west with the losers dominating the northeast and midwest.

What’s The Takeaway?

Remember, the numbers put together by each of the van lines represent the migration trends among the customers they’ve served. Van lines count moves, the Bureau counts people.

This may not account for the reason United’s inbound champion Vermont is somehow a net loser according to the Census Bureau’s numbers, but it does suggest that, despite the discrepancies, the van lines and the Census Bureau can give a decent overall on what is going on out there.

But in the cases where data remains too contradictory to be meaningful, evaluating regions rather than individual states might give us a slightly more reliable picture of the migration trends playing out across the US. At the end of the day, we are only looking at a mere slice of the American migratory pie.

There’s More Realistic Data Out There

We need another, more encompassing way to look at where America is moving to and from.

DIY Moves and Hybrid Moves (besides U-Haul), which by far and away are the more common ways to move, are sorely misrepresented. When you move, do you routinely call up $2,000+ movers? Have you ever saved money by having your friends move you? What are these Full Service reports actually reflecting?

That’s something to keep in mind when the local news sounds off on “moving trends” based off a single Full Service Moving company’s report. 

How Far Away Are Self Driving Vehicles? (And Where Do Moving Trucks Fit In?)

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Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology is no longer just “the future”. Today, bringing self-driving vehicles from car shows to the streets is a full-on race for competing companies in the US and abroad.

Earlier this year, we reported about Otto, the self-driving vehicle maker that moved from the warehouse to the highway with their breakthrough autonomous truck. It delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser from Fort Collins, Colorado down to Colorado Springs with nobody driving it.

Some would argue that the cargo should have been something more significant or important, but (a) for some, there is nothing more important than beer, while (b) for others, in the event something should go wrong, losing a truckload of beer is a lot less significant than losing a truckload of someone’s belongings. Or million-dollar medical machines. Or even really good craft beer.

Regardless of the cargo, now that it’s been proven doable, the race is on! But before we get to how this impacts trucks, there is a significant and important history to detail about the AV industry.

And yes, there’s a legislative sideshow going on that will decide who gets to be on the starting line.

Safety First

Of the estimated 40,000 traffic fatalities in the US last year (yes, that’s four zeros!), roughly 94 percent of the crashes involved human error.

Simply put, we the people are doing a horrendous job behind the wheel. Replacing us error-prone humans with machines that don’t make mistakes, the reasoning goes, will put a huge dent in the number of traffic accidents that occur in the US each year. And the sooner, the better.

7 Embarrassing Lessons

7 Embarrassing Lessons I Learned While Moving People

7 Embarrassing Lessons I Learned While Moving People

Lessons I, Kevin The Mover, learned during my earliest days on the job through the mistakes of others (and my own).

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, in introducing the NHTSA’s revised guidelines for autonomous vehicle development, said self-driving cars could also help the blind and disabled – perhaps acknowledging that the technology would not only increase the level of safety for such drivers but would also give them a higher level of independence.

That’s something that is hard if not impossible to measure.

Interestingly, Chao doesn’t see the value in limiting development and testing to established automobile manufacturers—in other words, he thinks the companies with a known capacity for designing for commercial gain shouldn’t do it all. From the Scribd self-driving guideline book:

States should not place unnecessary burdens on competition and innovation by limiting ADS testing or deployment to motor vehicle manufacturers only…No data suggests that experience in vehicle manufacturing is an indicator of the ability to safely test or deploy vehicle technology [emphasis mine]. All entities that meet Federal and State law prerequisites for testing or deployment should have the ability to operate in the State.

That last bit – “entities that meet Federal and State law prerequisites” – may hope to keep this race from turning into a free-for-all. But again, these are just guidelines. Strong suggestions, maybe. But not laws by any definition. That, we can expect, is already beginning.

The Feds Take the Wheel

self-driving trucks

Last September, the U.S. House of Representatives made a bold move by unanimously voting to put the development of self-driving cars in the hands of federal regulators, not the states.

On the surface, this may seem like just another instance of federal bureaucracy getting in the way, but by cutting off the states’ authority to prohibit autonomous vehicles, the feds are actually hoping to speed up the process of making autonomous drive technology part of the everyday.

In other words, instead of 50 roadblocks, there’s only one.

As Reuters reports, “The House measure, the first significant federal legislation aimed at speeding self-driving cars to market, would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year.”

Wait a minute! Without meeting existing safety standards?!

The States Have a Say

That does sound rather concerning. But as US News & World Report explains that point, the proposal put forth by the House would

give the federal government the authority to exempt automakers from safety standards that don’t apply to autonomous technology [emphasis mine]. If a company can prove it can make a safe vehicle with no steering wheel, for example, the federal government could approve that. But generally speaking, manufacturers seeking these particular safety exemptions must demonstrate that their self-driving cars are at least as safe as existing vehicles.

A car is a car is a car, as far as the government is concerned. As it concerns self-driving cars, however, Reuters adds, “The House bill would require automakers to add a driver alert to check rear seating in an effort to prevent children from being left behind.” (This may or not be bolstered with a device to stop anyone who would forget their child is in the car from ever driving again.)

Furthermore, this bill does not put states entirely in the back seat when it comes to motor vehicle regulation. Registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections would all still be set by the individual states.

Yep, only performance standards would have to pass through federal review.

States will still have some authority to regulate the eventual use of autonomous vehicles, like requiring a human to be present on any self-driving vehicle. But states are “encouraged not to pass laws that would throw barriers in front of testing and use.”

Disagreement Among Administrations

self-driving trucks

As US News tells us,

Under the Obama administration automakers were asked to follow a 15-point safety assessment before putting test vehicles on the road. The new guidelines reduce that to a 12-point voluntary assessment, asking automakers to consider things like cybersecurity, crash protection, how the vehicle interacts with occupants and the backup plans if the vehicle encounters a problem. They no longer ask automakers to think about ethics or privacy issues or share information beyond crash data, as the previous guidelines did.

That the present administration is not interested in the ethics of the industry is an issue that we will steer clear of.

We will instead add the sentiments of Mitch Bainwol, head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, who says the guidelines, which are policy, not law, provide a “streamlined, flexible system to accommodate the development and deployment of new technologies.” 

This stands in contrast to critics who suggest these guidelines don’t go far enough to ensure the safety of vehicles being put out on the road. David Friedman, director of car and product policy analysts for Consumer Union, warns that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “needs to be empowered to protect consumers against new hazards that may emerge, and to ensure automated systems work as they’re supposed to without placing consumers at risk.”

Clearly, the autonomous vehicle industry is at the crossroads of safety and economics.

Business: Anything But Usual

The race to get AV technology to the market is more than just selling cars alone. As FTI Communications puts it,

The automotive revenue pool could reach $1.5 trillion by 2030…this in part because AVs will likely have an impact that extends far beyond the automotive industry, into sectors such as insurance, tech, logistics, cybersecurity, delivery services, public sector infrastructure and tourism, to name a few. 

In other words, this has the potential to change economics as we know it. But since the NHTSA has established nothing more than non-binding, non-legal guidelines for the industry, there remains a significant degree of confusion about how to proceed at both state and private levels.

Add to this the current administration’s apparent appetite for growth in traditional manufacturing jobs, including manually driven cars, and we have a recipe for sluggish progress in what could be the greatest advancement in transportation since the invention of the combustion engine, maybe even the wheel.

As far as our industry is concerned, the question remains…

Autonomous Trucks: Now or Later?

self-driving trucksAs the subject of self-driving trucks is not addressed in the NHTSA’s guidelines or the aforementioned House bill, the development, testing and implementation of AV technology for transport trucks of all types have by default been left up to individual states (hence, Colorado’s beer delivery experiment).

Speaking in general terms, Michigan Senator Gary Peters states that “the House bill will facilitate the safe development and adoption of self-driving cars, reduce existing regulatory barriers and establish new regulatory framework.”

He does, however, refer to conversations he has had involving the prospects of self-driving trucks raise a very different set of issues from self-driving cars.

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As we are told, “The Michigan senator…did find some opposition to the idea of pushing freight legislation off to a later date to instead focus more intently on autonomous passenger vehicles.”

One of those opposed was American Trucking Association CEO Chris Spear. Besides issues like cybersecurity, infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, Spear makes the valid point that since autonomous passenger cars will eventually be sharing the road with freight trucks anyway, these and other issues should be answered for commercial and passenger vehicles at the same time.

“Our industry cannot be subject to a patchwork of conflicting state rules,” US News quotes Spear as he advocates for the federal government to pursue some sort of overarching freight standards that wouldn’t vary state to state.

Compliance with multiple state regimes would be very disruptive to the economy, to these companies, and I think it would be a jobs issue over time if we’re not able to move freight in a productive way, in a safe way and, obviously, in a profitable way.

But Spear does concede that while autonomous cars will likely be hitting the road very soon, autonomous tractor trailer technology is still “decades away” and “not in the foreseeable future.”

To this, Spear said he’s not worried about truckers losing their jobs to technology anytime soon. “We have a 50,000-driver shortage as it stands,” he reminds us. Navistar President and CEO agrees, joking that freight companies “already have driverless trucks, but that’s because they have trouble recruiting and retaining drivers.”

The Space Race of Our Industry, In a Nutshell

There’s a wealth of automotive technology coming out, a lot of it from right here in the United States. But a failure to put the proverbial pedal to the metal could result in missed opportunities for the US to stake its claim at the forefront of the industry.

It could also delay the implementation of autonomous technologies that ultimately could make American roadways safer.

“Whether it’s data-sharing, testing protocols, engagement of all of the right stakeholders – these are all issues that we need to begin to discuss,” says Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

If the trucking sector is left on the side of the road while these discussions progress, it will be even longer before our industry begins to see the safety, as well as the economic benefits, of autonomous vehicle technology.

And because of all that, it may be a long time before you or any other company waves goodbye to your cargo being driven away by a moving truck.


Illustrations by Rob Wadleigh

Mover Gets Hired on the Spot, Gets Right to Work as a Thief

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Gail Valente didn’t know she was sending a convicted felon out on a job. But when two of her movers failed to show up for work, the owner of Rex Moving in St. Petersburg, Florida was in a tight spot.

“I can do that,” said Charles Worden, who was doing construction work on her house at the time. “I’ve done it many times.”

Gail agreed and Charles got right to work, pilfering Beth Benson and, it seems, several other Rex Moving customers.

The interesting thing is that Ms. Valente apparently found out about the thefts before her customers knew what was going on. Her first move? Alerting the authorities. Her next move? Calling her customers to let them know they’d been robbed. That’s both a bold and humbling thing to have to do.

Luckily, the items were recovered.

Ms. Valente tells WFTS in Tampa Bay that she runs background checks on all her employees. That may be true. But in a pinch, she made the decision to send someone into a customer’s home without knowing much about him. Maybe this was the first time she ever had. It will likely be her last. 

Something to keep in mind when you are vetting a crew that you hope garners you sterling reviews.

Top 10 Helpers Celebrate at HireAHelpers HQ

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10 years, 10 Helpers, 10 Call Service Representatives.

A trio of celebrations was recently held on HireAHelper’s “Top 10 Helper Day”, HireAHelper’s 10 year aniverssary event that doubled as a summit of some of the best people working in the moving industry today.

A Contest for Movers

Rigo’s Moving Company being interviewed at HireAHelper headquarters.

Rather than just ordering a cake for the big “1-0”, HireAHelper used their milestone moment to shed light on the people who make the company possible: hardworking movers, as well as the people booking their jobs every single day.

Here’s how they did it: they asked Call Service Representatives (CSRs) to vote for their favorite movers in the HireAHelper network. Additionally, HireAHelper asked the movers to submit the names of their favorite CSRs, as moving companies interact with their call center day in and day out. In many cases, movers interact with various CSRs for years on end. Voting on both ends was based on professionalism, efficiency, helpfulness and ability

More than a thousand moving companies across the country were eligible. (Not to mention a few dozen phone operators.)

The voting was fierce and the lists were long. But after the votes were tallied, the top five moving companies on the list were invited to take part in a special event at HireAHelper headquarters in sunny San Diego, CA, which took place this month.

Top 10 Helper Day

One by one, the contest winners emerged into HireAHelper headquarters, each bringing with them unique backgrounds spread out across the United States. They also brought anecdotes regarding how they found out they had been named a top 10 moving company in the country.

Says Crystal Rocci out of Lakeland, Florida’s Family Movers, “(We) got the email and he’s shaking and I’m like, ‘Why are you shaking?’ And he hands me the phone…and I’m reading it and saying, ‘Honey, we made fourth place!'”

Movers also shared stories from their long journeys establishing themselves as major players in the moving world.

Family Movers receives their certificate.

There’s a lot of bad reputation in the industry,” says Carmen Ball, from Aurora, Colorado’s LeDoux Moving Solutions. “If you build a reputation, you know, you gotta ride on your reputation. You screw that up, you don’t stick around.

“That’s my name on my shirt. I am representing everything, not just the company, I am representing the family as well.”

Continues Ball, “There’s many small businesses where we are that have been in business 20 years and they don’t do what we do. But I really believe (in) focusing on reputation and integrity.

Winners pose with their certificates.

The theme of the day? Going the extra mile.

“Rigo is very passionate about what he does,” says Susana Avelino of Rigo’s Movers out of Los Angeles, the contest winning moving company. 

Martha Martin, also of Rigo’s Movers, echoes that sentiment. “(Rigo) wants everything perfect. If something happens, resolve everything. If something gets damaged, try and fix it.” To get this level of recognition, they stress that customers have to always feel safe and secure in their hands.

“Our guys always calm down the customer and say, ‘Okay, you’re in good hands. Let me do my job and let me wrap everything. We will fit it on your truck.'”

Prizes Galore

The Top 10 Helper ceremony was held in front of a big screen and among boxes of gourmet donuts, during which the top 10 Helpers and CSRs received recognition. All present Helpers received their certificates and cash prizes. Afterwards, a catered lunch of tacos and drinks awaited everybody outside.

On getting to meet with the top 10 CSRs that they’ve worked with for years, Rocci of Family Movers exclaims, “I was like, ‘Yes!’ I finally get to put some faces to some names! I talk to these super energetic people on the phone, and I’m like, ‘I thought I was the only person like that.’ [laughter]”

Top 10 Helper Day wasn’t the only place celebrations were held, however. The top 10 CSRs were assigned a Helper from the rest of the top 10 list and given free airfare, lodging, cash prizes, and the opportunity to award the rest of the top Helpers their certificates in person.

Jess and Camille, winning CSRs, visiting Top 10 Helper “Moving Texas” in Austin.

Says Camille, Helper Relations Specialist and a winning CSR,

“There is definitely something different about meeting a Helper in person, something significant about putting a face to a name that brings life to their voice the next time I work with them over the phone.”

Again and again, winners stressed the importance of community as a key to success.

Now with 2017 in the books and ten successful years behind them, HireAHelper is positioned to continue their impressive take over of the moving labor marketplace. And with the Top 10 Helper contest being such a hit with everybody that participated, hundreds of professional moving companies (and the passionate employees that fuel them) remind us that all continued success will have to go through them.

Rachel Ledoux of Ledoux Movers reiterates, “You can slam out a bunch of jobs and…walk away thinking that everything’s great, then come to find out later that they never took the time to find out if that customer was actually happy.

“You know, moving is more than just a business; It’s relationships.”

For a list of the top 10 Helper winners and their prizes, click here.

How Much Will Your Move Cost? Here’s How to Figure it Out

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So how much does a move cost? It all depends. Years of moving experience shows that customers typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Gazillionaire
  • Employee relocating on the company’s dime
  • Confused soul wondering aloud, “Good gosh, how much is this going to cost me?”

As you probably guessed, most of us are the third one. AMSA, the American Moving and Storage Association, tells us the average in-state move costs $1,170, while interstate moves average $5,630. But take that with a grain of salt, because the real answer lies is in the details of your specific move—from off-base estimates to logistical issues, from slower-than-syrup movers to incidental expenses, all big and small.

So how is it possible to even come close to predicting the final number so we don’t go into shock when we’re handed the bill?

Some things are out of our control, but there are definitely things you can do and look out for to make the moment we get that final bill pleasantly unsurprising.

The Baseline Cost of Moves

These are the basic questions you need to ask ahead of a move:

  • Are you getting a Full-Service moving company to handle everything?
  • Are you renting your own truck, then hiring moving labor separately?
  • Are you doing everything yourself?

These are known as the three basic ways to move: A Hybrid Move, a Full-Service Move, and a DIY Move.

How much do movers cost?

Getting a Full-Service Move? That means the movers load, unload, and drive the vehicle all on their own. The estimate? Though it will largely depend on the distance traveled and volume of the move, Full-Service Moves run north of $1,500-$2,000, on average, and sometimes can be more expensive if it’s a really big move.

Hybrid Moves, on the other hand, separate moving labor from moving vehicle. That means you hire a mover to load and/or unload your stuff, then rent the moving truck on your own, saving you a lot of money. Roughly, the cost can run anywhere between $300-$1,000 for a truck and movers, occasionally more.

What’s the cost difference between a long distance and local move?

Local or state move? You’re looking at roughly anywhere between $100 to $300 for the moving truck, depending on the size needed and after accounting for mileage and insurance fees.

Moving long distance? Like, across the country? This will likely cost around $1,000 after gas and fees, plus potentially lodging and food.

As for local movers, prices vary dramatically based on scheduling and location. Moving during a busy summer is just going to cost more than during the dead of winter. Movers’ hourly rates also vary, depending on the size and distance of your move.

Here are some generalized queries on price ranges for “2 Helpers for 2 hours”, taken straight from HireAHelper.com:

  • Boston, Massachusetts: $250-$350
  • Austin, Texas: $200-$300
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana.: $300-$400
  • Los Angeles, California: $250-$400

Of course, some movers do charge more, or sometimes less. Check out our movers’ reviews, give a few of them a call, get some estimates, and then go with who you feel best about.

You might love our:

Moving Cost Calculator

If the quote from your movers felt expensive …
Make sure it lines up with the costs reported by other Americans.

Finally, there’s the DIY Move, which hides plenty of hidden costs, such as:

  • Gasoline
  • Power tools
  • Moving supplies
  • Pizza and beer
  • Heavy stress

Not to mention what it does to close friendships and schedules. You can get away with casually moving a bedroom with some friends, but let’s just say that in the past, I wish I had spent a couple hundred bucks to have had total peace of mind for those really stressful moves. As a mover, I recognize I am biased, but I am also just a person who has moved many, many times—just like you.

Why do random internet searches for movers cost more?

Moving estimations are rarely conservative. That’s because it’s dreadful to be ill-equipped and strapped for time, versus the other way around.

No matter which one you choose, having someone come out and do a thorough visual of your place and all your belongings can be an extra useful way to get the most reliable estimate of how much your move will cost, as it’s an estimate based on time needed.

Getting an estimate over the phone? That’s cool, but keep these two things in mind:

First, if someone can’t see all the things you want moved, no matter how pure their intentions, it is ultimately a guesstimate.

Why should I avoid “move brokers”?

Secondly, unfortunately, it’s a very real possibility that the “moving company” you quickly searched for on the internet is actually just a move broker.

That’s another term for a middleman who will assure you that they can give you an accurate quote – which will sound too good to be true – then sell your move to the highest bidder. That person will then come out (most likely in a rental truck) and load up your stuff … before telling tell you that your final bill will be a lot higher than you were originally told.

It happens every single day. Don’t let it happen to you.

That’s why after 20 plus years of experience moving people, I write for HireAHelper, a moving labor marketplace. All the movers are real movers with real reviews, which means absolutely zero of them are move brokers. Everyone here is the real deal.

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See prices for local moving labor. Read real customer reviews. Easily book your help online.

Still, marketplace or not, keep in mind that the more stuff you have, the more important it is to get an in-person estimate so your movers can give you a good idea of how many people you’ll need for how many hours.

Extra, Hidden Mover Costs

How much stuff you have isn’t the only thing that determines the cost of your move. Here are some other important factors that some moving companies take into consideration when giving quotes:

  • If the path from your door to the truck involves stairs or an elevator
  • If the distance from your door to where the truck will be parked is particularly long (meaning 75 feet or more)
  • If your movers can’t get their tractor-trailer anywhere near your place and they have to use a smaller truck to shuttle your stuff from your driveway to the big rig
  • If you have any (or a lot of) heavy, bulky or unusual items, like pool tables or gun safes

All or some combination of these will likely bring your quote up. This is another reason an in-person estimate is important. But if you do find yourself having to give movers a run-down of your stuff over the phone, be sure to let them know the lay of the land so no one ends up surprised. Also, don’t forget to potentially tip your movers.

Total: 

Local Hybrid Move: ~$350+

Local Full-Service Move: ~$700+

Long Distance Hybrid Move: ~$1,300+

Long Distance Full Service Move: ~$2,000+

Optional, Accidental and Potentially Hefty Costs

There are some potentially optional costs that can add up quickly.

Packing Costs

Doing your own packing? Be aware that boxes can get expensivea couple of bucks a pop on average.

Meanwhile, packing paper goes for around $30 per 25-pound bundle, and box tape runs at minimum a dollar per roll.

Thinking of using bubble wrap? Plan on dropping anywhere from $20-$50 a shot.

You’ll save some cash by doing your own packing, but your packing supplies can run you a couple hundred bucks, at least.

Total:

Moving boxes: ~$0-25

Packing supplies: ~$35-75

Packing help: ~$75-100

Rental Trucks

Renting a truck? You may find one for $20 or $30 or $50 a day, but gas, tolls, equipment rental, liability insurance, mileage charges and any fees included in the fine print of your rental agreement add up fast. Plus, obviously, the bigger the truck you need, the more it’ll cost. Not to mention, some days are busier than others (e.g., holidays, weekends, etc.), and you’ll get charged more for a last second rental. (Read this rental truck guide for more info.)

If you are moving long-distance, you also need to factor in food and lodging. And by the way, if you’re driving that truck, how are you going to get your car to your new home? All of this basically means one thing: get a quote on a moving truck early

Total: 

Local (or daily) moving truck: ~$75-300+

Long distance moving truck: ~$1,000-5,000+

How much does insurance cost?

Planning on getting your stuff insured? Full-service moving companies offer free basic coverage against loss or damage, equaling 60 cents per pound for any lost or damaged item. If you are okay with getting fifteen bucks in return for your newly-smashed flat screen TV, then this is the plan for you. That’s called valuation, not insurance.

If you want to be actually insured, you’ll want to consider paying for coverage that actually means something—which will cost you a percentage of what your stuff is worth in total.

 

What Moving Insurance Actually Does

(And why it might not help you!)

Total:

Insurance cost is completely relative to the item you insure (as well as how far you take it). Taken from MovingInsurance.com FAQ:

The cost of the insurance, or premium, is based on a proportional rate, relevant to the declared value of your shipment and the level of deductible you have chosen, and includes an administrative fee. Rates vary depending on your insurance type as well as based on your household goods’ final destination, whether be locally, out of state or internationally.

Storage and Lodging

And if your new home isn’t ready when you are? This unfortunate possibility comes with having to shell out more cash for the extra time your stuff has to sit on the moving truck, the extra time you have to hold onto your rental truck, or the storage space you have to rent until your home is finally ready for you. You might not include such expenses in your moving budget, but be aware of the potential for things to go wrong. There’s even the hotel cost if you’re moving for more than a day.

And what if you don’t get your life all packed up on time? You’ll have to hire packers last-minute. Obviously, this situation is entirely avoidable. All you have to do is make a careful and calculated estimate as to how long it will take you to pack everything. Then whatever time frame you come up with, multiply by two and a half. (Seriously.)

Total: 

Storage container costs depend on their size and distance driven. Taken from Moving101:

You can move locally or long distance, but moving containers are more affordably suited to local moves of small houses or apartments…mostly because you need to rent out more than one container for larger homes, which raises the fee. And the costs associated with the company driving the container long distance (read: paying the driver, fuel, insurance, etc.) all pile onto your bill, but then again, you’re not driving that massive truck 2,000 miles in 110-degree heat. Tradeoffs. Prices range from just under $500 for a local move (with the largest container) to more than $5,000 for a long-distance move (with two of the largest containers).

Incidental Costs

After moving people day in and day out for decades, I’ve heard everything under the sun when it comes to random moving costs the customers weren’t expecting. But the thing is, they almost are never random, just unexpected. The list of sometimes surprising incidental costs include:

  • Restocking your pantry/kitchen, and replacing items you got rid of
  • Paying deposits on utilities, cable, and public services at your new home
  • Sucking up any cancellation fees or broken contract penalties for things like cable, phone and health club membership
  • Repairing damage in your old home – or losing your security deposit if you don’t
  • Changing your driver’s license and car registration
  • Running a credit check to pass along to your new landlord and new utility companies
  • Picking up all the little things you need for your new home: light bulbs, shower curtain, shades/curtains for the windows, cleaning supplies because you used up and wore out everything cleaning your old place so you could get at least some of your security deposit back
  • Getting socked with penalties for being late paying bills because your mail didn’t get forwarded promptly, or you missed a bill altogether

Apartment Costs

Also, are you renting a new apartment? Obviously, don’t forget you have a security deposit as well as first and last months’ rent to shell out. Those can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to the value of the entire month’s rent. Buying a new home? That’s another topic altogether, but with that comes closing costs, realtor fees, appraisal costs, inspection fees, attorney fees and more. Yay!

Long-term Costs

There’s another part to this incidental list, which includes moving costs that are repeating or more long-term in nature.

  • Does parking cost where you live, and how much?
  • What are the average car and health insurance rates in your new state?
  • With your new home will you be subjected to building maintenance fees? Property fees? Homeowners’ association fees? Do you have to buy special trash and recycling bins?

That’s a lot of stuff to take into account, huh?

Figuring out what your own move will cost is all about specifics, not averages. So get that in-person estimate (more than one, if you are able). Use a moving cost calculator. Find a deal on a reliable rental truck (and remember to read the fine print). Check out rates for coverage against damage. Keep an eye on all those incidental charges and keep a list of things you’ll need at your new place.

And please, leave yourself plenty of time to pack!


Illustrations by Vicki Tsai

From Bartender to Moving CEO: Building a Business on ‘Happy’

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Business advice is interesting. We like it when we come across someone who has risen from humble beginnings to reach an admirable level of success. We like to read about them. We like to learn what they learned so we can do what they’ve done.

Recently, the moving world was introduced to Ross Sapir, an immigrant from Israel who took his experience as a hotel bartender and started a moving company that did a million dollars their first year. It wasn’t a direct road, though. It was his time working as a salesman for someone else’s company in between that got him wondering why moving made people so unhappy, and how he might be able to change that.

What the heck did he do differently?

“Happy” is a word that can be empty or full of meaning. For Sapir, it was the foundation of his business. In this Alister and Paine interview, he lays out a few of the ideas that got him and his company moving up fast. I’ll lay them out for you, along with some tidbits of my own.

  1. “We don’t just move stuff. We move people.”

Ross Sapir

This wasn’t just a quick phrase Sapir read on Twitter, but it was his experience working for a hotel was what taught him that. “When you go to a hotel, you don’t just sleep in a bed,” he says. “You go because of the experience.” He adds that if hotels were just about sleeping, you’d go to a Motel 6. (Of course, considering there are over 1,400 Motel 6 locations in the US, we can assume there are people who really just want a cheap place to sleep. But I digress.)

Put this in the context of a moving company. Sure, a customer may just want their stuff moved from Point A to Point B for a few hundred dollars, but if there’s a positive experience built into the process that customer becomes, as Sapir puts it, “a fan for life.”

That fan will tell other people about you and will call you again the next time they need to move. And that fan may have a lot more stuff the second time around, making their move a several thousand dollar deal. Some of you probably know how cool it is to have return customers. I definitely know I do.

  1. “We don’t hide behind limited liability.”

Sapir says if a TV is broken during a move, instead of giving the customer sixty cents per pound, he’ll buy that customer a new TV – maybe even something better than the one they had. This turns an ugly situation into a great one and an unhappy customer into another fan for life.

That advice said, we don’t advocate replacing every item that gets dinged, scratched or marred. Happy customers are good; bankruptcy is not. Rather, this unwritten, over-the-top policy of replacing an item that gets destroyed regardless of what is legally required should be the exception, not the rule, and it is the general mindset that you should highly consider adopting.

  1. “We read books.”

And we aren’t just talking about how-to guides and user’s manuals. We mean books by successful people in all areas of business and even beyond. Sapir mentions Delivering Happiness by a guy who sold his shoe company, Zappos, for over one billion dollars. (Yup, that’s billion with a ‘b’.) “I wanted my company to be built on that book,” says Sapir.

Whether you’re looking to build your bottom line, improve your company culture, become a better boss or just increase your level of satisfaction, there are tons of books out there to choose from.

And by the way…

Sapir tosses in a couple of other tidbits that are well worth heeding, including ideas that have nothing to do with moving furniture but everything to do with building a great moving company.

One, get negative and small-minded people out of your life. They’ll only keep you from reaching your goals.

And two? You have to work your butts off. In case we didn’t already know that!

The Hard Numbers Behind the Self-Storage Explosion

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NEWS FLASH!! The self-storage business is BOOMING!!

Okay, this is hardly news to anyone in or around the moving industry. Still, the latest numbers are staggering, which means a lot of you out there are probably noticing the trend in your day-to-day operations.

SpareFoot recently reported the construction of new storage facilities exceeded $1.9 billion in 2016. That’s a lot of money spent to store a lot of stuff. But that was just a warm-up. In only the first eight months of 2017, self-storage construction surpassed $2.27 billion – which translates into over three billion dollars worth of new self-storage units being built this year alone.

So what does a few billion dollars of storage look like? Simply Self Storage quotes Statistic Brain in telling us that, as of September 2016, there were 2.3 billion square feet of storage space in the U.S. “That’s equal to 82,5 square miles,” they say, which is about the size of Las Vegas.

With all the construction happening this year, that total area will probably stretch halfway to the Hoover Dam.

Meanwhile, there are 164 projects in some stage of development totaling 9 million new square feet of space in the Dallas area alone. This is a bit of a head-scratcher, since Dallas, according to this Self Storage Construction and Development Analysis, has already reached over-supplied status in half of its districts. (Interestingly, so has Vegas.)

More eyebrow-raising is the fact that the five metro areas seeing the most development in 2017 – Dallas, Miami, New York, Houston, Atlanta – account for a whopping 40% of all construction happening nationwide. With four of these five cities considered over-supplied (Miami is the only one not yet statistically saturated), you might start to wonder, “Why all the new facilities?”

Ben Vestal, who authored the abovementioned analysis, says in his introduction that there are still areas within these over-supplied markets that are ripe for successful new projects.

Perhaps time – and next year’s reports – will tell us where the recent self-storage building binge is taking us.

If you’d like to know more regarding the self-storage industry – real juicy stuff, like growth patterns across the US over decades, costs and operating expenses for a facility – check out this comprehensive report by the Self-Storage Association.

But despite all the construction and all the information, one thing remains constant: At the core of the industry are the people who need space for their stuff. People who may be our customers. Or maybe potential customers. If you run a moving company, it pays to know where your local storage facilities are – and who is running them.

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