How Moving Helped Me Pay off $107,000 in Student Loans

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Student loan debt is higher than ever, with 44 million Americans owing $1.48 trillion on their student loans. In fact, the average Class of 2017 graduate left school owing $39,400.

Assuming a 4.45% interest rate and a 10-year repayment plan, a balance of that size would require a monthly payment of $407.

That’s a serious burden for new graduates, let alone anyone facing today’s sluggish wage growth and sky-high rent.

So here’s an out-of-the-box idea for conquering your student loans: Move to another state. I moved from New York City to Austin, Texas, and it helped me pay off $107,000 in student loans.

Here’s how this decision helped my finances, along with surprising reasons why relocating could help yours, too.

Moving seriously lowered my cost of living

Andy Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero

I attended Bentley University and majored in managerial economics. My degree helped me start my business, Student Loan Hero, but it also left me saddled with $74,000 in student loans.

In total, I had 16 different loans from four different loan servicers, none of which helped me understand my repayment options. I put some of these loans into deferment, only to watch my balance balloon to $107,000.

Between the stress of carrying all this debt and the challenges of starting a business, I realized that living in New York, one of the country’s most expensive cities, might not be the best idea for my finances.

In 2015, I decided to move to Austin. I’d heard the quality of life there was great, and I loved its mix of urban culture with outdoor activities. Having grown up in rural Pennsylvania, I was drawn to a city that still had trees and nature.

Plus, the cost of living in Austin was a lower than in NYC. In New York, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,070, according to Apartment List. But in Austin, the median cost is just $1,120, nearly half that of New York.

Overall, Numbeo found that rent prices in New York are 97.6% higher than in Austin. Even groceries are 47.26% higher in the Big Apple!

Besides enjoying more affordable rent and food, I also saved money by not owning a car my first two years in Austin. I mainly relied on my bike to get around.

Of course, this might not be an option for a lot of Americans, especially for those who don’t live in cities with many options for public transportation.

In my case, though, giving up my car helped me reach my financial goals.

Relocating could help you save on state income taxes

Decreasing my cost of living wasn’t the only reason I saved money by moving to the Lone Star State. My tax bill also decreased significantly, since Texas doesn’t have state income taxes.

It’s one of seven states that don’t have an income tax. The full list includes:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Additionally, New Hampshire and Tennessee only tax interest and dividend income, which is money you make from stocks or mutual funds.

Between lowering my cost of living and eliminating state and municipal income taxes, I saved over $15,000 by relocating to Austin. Thanks to these savings, I was able to make extra payments on my student loans.

“If you put those savings toward your student loans, you could get out of debt 67 months earlier and save $7,193 on interest.”

As a result, I started to see my student loan balances go down. Not only did I save money on interest, but I also watched my six-figure balance return to a manageable level within a year.

I had been tackling my balance as aggressively as I could since 2013, and moving to Austin helped me pay it off even faster. In August 2016, I made my last payment on my student loans.

How much you save

Since my move helped my finances so much, I was curious about what impact a similar strategy could have for other Americans. To find out, Student Loan Hero conducted a study on the financial impact of relocating to a state with no state income taxes.

Student Loan Calculator

We learned that moving to a state with no income tax would save the average person $1,977 per year. We also found that nearly one out of three people said they would move to an income tax-free state if it meant they’d save money.

Although this number seems fairly high, it’s not all that surprising that debt, taxes, and finances affect where people choose to live.

If you’re interested in how moving could affect your finances, check out the state tax savings calculator in the study. It compares costs between two states and reveals how moving would impact your student loans.

If you’re considering a move, be sure to compare the cost of living between your current and prospective cities. But if you’re focusing on state income taxes, the calculator reveals how much you could save year to year.

For example, let’s say you’re living in Oregon and making $60,000 per year. You only have one exemption, and you owe $25,000 in student loans at a 5.70% interest rate. By moving up to Washington, you could save $4,777 per year on state income taxes.

If you put those savings toward your student loans, you could get out of debt 67 months earlier and save $7,193 on interest.

Should you move to pay off your student loans faster?

Although I’ve been discussing how much you can save by moving to another state, there are expenses involved in relocating. For one, you have to pay for the move itself. Plus, you must make sure the new destination has job opportunities in your field unless you’re capable of working remotely.

If you’re considering a move, ask yourself these essential questions:

  • Can I find a job in my line of work?
  • Can I work remotely in my current role?
  • How much in moving expenses will I have to cover?
  • What will my new cost of living look like?
  • Is the new state a good fit for me in terms of climate, culture and other factors?

You might also estimate your moving costs with HireAHelper’s moving cost calculator. This tool gives you a quote based on your old and new zip codes so you can prepare for the expenses of your move. The great news is that there are many moving options to considerably lower your moving costs, which you can read about here.

Moving Cost Calculator at Moving101.HireAHelper.com

As long as you’ve done your due diligence, moving could be a smart financial move. With the money you save by choosing an affordable city over an expensive one, you could pay off your student loans ahead of schedule and move closer to a debt-free life.

Saving money, by the way, might not be the only perk in moving. In Austin, I now enjoy 228 days of sunshine, not to mention some of the best tacos I’ve ever had.


Andrew Josuweit Bio: Andrew Josuweit is CEO and Co-Founder of Student Loan Hero. After he graduated with $107,000 in student loan debt, he realized he wanted to help others become debt-free and financially independent.

How to Sell a House: A Guide from A to Z

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If you’ve ever sold something on Craigslist, you probably know how much work even just that can be involved. You’ve gotta take photos of the item, figure out a good price, and then post it online with a descriptive caption and details about the piece. Afterward, you’ve gotta field the emails and calls, then wait for a random stranger to come pick up your item.

Now, take that process and multiply it by 100 … that’s what it’s like to sell a house!

We’re not gonna sugar coat it; there is a lot of work and serious effort involved in selling a home. That’s why we wrote this post to outline the entire process for you. Understanding what you’ll be doing is the first step towards slapping “SOLD” on the sign in your front yard.

Craft a Selling Gameplan

Once you decide to sell your house, you probably would like if it all happened pretty quickly. But nothing good happens without a plan. So the first order of business is to make a selling gameplan. This is what that looks like.

Agent or No Agent?

The first major step in the selling process is figuring out if you’re going to hire a professional real estate agent or sell your home yourself. If you go the “For Sale By Owner” route, you could, in theory, save some money. But if you’re new to the home selling process, you may be way over your head if you DIY it. Ask yourself if you have the time, knowledge and marketing skills to sell your house all by yourself. If you come away with a resounding yes, it could be the right move for you!

Though if you decide to go with an agent, take the time upfront to find a good one. Ask friends for referrals, read reviews online and interview more than one agent before you hire the winner. A good agent should educate you throughout the process, and it ultimately should be someone you deeply trust.

This post outlines tips on who to contact, when, and how to do it.

Choosing the Right Time

The best time to sell is March through June. That leaves parents an entire summer to get their kids adjusted and ready for the new school year. So if you can wait until the spring and early summer months, do it! It’s always best to avoid selling during winter and the holidays, as most people aren’t looking to buy homes during that busy time of year on average.

Find the Right Price

The first 30 days of activity are crucial when it comes to selling your house, so price matters. You may assume that you should start high and then lower your price if you don’t get any attention, but if it sits on the market for too long, your listing can become stale. Buyers may stay away if you price too high or assume that you’re not serious about selling. Price it right from the start and you’ll probably sell your home much faster.

If you’re using an agent, they will work with you to figure out the best price for your home. You can also research other comparable homes in your area, and maybe even attend some open houses. Plus, there are many online resources that will help you track down the perfect number for your area. These things will all get you a good feel for the market and how your home compares.

Prep Your Home

Painting the House

Before you can officially get your home on the market, you need to get it looking it’s very best. If you fail to make your home look presentable, then you may not get the asking price you’re looking for, or even worse … it could sit on the market for far too long. You need to showcase your home in its best light, and the only way to do that is with some hard work and effort. Here’s how to prep your home for the market:

De-Clutter and De-Personalize In Six Steps

This first task will cost you literally zero dollars. Yep, you can already make your home look 10 times better without spending a dime. Here’s how.

  • Find a spot where you can store items out of sight. That could be an attic space, shed, or even a storage unit that you rent while you’re selling.
  • Remove excess bulky furniture. The more space to walk around, the better.
  • Try to pare down at least 10% in each room. Gather extra accessories and items that are taking up space.
  • Permanently clear all counters in your kitchen. And try to get rid of most items on surfaces (i.e., desks, dressers, etc.).
  • Donate everything you clear. (Or add them to your designated storage spot.)
  • Remove any personal items from around your home. This means things like picture frames and family knickknacks.

These six steps will have your home looking so much more sellable. Your space will be lighter and brighter for the photography and showings later on! Don’t forget about closets and drawers too. Buyers are nosy, and they’ll be checking out every nook and cranny in your house.

Make Small Home Upgrades

You don’t necessarily need to renovate your kitchen or bathroom to sell your house, but there are small upgrades you can make to improve your home. Here are some ideas that will instantly improve the look of your space (and potential home value!).

  • Give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to consult this list of paint colors with the best resale value first!
  • Upgrade your kitchen on a dime. Swap cabinet hardware, replace your faucet, and add new pendants for a quick and budget-friendly new look!
  • Boost curb appeal with a painted door. This post will help you pick the perfect hue. (Also helpful is a cleaned up yard and fresh flowers.)

Finally, if something has been broken (and on your to-do list for years), now is obviously the time to fix it!

Clean From Top to Bottom

There’s another essential (but free) task you’re going to be doing to make your home look a lot better: cleaning everything! Grime and dust can quickly deter buyers from truly considering your home, so get every nook and cranny sparkling. These posts will help you channel your inner Mr. Clean.

Marketing Your Home

If you’ve gotten to this step, your home is in tip-top shape from all of your hard work and it’s ready for its debut to the world! Marketing your home is by far the most important step of the home selling process. You can have the most gorgeous house on the block, but if no one sees the listing it’s never going to sell.

Stage and Photograph Your Space

You’ve already prepped for the staging when you got rid of personal items and removed clutter. Good work, that’s 90% of the battle. Now it’s time to add the finishing touches before your home’s photo shoot.

Make sure every room is clean, all beds are made, and blinds are open to let that natural light in! (Natural light is ideal for photos.) It’s important to keep accessories to a minimum, but if you do want to add a few we suggest opting for plants and flowers. This post has lots of tips on how to do it right.

Pictures are the most important part of a home listing, so it’s crucial to get these right. If you don’t think you can DIY it, then hire a pro! Investing in a professional photographer could potentially be the biggest money spent to money gained ratio in the entire process. If you’re using an agent, often times they will pay for this service. A professional is always a good idea because they will know how to photograph your home to make it look its best.

If you’re selling your house yourself (or just want to save some money), it’s possible to take your own pics. We suggest using a wide-angle lens, shooting during the daytime, and using a tripod. For more DIY photography tips, check out this post.

Promote Your Sale

Don’t solely rely on your agent to promote your listing. You can take some of the marketing efforts into your own hands and broadcast your sale to the world! Put your listing on social media sites, email your friends and family, and let neighbors know that you’re selling. You never know who might be looking to buy, so it’s worth it to use your own network to get the word out. Here are some of the most common sites people use for listing and/or real estate research:

Bring on the Showings

Simply put, homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. So the first order of business is to make your home available for showings. That could mean a few open houses on the weekends and availability during the week. We highly recommend that you leave the house during showings so buyers can really feel comfortable checking out your space. It may be an inconvenience for you and your family, but remember that it’s only temporary!

You’ll also want to do these 10 things before any open house to get your home looking (and smelling) its best!

Keep It Clean

It’s hard to live in your home like a normal person and keep it ready for showings at all times. But you’ve gotta do your best to keep your home clean and organized. Whenever you leave the house, tidy up and wipe down all of your countertops. That way if you need to have a last-minute showing, your home is ready to go.

Get Everyone Out of the House

It’s important for buyers to check out an empty house. So that means that you, your kids, and any animals should make a plan to high-tail it out of there. That could mean taking the dog for a long walk or heading over to a friend’s house for the day. But no matter what, come up with a plan for where your family will go when those last-minute showings happen. And if you do have pets, be sure to remove their items (e.g., dog bowls, cat litter, etc.) from the home before buyers come in.

How To Get Ready For Closing

If you’ve made it this far, then congrats! You’re almost to the finish line. Here’s what happens now:

Appraisal and Inspection Time

After the listings and showings, you will (hopefully!) get an offer on your place. After you’ve accepted an offer, most buyers will do an inspection of your place within a week. You won’t need to be there for the inspection, and you’ll usually have the results within a few days. At that time, you’ll know if all went well, if you need to fix a few items yourself, or if you’ll offer the buyers a credit to fix things themselves.

Here’s our full guide for how to deal with a home inspection.

Next, it’s time for the appraisal. Appraisals usually happen within a week of the home inspection. You can do some homework before the appraisal to improve the chances of getting a higher price. Provide a list of recent home improvements and receipts to explain the value you’ve added to your home.

The results of the appraisal may take a few weeks. If your home appraises, you’re good to go! If not, you’ll have to negotiate with the buyer to find a price that works for all parties.

Prep to Move

After the appraisal, you’ll be on track for closing day. You can finally start to pack things up and get ready to move out of your home. This would be a good time to think about hiring some help for moving day. It’s also time to start packing! This handy checklist will keep you on task so you stay organized and on top of your move.

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Saying Goodbye to Your Home

Congrats, you sold your house! All that’s left to do is say goodbye and toast to all of the memories made in your place. As a bonus, you can also leave your buyers a little gift as you head out (like a booklet of your favorite restaurants or just a note with tips on their new house). It’s a great way to hand off your past experiences to the new homeowners. Onward!

Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Home: Moving Tips for Dog and Cat Parents

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If you’ve ever moved with a dog or a cat, you know that it can be a stressful time for both of you. All the rushing around, packing and planning can make your pet feel uneasy.

With their routines changing, dogs and cats can feel unsure about their situation. When you move with pets, their scenery and smells change. This signals distress for your fur baby.

During this time, it’s important for you to remain calm and consistent. Remember that you are your pet’s most familiar anchor in the new home. If they are acting timid, unsure or following you around, you may need to be patient with them. Always remain confident, calm and consistent.

To help ease your furry friend’s anxiety, we’ve collected some of our best tips to help your pet stay relaxed during a move and adjust seamlessly to their new home.

 

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Before Moving With Your Pet:

Dogs and cats will know something is up before the move. They will see you packing boxes and bags and can sense your mood. If you’re anxious or stressed about the impending move, your pet is likely to feel it too. There are several things you can do before the actual move to help your pet feel at ease:

  • Prioritize quality time. Spend time with your pet before the move so that they are focused on you. If your pet is a dog, reinforce basic obedience commands so they are fresh in their mind.
  • Sprinkle your scent. Spray a distinct scent, such as your perfume, around your home starting three weeks before you move. Spray this same smell in the new house before your pet arrives.
  • Inspect your new space for danger. Check your new house for any poisonous or hazardous items like rat poisoning/traps, holes in the fence or chewable objects.
  • Have a vet on call. If moving cities, research a veterinarian to have on call in the new city—just in case.
  • Update the paperwork. License your pet according to local ordinances, update their identification tags and contact your pet’s microchip or tattoo registry to update your contact information. Don’t have any of those things? Learn more about them here.
  • Keep them legal. If moving cities, check the local law. Find out if you need a new license, what the leash laws are and if there are breed bans in your new city.
  • Crate train beforehand. If your pets will need to be crated during the move, ensure they are crate trained so the new situation doesn’t stress them out.
  • Condition for success. Condition your pet by having a few boxes and suitcases out ahead of time, before the move. That way they don’t associate those objects with you leaving.
  • Practice makes perfect. If your dog will be living with new rules after the move (e.g., moving from a house to an apartment), make sure they are trained on the new protocol beforehand. 

During the Move with Your Pet:

On moving day, it’s important to remember to keep your dog or cat safe, calm and contained. Thousands of pets run away during relocations each year and many never find their way home. You can minimize the chances of this happening to your beloved companion and make their move a lot more enjoyable if you keep these tips in mind.

  • Minimize anxiety with a toy. During busy packing activities keep your pets in their crates with a toy to keep them occupied.
  • Ask for help watching your pet. If you need to, have a friend or family member watch your pet to keep them away from the hustle and bustle of moving.
  • Build a safe space. Your pet may become scared when the moving boxes start to take over. Ensure they don’t run out the door by keeping them in a safe space where they can’t get lost or hurt.
  • Keep them tagged. Make sure your pet has proper identification and tags on during a move, in case they get out.
  • Medicate them if necessary. If your pet gets anxiety during the move, consider a veterinarian prescribed anti-anxiety medication or thunder shirt.
  • Feed them lightly. Feed your pet lightly the day-of the move, especially if they will be in the car for long periods of time.
  • Plan pit stops. If your dog will be spending a lot of time in the car, scout out dog parks or walking trails along the way so that they can stretch their legs (and do their business)!

Adjusting With Your Pet After the Move:

Once you’re all moved in, it’s important to make your dog or cat feel like they are home, too. There are several things you can do around your new place to ease any fears your pet may have about abandonment or unfamiliarity. You should send non-verbal signals that they are safe, loved and a permanent part of your new home.

  • Acquaint your dog with their new space. When you get to the new home, take your dog for a leashed walk inside and outside to let them get acquainted with the new smells while they’re feeling safe.
  • Introduce cats to one room at a time. When you get to your new home, introduce the new space to your cat slowly. Confine them to one room at first, then slowly introduce the rest of the house.
  • Make a house a home. Place your pet’s bowls, bed and leash in the same room in the new house as they were in the old house. This will help make the new spaces more familiar.
  • Stick around the house. Plan to be home with your pet the first few days after the move. At first, leave the house for short periods of time to see how they react. Then, when you need to be away from the house all day, your pet will feel more comfortable.
  • Reassure them with treats. Leave treats and familiar toys with your pet when you depart the house, at least for the first few weeks.
  • Get on their level (literally). Spend time on the floor with your pets. This will not only give them personal attention but will help your scent sink into the floor faster, making them feel more comfortable.
  • Watch for signs of trouble. Observe your pet’s behavior. If they show signs of stress like refusing to eat, coughing or they have diarrhea, you may need to take them to the vet.
  • Be consistent. Keep your daily routine as close as possible to the way it was before the move. Feeding, walks, playtime and cuddle time should all happen at a consistent time.

During the move, remember to be patient with your furry friends. Yes, there may be accidents due to stress or changing schedules. But the more you are able to monitor them and, if necessary, restrict their movements, the less chance this will happen.

Finally, be careful not to correct your pet excessively, as that could just stress them out more. Praise them when they are good and be sure to give them a little extra love and attention. It should take your pet around three weeks to adjust to their new home. As you become more relaxed and comfortable in your new environment, your pet will too!

Tips to help your pet adjust to a move

The Furniture Dolly: How To Move Heavy Furniture

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How do you move large pieces of furniture? It’s a question we hear all the time. It’s a daunting prospect, having to haul heavy, bulky items like dressers, bookcases and entertainment units from your house to your moving vehicle. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to do it safely.

The Furniture Dolly

At first glance, a furniture dolly is not very impressive. It’s just a rectangle on wheels. Barely six inches tall. No handles. No straps. Most likely made of wood and sporting a curious inability to roll straight when given a push.

But don’t let its modest appearance fool you. A furniture dolly can help you move just about anything you can put on it, making it your best back-saving friend when it comes time to move.

Is It Safe to Put Furniture on a Furniture Dolly?

You bet! A good quality furniture dolly can handle upwards of a thousand pounds – more than most people need, and certainly, more than most people can lift. (No matter how many friends they’ve gotten to come help.) Even a less-expensive dolly can handle a few hundred pounds. Just be sure to check the specs before you bring it home and put it to work.

Can a Furniture Dolly Move Tall Things Like Bookcases or Long Sofas?

The simplicity of a furniture dolly makes it versatile enough for items of just about every shape and size, and is great for hauling stacks of boxes too! Long chest of drawers? Tall china hutch? Bulky, heavy armoire? That little 4-wheeler (as many movers call it) can handle it all and then some, allowing you to move your stuff over long distances with minimal effort and strain.

How Much Is a Furniture Dolly?

Want one to own? A furniture dolly usually costs somewhere between $20-40, varying slightly depending on how many hundreds of pounds they can hold. (Usually starting around 800 pounds.)

Just need to rent one? If you’re renting a moving truck, often times rental truck companies offer furniture dollies for about $7.

Department stores like Home Depot tend to have them for around the same $7-10 mark. Or if you’re hiring movers, they usually provide tools such as furniture dollies free of charge that they themselves use to move your stuff.

Is a Furniture Dolly Easy to Use?

It’s totally safe and simple to utilize … but only if you know how to use it. Make sense? Cool! Here’s how to use a furniture dolly.

The Basics of How to Load 

Putting a piece of furniture on a furniture dolly is just that: putting it on. Carefully lift a piece of furniture up and place it to where the furniture dolly is located on the center-most flat surface of the furniture. 

But it’s more complicated than just that.

Sure, some items can sit on a dolly the same way they sit on the floor. As long as there’s a flat bottom surface that can support the weight of the item there’s no need to lower it onto its side or tip it onto its back or turn it completely on its head.

But other times, you’ll need to load the furniture a different way. Here are the most important things to know.

  • Map out your exit route to where you are loading it. This is a major mistake waiting to happen. If you aren’t going to be able to angle that long dresser into a hallway, there’s no sense in sitting it horizontally. Likewise, if your armoire just barely clears the top of the doorway, you probably won’t get it through on a dolly. 
  • Safely figure out which side of that piece of furniture you’ll put downside. This is what the pros follow: sit tall items like bookcases and armoires on their sides, and long items like dressers upside down. If it has legs or a hollow underside, it won’t rest properly sitting upright. Yes, you’ll have to turn it sideways or even upside down. And before you lay it on its back, understand that the back sides of many pieces of furniture are not fashioned to support a tremendous amount of weight, so use your best judgment.
  • Empty out armoires and bookcases before attempting to load them. A chest of drawers can be moved without being emptied, assuming there’s nothing inside except clothing. Emptying and taking out drawers will make it noticeably lighter and more manageable, so always weigh your options. (Ha.)
  • Secure any doors and drawers that might fall or slide open. This can easily be done with large mover’s rubber bands or lengths of string that tied tightly. Some people choose to wrap their furniture with pads before moving them and this will absolutely keep those doors and drawers closed, but keep in mind that while essential, furniture pads can make it more difficult to maintain a firm hold if you have to carry it up or down a flight of stairs!

How To Load Your Long Piece On End

This is probably the most precarious way to both load and transport a piece of furniture on a dolly because, well, physics.

But like I said, in narrow spaces and tight corners it sometimes is the only way. Here we’ll go through it in a two-person scenario because we don’t encourage loading a piece like this on your own.

 

  • Position your dolly on the floor close to (but not up against) the side of your dresser (or long piece). Tell your friend to attentively stand by.
  • Lift the side of your dresser opposite your furniture dolly until the side of your furniture facing down touches the dolly. (Make sure you clear the item from the wall and any other potential obstruction!)
  • Raise your dresser onto the dolly while your friend holds the dolly in place until it’s in a vertical position, keeping a firm hold to prevent tipping or rolling awry. Don’t be afraid to lower the dresser back down, taking its weight off the dolly to let your friend adjust the dolly’s position. You absolutely want to ensure the dresser ends up sitting balanced and square on the dolly. (You may have to try a few times.)
  • We recommend two sets of hands for rolling it across the floor and down the hall. The person in front steers and watches for obstacles while the person in the back pushes (gently). Both of you need to constantly be on guard to make sure the item doesn’t begin to tip ever so slightly.

Protip: If the top of your dresser has a lip or overhang that extends beyond the surface of the side resting on your dolly, allow that lip to hang over the edge of the dolly so that dresser sits flat and vertical.

Loading Your Tall Piece on Its Side

The basics here are the same as in loading it on end, although the geometry and the dynamics make it possible to handle this type of situation on your own. (Still, we believe four hands are always better than two.)

  • Position your dolly on the floor near the face-down side of the piece.
  • Working from the same side of the piece as your dolly, pull the top of the piece toward you. Lower it slowly, eyeing your dolly and nudging it into a place where your piece will be balanced once it is resting fully on the dolly.
  • Maintain control by keeping that dolly in place with your foot. This part gets trickier the taller your piece is, so take care to keep both your piece and yourself steady. As in the previous example, your dolly may begin to kick out as the weight of your piece comes down on it, so if at all possible, have someone lend you their hands.
  • Lay flat and push! Assuming your piece is sitting square and balanced on the dolly, pushing it across the floor should be a relative piece of cake. Just take care taking those corners since those top and bottom ends are now sticking way out in front and back of the dolly.

Protip: Your furniture has legs? When tipping heavy pieces of furniture with legs, be very aware of the weight of your object. The longer and slimmer the legs, the better chance they will snap under the weight. Whenever possible, grab a friend or two to help keep the weight off those legs as you lower the piece down onto your dolly.

Loading Your Sofa

This may be the easiest situation to handle or it may be a disaster in the making. It depends on what lies under your sofa’s skin.

  • If the backside of your couch has a solid surface beneath the upholstery, all you need to do is center your dolly behind your couch and tip your couch on its back and you are rolling!
  • If your sofa has a frame that leaves a lot of hollow area under the upholstery, you may have to work quite a bit harder to get your dolly in a place where it will support that sofa without tearing through anything.
  • Hollow? A piece of plywood or another flat source of support placed on top of your dolly can compensate for what your sofa lacks. A few flattened moving boxes may lend enough support for the job, as will a couple of two-by-fours that, when laid crossways on your dolly, will support your sofa from the top edge to the bottom.

Protip: This same strategy of using plywood, cardboard or a couple of pieces of scrap lumber to create a wide, flat surface is also useful when stacking boxes on your dolly! Or when moving odd-shaped items like exercise machines and pieces of art.

Things to Watch Out For

Once you’ve rolled that dresser or sofa safely out the door, down the driveway and up to the truck, you may think that all is well. But pushing that piece of furniture up the ramp and onto the back of the truck comes with its own hazards.

  • Keep one eye on the ceiling so you don’t destroy any overhead light fixtures or smoke alarms. Also be on the lookout for anything potentially high up on the walls, like smoke alarms or fuse boxes.
  • Unless your front door (or any door) swings 180 degrees, the edge is going to be sticking out, leaving a clearance of however wide your furniture is minus one-half inch.
  • Take care not to crush your knuckles against those door jambs! (It hurts, trust me.)
  • You also need to keep an eye on the floor. A throw rug, the uneven spaces between floor tiles, even something as small and unassuming as a Lego can stop your dolly … while whatever is sitting on top of it keeps moving forward.
  • Coaxing your furniture up a ramp is not wise or easy. Any item sitting low and long can stretch beyond what the angle between the driveway and the ramp will allow, scraping up the ramp while the wheels of the dolly are still on the ground. You might do well to turn your dolly ninety degrees so you can push that piece of furniture (carefully!) sideways up the ramp. (Make sure the side with the drawers and doors is facing upward!)

 

Protip: It should be obvious that furniture dollies are not at all useful anywhere there are stairs involved. It may be tempting to be creative, but believe me, 4-wheelers and staircases do not mix. Grab a friend, or a few, and carry that piece of furniture slowly and carefully.

Does This All Seem Like a Lot of Work?

I’ve been moving furniture for decades, and trust me, some people just shouldn’t be moving their own furniture. At the end of the day, it’s hard work, and professionals are professional for a reason. With that said, if you’re going to do it yourself, you need to make sure you do all the stuff above so you don’t hurt yourself (not to mention your valuables).

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Even if you only need to get movers to move your heaviest stuff, it may be totally worth it to just check to see who is around you and what they charge to help. It may be a lot more affordable than you think.

And don’t worry, they’ll bring the furniture dolly.


Illustrations by Marlowe Dobbe

(UPDATE) HireAHelper Offers to Train Conor McGregor How to Properly Use a Dolly

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Did you hear the one about Conor McGregor and the dolly? Yeah, a lot of people did.

Look, we’re no experts on how to use a dolly—well, ok, actually we are. And this is not how you use a dolly:

But we saw something in that clip that most others didn’t: potential. So with that in mind, we’ve come up with an offer to help rehabilitate Conor:

Hey Conor,

We couldn’t help but notice your dolly usage is a little rough around the edges. But we see potential in you. With a little training, you might fit right in inside our professional mover marketplace.

Since you may be on the lookout for a new job, we’d like to extend an opportunity for you to go through our Movers Academy to learn how to properly use a dolly, just like one of our thousands of highly trained movers.

www.movers.academy

We’ve helped hundreds of potential movers just like you go from amateur dolly-users to reliable pros. Maybe you’ll be the next one.

What do you say? We’ll even throw in free moving insurance, in case something breaks.

Sincerely,

HireAHelper

We hope to see you at the Movers Academy, Conor!

UPDATE (4/10/18):  

Fox affiliate covered this story in the following segment, showing the world is definitely ready for #ConorTheMover:


Image by: Andrius Petrucenia

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.

What States Are Saying About Those 2017 Migration Reports

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So maybe you read our massive migration report roundup we published last month. You can bet the states in those reports did too.

What do the states themselves make of all that inconsistent and sometimes flat-out contradictory information—especially the less than flattering states? Let’s see what our journalists and analysts across the country have to say about the numbers.

The Word From Inbound State Winners

Oregon

Oregon’s Register-Guard touts their home state as “among the nation’s top moving destinations”, though according to Atlas, they are merely in America’s top 16%. The Register backs up their United and Atlas references with a few figures from the US Census Bureau as they state that “Oregon added nearly 57,000 residents between July 2016 and July 2017, and more than 80 percent of that growth was from people moving in, rather than from births outpacing deaths.”

Forecasting a sustainability issue with these US Census findings is this report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis which tells us that “expectations are for population growth to taper in the short-term.”

In addition, we are told that “moving forward, Oregon’s population growth will increasingly rely on migrants.”

In other words, if Oregon wants to continue to grow they’ll need to reverse the tide carrying them toward balanced migration.

But some remain bullish on Oregon’s future. Portland’s KOIN News tells us that not only was Oregon the nation’s ninth-fastest growing state in 2017 but the housing crisis – putting the average Portland home in the $350,000 range and a two-bedroom apartment around $1,300 per month – may be starting to abate.

Apartment List says that after rising through August 2016, rents in Portland dropped the rest of the year and are now down 1.7 percent from last January, including a 1.0 percent drop last month,” goes the quote. “Abodo (another apartment finder) also says the rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland dropped 0.95 percent last month…Rents may continue to decline through 2018 because so many new apartments are coming online in Portland.”

This, naturally, is good news to those of us serving all the apartment-renting DIY movers out there.

Idaho

Meanwhile, In Idaho, Oregon’s neighbors to the east are taking a less constrained, less empirical view of the recent migration findings. Realtor Lynette Neibaur tells KMTV of Twin Falls, Idaho “I think people are just kind of realizing how cool Idaho can be.”

United’s stats, however, suggest otherwise as roughly one-third of Idaho’s inbound moves were based on employment, with the influence of family not far behind. Granted, Idaho may be trending as a cool place to live as close to half of the state’s inbounders gave retirement or lifestyle as a reason behind their relocation.

Alabama

Down in Alabama, the new mantra for economic development is not “follow the money” but, as Lawrence Specker of AL.com puts it, “follow the furniture”. After a six-year inbound stretch starting in 2003 Alabama fell into a balanced funk in 2009. This year they once again join the inbound ranks at #10, perhaps causing one to wonder if the Gem State may be getting their mojo back.

But all is not crimson as a rose down in Birmingham. “It’s only one data point,” says University of South Alabama associate sociology professor Doug Marshall. “United’s report blurs regional differences and omits some possibly relevant factors.”

Also significant are the age breakdowns of inbounders and outbounders. Alabama lost residents in the Under-35 bracket as well as the 45-54 age group. Their 55-and-overpopulation, meanwhile, is evidently on the rise. This could be taken as an indication that Alabama’s workforce is getting older as their retired population increases. 60% of inbounders gave employment as a factor in their move (but so did 75% of outbounders).

Then again, Professor Marshall points out that United’s numbers “are all about who’s moving, not who’s working.” Alabama’s goal “hasn’t been to attract new workers to the state, it’s been to provide jobs for people who are already here.”

So where is the bulk of Alabama’s workforce coming from? And is that workforce really getting older? Is Alabama really on the cusp of another six-year inbound stretch?

Only time will tell. For now, we’ll just let them bask in the glow of their inbound status. And their college football national championships.

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Nevada

The Las Vegas Review Journal starts out its report on United’s findings on a high note, reveling in the high number of people moving to Nevada to retire and an even higher percentage moving in for employment. But that news is tempered with the fact that an even higher percentage is leaving the state for employment. Before we get to deep into these particular numbers we turn to economist Michael Stoll, who appears in countless news articles on the subject of United’s numbers.

“The numbers are deceiving,” he says, claiming that the recent decrease in people moving to Nevada for work “translates to an increase in people moving into Nevada under 35” since that sector of the workforce is generally less able to afford a full-service moving company like United.

While Mr. Stoll might sound a bit overly-speculative, some numbers from the US Census Bureau back this up. Specifically, the median age of adults in southern Nevada has fallen from just over 40 in 2000 to just under 36 in 2016. Couple this with the fact that the apartment rental market has been trending toward higher rents and lower vacancy rates, and there’s reason to believe that there are plenty of younger professionals moving in without the help of the major van lines.

Arizona

Speaking on behalf of Arizona a year ago, the folks at AZCentral.com got all excited with their “Arizona Cracks Top Ten” article. “Arizona might be emerging as a hot destination for newcomers,” they begin, soon adding the fact that they didn’t make the top ten in 2015.

In their excitement, however, they missed the fact that North American had them ranked as the nation’s number two top inbound state, not only in 2016, but in 2015 as well.

This year they managed a 55% inbound rate on United’s survey, which matches Alabama’s numbers. United, however, put Alabama in their #10 slot, nudging Arizona back off the top ten list. This may be the reason we’ve had no luck finding any talk coming out of Arizona this year about their inbound-outbound migration.

They really should really take a look at the 2017 report by North American Van Lines—where they are ranked number one.

The Word From Outbound State Losers

Illinois

No matter which van line survey Illinois looks at, they find themselves the outbound “champion”.

FOX32 News in Chicago handled it by simply breezing over the story (And since they certainly won’t say it, we will: Illinois has been an outbound state every single year for United since 1979, the earliest year shown on United’s interactive map.)

The folks at Illinois Policy are less shy about confronting the situation, pointing out that their state fared worst on every major van line report out there before offering up a variety of sobering stats: Pennsylvania has moved ahead of Illinois in terms of overall population.

Since 2010, Illinois has lost the equivalent of their largest four cities after Chicago; in 2015 the state lost $4.75 billion in revenue from outbound migration, which further stresses the already heavy property tax burden shouldered by those still around.

With the very real prospect of more Illinoisans leaving the state to escape what are among the nation’s highest property taxes the situation seems like a downward spiral that will prove extremely challenging to reverse.

Indiana

Poor Indiana. Our economist friend Michael Stoll echoes that sentiment in this Indiana Public Media piece, suggesting “once a state becomes high outbound, it’s hard to reverse.” The same article features billboards in Indiana that essentially rip on Illinois’s high taxes (“Stillinnoyed?”) in an effort to lure people across the state line.

And yet, Indiana ranked as an outbound state on United’s study every year from 1993 to 2009. Since then, they’ve managed to rank as balanced, except in 2015, when a dozen states formed an “outbound yellow” line stretching from Massachusetts clear out to Kansas.

Indiana may have slowed (if not entirely halted) their outbound migratory trend – they were still 54% outbound in 2017 – but the outlook isn’t all Little House on the Prairie. “They’ll have to increasingly rethink their economic base,” says Stoll. “Indiana is a more diversified economy now but specialization might be something that Indiana will have to think about.”

On a side note, almost half of Indiana’s outbounders (48%) were from the Under-45 population while a little over half (51%) were over 55.

Unfortunately for Indiana, this graying-over may be about the only thing they have in common with Vermont.

Iowa

On the other side of Illinois, the folks in Iowa aren’t shy about expressing their utter confusion on the subject. “Are we coming or going?” asks the Des Moines Business Record. A fair question, perhaps, as Iowa in 2017 was 56% outbound according to Atlas, balanced (51% inbound) according to North American, balanced but precariously close to outbound (54%) according to United, and, taking U-Haul’s figures into account, the nation’s twelfth-ranked state for 2017 in terms of growth.

Maybe Iowa should go with the US Census Bureau’s stats. From 2016 to 2017 Iowa gained a grand total of 11,018 people. Which may mean they aren’t really going anywhere.

Ohio

East of Indiana, the folks at the Toledo (Ohio) Blade lumped their state’s #7 outbound ranking by United with the larger picture of the northeast and Midwest populations choosing to “leave cold, gray climates for warm, scenic places.” We’re not sure we can wholeheartedly with such a simple summation since 65% of outbound responders cited employment as a factor in relocating while less than 7% mentioned lifestyle.

But the Blade deserves kudos for looking at the in-state success story of Columbus – “among the fastest-growing cities in America” – and raising the issues that Toledo needs to address if they want to see similar growth and progress.

New York and New Jersey

In a similar spirit of facing their failings head-on, New York’s NBC News 4 pulls no self-directed punches, leaving #1 Illinois out with their headline “New Jersey, New York, Connecticut ‘Most Moved From’ States in America.” I’m sure New Jersey appreciates that.

“People are continuing to flee the tri-state area,” the article begins before tossing out various factors and percentages from United’s report (and a quote from Mr. Stoll) before finally, down at the bottom, mentioning that Illinois was the top migration loser.

New Jersey previously held the top spot for 5 consecutive years,” they add in a seeming effort to keep the attention, no matter how negative, on themselves.

Even the photo at the top of the article contains a measure of failure. (Note the bottom box on the mover’s hand truck.) And like Arizona, they fail to make themselves look any better by ignoring other van lines’ reports. According to North American, New York only ranks #8 on the outbound list. Similarly they are #7 according to Atlas, who doesn’t even have New Jersey or Connecticut in their top ten.

Then again, who would expect New York to bring up any report that makes New Jersey and Connecticut look better than them?

Connecticut

Connecticut, on the other hand, did use the Atlas findings to contrast their dismal standing with United. “Connecticut had only a small number of outbound households outnumbering inbound moves,” they report. Then they use some metropolitan area-related numbers from the US Census Bureau to point out that in the past year “southwestern Connecticut drew roughly twice as many new arrivals from New York as households headed in the opposite direction.”

Expect New York to comb through the US Census Bureau’s stats next year to find a way to jab back.

Connecticut could also take a page out of Iowa’s playbook and use U-Haul’s numbers to pretty up their picture. According to this piece on Cision, Connecticut comes in at #8 in terms of one-way U-Haul truck rentals throughout the US. Taking into account their rise from #42 in 2015 and #17 in 2016 Connecticut could almost claim they are on the inbound comeback trail.

And hey! Illinois! U-Haul said that you’ve been replaced by California as the biggest net loser! Better luck next year.

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. 

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