How to Find a Moving Company on a Budget

Find a Moving Company to Match Your Budget

Finding a moving company in Chicago isn't as easy as you might imagine. Sure, when it’s time for you to move apartments you can just watch the streets because every moving company uses their vans and trucks as rolling billboards. But if you see a truck from a particular moving company parked on the street of your desired neighborhood, would you count that as an endorsement of their services? And how do you know that a moving company can move you out of your apartment on a budget?

Tips for Finding A Chicago Moving Company on a Budget

Here are a few tips for apartment renters who are looking for affordable moving companies in Chicago:

  • Be organized ahead of time with an itemized list of everything you need to move out of your apartment. You'll have to submit an inventory or fill out a questionnaire for 90% of the moving companies in Chicago, so having it all written down ahead of time will save you from repeating this step each time you get an estimate.
  • Get multiple moving estimates. If you're looking for affordable moving companies in Chicago, or any city for that matter, you have to shop around to find the best price. Take advantage of online quote aggregators to save time with MoveMatcher. This is one site that will crunch the numbers for you in one convenient stop. You plug in the basic information about your move, get quotes from local moving companies to compare, and then reach out to them at your convenience. Pretty simple, actually.
  • Can you move any of your stuff by yourself? OK, obviously the entire point of hiring the moving company is to avoid doing it all yourself. But if you can move some miscellaneous items that aren't too bulky ahead of time, you can save time on the moving process. And...
  • Remember: time is money. If you choose an especially busy day to move, like a Saturday at the beginning of the month, then you'll end up burning a lot of time. The truck may hit some traffic, parking could be a nightmare, etc. Pick an off day to move, like a Sunday or Monday (if you can swing it, a mid-week move is a great way to get a lower price on moving) and you won't waste time or money on your move.

Get Multiple Quotes to Compare Moving Companies in Chicago

Getting quotes from moving companies in Chicago used to follow a tedious process for most apartment renters who are getting ready to move: read some reviews online, submit itemized moving inventories, then wait for estimates to come back.

If you're moving on a budget, it's helpful to know that many moving companies will overestimate the total cost of the move. This makes sense, because who wants to look at a quote from the moving company only to end up with a bill that's higher at the end of the move? That would result in a lot of disgruntled customers and spell out bad reviews for the moving companies.

It’s not uncommon for apartment renters looking for budget moving options to get a bit of sticker shock after seeing the estimated costs. If you’ve seen a few trucks near affordable apartments then your brain might tell you, "well, these apartments are pretty affordable so that person probably didn't pay a fortune to move, did they?" Turns out, you can sink a lot of money on movers! Especially if you're not inclined to search around for a deal.

Save Money While Moving In/Out of Your Chicago Apartment

Beyond finding a budget moving company, there are a few more things that you can do to keep costs down while you move out of your apartment.  

The most useful thing? Be prepared. Get everything packed, wrapped and generally organized before movers arrive at your old apartment. If you arrange your stuff near exits to make it easier for the moving company as they load up their truck, then it will save time as you move out of your old apartment. Also, it helps to know exactly where everything’s going to go in your new place. Label all boxes with the room they belong in.

If you live in an elevator building, check with the building staff about reserving freight elevators for your move. Do this on both ends: moving out of your old apartment and the new apartment. You don’t want to burn cash as you wait for elevators or show up with all your stuff and then have no way of getting it to your new apartment.

Do you shop online? Save big boxes and packing materials from all your online shopping. If you supply your own boxes, you can avoid an unnecessary moving expense. You can also swing by local restaurants and businesses and ask if they have any large boxes they’re going to throw out. Turn that trash into cash! Well, turn it into savings at the very least.

Pack delicate and expensive items separately. If you ask the moving company to take fragile stuff on the truck, then you’re taking a chance. Licensed moving companies are required to have a basic replacement policy for items that get damaged because of the move. 

But keep in mind that these policies allow you to recoup a fraction of the value for the damaged items because they calculate a replacement cost based on the item’s weight. A flat screen TV or laptop might not weigh a lot, but chances are it costs more than a heavy item such as a bookcase or table. It could cost you more money down the road to replace items that were broken or damaged during the move, so if you don’t want to take that chance then it’s best to pack fragile or precious items and move them separately. 

What to do if you can’t transport delicate or precious items yourself? You can add coverage for your property if you can’t take it yourself, and most licensed moving companies will have additional coverage or damage protection as a line item on their moving agreement. You’ll need to decide whether or not that’s necessary before you move. If you have renters insurance, make sure you read your policy to see if damage from a moving company is a covered peril.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash