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Evaluate Your Costs for ‘Self Haul’ Movers

Professional movers provide a valuable service by moving thousands of people to new homes each year. While almost no move is ever completely stress-free, when you use a professional mover, all of the ‘heavy lifting’ will be done for you. Movers will pack your possessions, load them into the truck, drive the truck to your destination and unload and unpack your shipment at your new home. Movers can also provide you with warehouse storage, move your piano up and down flights of stairs, transport your automobile, and service your appliances to insure their safe transportation.

If you are considering moving yourself, especially if you will be moving interstate, you should ask a lot of questions and compute the actual costs of self-moving before you sign an agreement with a truck rental company. The information in this part of the Consumer Guide will help you to calculate self-move costs and give you a basis of comparison when evaluating the price and value of professional moving.

Rental Charge. For an interstate move, you will need to provide the origin and destination cities and the date you plan to move to the truck rental company. Depending on equipment availability in certain locations, prices may vary. Peak season runs from the end of May until the end of September, so truck rental rates may be higher during that time of year. Additionally, most people move at the beginning of a month or the end of the month or over weekends, so prices may be even higher during these times. The rental charge you are quoted includes a rental deposit that may be refunded depending on the condition of the vehicle upon its return, and a certain number of free miles (approximately 10% greater than the estimated actual mileage). The rental charge does not include state taxes or other equipment you may need to complete your move, such as cartons, boxes, pads and dollies. Many rental companies now rent the vehicle for a block of days, rather than per day. This block of days includes pickup and drop off day, plus driving days, so for longer distance moves, you may want to purchase additional days to allow for extra loading, unloading time or driving time.

Make sure you rent the right size truck! Remember, efficiently loading a truck is an art, not a science. After a long, hard day of loading all of your worldly possessions into the back of a rental truck, the last thing you need to discover is that you have run out of space but not out of furniture. The average 26′ truck professionally loaded may hold as much as 10,000 pounds, but for a novice loader, this weight will be significantly lower. Keep in mind that an average room of furniture will be between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds. Many rental companies will lease trucks stating their cubic footage, in those terms an average room of furniture will have between 200 and 300 cubic feet of furniture.

Automobiles. How many cars do you have? Are you going to drive or tow the vehicle(s)? Are the vehicle(s) able to be towed? Many of the large SUVs, trucks or specialty cars cannot be towed. A trailer package from a rental company can cost an additional $150. If the vehicle does not have a tow hitch, either bar or ball, you will need to purchase one and have it installed. This cost will begin around $100 and go up depending on the class hitch being installed. If you are driving your own vehicle, you’ll need to factor in wear and tear on your vehicle (43.5