Let’s face it, one of the worst parts about buying a new house or condo is the actual move and seemingly everyone in Toronto has a moving horror story.
If you’re having the ‘hire-a-mover-vs-DIY-move’ debate, read on for my best advice:
Hiring a Toronto Mover
I’m a big fan of outsourcing, and while hiring professional movers isn’t especially cheap, the time saved can go a long way to helping you stay sane during a move. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a mover:
- Ask your friends, family (and of course your REALTOR) for referrals (you’ll likely find most of them will tell you who NOT to hire)
- Check Yelp and Homestars for independent reviews to help you find the best movers
- Check the Better Business Bureau to see if the mover you’re considering has had any complaints lodged against them
- Call references – don’t just take the testimonials on their website at face value
- Get detailed written quotes from at least 3 movers (including any travel time or gas costs) and remember that cheaper is not always better. You often do get what you pay for.
- Ask about insurance – what’s included AND what’s excluded, deductibles, etc.
- Read the fine print of any contract you sign (before signing)
- Ask about minimum charges (I learned this lesson the hard way years away when I moved literally across the street. Took them 45 minutes, charged me 4 hours. Ouch.)
- Find out if they provide packing materials/wardobes/etc – is there an extra charge for these items?
- Better yet, ask about packing services – this can save you time (and broken dishes)
- Make sure to ask about specific experience moving specialty items (pianos, antiques, a big screen TV, appliances)
The DIY Move
It will likely be cheaper to move yourself, but make sure you consider the real costs and time commitments involved:
- When renting a truck, make sure to factor in additional costs for kilometres driven, gas, insurance, deductibles, late return penalties, charges for additional drivers and peak day/time premiums
- Make sure the pickup/drop-off location is convenient (my brother in law had to recently drive over 40 km for a pick up, and yes, got dinged for the km’s)
- Find out as many details as you can about the truck you’ve rented – does it have a ramp? Does it come with a dolly and moving materials? Is it automatic or manual transmission?
- Invest in good packing materials: duct tape, bubble wrap, moving boxes (LCBO was a good option in university but it’s probably time to graduate to real boxes)
- A wardrobe box is likely worth the rental cost – not having to cram your clothes in boxes/bags can save you unpacking (and ironing) time
- If you haven’t used up your “can-you-help-me-move” allotment and still have friends who are up to the task, remember that beer and pizza go a long way to saying thank you.
- A detailed plan and timeline (with time built in for contingencies) will be your best friend. While you don’t need to go to the extent of my dad’s multi-tabbed Excel spreadsheets and moving truck schematics, a good plan will save you a lot of grief in the long run.