Think of the following scenarios:
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you and your best mate could simply load up all your items in your neighbour’s van and up and away with the big move?
- What about fitting your entire room into the back seat of your dad’s car?
Well, as nice as it sounds, this doesn’t happen in real life 9 out of 10 times. In fact, almost always you’ll need to get some help moving into your new place. In this post, I will explain why calling a local removalist is the most financially sound thing to do.
The temptation to call… anyone…
I know things get real hectic as you get ready to move. Finding a new place let alone is a task and a half when you have to juggle other commitments such as work, school, family and kids. Not mentioning the idea of moving with kids. The easiest way out is to “go with the franchise, whose name you remember from the radio / TV jingles” or to go with a recommendation from your colleagues/friends/family.
However tempted you are to just call up any removalist (usually the first one that comes to your mind or first one under your google search), do consider their geographical location first! Ask yourself “are they local?” and do some research before making that first phone call. This research could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Also, choosing a company that’s based close to your home or office may reduce the risk of movers being late due to traffic hazards.
But aren’t all movers the same?
Yes, and No. Most reputable movers nowadays provide excellent services. Hourly rates deviate at best 15-20% due to a moderate to high level of competition. So it would appear on paper that most movers offer the same service at a similar rate.
Fundamental factors determining the mover cost
There are four fundamental factors which impact the cost of a move.
- Estimated work hours
- Hourly rate
- Travel time from depot
- Fuel charge
1. Estimated work hours
Most experienced and reputable movers will give you roughly the same estimate. There may be some deviations, due to the number of workers, the size of the van and workflow. However, the difference will not be more than an hour in almost all cases. So long as you’ve hired reputable movers, estimated work hours will have little to do with saving you $$$ for your next move, as it will be rather consistent with very little deviation.
2. Hourly rate
Hourly rate is significant as it’s the multiplier for your moving cost. However unless you live in a remote area, there will be a moderate to a high level of competition, and the hourly rate will vary at most about 15%. Again the deviation is very little with hourly rate, thanks to stiff competition. Hourly rate won’t be the major determinant for saving $$$ for you next move.
3. Travel time from depot
Surprisingly, travel time from the depot will most often be one of the biggest deciding elements of the final amount on the bill. As the staff need to be paid for their time and the fuel consumption must be covered while movers make their way to pick up point. Thus, local removalist will get to you sooner.
4. Fuel surcharge
Fuel surcharge is surcharged billed based on the travel time and distance from the depot to the pick up point. Unlike the first two elements, estimated work hours and the hourly rate, fuel surcharge is something that a well-informed customer can have control over significantly to save moving cost.
As you may have noticed, the most important factor to consider then is the Geographical factor.
While your colleagues, family or friends might have had a very good experience with their last move and they may have even been absolutely happy with the amount they’ve paid for their last move, it’s not that relevant to your moving job unless they are very close to you and hired local removalists, too. You’ll often hear “these guys had the best quote and they fulfilled it.”
It is most likely that your colleagues, family and/or friends are telling the truth. However just because their moving cost was minimal, it doesn’t actually guarantee that your moving cost will also be minimal. This is unless you are moving to and from the same house as the colleague, family or friend, giving you the advice. Remember your colleague, family, and friends did not live at your current address and did not move into your new address. Their experience is valid, but consider the geography of your address, your new address and the mover’s depot before making rash decisions.
You have power over how much fuel surcharge you play
The closer a mover is to the pickup address, the less surcharge you’ll be paying. You can make an informed decision by always doing your research to find your local movers. Make a shortlist of local movers and start from there… You as an individual won’t have the bargaining power to reduce the hourly rate or somehow reduce estimated hours, but you can reduce the fuel surcharge, or even eliminate fuel surcharge altogether by picking a local mover. That means, if you call up the first movers only because you remember their name from a TV jingle, you may be paying an excessive fuel charge.
Fuel surcharge rate often differs from one mover to another, so it’s always a good idea to ask for the conditions and rates. Of course, never forget to pair this up with the quote and the hourly rate given to work out an overall cost!
Beware of excessive surcharge
I’ve talked about surcharges regarding travel time from the depot. I must also warn you that there are some businesses, which charge an hourly rate for travelling instead of a fuel surcharge. Yes, you will be paying them an hourly rate equal to / or close to your agreed (or advertised) hourly rate. So it could be possible for you to have been charged $60-120, simply showing up at your pick up address.
If you ask questions in advance, you can prevent such a shock. It is within your right to ask as many questions. Exercise your rights.
Location, Location, Location
In order to minimise your moving cost, always find a shortlist of local movers, find out their hourly rate and compare the fuel surcharge. This should give you a more realistic cost of moving. Some local removalists are happy to travel long hours to your pick up address to rack up a huge surcharge or a CALL OUT FEE. Hiring local removalists minimises your risks of racking up a shocking bill.
Not all removalists are trying to pull a fast one on you. Your removalists hire staff and cover the cost of the trucks and consumables such as fuel. If the movers have to travel a longer time over a long distance, the business has no choice but to pass on some of the “cost of showing up to job site” to the customers.
Hidden costs – Always ask questions
Don’t assume that a local business will always be cheaper. Ask your local removalist as many questions as you can. For example:
- “What is the hourly rate?”
- “Is there a fuel surcharge?”
- “Are there any other fees involved?”
The more questions you ask, the more prepared you are, in order to make financial decisions. You local mover should explain and tell you about all fees involved. If your mover avoids or dodges your questions, or repeatedly gives you a vague answer, perhaps you should consider looking for another mover.
What about the quotes?
Quotes are just that, quotes, an estimation. While it is not a guarantee, most reputable movers will supply you with similar quotes. In most cases, quotes between different reputable movers will only vary up to about an hour. If a certain local removalist gives you estimated hours that are outrageously lower than other businesses to a point where it’s too good to be true, perhaps it’s best to rule them out, or do a further background check on them to see if they’re a reputable business.
Why not do it yourself? Or “the boys down the street”
If you are only moving small goods and items, you may not have the need to call a local removalist. However, the chances are you’ve got furniture, and they need to come with you. You might be tempted to call up a “cheap unlicensed movers.” but really, who will pay for the broken fridge or the TV when there is an accident?
It’s always a smart idea for experienced professionals with full insurance to handle your valuable possessions. You wouldn’t let a mechanic operate on your body. Why risk your possessions in the hands of uninsured unregistered movers? The risk is simply too big. If you still want to help (and save some money), read our tips on how to save money on the moving day.
At the end of the day, it’s all about minimising moving costs by hiring a local moving company. Don’t pay for unnecessary fuel charges if you don’t have to. Your research will be worth every minute as you can save some serious $$$ by choosing the right local removalists. Remember, you can’t bargain the hourly rates, or impact the estimated hours, but you can always have control over fuel charges by making more informed decisions – choosing a local mover.
We at Easy Peasy Removals are considered ‘local’ in and around Melbourne CBD and Melbourne Bayside. We have four depots – St Kilda Rd, Melbourne; Park St, St Kilda; Draper St, Ormond and Abbott St, Sandringham. Thanks to these locations, you’ll be able to minimise the travel time from depot and fuel surcharge if you live closeby. Our friendly team will be happy to discuss your moving job with you if you are looking for local Bayside removalist. Give us a ring on 0431 747 411 or send us a message.