Plan a (Relatively) Stressless House Move

You pack and load; they drive. Several nationwide companies, such as ABF U-Pack Moving and Broadway Express, offer what they call self-move service. ABF U-Pack will move you only if you’re going out of state and more than 500 miles. Broadway Express will move you any distance, but shorter moves are relatively expensive because certain minimum charges apply. Both services deliver a trailer or a van to your house, where you load it. They then provide a professional driver, who takes your things to your new home, where you unload them.
This option saves you the hassle of driving a truck, and it is less expensive than using a full-service mover. You share the space on the truck with other customers (if you don’t need it all) and pay for only the space you use. Both companies have calculators on their websites to estimate the costs (see Web Resources on next page). You can get an initial quote by phone, fax, or e-mail, but be aware that actual charges will be higher if you exceed your estimated load.
Hiring a full-service mover. If you can’t afford to spend a lot of time getting from here to there, you’re moving a long distance, or you have a lot of stuff, this is your best bet. Good professional movers have the experience and equipment to move you quickly while avoiding damage to your property. “The first thing we do is protect the property by putting down floor runners, covering railings and doors, and putting down floorboard if we’re moving heavy appliances,” explains Jon Hollander, an owner of Hollander Storage & Moving Company, based outside of Chicago. Many movers will even pack everything for you ― a convenience that can be worth the additional cost (20 to 30 percent of the price of your move), especially if you have limited time.
There are bad moving companies. Of the more than 1,100 industries that the Better Business Bureau keeps tabs on, the moving industry ranked 14th in consumer complaints in 2003. So be sure to carefully check out anyone you’re considering.