How to Negotiate with Your Moving Company

Haggling is a great way to reduce costs when moving into your new home. With something as pricey as a move, it’s tempting to try negotiating the price with your moving company. 

Not to dash your hopes, but negotiating a lower price with a moving company is unlikely. Customers don’t have a lot of bargaining power here, so negotiation strategies are a little tricky. In most cases, moving negotiations involve removing services to reduce the price of your move.

The best method for negotiating with your moving company is to get moving quotes from at least three reputable companies. Each estimate should include the same list of items you’re moving and any special services like packing.

Then, pick your favorite company and ask them to beat the best price. Simple! …Right?

Price matching is a great way to negotiate, but there are other ways you can get a lower estimate. Getting the best price is a matter of understanding moving companies’ pricing models, timing, and flexibility. Consulting a moving cost calculator is also a smart way to optimize moving expenses.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get the best price from your moving company and lower your overall moving costs. 

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How to negotiate with movers

Once you’ve found reputable movers in your area, it’s time to learn how to negotiate with the best moving companies you picked. Most moving companies aren’t able to haggle, but you can use these clever tips to negotiate the price of your move. 

Company Quote Rating Price
U-Pack U-Pack Logo Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
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PODS PODS Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
1-800-Pack-Rat Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign

Ask for discounts or promotions

One of the easiest ways to negotiate with a moving company is to ask for a moving discount. See if you qualify for discounts like:

  • Military and veterans
  • Teachers
  • College students
  • Seniors
  • Union members 
  • First-time movers
  • Membership discounts (like AARP or AAA)

Companies offer specials and discounts at different times of the year, and they might give you one if you’re upfront about it. There’s no need to be shy.

Even if you don’t qualify for certain discounts, they may make an exception if you ask. After all, a discount for you may mean a new customer for them. 

Get at least three estimates

Be sure to get written estimates from at least three companies. This will give you a much better idea of fair pricing for your move, provided you give each company the same information on:

  • Pickup and delivery address
  • Timeline 
  • Items to move, including specialty items or add-ons like auto shipping

The thing is, not all moving companies include the same line items in their estimates. For a true apples-to-apples comparison, ask which services they include in the estimate.

Compare each company’s prices, but don’t settle for one based purely on price. If one company offers you a price that’s too good to be true, be wary. They could be hiding extra fees and services from you, or, even worse, they could be one of many common moving scams.

Consider necessary moving services

What happens if the moving quotes you get are higher than your moving budget? In that case, it’s time to rethink which services you’re buying

It’s just like putting a few items back on the shelf at the grocery store to minimize your total. Do you really need three chocolate bars, or will one do?

To start, examine the extra services you can do without. For example, it’s nice hiring the pros to handle the packing for you, but that costs a pretty penny — especially if they charge you for materials. 

You can buy bubble wrap and other moving supplies yourself. Consider enlisting friends and family members for packing and assembling or disassembling furniture.

If you can remove a few line items from the invoice, ask the moving companies to issue updated estimates. Check out the new pricing to see if it’s a better fit for your budget.

Rethink moving insurance coverage

It’s very common for moving companies to look cheaper because they’re only offering the most basic level of moving insurance — also called liability coverage — in their quote. Many professional movers will include different levels of coverage in their quotes, which makes it tricky to compare quotes accurately.

The higher the level of coverage, the higher the overall quote will be. Be sure to compare insurance levels. The bare minimum, as required by federal law, is $0.60 per pound per item. This means if a 40-pound, $1,000 flat-screen TV falls and breaks, you’ll only get $24 in compensation (40 pounds x $0.60). 

On the other hand, if your valuation is set at $4 per pound, you’ll get $160. That’s a big difference! 

While the $4-per-pound coverage will cover more of the broken TV, this better coverage comes at a premium. If you’re okay with chancing it, you can save money by sticking with the bare minimum coverage and crossing your fingers that there won’t be substantial damage.

Be flexible with scheduling

Here’s an underrated but easy way to get a deal on your move: don’t move during peak moving season. Summer and weekends are the busiest times for moving. Since demand is higher, so is pricing. 

If you’re flexible with your schedule, your moving company can offer you a good price for a different day. They might even offer discounts if you move early or late in the morning.

Company Quote Rating Price
Safeway Moving
Get A Quote
starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
American Van Lines
American Van Lines
Get A Quote
starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
Mayzlin Relocation
Mayzlin Relocation
Get A Quote
starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign

Mention the competition

If you’re learning how to negotiate with your moving company, mention their competition. Moving is a cutthroat industry, and most movers are willing to give you a competitive price if you present a lower quote from another company.

Once you’ve researched and received different estimates, you probably already know which company is your first choice. But maybe they didn’t give you the best price. You can negotiate with the company by sharing the lowest estimate you received.

Ask them if they can match or beat that price. If it means winning you over as a customer, they just might give you a discount. 

If they don’t, they’ll likely explain why their prices are higher than the competition. These price discrepancies could be anything from offering specialty services, experienced workers, or faster delivery times.

Pack light

Before you move, go through all your belongings and declutter and downsize. Not only does this simplify your life, but it also reduces moving costs because you’re transporting less stuff. If you choose an in-home estimate, they’ll see that you have fewer belongings to move. It’ll be easy work for them, so they’ll be more willing to work with you for a reasonable price.

Try again if needed

If your negotiation skills don’t work the first time, don’t worry. Give it a day or two, and then try again.

The representative you spoke with before might have a change of heart. You also might  speak with a different representative who’s more inclined to offer you a deal.

What should you ask a moving company before hiring them?

You don’t want just anyone handling your move, right? While pricing is important, quality, trust, and professionalism matter, too. You have the right to be choosy, so ask your movers these questions before hiring them. 

How much will my move cost? 

Movers should be able to give you a ballpark estimate for your move. You aren’t asking for a solid number here, but a general idea of the mover’s pricing to see if they’re a fit for your budget. After all, if you have a $1,000 budget and their average move costs $2,500, it probably won’t work out.

Be sure to ask the mover about add-ons, hidden fees (and how to avoid them), deposits, and payment methods, too. 

What services are included in the estimate?

Most movers offer these services as part of full-service moving:

  • Transportation
  • Packing
  • Loading
  • Unloading
  • Unpacking

Every mover is different, though, so it’s a good idea to ask which services are included and not included in your estimate. For example, some full-service movers include packing materials, while others charge separately. 

Other common add-ons include:

  • Relocation services
  • Packing and unpacking 
  • Vehicle transportation

Do I need to pay for my own packing supplies?

Some movers include packing supplies in their pricing, while others require you to bring your own — or pay for them to supply the materials. You’ll generally get a better deal if you look for cheap moving boxes and other packing materials on your own, but if you’re paying for the movers to handle packing for you, it’s better to let them use their own professional-grade materials. 

Are there any potential additional fees that may apply?

Some estimates don’t tell the whole story. For example, some movers charge for making extra stops, processing credit cards, or going up extra flights of stairs. Ask your movers how to avoid these fees to keep your move as affordable as possible. 

Do you offer any discounts?

Hey, it never hurts to ask. Not all movers display their current specials or deals on the website, so it’s best to chat with a rep on the phone to see what discounts are available. Some offer discounts for first-time customers or snowbirds, so you’d be surprised what’s available. The worst thing they can say is no!

Our take

To be honest, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to haggle a significantly lower quote from a moving company. You usually need to give something up to reduce the price of your move. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but just know that going into the negotiation process, you’ll likely have to give something up. 

Full-service moves are a luxury — they don’t come cheap. At the same time, avoid looking for the company with the cheapest quote. Do your homework so you don’t get ripped off, but be realistic about how much a full-service move can cost

If you’ve crunched the numbers and a full-service move isn’t in the cards, consider other moving options.

Other moving options

No matter how you slice it, full-service moves can get expensive. Try these budget-friendly alternatives to protect your wallet:

  • Moving containers: Moving containers are a step down from a full-service mover because you handle the labor, but they manage transportation and storage for you. It’s pricier than a rental truck, but if you like moving without the hassle of transporting everything yourself, this is a solid option.
  • Rental trucks: They require more heavy lifting (literally), but rental trucks are one of the cheapest ways to DIY a move. You’re in charge of packing, loading, driving, and unpacking, but you’ll only pay a fraction of the cost of hiring movers. The key is to rent a truck from the best moving truck rental companies to balance quality with savings. 
  • Hybrid move: Some folks opt for a hybrid move that combines the best parts of hiring moving labor, containers, and trucks. Maybe it’s cheaper for you to rent a moving container or truck and hire labor-only movers like HireAHelper to handle the loading and unloading for you. Crunch the numbers to see which option works best.

FAQs about negotiating with a moving company

Is it easier to negotiate with a local mover or a national moving company?

Local movers are usually more flexible with their pricing. They don’t answer to anyone else, so they’re free to charge whatever they think is reasonable. On the flip side, national moving companies might have more standardized pricing, but they can give special offers that local movers can’t. When in doubt, get quotes from multiple movers to see who offers the best deal. 

What makes a move “long-distance?”

Long-distance moves are moves of 100 miles or more. But different moving companies have their own definitions, so check with your mover. 

What is a reasonable amount to pay for moving?

It depends. The distance of the move, the amount of stuff you’re moving, and the level of service affect the final cost. For example, paying for a long-distance truck rental might only cost you $300, while hiring a full-service moving company for the same move might cost you $1,200 or more because of the higher degree of service. 

If you aren’t sure what a fair amount is for your move, gather at least three quotes. This will give you more context on accurate pricing for your move. 

What day is the cheapest to hire movers?

Moving Monday through Thursday is usually cheaper than Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Moving during the middle of the month and late fall or winter is often cheaper, too. 

How can I reduce my moving expenses?

You can reduce your moving expenses by:

  • Decluttering 
  • Comparing at least three estimates and choosing the fairest option
  • Packing yourself and finding your own packing materials
  • Being flexible with your moving dates
  • Moving during off-peak periods

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