“Moving is easy — packing and loading, that’s the easy part. It’s everything else that’s the hassle,” said a good friend of mine, Lakelan Fennel of Nilson Van and Storage in South Carolina.
He’s so right. It’s everything else — the planning, the coordination, the booking, the buying, the time. It takes so much time to prep and manage a move — like you have nothing better to do.
Because it is so complicated, and moving season is now officially upon us (Happy National Moving Month, by the way!), here are my top nine tips that you should share with clients to make their move a bit more seamless:
1. Don’t always choose the cheapest quote
It can mean the cheapest service as well (not always, but it can). Cheap moving companies will often cost clients more in the long run.
Bonus: How many quotes should clients get from a moving company? Three. And let the movers come to their home — it’s free; the estimate will be more accurate, and a good rep will give clients great tips and advice.
2. Take advantage of move-in off days
Weekends are prime time for moving companies as most of us don’t work on the weekends, so it’s a more convenient time to move. However, if your client can spare a mid-weekday to move, they should. They’ll save money.
You can also save money by not moving on a day when leases start or end — try to avoid the 1, 15, 30 and 31 of any month. And of course, if they can avoid moving during the summer altogether, they should do that.
3. Pack without emotion
Rachael Fischer Lyons of Olympia Moving and Storage said, “Packing is actually really quick if you don’t have sentimental attachment to the items. Three professional packers can pack an entire three-bedroom house in less than eight hours.
“It’s when you start to read your high school diary or take hours to decide which clothes belong in the ‘donate’ pile, that ends up taking weeks and months to pack.”
4. Have the new place cleaned right before the clients move in
This is a great closing gift idea and just something the client should do in general. Moving into a new home that is sparkling clean alleviates the stress of cleaning everything while the boxes are just sitting there, waiting to be unpacked. This is how stress builds, but it’s easily avoidable.
5. Don’t let food go to waste
For two to three weeks leading up to the move, remind your clients to plan their meals around whatever frozen food, perishable items or half-open containers they have that will get tossed during the move.
You can also get involved with Move for Hunger, on behalf of your clients and help them donate their nonperishable food items before the move.
6. Measure twice, move once
If a piece of furniture won’t fit in the new home, encourage your clients to toss it, sell it or donate it. There’s no point in paying to move it, so measure twice, and move it once! Words to live by in the moving industry.
7. Don’t spend a fortune on boxes
There are a ton of options to save money on boxes or get them for free. Clients can:
- Buy them new from their moving company.
- Accept them from you as part of a very useful and functional closing gift.
- Check Craigslist in the “For sale” section, or post it under the “Wanted” section.
- Look at the office — office buildings handle large boxes on a daily basis.
- Swing by fast food restaurants — most of their food comes frozen, so they’ll give away boxes, and they won’t smell like burgers.
- Go to the grocery store — head straight to the fruits and vegetables section because shipments arrive every day and boxes are simply recycled.
- Head to the liquor store — this is my personal favorite. Many liquor boxes often come with lids and handles to protect valuables. But, beer boxes are the best. Those 36-pack boxes with the cutout handles on the side are gold.
8. Pack smart
If clients end up packing themselves, there are a ton of incredibly helpful hacks out there that you can share. Here’s my top 50 list.
9. Make sure you know if your city requires a moving permit
Of the cities that do, most require clients to secure the permit ahead of time, so know in advance.
A few major metros that require permits include San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Seattle, in addition to smaller towns and districts across the country.
We already know that moving is one of the most overlooked, but stressful, activities in life. So, as a real estate agent who touches this process every day, with nearly every client, why not make it easier?
Celebrate National Moving Month by extending your client experience to the moving process and impressing clients throughout that stressful time.