Moving to an apartment, house, or office in Los Angeles isn’t like moving in most other cities in the U.S. Everywhere in the country, movers ask four key questions to estimate the cost of your move. A Los Angeles moving company will ask these same four questions, but three take on added importance unique to L.A.
Before getting an estimate, however, remember: Price is critical, but it shouldn’t be your only factor in picking a mover. Make sure you also select a moving company that is licensed, bonded, and insured–never make a move with a company that isn’t. And ask for references–a reputable, experienced Los Angeles moving company should have numerous references from local, satisfied customers. Experience is key. If they’re new to the area, they don’t understand just how big a mega-city Los Angeles Is (more than 500 square miles), its unique traffic patterns…and how moving in different areas of the city at different times of the year and different times of the day can dramatically affect how long the move will take.
To start, get a free preliminary estimate online. This will help you determine which moving companies are in your ballpark budget. Most likely, to get a detailed estimate, the mover will need to meet with you to get a better sense of just how big your move will be. When getting an estimate, be sure to show the mover every room to be moved–including your garage, attic (if you use it for storage), and basement (uncommon, but not unheard of, in Los Angeles). Then once you get the estimate, confirm that it is binding (one fixed, final price, without the possibility of additional charges to come).
Here are the 4 questions every good Los Angeles mover asks:
1. Where in Los Angeles are you moving?
The distance of your move affects how much time it will take and how much gas the truck will use. Are you moving to a new apartment a couple blocks away in Hollywood? That takes less time and gas–and therefore costs less–than moving from Pasadena to Irvine. Are you moving to the beach? PCH–Pacific Coast Highway–is one of the toughest (and slowest) drives a Los Angeles mover can make. Moving in the Hollywood Hills or the Canyons? Those roads are steep, narrow, and slow going. That adds time. And that adds to your estimate.
2. How much stuff are you moving?
Movers base their prices on the number of rooms being moved and the amount and weight of the belongings in each room. On average, two adults in a two-bedroom house or apartment have more than 7,000 pounds-that’s three and a half tons!-of belongings.
A typical two-bedroom house or apartment takes about 40 “man”-hours to pack and about half that much time to unpack. This is an area where you can save money by doing these tasks yourself. But that still leaves loading a truck, driving it to your new destination, then unloading it. Costs for these services are based on the number of movers and the estimated number of hours it will take them. Generally, assume labor costs to be at least $25 per person per hour in Los Angeles, usually with a half-day minimum. Add to that a tip for each mover ($25 per person per day is the norm).
Here again, Los Angeles poses unique challenges. A mover experienced with the area knows there’s no way they can get a full-sized moving truck up those narrow, switch-back roads in the Hills or Canyons. That means they may have to use a smaller truck. Depending on how much stuff you’re moving, the movers may even need two or more trucks.
3. When is your move?
The date and day of the week of your move are very important factors. About half of all moves take place in summer–when kids are out of school and families have vacation time. Summer months are the busiest for movers; rates may be lower at other times of the year. The beginning and end of the month are also busiest for movers. New leases often start on the first of the month, so people want to get out of their old location and into their new one as soon as possible. Moving in the middle of the month can be more cost-effective. Moving in the middle of the week also can help save money. Weekends are the busiest for movers-when people are off work and anxious to move before Monday. Those facts hold true for every city in America, including Los Angeles. 606 angel number
But in L.A., the time of day of your move matters more than in most places. Movers who know the city know to avoid both the freeways and major surface streets during rush hour–between 7 AM and 9 AM and between 4 PM and 6 PM. Now, L.A. even has what they call the “Noon rush hour” from 12 to 1, when people are rushing to lunch or do errands before returning to work. An experienced Los Angeles moving company also knows that if you’re moving to or from the beach on Saturday or Sunday and the forecast is for good weather, there will be “beach rush hours” as people from all over the metropolitan area drive to the beach in the mid- to late morning, then back from the beach at sunset. And if rain is ever in the forecast (which is too rare in drought-ridden Los Angeles), double the time you plan to be on the road. Traffic is notoriously slow–and accident rates soar–when L.A. drivers confront the unfamiliar challenges of driving on wet roads.
If possible, keep your schedule flexible and let your moving company suggest the best time based on their experience.
4. What services do you want the moving company to provide?
This is the question that all movers–in L.A. and elsewhere–ask. Full-service is most expensive. That’s when movers bring their own boxes and shipping materials, pack your belongings, load them onto their truck, drive them to your new location, unpack them, then dispose of all supplies.