How to Find the Best Deals on Moving Companies

Save money when planning your next big move.

According to most moving companies, the end of the summer marks the most popular time to book a mover – and peak times can mean high prices. If you’re on the hunt for a cheap moving company, whether it’s local or on the other side of the country, there are ways to avoid breaking the bank.

The most obvious way to save cash is to handle the entire move on your own, which often requires gathering up a few friends, borrowing a truck and moving items carload by carload to your new destination. However, that isn't always feasible -- maybe you're moving far away where you can't move bit by it, or maybe you don't know anyone in your new town.

Assuming that you don't have the option of a free move, read on for a few tips that can help you reduce your financial burden when packing your things and making your way to a new home.

1. Lighten Your Load

Before you reach out to moving companies, you should go through your household and pare down your belongings. That doesn’t mean you should give away items you’ll need in your new town, but all of us are capable of going through our belongings and reducing clutter. Since movers typically price your move based on the amount of items (or the weight) that you’re transporting, the more you can get rid of before the move, the more you’ll be able to save.

One consideration to keep in mind is that this step is only feasible if you have time before your move. Therefore, it’s important to plan ahead for your move whenever possible. Sometimes that isn’t an option when you have to move at the last minute, but most of the time, you’ll know a few months ahead of time that a move is imminent, and that’s when you should start to go through your house and put your items into “donate,” “discard” and “move” piles.

2. Get Multiple Quotes From Local, Long-Distance Movers

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether you’re better off using a do-it-yourself service (like U-Haul) or a long-distance moving company that will handle everything for you. Do-it-yourself is typicaly cheaper – but not always. Therefore, you should check reviews of a few movers online, and then call three of the best-reviewed companies and ask for estimates for your move.

At the same time, find out what the cost would be to move using a do-it-yourslf company – many of them are good deals when booking locally, but the prices can skyrocket for longer-distance moves, making them less attractive than full-service movers.

If you find a much better price from a do-it-yourself service but you don’t want to move things in and out of the truck yourself, ask the company if they contract with local workers who can load and unload the truck for you. U-Haul will typically show you options of contractors that can help with this (you'll see the option during your online truck booking session), and you can “add on” those services when you book the truck – you’ll hire one set at your loading city and another group of movers at the city where you’ll be unloading. Even with these “helpers” on board, the do-it-yourself companies can often be a very good deal.

3. Check Discount Sites

Many moving companies participate with discount sites like Groupon, where you can pre-pruchase coupons that will save you money on your moves. For instance, some moving firms will offer $300 worth of moving services for $150, saving you a bundle.

Similarly, coupon/promo code sites like RetailMeNot typically list moving companies that are offering discounts. For instance, you might find a promo code for 10 percent off of a move with PODS or a free month of storage from U-Haul. Other discount sites will offer similar services, allowing you to browse around and get ideas of how you can save more on moves.

4. Pack Your Own Items

Some long-distance moving firms will include packing charges in the quote they give you. You can save by eliminating that cost -- simply tell the company you will pack your own things. One smart packing strategy is to use your clothes as padding for things like dishes and other breakable items. This saves money on packing materials, and also saves space by including your clothing in with your fragile items.