Moving In The Chicago Area: Full Service, Partial Service, Packing Yourself

This is a guest post that was submitted by the media team over at The Professionals, a Chicago moving company that my wife and I have actually used before and with whom we were extremely pleased.
MOVING. The number one least-liked responsibility, of human people that live everywhere, all over the country, and the continent, and the Western hemisphere, and also the Eastern hemisphere, and in sub-continents.
When we’re confronted with moving it is important to examine the following:
Our budget: Do we need a top-of-the-line, full-service, white glove moving company? Or, do we just need to rent a truck and hire hourly labor to help out? Can we afford to hire a professional, insured moving company? Can we afford the time and physical resources to do it ourselves?
Our needs: Do we need a company to pack our things for us or just load and move it all? Is the scope of work needed to move greater than what we feel we can confidently do ourselves?
Our research: This comes from multiple sources, including conversations with friends and family who have recently moved. Vetting the best moving company through our own online selection process takes time and must be thorough. Have we covered all our bases and examined all of the top-rated movers in our region?
In hiring a professional full-service moving company we’re paying for options that will make moving easier for us. Do we want top-to-bottom “white glove” service? Do we want the movers to handle everything (pack, load, move, unload, unpack)? Would we rather pack and unpack and just have the movers move? Have we already packed and are resolved to hire movers to move and unpack for us?
Full-service: We’ve chosen our moving company and have decided we’d like them to handle all the packing and moving responsibilities. This essentially means that a team of movers, under the direction of a “Lead”, will come in with all necessary moving supplies and pack the entire contents of your home. They may ask us to remove televisions mounted to the wall but everything from window dressings to hanging pictures will be wrapped and boxed.

  • How much should we be paying for a full-service move? Prior to hiring the moving company we’ll set up a “consult” with a representative. He’ll visit us at our home to better understand the scope of work and walk the house with us to note how large the move will be. From this information he’ll decide how large a truck we’ll need and how many movers he’ll need to assign to the job. Typically, the packing and the moving are broken into two sums on your bill. These figures are independent.
  • How does a full-service moving company charge for services? Each company’s billing is structured differently. For a local move (i.e. within the Chicago metro area) an estimate will be established before the move begins. Usually, the company will have a 2.5 – 3 hour minimum billable period. After this, they will charge an hourly rate x the actual time spent, in hourly or sometimes (if we find a great moving company) fifteen minute increments. For the latter, this is a big money saver if the movers run over an hour by only a few minutes. Here, we’re only charged for a fifteen minute block, rather than the full new hour. Editor’s (that’s me, Gary) note: You might be concerned that if you are paying by the hour there is no incentive for the workers to work fast but I can assure you that these guys bust their asses like you never could. They are amazing – even when it’s 95 degrees outside.
  • How do they know what to pack? Upon arrival we’ll walk the house with the Lead, going room-by-room to note what’s to be done. He will then direct his team, based on the walk through.
  • How do I pay for packing? If we’ve hired the moving company to pack our belongings for us, they’ll have given us a fixed price quote based on number of rooms and scope of work. This figure will include calculated moving supply costs and estimated man hours involved. So, we’ve essentially paid for moving supplies, but we’re not being billed box by box. But the price is fixed regardless of how long the packing actually takes. Editor’s note: You might think that at the movers’ hourly rate you might as well pack yourself but it’s just like working with a real estate agent – you have to factor in that a professional can do the work much faster than you could. I estimate that they pack in 1/2 – 1/3 the time that it would take us to pack and they have all the right supplies at their fingertips.
  • If I hire the moving company to pack for us, will they also unpack everything? Short answer: yes. Long answer: we may not want them to unpack everything. Since we’ve hired them to fulfill a top-to-bottom pack and move, they’re obligated to arrange furniture in the new space, and unpack the possessions they previously boxed up. Unpacking boxes in the new home may help us get better acquainted with our new surroundings. Figuring out where things go can be a great way to transition into the new house.
  • When the Movers have finished what is protocol for “tipping”? Tipping is a great way to show appreciation for a job well done. The amount is discretionary but the suggested amount is around 5% of the total service amount.

We dwell. Not in contemplation, but in shelter. We construct safe harbor, and we dwell until natural forces “encourage” us to move. This junction provides two paths: we hire a full-service, white-glove moving company, or we hope our buddies are in town the weekend we rent the box truck. Let us examine the advantages of each approach.
With an established, reputable, researched full service moving company, we may expect three certainties: we’re hiring trained professionals; our property will be insured; and we won’t be lifting a single box.
Trained professionals. The movers we hire to provide a top-to-bottom white glove move of our personal property will be trained to care for our items. They’ll be trained because we did our research and chose a reputable mover. Because we did our research. We did do our research, right?! The professionals managing your move will take care in:

  • Wrapping, padding, and packing items
  • Caring for electronics and fragile valuables
  • Labeling everything
  • Cataloguing an inventory
  • Properly securing items

Mover insures property. If we’ve hired the right mover, the company will be insuring all of our items against any scratches, cracks, rips, and snaps, amongst a symphony of potential damages accrued from point A to B. Do we want to have to replace the heirloom chestnut pie-safe? No we do not. But, we may rest easier, assured that should a knob splinter, or a claw-foot chip, that we’ll be covered for aesthetic and structural harm.
We direct, movers lift. A white glove service will not only lift they’ll be packing everything in the home-enveloping every single spoon, q-tip, and tea saucer. Pantries will be packed and restocked. Closet items will be emptied and again rehung. Your aesthetic surroundings will unfurl before you as you enjoy your city, your neighborhood, your new home.
Partial service: We’ve decided to pack everything ourselves and hire movers to load and move it. This is what we all associate with the “moving” company. But we each have varying degrees of association and parlance shifts with each county.

  • If a company calls itself a “full service” moving company can we still hire them just for the move? At the heart of every full-service moving company is the service of moving itself. Hiring a moving company to load, move and unload your already packed possessions is fully acceptable.
  • If I pack my own stuff, can I still hire a company to move and unpack it for me? This will be a case-by-case basis and depend on the moving company. Usually, the movers will only unpack if they’ve also packed everything. Movers will pack your possessions methodically and label every box to make their jobs of unpacking at the new residence much easier.
  • Am I able to hire a moving company to pack my stuff, but NOT move it? Yes, the moving company may be hired to exclusively pack up your house for you. This would be a completely independent billable service and is 100% acceptable.

Moving & packing yourself: And now for those of you out there – you overprotective, financially conservative, physically fit champions of victory in the natural world. You are going to pack your stuff yourself. You are going to load your stuff into the box truck and then drive it, deliver it, unload it, unpack it, organize it, file it, sort it, fill it, hang it back up, and feng shui every last stick of furniture yourself. You’re doing this for three reasons:

  1. You’re overprotective. This is a good thing! Your stuff won’t be harmed. You’re the one moving it so you’re going to take care of it. And if you do happen to break something then you’ll know exactly what needs mending. Your stuff won’t be insured… from yourself but at least you’ll be the Subject Matter Expert on all things yours and broken.
  2. You’re a financially stringent person. This is also a good thing! Pad that savings account! Why pay someone to do what you’re perfectly able to do yourself?
  3. You’re a very strong and physically fit person… and we’re all “side eyeing” you enviously.

Editor’s note: I’ve seen these guys take pianos and bookcases and headboards down narrow and winding staircases that I was certain were impossible to navigate. You do NOT want to attempt this at home yourself.
However we choose to go about it, moving is a gritty, strenuous task. It is a challenge tackled by those that do and those that hire to do. Hopefully both avenues end with you on the couch with your feet up, surrounded by all your unharmed stuff, relaxing in your new abode.
#Moving #Movers #ChicagoMovers
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.

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