Finding a moving company that charges by the hour in the District of Columbia area might be handy for several reasons. You may need a small number of things moved into storage or to get a new purchase home from a shop that doesn’t deliver. You might want to rearrange the furniture in your current home but prefer to stand back and watch instead of sweating through the actual work. Whatever the reason, you can find a reputable moving company to take on your project for an hourly rate.
Most movers that handle local jobs will be happy to offer an hourly rate. Most will have a minimum of two or four hours, and possibly a minimum travel time for driving to the site as well. For example, if you just need two movers for one hour for a small job, you might pay for two hours of moving labor at $100 an hour, plus an additional hour for drive time at $50 an hour. (Those prices are just examples, and the actual hourly amount charged will vary, depending on what moving company you select.) The smaller the project, the more difference the minimums make on the overall price, so it may be wise to ask a lot of questions and shop around. Not all companies have the same policies.
Also, keep in mind that some minimums may be negotiable if you are looking for a moving company during the off-season. Peak demand for movers is during the summer, and high demand runs from April through September, so you aren’t likely to get any lenience on the minimums during that period. You might have better luck asking for an exception on a quiet Tuesday in January if you call a mover with an empty schedule and some employees who need work.
If you are moving more than a few items, don’t choose a mover based on a verbal or online quote for the price. The mover should come to your house or apartment and complete a physical survey of everything that you want them to move for you. The mover’s representative will look into your cupboards to get an idea of how much there is to move, assess the difficulty of the move logistics (things like narrow stairways or busy elevators make a difference), and give you an estimate.
The moving industry is a big business, but most of the companies involved in it are small. In fact, almost half of all moving companies in the U.S. have less than five employees. That small company might be a genuinely independent mom and pop firm, or it might be a local franchise of a national organization or an agent affiliated with one of the well-known long-distance movers. No matter which type of company you prefer to engage, it is up to you to ensure that you choose an honest one. Most are, but there are enough unscrupulous operators that the Better Business Bureau reports receiving over 13,000 negative reviews and complaints about moving companies every year. Similarly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates interstate movers, logged nearly 5,000 complaints from consumers in 2019. Despite those numbers, the problem is probably much more severe, as most people who endure a negative experience or even fraud don’t report it.
Finding the honest movers and avoiding the shady operators takes a little work on your part but is time well spent. Here are some tips for choosing a reputable hourly moving company for your job in the D.C. area:
When the move day arrives, be ready. If you are paying an hourly rate, time is money, and movers will charge you for waiting time if you aren’t prepared. Have the boxes packed and stacked by the front door to save time. Label boxes according to their destination at the new residence. If you are moving from or to an apartment with an elevator, reserve it if possible. Arrange for parking as close as possible to your door to avoid any extra distance charges.