If you are planning a move to Miami, you are not alone. More than 300,000 people have moved to Florida every year since 2015, and economists predict the trend to continue into 2024, bringing the population close to 23 million. Miami, and Florida in general, are attractive to people coming from regions with inhospitable winters as well as states with higher taxes. Although currently suffering the impact of the Covid-19 downturn with the rest of the world, Miami—the largest metropolitan area in Florida, and in the top 10 nationally– generally offers a booming economy based on tourism, international finance, and media.
To relocate to Miami from another area, you will most likely want to engage a reputable long-distance moving company. There are over a million housing units in Miami-Dade County, and only 40% of those are detached single-unit dwellings. Almost 25% are in groups of more than 50, which means you may very well be moving into a high-rise. These complexes are ideal for urban, water-adjacent lifestyles, but can complicate the moving process if you try to DIY.
If you are moving from another state, you may encounter factors including timing, market demand, and possibly downsizing from a more substantial residence to a smaller one. Whatever the circumstances, having professional help will make the whole process easier for you.
According to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), the average cost of an interstate move is approximately $4,300 for a move distance of 1,225 miles. That estimate uses a weight of 7,400 pounds. But another source estimates that moving the contents of a three-bedroom house from San Francisco to Miami in the middle of summer would start at $7,000. The difference is probably due to the added distance, as well as peak season and more weight.
Remember, you can’t change the distance of the move, but you can reduce the weight, and perhaps the timing. Movers can help you get the most for your money by giving you tips on packing efficiently or packing for you (at an additional cost, almost always charged hourly.) The best way to save money is the carefully review what you are moving. It is worth making a disciplined appraisal of your possessions before deciding what to take with you.
Besides the weight and distance, other pricing elements will include ancillary services like packing, which may or may not be worth adding to your move, depending on your circumstances. Storage can be an added expense if you are moving into temporary housing at the destination for any reason. Other issues, like stairs at origin or destination or problems with the staging of the moving truck (these are known as impracticable operations), can result in unexpected additions to the cost of the move.
In Miami, as in many urban areas, it can be impossible for a moving truck to position in front of a high-rise or other apartment building. Even in some neighborhoods of single-family detached housing, association rules prohibit trucks. In these cases, the mover will have to unload the large truck into a smaller shuttle, and then empty again into the dwelling. This extra labor will add to your cost.
It is critical that you understand the estimate and never sign any blank documents or documents you do not understand. There are three types of estimates, but in each case, the mover must conduct a visual inspection of the household goods to be moved in most circumstances. This rule is for the protection of the consumer, and while you can waive this requirement, don’t. The mover can charge you for a binding estimate but doesn’t have to. A binding estimate is a fixed price if nothing that was not in the initial walkthrough is added to the move. You must validate the accuracy of the inventory (sometimes called a cube sheet or table of measurement) that accompanies the estimate. If something is left off the list, it will either not be moved or cost extra.
A non-binding estimate does not guarantee that the weight calculation made during the walkthrough is accurate and is not a ceiling for the move charges. The actual weight of the shipment will determine the final cost. The truck is weighed while empty and then weighed again once the goods are loaded to determine the final weight. In this case, the inventory is not as important, since you can add items and pay for the additional weight if you prefer.
A binding estimate not-to-exceed is a fixed price limit with the possibility that the final charges will be less. You may want this option if you are in the process of determining what to take and what to discard when you get your estimate. The final charges will depend on weight but will not be more than the agreed-on binding estimate amount.
Any move which crosses over a state line (interstate) is subject to regulations made and enforced by the Department of Transportation as interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, within the DOT, supervises the industry and publishes guidance for movers, brokers, and consumers. A critical requirement for interstate moves is that FMCSA requires a written estimate for every customer. If the customer is within 50 miles of the mover’s business, the evaluation must be based on a visual inspection of the items to be moved, unless the customer waives that requirement. The written estimate must be dated and signed by the mover and the customer.
If you are moving long-distance but entirely within the state of Florida, your moving company is subject to the regulations of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which requires that moving companies register with the state, and also maintains a clearinghouse of consumer complaints.
Your estimate (for an interstate move) must include the two options for insuring your belongings during a move. The default option is the full replacement value of the shipment (which the customer pays for) or the lesser amount of a valuation of $0.60 per pound. The mover provides the $0.60 per pound at no charge to you, but it is literally a payment of 60 cents per pound for whatever is broken or lost. This option would mean that your brand-new flat screen, which weighs 20 pounds, will be reimbursed at a value of $12.00 even if it is worth $1000. Consider this carefully, since moving often results in losses. Even with the full replacement coverage, movers can limit their liability for items of extraordinary value, unless they are expressly noted in the shipping documents. Items valued at more than $100 per pound (jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques, oriental rugs, and similar items) should be highlighted in advance so they will be covered. If you have something irreplaceable, don’t pack it, take it with you. It’s not worth worrying about.