Relocating from Florida to Connecticut is going to be a big change. Residents of both states love the outdoors but appreciate nature differently. Florida’s sunny beaches and warm coastal waters seem like a different world compared to the rugged coast and snow-covered hills of New England. Both are beautiful and offer diversity with urban and rural living to choose from. Make sure you pack your winter gear because it does get cold in the Constitution State.
Straight up the Eastern seaboard, it’s about 1,200 miles from Florida to Connecticut, which is right around the average for an interstate relocation. The median cost for moving the contents of a 3-bedroom house that distance is around $3,700 to $4,100. That price is a starting point, and the actual cost of your move will depend on several factors. The weight of the shipment may be the most significant single factor, but there are others.
Let’s look at a few of those factors. Do you want the Florida moving company to pack for you, or are you planning to pack your boxes? There are pros and cons to both choices. On the “pack myself” side, the apparent advantage is saving money. Moving companies get paid by the hour to pack for you, while you can do it for free, and you can save by collecting boxes from friends who have moved, scavenge them from your office, or buy them in bulk from the DIY store.
The other advantage of packing for yourself is that it is an excellent opportunity to exercise discretion over what goes and what gets discarded or donated. The movers are going to pack everything, right down to the junk drawer. They don’t know that you haven’t worn that dress in 3 years, and it really is time to donate it. They can’t decide to jettison the books you didn’t read in college and that you aren’t going to read after you move. If you examine everything as you pack, you can reduce the number of possessions you take with you, which in turn reduces the weight of the shipment, which ultimately lowers your price. And you are doing a good deed by donating your gently used items.
Of course, there are advantages to engaging the movers to do the packing. They are professionals, so they can pack more quickly and probably better than you can. They know how to balance loads and how much to put in a box. They know how much bubble wrap a delicate vase needs. And—this is important—if they pack it, they assume liability for the item packed. If you do the packing and something in a box sustains damage, the mover isn’t responsible unless the box was damaged.
The other argument for letting the movers pack is that you already have enough to do. That to-do list seems to grow, not shrink. Having the moving company come in and efficiently make everything disappear into boxes is a huge relief. Not to mention those fantastic wardrobe boxes. So, this decision isn’t just about money, but it is a consideration. Talk to the movers when you are getting estimates and find out what they charge for packing services.
Also, if you have large, bulky items or fragile pieces like artwork or sculpture, make a point of discussing these with the mover’s representative during the walkthrough. The walkthrough is the time when the moving company will send someone to your home to assess the contents and create an inventory of everything that is in the shipment. This inventory, sometimes called a cube sheet or table of measurements, should be comprehensive. It’s up to you to read through it and verify that nothing is missing because it forms the basis of the weight estimate.
If you have large items, like a piano, or a heavy sideboard that doesn’t disassemble, the mover may charge extra. Often a moving company will add a fee for disassembly and assembly of furniture and for crating pictures. They will add labor charges if you have stairs or if they must carry your goods a long distance to the truck. All these factors combine to complete the moving quote or estimate, and the elements are detailed in the mover’s tariff.
Be aware that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, regulates moving companies and brokers. FMCSA requires that movers do a visual survey of the goods to be transported rather than offering an estimate based on a verbal description of what you are moving. There is an exception made if the residence is more than 50 miles from the mover or their agent, or if the consumer waives the requirement, but there are plenty of movers, so find one with an office near you, and don’t waive the in-person survey. Estimates based on over-the-phone or online descriptions are not as accurate and may signal an unscrupulous operator.
There are two types of estimate, binding, and non-binding. A binding estimate is a commitment from the mover that the price will not increase unless the terms of the move change, but the price based on a non-binding estimate can go higher if the weight in the estimate is inaccurate. In either case, the charges will be higher if you request or require additional services.
FMCSA protects consumers by requiring that all interstate movers register with it, and by maintaining a searchable database of safety history and consumer complaints about companies and brokers. FMCSA developed several resources for consumers to educate themselves about the moving industry, prepare for moving, and avoid scams and schemes. Start by reading the brochure titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Are Moving. You can find it on the website, but every honest mover will also provide you with a copy or a link.
Moving at the last minute can be even more stressful, but you still have time to choose a great partner for your relocation. Remember that cheap movers register with the DOT and will display their DOT number in their advertising. A moving broker may be able to save time for you by comparing estimates from several moving companies. Just be careful. While most brokers, like most movers, are honest, don’t fall for a scam. Brokers also register with FMCSA and must have written agreements with any mover they refer to you. The broker must provide information about the mover’s arbitration program and access to their tariff. Never engage with a broker or mover that fails to provide a written estimate or asks you to sign incomplete or blank documents.
Even if you are in a hurry, you will have a better experience if you spend the time to find the right mover. Check references, ask friends and family for referrals, and pay attention to your interactions with the company representative. Don’t trust strangers with your house full of personal goods if they don’t seem trustworthy.