San Francisco Interstate Moving Companies
Moving in or out of the City of San Francisco or moving to the Bay Area in general is a challenge under any circumstances. The narrow streets often blocked with double-parked cars, those steep hills, and high-rise buildings with cramped elevators don’t make it easy whether you are coming or going. If you are leaving the beautiful City by the Bay to move to another state, at least you will almost certainly be trading for a better housing price, but whether you are moving in or out, it isn’t a simple prospect.
How do I find the best interstate mover for San Francisco?
If you are moving cross country from San Francisco, your mover is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. FMCSA, which is part of the Department of Transportation and maintains safety records and rules pertaining to interstate movers and other motor carriers. FMCSA also provides ample information and resources about moving for consumers, including a publication that movers will supply along with your long-distance move quote, called Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.
Before you hire a mover, take some time to learn what rules the moving companies must follow, and you will be better able to make a good choice for an affordable and high-quality moving company. Movers must come to your house or apartment and conduct a visual inspection of everything you plan to move. They need to do this before they provide you with a quote for their services. Movers base interstate move charges on the shipment’s weight, so that visual survey is vital for them to forecast how much the truckload is going to weigh. If you have heavy furniture and shelves full of books, that will weigh more than if your home is filled with light-weight contents. It’s essential that the mover does a comprehensive walkthrough and that you let them know anything that isn’t going, so they don’t add it to the inventory. An inventory is a complete list of everything that is part of the move, and it forms the basis of the weight forecast, which comprises the price quote, along with any accessorial charges.
What are accessorial charges?
Those are fees for other services that moving companies charge, like packing and unpacking, crating, bulky items, long carries, stairs, elevators, etc. Your mover will have a mover’s tariff, which is a list of the possible fees they can charge you, and the definitions. In most cases, movers won’t charge you for any services that you don’t request. It is up to you, for example, to decide if you want the movers to pack, or if you want to save money and handle that on your own.
But in one circumstance, you can be charged for services without asking. If the moving company encounters impracticable operations at the destination, it will add the cost of completing the delivery to your invoice. Those conditions are things like labor charges if the truck can’t park in front of the destination residence, and a shuttle is required. Another example is if an elevator is needed and can’t be (or wasn’t) reserved for use by the movers. If the moving company must carry your goods more than 75 feet from the truck to the residence, then a “long carry” fee is imposed. Federal regulations limit the amount that movers can require for such operations to 15% of the total charges. So, if your move costs $8,000, the mover can’t demand that you pay more than an additional $1,200 to cover unforeseen labor on the delivery day. If it can support charging you more than that, it must send an invoice after delivery.
How do I decide between estimates?
You would be smart to get several quotes from different long distance movers. You don’t want to assume that the cheap quote is the best one. First, compare the estimates to determine if they are similar. If they are estimating significantly different weights, ask more questions of the vendors to figure out why. Check to be sure that the estimates are the same type. You don’t want to compare a binding estimate to a non-binding estimate. A binding estimate is a guaranteed price: your cost won’t increase or decrease regardless of the shipment’s weight, assuming that you do not add anything that isn’t on the inventory and do not request additional services (aside from the potential for labor charges at the destination). A non-binding estimate is not guaranteed: if the shipment weighs more than the vendor predicted, the price you pay will be higher. Because of that difference, it is even more important that you trust the integrity of the mover. Consumers are frequently taken in by a low estimate, only to be dismayed later when the company demands a much higher delivery price.
Are movers and packers affordable?
The great thing about the moving industry is that there are so many options for consumers. Some companies specialize in small moves of a few items of furniture, and some that just move pianos. Some full-service movers handle all of the details, including placing the furniture where you want it in the new residence, crating, shipping, and hanging the artwork, as well as arranging for cleaning the old home and disposing of rubbish. You can find a company that will provide the level of service that is right for your move, and you can pay the amount that makes sense for your circumstances.
But how much will it cost to move to San Francisco?
Interstate moves in the last year averaged around $4,500 for a move distance of 1,250 miles. Moving in or out of a city like San Francisco, even with a small shipment, is probably going to be somewhat higher due to parking restrictions, plus the likelihood of stairs and elevators. But long-distance move rates are primarily determined by weight and distance, so your move’s cost will depend on how much you are moving and how far you must go. The time of year makes a difference as well. The peak season for moving is the summer, with over half of the U.S. moves happening between April and September. If you have some flexibility in your timing, you may be able to save on the cost of the move.
What if I need storage?
Adding storage (called SIT, or storage-in-transit if it is temporary) will add to the move’s cost but might be unavoidable. If you need to vacate your current home before your new home is ready, you can move your belongings into temporary storage. Perhaps you are moving to take a new job and not quite sure where to live. You can use the storage option to gain some time to explore the new area until you have settled on a neighborhood and secured a new home. The long distance moving company will arrange for the storage, unload your shipment into its warehouse, then complete the delivery when you are ready. The storage and additional labor will increase the cost. Discuss this with the vendors you are considering when you obtain the estimates.