13 Tips for Planning & Budgeting Your Toronto Move

One of the biggest complaints people have about a move is that it’s stressful. Next would be that it’s time-consuming and expensive. In anticipation of selling and/or buying a home people become keenly aware of their budget and the money that is flowing out of their bank accounts.

Hiring movers is an investment of your time and your peace of mind. While it may be tempting to cut some financial corners and work with the cheapest quote out there, working with a reputable company will help your move run smoothly, so you can focus on more important things, like checking out that cute restaurant in your new neighbourhood.

We connected with Patryk Ciesielski from sMove (647 297 9112 or ) and Gary Kofoed from AMJ Campbell Van Lines to find out the best tips to plan and budget for your Toronto move.

1. Look for a Referral

While the internet and online reviews are a fantastic way to get a feel for any service, there’s something to be said about a genuine referral from someone you know and trust. Ask the friend who had a great moving experience, or your real estate agent, who has dealt with numerous movers and knows first-hand whom their clients have loved.

2. Provide as Much Detail as Possible to get an Accurate Quote

Basing a quote or your budget on a "standard" three-bedroom home can be dangerous. Some people have very little to move in that space, whereas others have more furniture, knickknacks, or fragile items that require extra care and time. Patryk says to provide an accurate moving quote:

I need to have a full item list and access details for all properties involved in the move. Provide lists of all furniture items including an approximate number of boxes/bags/luggage, as well as information on the type of residence, distance from the truck, stairs, etc.

To get the most accurate quote possible Gary suggests in-person estimates to get the most accurate quote and adds:

Everyone has a dining room and kitchen tables, but is it a delicate glass top, or marble? These are things that need to be taken into consideration. Certain items need to be crated to be protected.

3. Book in Advance

Gary says it pays to be prepared and book your move in advance, since the closer the booking is to the move date, the fewer trucks available, and in turn the higher the price. He adds when it comes to budgeting and booking:

It's always better to budget more and pay less.

4. Saving the Most Money

It’s as simple as this, the more you do yourself, the less you’ll pay. Patryk says:

If you have the energy, do ALL the little stuff yourself and hire a mover for just the big, unmanageable pieces.

Most companies have a minimum charge, so if you arrange enough work to go just over that minimum you can save a lot of money.

I don't see the point of paying a mover their hourly rate to carry bags of groceries for you.

5. Be Clutter and Packing Free on Moving Day

It’s surprisingly common for people not to be ready on moving day when the movers arrive. Gary says to keep costs down and streamline your move ensure all clutter is gone and all packing is complete. Patryk adds:

Anything that can fit in a box should be in a box. Small loose items end up taking the most time to pack and are often overlooked during the planning/budget stage.

6. Don’t Forget About Special Attention Items

When seeking a quote, be sure to mention any valuable, particularly delicate, or very heavy items as they can lead to extra time and possibly extra people for the move, which will impact the overall price. Patryk says to mind your fragile items adding:

Too often I see lamps and lampshades that are not in boxes. These are basically made of paper and should be treated with care, not placed loosely in the truck with a blanket or not.

7. Know What You'll Need to Move Yourself

Some items, whether they’re monetarily valuable or emotionally sentimental could benefit from a separate trip in your car to ensure their safety. Patryk says:

Any super valuable artwork that is not heavy could benefit from not risking a trip in the truck. Basic insurance would not cover anything of value unless you get special insurance for that one item. Most moving companies can handle pianos, but that should be discussed since it may require special equipment depending on the number of steps it needs to go up or down.

8. Partial Pay to Pack

You can meet the movers in the middle in terms of your budget, meaning it doesn’t have to be all or nothing in terms of packing services. You can do some of the work and hire the movers to handle specific rooms or areas of the home. Gary says:

Most movers offer packing services where they’ll pack your house for you. Don’t forget they can simply pack certain more labour-intensive areas for you, like the kitchen, to help save you time and money.

9. Check your Insurance Coverage in Advance

Gary recommends:

Unless you have a very good home policy, you generally should get the movers’ insurance to protect yourself.

A good policy will protect them in case a flat screen TV gets dropped, because although it’s rare, accidents happen, and it’s better to know in advance that you selected insurance that will cover any potential accidents.

10. Take Advantage of Checklists

Gary says Campbell movers and many others offer online checklists to help you plan your move week by week, helping divide up tasks into small and manageable tasks:

Our checklists range from one week out to four weeks out and provides tips on what people should be doing at each stage. Don't wait until the last week or so to start packing because then you're going to be panicking.

Plan for the decluttering and getting rid of things you don't need before the move.

11. What’s Not Allowed

Gary suggests that certain items should be moved by the experts:

Movers can move pianos and can handle pretty much anything, but if I had a 5K baby grand piano, I’d hire a piano mover because they move pianos every day, and it’s worth the investment in their expertise.

Gary also reminds clients that certain items are prohibited from going onto moving trucks, including paints, propane tanks, or anything flammable.

12. Trust the Experts When it Comes to Timing

For those dealing with a sizeable move, it can sometimes take two days. Since movers are only permitted to work for 13 hours a day, a large house, a move with multiple locations, or farther distances will increase the likelihood of two moving days.

13. Do your Research

Factors that will impact your move include how far down the hall your space is from the elevator, whether certain items will require shrink wrap, boxes purchased and more. Gary says a basic, small condo move can start at a price range of 6.5 hours for the move, or just over $900, whereas add-ons like insurance can range between $1100 and $1400 for a smaller move, while a large move with four movers will likely cost closer to $2500 to $3500. To be sure you make the right choice Gary suggests getting three quotes and moving forward with the one that works best for you.

All photos by Elena Koycheva


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