Moving companies generally are geared to handle a certain size or type of home. Some are specialists in quick, no frills- apartment moving, while others are better equipped to handle larger homes. Most fall somewhere in between and have different service levels based on the type or quality of furniture they specialize in handling. A mover that advertises discount-moving using trailers towed behind pick-up trucks, with no minimum hours, might be perfect for a small apartment move or a partial-house move. A large van line agency might be cost prohibitive for a move of this size. However, the smaller mover might not be the best choice for a move that involves fragile antiques, pianos or large armoires. A larger moving company is going to be more likely to have the experience, equipment and insurance to handle larger and more valuable items.
The main disconnect that I have seen with my customers is the failure to differentiate between products and services. You can buy the exact same TV at a warehouse store for much less than you can at a department store because it is a product. It is a uniform commodity that can be purchased wholesale with volume discounts. A product will also probably devalue with age. This is smart shopping. When you expect the same uniformity from a service, e.g. paying $45.00 an hour for something where the going rate is $90.00, it might not be.
No one stops to think where that 50% savings is coming from, especially in an industry with a 5-10% average profit margin. Labor is the biggest cost for moving company owners, with trucks and fuel close behind, so wage cuts are the obvious choice. There are no volume discounts for labor, no warehouse clubs and certainly no substitutes. The experience and good attitude of that labor is the main determinant in the quality and success of the move itself. Moving charges are based not only on hours of labor, but also on the quality of that work and the skill level of the mover. Unlike TVs there are no warehouses full of experienced furniture movers, with expiration dates, who are willing to work for half wages. OK, actually there are some. But the better ones have moved on to other fields…………like blogging.
This is not to say you should always go with the most expensive choice, but in all candor the odds favor it. There are a number of huge moving companies that pay lower wages due to their higher overhead. I contract movers from other van lines and I have been genuinely surprised at how low their wages are. On average, they have only increased 25% (going from $10.00 an hour to $12.50) since the mid-Eighties when I worked for the van lines. What attracts the better movers to stay (especially those who have been doing this since the Eighties or before) with these companies are the benefits, especially health insurance. My point being that these are movers who are motivated by the benefits to do a good job to keep that job. The same is not likely to be said for a mover who works for the same wage or less with no benefits.