Local Moving In Canada: How To Be Prepared For Your Upcoming Move

When moving into a new home, most Canadians don’t go too far. Canada Post stats from 2011 show that only 13% of residential moves in our country happen between provinces. And with the urban/rural divide only growing bigger moving distances are generally getting shorter as it seems Canadians prefer to live in big cities or in close proximity to them. In fact, a third of Canadians today live in three major urban centers: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. It is also estimated that an average Canadian will move at least 5-6 times in their lifetime, and as the world is getting metaphorically smaller, that number of times someone moves is only going to rise. That is why the local moving and storage industry is booming in North America. Because it is the most common type of move, in today’s post we wanted to talk in detail about local moving; how much it costs, how to find a good moving company, and ultimately how to be prepared on the day of your move.

Choosing A Local Moving Company

For many homeowners, moving begins with choosing a moving company. We won’t get into too much detail about being able to move yourself. It is enough to say that it is often possible to move yourself for cheaper, but at the expense of personal or work time, as well as the physical labour involved. If you are reading this post, there is a good chance you have already decided to go the moving company route.

If you start looking for a moving company one of the traditional ways through the classifieds or on the Internet, it can get outright overwhelming from the number of companies out there. The number of residential moves in Canada rises every year, and naturally so does the number of companies.

So how do you go about finding just one you need? One good place to get a recommendation from are real people like friends or co-workers. There is a good chance someone you know has moved recently and has an opinion about the service they received. This can help steer you towards or away some initial choices.

If you are relying on the Internet for moving company options, be wary of online reviews. They are often a good indicator of what a company does poorly, but a lot of moving companies pad their ratings with fake excellent reviews to cover up the ugly stuff.

Remember, you should get at least 3-4 quotes before picking a moving company
To help you eliminate a few other unfavorable candidates consider if the company meets these criteria:

  • Make sure the company meets the demands under the Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers. The guidelines are the closest thing to an official document in Canada that governs how a moving business should operate.
  • Does the moving company have membership with the Canadian Association of Movers? The association represents a lot of great moving companies. But keep in mind, membership in the CAM is not mandatory, and doesn’t necessary mean a company is good or bad.
  • Is the company registered with the provincial Workers Compensation Board? This is a standard for any trades or laborers in Canada today. Being in good standing with the WCIB means the company’s employees are covered and protected while working at your home. Many shady moving companies will not go the length to register their business with the WCIB.
  • Does the moving company offer Replacement Value Protection, and for how much? The RVP often adds a premium to the cost of the move but offers much higher reimbursement on your personal belonging if something goes wrong during the move. Even if you don’t decide to get the Replacement Value Protection, if a company offers this option it is a sign of reputability.

Check out this Consumer Checklist for Choosing A Moving Company

Moving Quote: How To Get The Right Price and Avoid Getting Scammed

Of course, picking the right moving company greatly depends on the final cost of the move. And getting a good, and more importantly accurate price is the crucial part of obtaining quotes.

Take into consideration these factors to get the most out of your moving quote:

  • Make sure the quote is in-home. Even if you don’t like letting strangers into your house it’s an important part of evaluating how much stuff needs to move, and how much it will cost. It’s a big red flag if the company is offering to do a quote on the phone.
  • During the quote, show the estimator everything that will make the move. Don’t forget about the tight spaces, closets, garages and attics.
  • Ask the estimator questions. Make sure you prepare a few questions about the company and the costs beforehand. Read up on the company online and visit their website. Use the quote time to learn as much about the company as you can.
  • Get the quote in writing. This is essential! A good moving company will not try to renegotiate the quote or throw hidden charges at you at a later date.
  • Review the quote. Make sure everything you discussed is put down on paper before signing.

Local Moving Cost

Once you have made sure the local moving companies you’re getting quotes from meet the above criteria, and have gotten a couple of quotes, you can use the price difference as a further indicator of which company you want to go with. And remember, there are plenty of cheap local movers, but as with any service you pay what you get for, and the lowest price isn’t always the best.

So how much can you expect to pay?

A local mover can cost anywhere between $90-120 hour in Ontario depending on the time of the month you are moving in. In other provinces these rates can range between $60-150. Remember, mover prices can increase as much as 20% the end/beginning of the new month, so you will be looking at paying in the upper end of that range.

Depending on the amount of things you have, your move may also require an additional mover. Additional moving help usually costs between $40-60 per hour, depending on the company.

If you need packing services, this can cost between $30-60 per hour.

Keep in mind you are also required to pay a one-time truck fee for local moves. Depending on where in Canada you live and what time of the month you are moving, the truck fee can be between $85-120.

Another thing to consider is whether you have any things that require heavy lifting or additional muscle. Things like appliances, gym equipment, or any other specialty items that require heavy lifting can add between $40-90 to the cost of your move each.

Factor stairs into the final price of your move. If the movers have to use the stairs, even the number of steps can add to the total. Plan to spend anywhere between $40-100 additionally, depending on the length of your staircase.

Remember, all moving service prices are subject to 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario. Elsewhere in Canada, moving services are subject to a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Be wary of companies that don’t charge HST, or offer to scrap it for a cash deal. Having a registered HST or GST number is a sign of a good company, and a sure way to avoid scams and fly by night movers.

Small Local Movers vs. Big Moving Company
Once you start narrowing down your options, you’ll notice that moving companies come in all sizes. There will be ones that operate all over the world, North America, and Canada, and there will be ones that only exist in your city, and may in fact have just one crew. But despite what you may think, bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to moving companies. While bigger companies have their name and reputation behind them, they often lack in customer service, or have poor communication with the client, due to high volume of clients. On the opposite, a bad small company can leave you stranded if someone else offers a more lucrative job on the same day. Focus more on the company’s reputation, online and in the real world, rather than its size, when making a decision of who to go with.

Truck Rental for Local Moving
At the beginning of the post we briefly talked about the option of moving yourself. This is most commonly done by renting a truck. And just like with moving companies, there are truck companies of all sizes and types. Your safest bet is going with a trusted name like U-Haul, Budget, Enterprise or Discount. These companies offer comparable rates, and have good options for coverage if you want to keep yourself, the your stuff, and the vehicle protected during the move. Be wary of online ads on places like Kijiji or Craigslist. If you use the same strategies for doing research as you would for finding a moving company, you should have no problems finding a local moving truck rental company with a good reputation.

How is Local Moving Insured?
A factor in any move that can get overlooked by the homeowner is how their belongings will be reimbursed in the event they get damaged. By law the moving company is required to pay 60 cents per pound on any item that was damaged as a result of their actions or while in their possession. Keep in mind, this figure doesn’t change regardless of the broken object. Most moving companies offer additional protection that increases the reimbursement premium for an additional cost added to the move price.

Hopefully this post has been useful in helping you get a better idea of how to plan and price your move. Regardless of whether you move yourself or hire a professional moving company, make sure you do your research before signing or agreeing to anything. Being informed and asking the right questions can help avoid unnecessary stress during your move and get you closer to enjoying your new home faster.

Check out this Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Moving Checklist