Movers For Seniors: Tips For An Easy Transition

In today’s post we want to talk about a specific type of moving: moving seniors. While it isn’t on top of everyone’s mind, senior moving is taking up a larger chunk of the whole moving industry in Canada every year. And as baby boomers get older, the number of seniors moving in our country will only increase. Yet, seniors remain the most targeted and scammed demographic in Canada by bad moving companies, because they are often seen as gullible and easy prey.

An important factor to consider here is that seniors move into much smaller places than they currently live in, often exponentially smaller. Which poses a unique question that doesn’t always come up with other types of moves: what to do with all the extra stuff? Usually, families and the seniors themselves want to keep as much of it as possible, when really they can only take a portion of their cherished personal items.

These factors, coupled with the emotional stress of leaving their home of many years, relocating to a new and unknown place, and essentially changing their entire lifestyle, means moving can be extremely challenging and nerve-wracking for seniors. That’s why we wanted to talk about what you should be aware of when moving as a senior, or moving your parents or grandparents. From recognizing what type of services your senior move requires, to roughly pricing the move and figuring out how to pick a reputable company. This blog post will help you do your research, so you know exactly what to expect when looking for a reputable moving company. 

Why senior moving is different from other moves

Although the actual “moving of stuff” part in senior moving is similar to any other move, there are several factors that make it unique. So much so, that many moving companies today have speciality managers, employees, and whole departments dedicated just to moving seniors.

As we mentioned above, a big part of these moves is the downsizing aspect and figuring out what to take with, what (if anything) to store, and what to donate or throw away. A good moving company can definitely help you with the logistical aspect of managing your stuff.

But the most crucial factor that requires a special approach to senior moving is not a tangible one. It is in the additional emotional care and support that seniors require when moving. At this difficult time, it is important that they still feel like they are in charge and don’t have their liberties stripped away. That’s why the best moving companies for seniors focus on delivering the most attentive and personalized service.

An important part of making the transition easier for the elderly is ensuring their new place feels like home from the second they step into it. That’s why for senior moving specifically, a lot of attention is paid to setting up the new place ahead of time or working with the person themselves, to get their new place to be just right.

Consider just how much, and what type of assistance you or your seniors require. Today, most moving companies offer a full range of services and depending on your needs and your budget you can find one that best suits you.

How much do movers for senior citizens cost?

Speaking of the budget, there is a good chance it will determine who you hire. But don’t just settle for the lowest price. Keep in mind the services the company offers when comparing the prices, and remember the cheapest option isn’t always the best.

Here are some price ranges to keep in mind for different senior moving services:

Local movers usually charge between $90-120 an hour depending on the time of the month you are moving. Remember, mover prices may increase as much as 20% at the end/beginning of the new month, so you may be paying toward the upper end of the range.

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

One feature that is popular for senior moves is packing assistance. This can save a lot of time and effort, especially in a bigger apartment or a house.

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

Another feature we mentioned is furniture arrangement. For an additional price, the moving company can work with the elderly person to have their new residence set up and ready to go to their liking on the day they arrive. These services are included in our price.

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.

Storage and Downsizing Solutions For Seniors

Downsizing is a particularly extreme aspect of senior moving. Not only does it often require minimizing all your belongings to one-tenth of the size, there is often a lot of attachment involved with the things that surrounded people for their whole lives.

A particularly difficult aspect of downsizing is figuring out exactly what to store, keep, or give away. As we mentioned, this is an area where a moving company can help a lot, but it is also important that the person giving up their stuff has as much liberty as possible. This is also something that is best done ahead of time and with a plan. Giving the senior person some time to consider what they need and want to bring with them can prevent a lot of stress on the day of the move.

Another difficult decision associated with senior moves is figuring out how much storage to get if any is required. Check out this chart for rough storage room sizes, how much they fit, and how much you can expect to pay for one. 

5X5 fits few items, up to 1 room of household (not large items) $120-150 /Month Or part of the month
5X10 fits up to small 1 BR (apartment/condo) household items on average $190-220 /Month Or part of the month
10X10 fits up to 1.5 (1+den) BR household items on average $280-310 /Month Or part of the month
10X15 fits up to 2 BR household items on average $ 350-400/Month Or part of the month
10X20 fits up to 3 BR household items on average $420-450 /Month Or part of the month
10X30 fits up to 4 BR household items on average $550-600 /Month Or part of the month


Moving quotes for seniors

Once you roughly figured out what services the move requires, you can start looking for companies to get a quote from. Remember, you should get at least 4-5 quotes before deciding on a company.

Keep in mind, the quote process is one place where a bad moving company can take advantage of the customer. This is also where planning as much as possible in advance helps. Knowing exactly what needs to be moved, how much stuff there is, and what services you require, will go a long way towards getting as exact a price as possible.

Another aspect of getting a good and correct quote is making sure the company visits your home. This can sometimes be a point of argument with elderly citizens, but this is crucial to making sure everything is counted correctly and the company can do a right estimation of what the move requires.

Another area where seniors often get taken advantage of in the quoting process are word of mouth promises. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but a lot of homeowners in Canada still deal with companies on a “word is bond” basis. Unfortunately, that’s the quickest way to lose your money and get bad service. Make sure that everything you agree with on the day of your quote is written out and given to you in a printed format. The moving company shouldn’t change the price after the fact, or when the truck is already loaded. 

Moving Services For Seniors: How To Pick A Good Company

Finding a good moving company for seniors can be even more challenging than a regular move. Pretty much all companies will have good reviews and nearly flawless ratings. But how do you find the one that will deliver on that intangible emotional aspect and help the senior through the stressful process of moving?

For starters, try to get a company that advertises senior moving. All companies will move seniors, but not all of them take a specialized approach. If the company takes the time and effort to advertise this service, there is a good chance they have other factors in place.

Because you are looking for a company with that special human aspect, consider the human pool of resources around you. As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, moving seniors is becoming more and more prevalent in the moving industry in general, so there is a good chance someone you know has a positive (or negative) experience to share. This can go a long way towards narrowing down the list of potential quote candidates.

When considering a moving company for a quote, see if it matches these criteria:

  • Make sure the company meets the requirements 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 belong to the Canadian Association of Movers? The association represents many top-rated 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 almost a standard for any trades or laborers in Canada today. Being in good standing with the WCB 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 WCB.
  • Does the company offer Replacement Value Protection, and for how much? The RVP often adds 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 opt in for the Replacement Value Protection it’s a good sign if a company offers this option.
  • Does the moving company subcontract any of its services? This doesn’t necessarily mean the company is bad, as long as they are honest about what they do and exactly which business will handle your stuff when you move.

Use these tips to narrow down the list of the companies you will consider for a quote. There is a good chance you will still be able to find 5-10 companies that fit all of these criteria and have some clout when it comes to online or human reviews. Then you can use the price as a determining factor in which companies to pick for the 4-5 quotes you need.

Whether you are a senior on the move, or you are trying to get information for your parents or close ones, know that everyone recognizes that this can be a challenging and emotional time for the family and everyone involved. That’s why you need a company that will be invested in more than just providing a service for the price. Use these tips when looking for a senior moving service and you’ll have no problems finding a moving company that will alleviate as much stress from the move as possible.