Moving Long Distance in Canada: Everything You Need To Know

In the previous post, we discussed the elements that result in a successful local move (hyperlink: local move blog). In today’s blog, we wanted to shift focus and talk about long-distance moves. While it is estimated that only roughly 13% of annual residential moves in Canada happen between provinces, long-distance moving is still a fairly large part of the moving industry and there are a lot of options available to today’s homeowners looking to move across Canada or between faraway cities.

The two most popular options for household moving is either the use of a full-service moving company or hiring a content provider that will leave the container at your residence and move it after you are done packing it. It is possible to pull off a small long-distance move in a truck by yourself, but most households usually end up having more stuff than fits even in a medium-sized U-Haul.

Of course the option most homeowners decide on depends on the amount of stuff they have and the price that these companies charge. While a container company can charge up to 20-30% less than a moving company, the time spent packing and loading the container yourself, can make the difference in cost for some people. Both types of companies also offer additional packing and storage services, so the best choice between several types of companies often depends on which has better customer service, offers more services for a competitive price, and has good protection in the event something happens to your items. Ultimately what’s important is that you can make an informed decision and figure out what best suits your needs and budget. So, let’s get right into everything you need to know about moving long distances.

How Is Moving Long Distance Different From Local Moving?

A good place to start discussing long-distance moving is by how it is different from local moves. When looking for a local moving company most people often have past experiences to draw from and have some idea of what their move process will be like. When moving long distance however, many homeowners are doing it for the first time so things can get a little complicated if not frustrating, not to mention the headaches associated with changing all your legal documents and acclimatizing to the new place.

Of course, the main way these two types of moves are different is by distance, In Canada moves under 100km or between cities that are nearby, are considered local. Moving between provinces or across the country is considered a long-distance move.

The other important way long-distance moving differs from local is by how it is priced. Local moves are often priced by the hour with additional fees for extra labor, specialty items, and challenges associated with the move. Long-distance moves are priced based on the weight and distance your items have to travel. Let’s find out what else factors into the final cost of moving long distances.

Long Distance Moving Prices

Here are some numbers you should consider when looking for long-distance house movers.

Because the final quote depends on the weight of the stuff, it makes sense that your stuff has to be weighted to accurately price the move. This can cost anywhere between $50-100. Keep in mind, this is where a lot of arguments between homeowners and moving companies begin. Many bad moving companies will give an intentionally lower initial quote to get the customer on board but will crank it up once the stuff is weighed to be heavier than initially.

There is usually a base charge for the first 500 lbs of stuff. This can range between $500-700 depending on the moving company.

Additional weight can cost anywhere between $400-600 per every 500 lbs. depending on the distance your belongings have to travel.

If you require packing assistance, the fee per 1000 lbs. can range between $200-400.

The price for the distance traveled is factored in differently by moving companies, but most of them will have set rates for moving stuff between specific cities. This can often be a good initial indicator of which companies you want to consider

If your stuff requires storage, most companies can charge up to $400 a month. Some moving companies also offer one-month free storage on long-distance moves. Keep in mind, storage is a huge factor in a long-distance move. Find out how and where your stuff would be stored, and whether the company will be unloading it or if it will remain on the truck or in the container once stored.

Special items may also be subject to special pricing during long-distance moves. Appliances can tack on additional $100-120 per item, and piano moving can cost between $300-700 additionally depending on the type of piano.

It is often possible to move cars and specialty vehicles like kayaks, ATVs, and motorcycles. Ask the moving company about specific pricing for your specialty items.

Remember, some companies may or may not have all of these services. What’s important is that the moving company is capable of correctly weighing your stuff and giving you the right and, most importantly, a fair price. This brings us to the next point.

How Much Does My Stuff Weigh?

Of course, every family and household is different, even if they occupy similarly-sized spaces. Here are some approximate minimum weight numbers for different types of homes in Canada.

A one-bedroom apartment has an average of 2000 lbs. of stuff.

A two-bedroom apartment has an average of 3000 lbs.

A three-bedroom apartment has an average of 4000 lbs.

A two-bedroom house has about 4000 lbs. of stuff.

A three-bedroom house has approximately 6000 lbs. of stuff.

A four-bedroom house has an average of 8000 lbs. of stuff.

As we already mentioned, most of the overcharging can occur when the stuff is not properly weighted. Even if the company gives you an initial price before weighing your stuff, always err on the side of caution and assume that number will only increase once your stuff is scaled. How companies go about weighing your stuff and subsequently calculating the costs associated with weight can be a sure sign of whether you want to consider that company at all or not.

Let’s see what other factors should go into your final decision

Long Distance Moving Companies In Canada: How To Pick The Right One?

One of the reasons that the moving industry in Canada continues to be one of the highest complained about consumer industries is because there is no single governing body that oversees and regulates how these businesses should operate. Unfortunately, the people who lose from this the most are unsuspecting homeowners who are just trying to get a good deal. There are some guidelines in place when it comes to separating professional moving companies from scammers. Check out some of these links and make sure that the moving companies you decide to get a quote from meet these criteria for selection:

  • Make sure the company meets the criteria under the Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers. The guidelines are the closest thing to an official document in Canada that explains what a moving company can and can’t lawfully do.
  • Find out if the prospective company belongs to the Canadian Association of Movers. The association represents many top-rated moving companies and has a searchable list of companies in your area. But keep in mind, membership in the CAM is not mandatory, and doesn’t necessarily 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. Because you may be moving across provinces it is important that the company is registered and has protection in all the places they work.
  • Does the company offer Replacement Value Protection on damaged items, 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 is an extremely important point when it comes to long-distance moves. Make sure the company can honestly answer who will be handling your belongings throughout all the stages of the move and storage if necessary. While subcontracting work doesn’t necessarily mean the company is bad, as long as they are honest about what they do.

Make sure that the moving company can meet these criteria when presenting you with a quote. Having some of these validations often goes along with being in the business for a long time.

Long Distance Moving Services Timelines

Another important factor to consider when looking for a long-distance mover is the timelines these companies offer. Most of the time your stuff can get there within 10-15 business days, but of course, how long it takes also depends on how far away you are moving.

What is more important is that your items arrive at the time the moving company said they would. Let’s face it, not everything goes perfectly all the time, and your staff may be late, but a professional company will be good about communicating any delays or changes to timelines. If you want to find out just how well a company does with its promised timelines, just look at its online ratings. Most companies will have mentions of lateness or bad communication between the moving company and homeowners if they consistently underperform in this aspect of their service.

Packing And Storage: What If You Need To Store Your Stuff Somewhere

You may need to store your items for some time between moving out of one place and into another. Most moving companies offer storage solutions based on the size of the locker. Storage lockers can come in different sizes to fit different apartment sizes. Below is a table that shows some approximate prices for the storage of moving items as well as the size of the common storage units.

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 

Hopefully, you’ve been able to gain some insight into how long-distance moving in Canada works, and what options you have when it comes to moving from province to province or across the whole country. Remember, make sure you get at least 3-4 written quotes and do some research about the companies you are considering. This can go a long way towards getting the anxiety out of your move, and closer to enjoying your new home.