Besides the amount of things you have, the variable most likely to determine how long your move will take—and if you’ve hired a time based moving company, how much it will cost—is accessibility. Moving involves more than just bringing things out and in places. You have to think about the walk from the truck to where the furniture is and where it needs to go. Are there any stairs in the way? Is an elevator available for use? Are there heavy pieces of furniture in the basement?
You can overcome most accessibility issues, so it’s not a matter of doing, but a matter of time and cost. And you can be prepared with the most accurate estimate by communicating possible accessibility issues to your moving company. Wondering what things you should be looking for? Here are 6 accessibility details that have the potential to derail your move and quote.
The first accessibility detail you’ll think of is most likely stairs. Wide staircases with no turns won’t add much extra time to your move. However, staircases with turns could slow down your move a great deal, depending on how many large pieces of furniture you need moved up or down the stairs. For example, moving a queen bed with a split box spring down stairs with turns will be much easier than moving a king mattress with a non-split box spring down the same set of stairs.
It’s usually not a matter of “can it be done” but “how long will it take?” You and your moving company might not have any idea as to exactly how long it will take, but letting them know about a potentially tight staircase will allow them to give you a more accurate estimate.
Elevators (Or Lack Of)
Elevator access can make or break an apartment move. And having access to an elevator doesn’t guarantee your move will go any faster. If you cannot reserve the elevator for your move, that means you have to share it with the rest of the building. Another person might be moving out that day as well, and you’ll end up playing a waiting game. Even simply other residents using the elevator could slow down the move.
If you live in an apartment on a higher floor that typically has an elevator you can reserve for your move but is currently out of service, this will absolutely slow down your move. Moving furniture down stairs from the 11th floor adds much more time to a move than moving furniture from the 3rd floor.
By now you might be thinking, “I’m all set with accessibility. I currently live on the ground floor; no stairs or elevator to worry about!” There are still a few accessibility details you need to keep in mind, like the width of your hallway. Furniture you didn’t think needed taking apart might need to be in order to fit down the hallway. The movers weren’t expecting to take anything apart, and your estimate was written without factoring in time for disassembly and re-assembly. It’s an unfortunate surprise on both ends, unless you tell your moving company about the potential accessibility problem in advance.
There are a three kinds of basement access: internal entrance and stairs only, bilco doors, and a walkout basement (i.e. sliding or single doors, no stairs involved). If you only have boxes and a few shelves in the basement, what type of entrance/exit you have won’t factor too much into your estimate. However, if you have gym equipment, a washer and dryer, or a sofa in the basement, the accessibility will heavily impact the length of your move.
Walk out basements have the least impact on additional time (if any at all). Sliding or single doors give plenty of space to move a wide couch in and out of without having to go up or down any flights of stairs.
Bilco doors come in second place, as stairs are still involved, as well as a low ceiling at over the stairs that may make certain pieces difficult to move in or out. You do have a bit more flexibility, as these staircases are usually quite short.
Narrow, internal only stairs have the potential to add the most amount of time to your move. The railing, low ceiling, and difficult maneuverability have the potential to add quite a lot of time to your move.
Attics tend to have a rickety pull down attic ladder and require a little extra caution. Usually, attics only store boxes and seasonal decorations. It’s not a problem moving these things down; it just takes a bit of time. As long as you’re prepared with the possible addition to the estimate, you can have this labor done for you on moving day. But you can save a little time and money if you bring the items down yourself before the movers arrive.
The distance between the moving truck and the entrance to your moving location largely impacts the length of your move. If the movers can park in the driveway or right in front on the street, this won’t add additional time to your move.
Parking accessibility that could add a significant amount of time to your move:
– living on a hill with a winding driveway
-a flight of outside stairs is between parking and the entrance to your current home
-parking is across the street or around the corner
-you need to (and forget to) save a spot for the moving truck with your own vehicle
When it comes to getting the most accurate price for your move, one of the best things you can do is be upfront and honest about the accessibility. Your moving company can only work with the details they know. If they aren’t aware of the tight basement stairway, they cannot factor that into your estimate, and you’ll end up with a much longer move than you anticipated.
If you’re concerned about any accessibility detail, communicate that to your moving company. Email or text them pictures and ask for their professional opinion. Moving companies move several people each day. They know the ins and outs of moving and can answer any question you may have.
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