3 reasons price isn’t everything when it comes to international movers
Of all the logistical challenges associated with moving abroad, finding a reputable moving company to get the contents of your home from one country to another can be the most difficult. Many people instinctively go with the cheapest mover, but this strategy has consequences and ultimately you may pay more than you bargained for in the end. Here are three reasons why price isn’t everything:
You get what you pay for (also known as “If it’s too good to be true…”)
When I needed to find an international mover, I naively did a Google search. Bad idea. The first quote I got from a company was incredibly cheap – cheaper even than I had expected. When I told a second mover that their quote was double the first one, they warned me that the first quote I received wasn’t possible, that in fact the mover would actually be losing money at that price.
I’d heard of shameless companies lowballing potential customers to win business, and then raising the price once they’d picked up your stuff. This initial experience was motivation not to get scammed and I spent hours researching moving companies. All of the reputable ones that I got quotes from were in the same range.
If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are plenty of horror stories online about price gouging, lost or damaged goods, delayed delivery, and movers who became unreachable when there was a problem. You’re better off paying a bit more for peace of mind than going with a super cheap option. This doesn’t mean you should always avoid the most affordable option, but you should be wary of any major differences in price between quotes.
Consider your total costs
It’s important to consider your relocation costs in total and not simply focus on the cost of the mover. For instance, let’s say when you get to your new location you need to stay in a furnished apartment because you won’t be receiving your shipment for a while. Furnished homes generally cost more to rent than unfurnished homes. What if your shipment arrives a month late? You might have saved $1,000 by going with a cheaper mover, but then pay an additional $2,000 in rent for the extra month in a furnished home while you await the arrival of your stuff. The reverse of this is also true: you might pay more for a mover that can guarantee a more accurate delivery date but then save on temporary housing.
To give you a real life example, my wife and I paid about USD $4,500 to relocate from New York City to Sydney, Australia. We didn’t have that much stuff – a couple beds, a sofa, two wardrobes, and some boxes of clothes. One of the quotes was for USD $5,600 USD, but it specified the ship and sailing date. The company I decided to hire delivered our stuff a month late, mostly because it sat in storage near New York for several weeks before it shipped out. And while I wasn’t paying extra for a furnished apartment, I was spending an unhappy month in a very empty unfurnished apartment.
Think about the level of service you want
When you move abroad there are many options that can increase or decrease the overall price: Shipping door-to-door versus door-to-port or port-to-port, the inclusion of packing materials, clean-up of materials at your destination, and customs clearance are just some of these options. You need to consider what you want the movers to do and what you want to do yourself. For instance, door-to-port service, where a mover picks things up at your house and delivers them to the port nearest your destination, is cheaper than door-to-door. But it also means you’ll have to navigate your stuff through customs in a foreign country and somehow get it to your house. What’s that going to cost you in time, aggravation, and money?
Every scenario and each person’s individual needs are different, but it’s important not to focus exclusively on the price. Good luck and happy moving.
This was a guest post written for the Expat Hub by Adam Vagley. Adam is co-founder of GoodMigrations (www.GoodMigrationsHelps.