This is why your move costs more than you thought it would

by Neil Sharma on 12 Oct 2021

Packing up and moving is arduous enough, but making matters worse for many Canadians is that there are many additional charges they’re often unaware of.

According to a survey by BigSteelBox, a moving and storage company, 19% of respondents didn’t realize they would be charged by weight, of which 36% were not aware of how they would be charged before booking. Thirty percent of respondents paid more money for their move than they were initially quoted.

“The average cost of moves climbed for a couple of reasons. Destination cities, which are rural non-urban areas, increases the cost,” Brian Hawkins, BigSteelBox’s director of operations, told CREW. “People have been leaving Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary because the pandemic taught us we can do our jobs from anywhere, so they would cash in on the housing market in bigger centres and move somewhere smaller.

“Whenever you take trucks off a key lane—trucks typically go where the population is—they have to get to you and back, so if there’s an opportunity for them to provide you a fixed price, that will set consumers up to win. A lot of companies charge extra fees, including a storage fee if the truck has to wait a couple of days or even a fuel surcharge.”

The survey noted that scales ultimately determine the final price consumers pay for moves, which is why final invoices rarely match quotes.

“The challenge for moving companies is the lure of underestimating the weight to make their quote look cheaper than their competitors,” said the survey report. “Our research indicates that this is an exception and not a common practice.”

However, there is another factor that, since 2020, has added to the cost of moving, Hawkins says. Commercial carriers in Canada now use electronic locking devices to track a truck’s duty time, reducing how many trucks are on the road at any given time as well as the hours spent on the road.

“It makes it safer,” Hawkins said. “They can’t get as far in the same day and that puts pressure on costs. We don’t push unsafe hours but I have heard it has put pressure on the industry for sure.”

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