First of all, I must apologize for my lack of blogging over the past seven weeks. As you may have guessed by the title, I have quite a legitimate excuse for not writing.
If you are not a subscriber to my newsletter, (go ->here<- and subscribe today!), you may not be aware that I have spent the past almost two months moving from the San Francisco Bay area to Vancouver, Washington, a total journey of almost 700 miles.
I won’t drone on about the details of our caravan, including a 26 foot moving truck followed by our three cars. Nor will I discuss how we left our old house over seven hours later than we’d originally planned. And I won’t even go into how I got mild food poisoning during the last 2 hours before we FINALLY got here in Vancouver, or how I had to stop at several gas stations as the rest of the caravan continued on without me. Yes – the adventure of moving is nothing but stress, chaos, uncertainty, and mild bouts of sheer madness.
Through it all, we’ve now been here at our new house for just shy of three weeks, and legitimately we are more than half-way unpacked and set up, more or less. Since we have a five-year-old, two cats, two adults working or starting their new jobs, and one adult desperately job-hunting, I would say we are doing better than most.
As I’m getting back on my normal writing and client-work schedule, I thought I should quickly write a blog, and for my blog I shall share with you some of the lessons this move has taught me. It is my hope that these lessons will help you, should you ever endeavor a move such as ours.
Hearsay and Moving Logistics
While the Internet is a wonderful device, it has its failings. For instance, you can look up a lot of information online concerning the price of moving trucks, packing equipment, rental properties, etc., but many of the details that will screw you in the end are never posted.
Solution – Do your Internet research first, but ALWAYS CALL AND TALK TO A REAL PERSON!!!!
If you’re already on a tight budget, and who isn’t these days, you want to avoid as many expensive surprises as possible. Therefore, even if you have triple-checked a website concerning their price on whatever, call a real person, get them to run through the quote, and get confirmation of that quote.
As an example, when I was originally looking for moving trucks, I looked up stuff online and made only a few calls. I finally came across Enterprise, and by the numbers, they do literally have the best price. For a 26 foot moving truck, they charged $480 for a week and then a small per mileage fee. On paper, that beat out the competition by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I even went through their online registration form to make sure the prices were accurate. When our moving dates became finalized, I finally called in to reserve our truck. Unfortunately, even though Enterprise offers an amazing deal, you have to return the truck to the same location from which you rented it.
Our amazing deal totally fell through, and we were left scrambling for the next best viable option.
To make matters worse, this was literally weeks before our move. Normally, at least I assume normally, people know where they are moving to weeks if not months in advance. We didn’t have a place established until less than 12 days before our agreed-upon move-out-of-date, which brings us to my next point.
Lock in the Price before They Gouge You
Many people move in the summer, because our traditional school schedules make that the best time to transition children from one place to another. Moving companies take full advantage of your situation, and hike the prices up like you wouldn’t believe during the summer.
For instance – back in April when I originally looked up the prices of trucks, I think the cheapest trucks I found besides Enterprise were 24 footers for somewhere around $1,200-$1,500. All of the places I called at that time told me to reserve my truck early, because then I could lock the price before the prices went up in summer. Of course, given our circumstances, we didn’t have guaranteed jobs or a place at that point, so I didn’t feel comfortable reserving the truck with that much uncertainty.
After we were left scrambling from the Enterprise debacle, I called around and found a 16 foot truck for all-in at around $1,200. We wanted (needed) something bigger, but the next size up, at that time, was another $500 that we simply didn’t have. Less than a week went by, and thanks to our wonderful family and friends, we got extra money for the move. I called to upgrade our truck to the next size, thinking it would only be another $500. From one week to the next, the price of our truck for the next size up, which would’ve been a 24 footer, was no longer an extra $500, but was now $1,000 more! We needed the bigger truck, so we bit the bullet.
The lesson here – either don’t move during the summer, or reserve as early as possible and deal with cancellation fees.
Changing over When You Get There Can Cost a Pretty Penny
No matter where you move, there’s a lot of things you have to change over or update. It’s easy to deal with your address and mail forwarding, but dealing with car insurance becomes problematic when you move from state to state.
In case you didn’t know – and I certainly didn’t know – California and Florida have the lowest car insurance requirements in the nation. Since I moved from California to Washington, I discovered that my California insurance plan would not be acceptable, and that my rates would go up from $70 a month to about $120.
Not a great way to start living in a new state.
On top of that, because Washington doesn’t see California as “equal insurance”, my fees are even higher, because for six months I will appear to be a previously uninsured driver. Absolute BS, but that’s how the state operates. Adding even more drama to the situation, one of my two cars has a salvaged title. I never thought it was a big issue, because in California there was no issue with my insurance. Anywhere else apparently has major issues, and a lot of insurance carriers, including Esurance, whom I’d been with for over three years, could not ensure a salvaged title car in Washington.
There was a bright side, though. Esurance deals with this sort of thing all the time, so they directed me to one of their recommended brokers who hooked me up with an insurance company who would ensure a salvaged title. As an added bonus, Esurance even refunded me, since the reason they could no longer cover me was no fault of my own. In my eyes, Esurance still rocks, and their refund just about covered the cost of switching insurance plans.
If there is a lesson here, it’s to call your insurance and figure out ahead of time what the cost changes will be. You can’t do much about it, since the costs are dictated by the state, but at least you can prepare your budget.
Final Thoughts on Surviving a Move
Stress will happen. Chaos will happen. Being unable to find stuff for weeks will happen. You can’t stop it, you can’t control it 24/7, (I’ve tried), and that is simply the way it is. If you can accept that the chaos will continue for a while, you’re doing better than I am.
P.S. I realize this is more of a rant than a blog, but I hope you still enjoyed it. Expect more regular blogs within the next week or so. I’m still keeping true to my pay it forward challenge, which you can read up about ->here<-. I have many other blog topics brewing in my mind, so stay tuned =0)