Frequently Asked Questions
Please browse through our frequently asked questions to find answers to any of your questions. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to contact us.
If all your questions have been answered and you want to request an estimate, please fill out the Estimate Request Form for a quote!
Yes! Cumulatively, we're insured in the neighborhood of more than a million dollars or so. We have:
There's probably more, but while I'm reflecting on the costs associated with the above insurance here, I'm depressed and don't want to think about it.
In order to make MTB closer in alignment to industry regulations, practices, policies, and procedures, we now offer additional forms of coverage at very competitive rates. For more on our additional coverage, please check out our insurance page.
Yes, though it is highly recommended that you wrap them or pack them in picture frame boxes. The reason is two fold; one, it's easier and faster for us to move/pack them in the truck that way, and two, we technically cannot be held responsible for "unpacked fragile items" that break during transport. We've moved thousands of "unpacked fragile items" with minimal casualties, and we always try to do the right thing, but it's important that you're aware we're not technically responsible for unpacked items you have us move.
It's highly recommended. Generally speaking, it makes it easier for us to move, especially if we need to put it on end to get it around a tight corner. It's particularly recommended for Ikea (and Ikea-like) dressers whose structural integrity is suspect to begin with, let alone when the drawers are packed with clothes. It's also important to keep in mind that our insurance does not cover particle board furniture. For more info on our policies, check out our policy page.
We pride ourselves at being the best movers in the D.C. and Northern Virgina area and a tip is always a great way to let us know that we are living up to that standard. But, people always ask how much is customary, and I still don't have an answer for that. $20 seems to be the minimum, but sometimes they guys have been very pleasantly surprised by $100 or more.
Ultimately it comes down to what you feel is good and whether they've earned it. Anything is much appreciated by the guys.
Yep! No extra charge beyond the normal hourly rate. However, keep in mind that beds requiring a lot of disassembling and reassembling can add significant time to a move. If it's something you can't or don't want to mess with, my buddies will help you out, but if you're really cost-conscious you might want to considering doing that part yourself.
Unfortunately, no. I’m pretty sure my insurance doesn’t cover that, and even if it did, we're usually using the trucks. They're also nearly my sole source of income, so I’m extremely nervous about letting them out of my sight.
If all you're looking for is a truck rental service, I personally prefer Penske, particularly the 515 S. Van Dorn St. branch. They have a huge inventory and the folks there are incredibly friendly and helpful.
Rates seem to vary wildly between rental companies, so shop around. Pay attention to the mileage fees -- you may only be moving 10 miles between points A and B, but you also have to drive the truck from the rental lot and back again. And if you get thrown off your route and have to take a massive detour, you're going to wrack up mileage costs pretty quickly.
I have some other thoughts on the hows and whats of truck renting in our Moving Guide.
Not yet. I'm not ready to say "No, never," but it's not something I have a lot of experience with. I've always just dumped all my stuff in a box the night before moving day. (I know that a lot of you do the same thing, too. You know who you are...). I mostly avoid packing because it eliminates a lot of potential liability problems. We're really good at safely transporting your boxed items from their place in your homes and taking them to your new homes. One thing I've learned while building this business is to stick with what you're good at. So, for now, that doesn't involve packing.
However, we partner with Janet over at Basic Organization. She does a fantastic job helping people get ready for their move, and getting their places in order afterward.
We try to keep it simple, and I think we do a pretty good job of it. However, as with all simple things, we should probably flesh it out a bit. It seemed to make sense to compile all of the most frequent questions relating to charges in one mega-FAQ.
For most of our standard moves (Point A to B, or A to B to C), there are only two charges, the base rate and the hourly labor rate.
The base rate: This is the charge for the first two hours. It is a flat fee based on the number of men required, the size truck needed, and the distance the move is from our headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The range for this fee is $455 (for close-to-HQ kinds of jobs) to $995 (for much larger jobs and/or jobs that start or end far from HQ). The exact fee will be specified in your estimate.
The hourly labor rate: This is the standard hourly rate we charge for work performed. They typically range from $140/hr and $280/hr depending on the number of men required. (Most jobs require only two men). After the second hour, it's pro-rated by the quarter hour. So, for example, if a move takes two hours and fifteen minutes, we would call that 2.25 hours.
The crew starts the clock when they arrive at the pick-up location.
Charging stops when the last item is in place where the customer wants it. For example, if the last item is a couch, and the customer wants to see what it looks like in different places around the living room, the clock is still ticking while they feng shui it.
Right now we don't charge deposits.
We charge a two-hour minimum on all jobs, which is about two hours less than the industry standard of three hours.
Only in some cases. In general, travel time is accounted for in our zone fee, but if we know it’ll take an hour or more to get to your pick-up location, for example, we might charge a travel fee. You’ll know this up-front, though. THERE ARE NO SURPRISE FEES, GUARANTEED.
How much for this fee? Usually around the cost of one hour of labor.
The key to an inexpensive move is good preparation.
We've specifically designed our service, operations and charging structure to give people as much control over the overall costs as possible. We see every move as a cooperative partnership -- we do certain things and you do certain things. WE shave costs wherever possible (and this highly regulated industry costs us tens of thousands of dollars per month just to keep the lights on and gas in the trucks) and provide our customers with as much information as possible to prepare. Customers do their part by making sure everything possible is boxed, wrapped, or disassembled.
Lots of “random stuff,” i.e. unpacked miscellany or awkwardly shaped items that may be able to be broken down, require more trips to/from starting and ending points, particularly if elevators are involved. People who have the cheapest moves are the ones whose apartments are free and clear of clutter. People who start packing somewhere within about 48 hours before the move will almost certainly end up paying more.
We've compiled the most useful moving tips in our Moving Guide, found here. Customers who follow the tips in the guide tend to have fast, efficient, safe moves. The guide has been available for several years now, and the results are clear: it helps -- sometimes immensely.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but spending a little bit of money on moving supplies actually saves you money in the long-run. Often, a lot of money. How?
Until recently we sold our own custom boxes, but the demand wasn't high enough to keep it going. So, I can highly recommend www.usedcardboardboxes.com. The boxes aren't USED used -- they're usually just factory misprints and things like that. Delivery is free, so that's awesome.
A note about rates: We're committed to offering the most fair, competitive rates possible. By "fair" we mean affordable for our customers, and enough that we can keep gas in the trucks and the lights on. We understand that moving is often prohibitively expensive, but I can assure you that we strive to make our services accessible to as many people as possible.
Every move is different. However, a general rule of thumb is this: If someone offers you a surprisingly cheap rate, there's at least one catch. The most likely catch is that you're not dealing with a legitimate moving company -- shady operators often offer rates as low as $50-$60 per hour, but they're not paying for things like cargo insurance, general liability insurance, workman's compensation, etc. You also have to wonder what they're paying their guys -- it can't be much, and in this industry, the truism "you get what you pay for" is more true than many other areas in life.
Now to actually answer your question... An average 1 bedroom apartment move takes about 3.25 hours. We charge a base rate for the first hour and then an hourly labor rate billed in 15 minute increments for the balance of the job. So average 1 bedroom apartment move would cost just under $500. This is for a "typical" 1 bedroom apartment at current rates (June 2013). Over the years, I've learned that "typical" for one person is not "typical" to another, so please fill out an request/estimate form to get a more accurate estimate.
For example, if everything is boxed up and ready to go, we'll be on the low end of the scale (or lower, as is often the case). If you decide to start packing 30 minutes before we get there, well, it's going to take a while longer and cost a lot more.
Other factors include the size of the elevators, whether they're fast or slow, whether there are any long walks, three-floor walk-ups, etc.
The Truck Buddy Research and Development Labs are about to make a breakthrough in environmentally friendly smart foam that molds and hardens around delicate items, but until then, we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves. The main solution here is to ensure the TV is immobilized (perhaps obviously), and high and away from potential shifting objects. To achieve this, we usually place the TV on top of a dresser or other squarish, flat-topped base. Then, depending on whether we have couch cushions available, we place those between the back of the TV and the wall of the truck. When it's all in place, we wrap a strap around it and secure it to the wall.
The TV is then immobilized and cushioned.
We've transported hundreds, perhaps thousands of TVs this way with only a couple casualties.
While we are very good at transporting unpacked TVs, it is important for you to be familiar with our policies, because ultimately we cannot be held responsible for unpacked TVs.
We don't typically do long-distance moves, at least where "long distance" is defined as "well outside of the DC area." We have done some jobs to New York, South Carolina, etc., but those are fairly rare. For the most part, we've decided to stick close to the area we know best.
If you need help loading a POD-style storage container or rental moving truck, we can definitely help with that! If, however, you need someone to do your long-distance job, we can give you a referral or two.
Nope! We don't charge a fee if you have to cancel or reschedule. All we ask is that you let us know as soon as you know you'll need to do either. When we book a move, that spot is reserved exclusively for you. In the summer months, it's fairly easy to fill that spot at the last second, but for the rest of the year, that can be a costly hole on the schedule.