Planning to move? Better plan ahead

With home sales up double-digits from a year ago, a lot of people are moving, and that means a surge in business for professional moving companies.

Volumes are at unprecedented levels for the residential moving industry, according to one Virginia company executive.

“The most sought-after moving companies are booked well out into the fourth quarter. So it is great advice to get your move on the books early, and make your reservation as soon as you possibly can,” David Cox, at Sterling, Virginia-based JK Moving, told WTOP.

JK Moving’s residential volume in October was up more than 200% from a year ago.

A recent survey by moving company review site Move.org of 800 people who have made a move this year found 62% said there was limited availability in moving services, and 40% said they would start the moving process sooner if they had to move again.

There has been a shift in where people are moving.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in our out-of-state moves. In fact, a trend that has emerged this year that is unusual for us is the number of people who are moving to rural destinations. Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Vermont and New Hampshire have seen an increase of more than 300% in inbound moves,” Cox said.

If you are moving yourself, you may find it is harder to get the packing supplies you need. Not only has the increase in moves put a strain on supplies, but COVID-19 has slowed down manufacturing of things such as boxes, tape and packing materials.

And the pandemic has made it harder for people moving to get rid of all the stuff they don’t want to take with them.

“Donation centers are operating with a different level of restrictions just like other small businesses. It is best to check with donation centers to see what their availability and local restrictions are. Some other options are selling on Facebook or using Craigslist. There are also many moving companies that offer a discard or disposal service at a modest fee,” Cox said.

For DIY movers, the pandemic may require some planning if the move is across states. Some states and localities have travel restrictions or quarantine requirements.

One other change that has emerged for DIY movers is the drop in “beer and pizza” moves, where friends and family are enlisted to help with the move, because of pandemic concerns.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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