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Everything You Need To Know About Moving in Canada (2024 updated)

If you think about it, moving is a lot like going to the dentist. You want to do it as little as possible, and when you have to do it, you want it done quickly, cheaply, and with as little disturbance or additional work as possible. Fortunately for most homeowners in Canada, there is a sea of moving companies to choose from that are just a phone call away. Unfortunately, a lot of these companies don’t always have their customer’s best interests in mind. Many are simply after earning a quick profit, without much regard for the consequences or quality of the moving services they provide. What’s worse, a lot of these moving companies keep doing business and preying on unsuspecting homeowners over and over again, for years.

It is no wonder then, that the moving industry makes the Top 10 complained-about services on the Better Business Bureau every year. That’s why in our blogs we want to highlight the useful information you should know and expose the icebergs you should steer clear from when it comes to moving from one home to another. Look out for future posts that will go deeper into the finer points of residential moving, but if you read nothing else, familiarize yourself with these main ideas and facts you should know about moving in Canada.


Should you hire a mover?

Before thinking of anything else after deciding to move, consider whether you actually need to hire a moving company. This will determine how much time, money, and resources you need to contribute to your move.

The amount and size of your furniture and personal belongings will usually determine your decision. But make sure you are realistic in your planning. For example, it is often possible to move a small one-bedroom apartment with just two people in a couple of hours, but the time to pack and organize everything for the move may require an additional day or two of preparation. In this case you may find it faster to just pay someone to do it for you without taking time away from work.

Another reason you may want to hire a professional mover is if any of your furniture or personal assets require extra care and attention when handled. Most people can package fragile china and dinnerware securely, but things like pianos, sculptures, or artwork often require special know-how to get it from point A to point B safely, so work like that is best left to the professionals. Professional movers will also bring plenty of tarps and packaging material and ensure everything is wrapped securely, meaning you don’t have to spend time or money scavenging for moving supplies. Another obvious benefit of a moving company is that they have their own truck and handle the driving and all the insurance associated with transporting your stuff; something you would be paying for out of pocket if you are to move yourself.

If you have a lot of spare time, energy, and possibly a few friends or family members that can help, you can pull off a move into a new place. But even moving yourself requires expenses that can quickly add up. Depending on the size of your new home and the amount of stuff you need moved, hiring a moving company may be well worth the time and effort you can instead put into doing something else.


How much does moving cost in Canada?

Of course, the cost of moving is a big deciding factor in whether to hire a moving company and which one to choose.

1. Understanding Charges

Long-distance moves (beyond 50 km, depending on the company) are based on weight and distance, while local moves are priced on an hourly rate. If you have a lot of stuff, additional movers may be needed, which can increase the overall cost.

A good hourly rate for two movers and a truck in Canada is between $89 and $149, depending on the city. For example, in Toronto, rates range from $89 to $119, while in Calgary, they range from $109 to $149. An additional helper usually costs $45 to $60 an hour.


2. Rates and Warnings

For long-distance moves, a good rate is between $0.50 and $0.70 per pound. Always clarify how much the company charges for a residential move and what they consider “local” versus “long-distance.” Don’t make price the only deciding factor; if a deal seems too cheap, it probably is.

Be cautious of extremely low quotes, as they are often used to secure the deal, only for the mover to later raise the price or hold your belongings hostage until you agree to pay more. The final price for your move should be provided in written form to avoid disputes on moving day.


3. Payment Practices

As a good practice, don’t pay everything upfront. Most moving companies in Canada charge around a 10% deposit or the full invoiced amount upon the truck’s arrival. Ensure that the invoice is provided in writing prior to the move—no verbal agreements!

Check out this handy interactive checklist to prepare you for your move.


When is the Cheapest Time to Move in Canada?

Timing your move can significantly impact your overall costs. Here are some insights into when you can find the best deals:


  1. Off-Peak Seasons: The cheapest time to move is typically during the off-peak season, which is usually from late fall to early spring (November to March). During these months, moving companies often have lower demand, resulting in better rates.
  2. Weekdays vs. Weekends: Moving during the week (Monday to Thursday) is generally cheaper than moving on weekends. Many people prefer to move on weekends, so booking a weekday can lead to discounts.
  3. Avoiding Holidays: Avoid scheduling your move around major holidays, such as Labor Day, Independence Day, or New Year’s. These times are popular for moves, leading to higher prices.
  4. Early Planning: Booking your move well in advance can often secure lower rates, as companies appreciate advance notice and can plan accordingly.


Cost Comparison Table

Here’s a simple table to illustrate how moving costs can vary based on timing, with average prices offered by Canadian companies:

Time Frame Estimated Cost Range (CAD) Notes
Peak Season (May-Aug) $1,200 – $2,500 Higher demand, higher prices
Off-Peak Season (Nov-Mar) $800 – $1,800 Lower demand, better rates
Weekdays (Mon-Thu) $900 – $2,200 Typically cheaper than weekends
Weekends (Fri-Sun) $1,100 – $2,600 Higher demand leads to higher rates
Holidays $1,500 – $3,000 Extremely high demand


By planning your move during the off-peak season, on weekdays, and avoiding holidays, you can save a significant amount on moving costs.


How to Pick a Moving Company in Canada

Choosing the right moving company is crucial for a smooth relocation. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision:


  1. Research and Gather Recommendations: Start by researching local moving companies online. Ask friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations based on their experiences. Check online reviews and ratings on platforms like Google and Yelp.
  2. Verify Credentials: Ensure the moving company is licensed and insured. In Canada, reputable moving companies should have a valid Canadian Transport Agency (CTA) number. This guarantees they meet industry standards.
  3. Get Multiple Quotes: Contact several moving companies to obtain quotes. This will help you compare prices and services. Make sure the quotes are detailed and include all potential charges to avoid surprises later.
  4. Ask About Services Offered: Inquire about the range of services the company provides. Some may offer packing and unpacking, storage solutions, or specialty item handling (e.g., pianos, antiques). Choose a company that meets your specific needs.
  5. Check for Hidden Fees: When reviewing quotes, look for any hidden fees, such as charges for fuel, stairs, or packing materials. Make sure everything is outlined clearly in the estimate.
  6. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Check online reviews and testimonials from previous customers to gauge the company’s reputation. Look for consistent feedback regarding reliability, professionalism, and customer service.
  7. Ask About Experience: Inquire how long the company has been in business and their experience with moves similar to yours. An established company is more likely to handle your move efficiently.
  8. Verify Insurance Coverage: Make sure the moving company offers adequate insurance coverage for your belongings. Understand the types of coverage available, such as basic or full value protection.
  9. Trust Your Instincts: Choose a company that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Trust your instincts about their professionalism and willingness to answer your questions.
  10. Get Everything in Writing: Once you’ve selected a moving company, ensure you receive a written contract that outlines all agreed-upon details, including pricing, services, and the moving date.


Getting a Moving Quote: What You Need to Know

When planning a move, obtaining an accurate moving quote is essential for budgeting and understanding the services you’ll receive. Here are key points to consider when getting a quote from moving companies.

First, it’s important to understand the different types of quotes available. Most moving companies offer three types of quotes: binding, non-binding, and binding not-to-exceed. A binding quote guarantees the price will not change, while a non-binding quote is an estimate that may vary based on actual weight and distance. A binding not-to-exceed quote sets a maximum price, ensuring you won’t pay more than the quoted amount, even if the actual costs increase.


Types of Moving Quotes

Quote Type Description Pros Cons
Binding Quote Fixed price agreed upon in advance No surprise costs Requires accurate assessment
Non-Binding Quote Estimated price based on provided information Flexibility in pricing Final cost may be higher
Binding Not-to-Exceed Maximum price cap for the move Protection from overcharging May be higher than binding quotes


When requesting a quote, be prepared to provide detailed information about your move. This includes the size of your home, the number of rooms, and any special items that require extra care. Be honest about what you need to avoid surprises later.

Additionally, it’s wise to schedule an in-home or virtual estimate. Many companies offer free estimates, allowing them to assess your belongings more accurately. This also provides an opportunity to ask questions and clarify any concerns about the moving process.


Key Factors for an Accurate Quote

Factor Importance
Distance of the Move Impacts pricing significantly
Volume/Weight of Belongings Determines the size of the truck and labor required
Special Items Items like pianos or artwork may incur extra fees
Date of the Move Peak seasons and weekends may cost more


Once you receive quotes from various companies, compare them carefully. Look beyond the price and assess what services are included. Some companies may offer lower rates but provide fewer services, while others may include packing supplies or insurance.

Finally, always ensure that the quote is provided in writing. This protects you from unexpected charges on moving day and ensures clear communication between you and the moving company. By understanding the quote process and being thorough in your preparation, you can make an informed decision for your upcoming move.


Moving Insurance: What Happens If Stuff Breaks

When planning a move in Canada, it’s essential to understand the importance of moving insurance. Accidents can happen during transit, and having the right coverage can protect your belongings and provide peace of mind. Here’s what you need to know about moving insurance and what to do if your items break.


Types of Coverage

In Canada, moving companies typically offer several types of insurance coverage:

  1. Basic Coverage: This is often included in your moving contract at no extra charge. It usually covers items based on their weight, offering limited financial protection. For example, you might receive $0.60 per pound of damaged goods, which may not fully cover the replacement cost.
  2. Full Value Protection: This option provides more comprehensive coverage. If an item is lost or damaged, the moving company is responsible for repairing or replacing it at its current market value. This coverage usually comes at an additional cost but offers better peace of mind.
  3. Third-Party Insurance: If the moving company’s insurance options don’t meet your needs, you can purchase additional coverage from a third-party insurer. This can provide tailored protection for high-value items or specific circumstances.


What to Do If Stuff Breaks

If something does break during your move, follow these steps:

  1. Document the Damage: Take clear photos of the damaged items and any visible damage to your home or property. This documentation will be crucial for filing a claim.
  2. Notify the Moving Company: Contact the moving company as soon as possible to report the damage. Most companies require you to notify them within a specific timeframe, often within a few days of the move.
  3. File a Claim: Fill out the necessary claim forms provided by the moving company. Include all documentation, such as photos and any original receipts for the items, to support your claim.
  4. Understand the Claims Process: Familiarize yourself with the moving company’s claims process and timeline. Each company may have different procedures and timeframes for processing claims, so be sure to follow their guidelines closely.


Coverage Comparison Table

Coverage Type Description Pros Cons
Basic Coverage Limited protection based on weight Included at no extra cost Low payout limits
Full Value Protection Covers the full value of damaged items Better financial protection Additional cost involved
Third-Party Insurance Customized coverage from external providers Tailored to specific needs May require additional research


Investing in moving insurance is a smart decision when relocating in Canada. It protects your belongings and provides peace of mind during the moving process. Be sure to assess your coverage options carefully, document any damages, and follow the proper procedures if something breaks. With the right insurance in place, you can navigate your move with confidence.


How to Pack Everything in Your House Effectively

Packing for a move can feel overwhelming, but with the right approach, you can make it manageable. Here are some tips on how to pack just about everything in your home efficiently.


1. Start Early and Plan Ahead

Begin the packing process well in advance of your moving date. This allows you to tackle one room at a time and reduces stress. Create a packing schedule to stay organized.


2. Gather Packing Supplies

Collect all the necessary packing materials, including:

  • Sturdy boxes in various sizes
  • Bubble wrap and packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Markers for labeling
  • Moving blankets for larger items


3. Declutter Before Packing

Take the opportunity to declutter as you pack. Go through each room and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. This not only reduces the volume of items to pack but also makes unpacking easier.


4. Pack Room by Room

Focus on one room at a time to stay organized. Start with less frequently used spaces, such as basements or attics, and work your way to the essentials in the kitchen and living areas.


5. Use Proper Packing Techniques

When packing items, follow these guidelines:

  • Fragile Items: Wrap breakables in bubble wrap or packing paper, and label boxes as “Fragile.” Place heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter ones on top.
  • Clothing: Use wardrobe boxes for hanging clothes, or fold and pack them in suitcases. Consider vacuum-sealing items to save space.
  • Books: Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines, and use smaller boxes to prevent them from becoming too heavy.


6. Label Everything

Clearly label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to. This makes unpacking easier and helps movers know where to place boxes in your new home.


7. Keep Essentials Accessible

Pack a separate “essentials box” with items you’ll need right away, such as toiletries, clothes for the first few days, important documents, and basic kitchen supplies.


Packing Checklist Table

Item Category Packing Tips Special Considerations
Kitchen Items Wrap fragile items; pack pots and pans together Label boxes as “Fragile”
Clothing Use wardrobe boxes or suitcases Consider vacuum sealing
Electronics Use original boxes if available; secure cords Back up data if applicable
Furniture Disassemble if possible; wrap in moving blankets Keep screws/parts in labeled bags
Decorative Items Wrap individually; use boxes for grouping Label boxes clearly


By following these tips and staying organized, you can pack everything in your house effectively, making your move smoother and less stressful.


How to Be Prepared on Moving Day

Moving day can be hectic, but with the right preparation, you can ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are some essential tips to help you be ready on the big day.


1. Confirm Details with the Moving Company

A day or two before your move, confirm all details with the moving company, including the arrival time, address, and any special instructions. This ensures everyone is on the same page.


2. Pack an Essentials Box

Prepare an essentials box that contains everything you’ll need for the first day or two in your new home. Include items like toiletries, clothes, basic kitchen supplies, and important documents.


3. Organize Parking and Access

Make arrangements for parking for the moving truck at both your current and new locations. Ensure that access points are clear and that any necessary permits are obtained in advance.


4. Do a Final Walkthrough

Before the movers arrive, do a final walkthrough of your home to ensure nothing is left behind. Check closets, cabinets, and garages to confirm everything is packed.


5. Communicate with the Movers

When the movers arrive, communicate clearly about what needs to be loaded first and any special handling instructions for fragile or valuable items.


6. Stay Available for Questions

Be present and available throughout the moving process to answer any questions the movers might have. This helps ensure everything is loaded and unloaded as planned.


7. Take Care of Pets and Children

Arrange for pets and children to be in a safe space away from the chaos of moving. This can help reduce stress for everyone involved.


8. Keep Important Documents Handy

Keep important documents, such as contracts, insurance papers, and identification, easily accessible. This will save time if you need to reference them during the move.


Moving Day Checklist Table

Task Description
Confirm Moving Company Verify time, address, and instructions
Prepare Essentials Box Pack immediate necessities for the first days
Organize Parking Ensure clear access for the moving truck
Final Walkthrough Check for any items left behind
Communicate with Movers Discuss loading and special instructions
Stay Available Be present to answer any questions during the move
Care for Pets/Children Arrange care for pets and kids
Keep Documents Handy Have important papers easily accessible


By following these tips and being well-prepared, you can make moving day as stress-free as possible and ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

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