How To Hire Movers in Vancouver BC: A Step-By-Step Guide

Moving sucks. Hiring professional movers can make it a little easier. Here’s everything you need to know–from reservations to load size to tipping.

After years of borrowing my parents’ minivan to move my belongings from apartment to apartment, my first professional move felt like a milestone on the path to adulthood. Don’t get me wrong—there’s something to be said for the DIY move. It’s cheaper, and having friends help out lends a festive air to an otherwise tedious chore, especially during the post-move beer-and-pizza party.

But there comes a time when you just need or want to hire professional movers. Maybe your household has two people in it now, and there’s a lot more stuff to move. Or you actually own a few expensive things and you don’t trust your cousin Mike to handle them with the care they need. Before you embark on the somewhat bewildering journey of hiring movers, read our step-by-step guide.

Ask for personal recommendations

Yes, there are plenty of online review sites like Google and bbb, and you should definitely check them out. But I like to start by asking people I know—friends, neighbors, co-workers, and so on. Those are the recommendations I trust the most.

Hopefully you’ll end up with a few names that multiple people have had great experiences with. You may also learn of a few companies to absolutely avoid. That’s valuable information, too.

Check availability and pricing

The most popular movers will get booked quickly so don’t delay. If you’re moving during the colder months you may be able to get away with a last-minute reservation, but spring and summer are likely to fill fast. When you call, keep these things in mind:

Moving date flexibility

If you don’t have to be out of your old place and into the new one on the first of the month, like most renters, your first-choice movers will have an easier time fitting you in. It’s also helpful if you can move on a weekday instead of the weekend.


Most movers charge by the hour (expect to pay at least $30/hour per mover), so the ultimate price could be slightly higher or lower than quoted. However, they’re pretty accurate at estimating how long your move will take. Expect to be asked how many people are in your household, how many rooms and/or floors you’re moving from, and what kinds of especially big or heavy pieces of furniture you might own.

Remember that you’ll have to pay for the movers’ travel time, too—unless it’s a very local move. That includes the time it will take them to return to the office from your final destination. Ask if you’ll need to pay a fuel surcharge, as well, and how they handle extra minutes (example: the move takes three hours and 15 minutes). Some movers will round up to the next hour. The mover you want to hire will prorate their hourly price.

Finally, ask if there are any extra fees you could be charged based on special circumstances such as elevator or stair usage or the need for a permit to park on a city street.

Number of movers

Two movers will be cheaper than three, but three will get the job done faster. So when you’re comparing estimates, keep that in mind. A cheaper hourly rate could end up costing more if the move takes longer.

Payment method

Some movers will accept credit cards and personal checks, but most prefer cash. Don’t be intimidated if they don’t take credit cards. Paying in cash ensures you can actually afford the move, and you’ll need cash for a tip anyway.


I’ve never had to pay a deposit on a move. You should ask if there is a cancellation policy, though. Some movers may charge you for canceling without a certain amount of notice.

Truck size

I once hired movers who showed up with a U-Haul truck that was obviously too small to fit the contents of our house. Make sure your movers have a big enough truck that will also fit on your street if you live on a narrow city road. You don’t want to end up having to pay for more than one trip or an extra vehicle.

Tip: I usually tip 10 percent of the total, which the movers can divide amongst themselves. Other people suggest tipping based on the extent of the move (starting at $10 per person for a small and local move). You may want to tip more or less depending on the quality of the experience.

Pack smart

Most moving companies will pack (and even unpack) your belongings for an additional fee. This could include the price of boxes and other packing supplies as well as an hourly rate for labor.

If you don’t want to pay any more than you have to, pack everything yourself and get it done before the movers arrive. If you’re still scrambling to finish packing while they load the truck you’re going to make the move more expensive. It will take longer and mess up their careful calculations about the most efficient way to use the truck space. Other ways to save money on packing include:

Find free boxes

Your best bets are your local liquor stores (sometimes they are stacked by the door for people to take) and in recycling dumpsters behind stores. Some people who have just moved post “curb alerts” for free boxes on Craigslist and social media. If you decide to buy boxes, comparison shop at stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes.

Pack fragile items in newspaper

Bubble wrap is nice, but it’s more expensive than picking up your local Sunday paper. I’ve had almost no problems with wrapping glasses and other breakables in a sheet or two of newspaper.

Use small or medium sized boxes for heavier items

My husband and I own a lot of books, which get heavy fast when you stack them. Always stick with smaller boxes for books, CDs, and other cumulatively heavy things. Bigger boxes can be used for pillows and other large, lightweight items. It’s good to put as much as you can in boxes, but if a box is too heavy you’ll waste time re-packing it.

Move some of your boxes yourself

If you own a car, you’re moving locally, and you have more than one day to do it, try to move as much as you can by yourself. This will save you money on the total time the move takes. Your car may also be better for moving precious valuables, whether your grandmother’s jewelry or a shiny flat screen TV. If it would kill you to lose it (or have it break), then best to move it yourself—no one will be more careful.

Make sure the big day goes smoothly

Good movers should be able to work independently, especially on the loading end. You need to be there to let them in and answer questions when they arise, but mostly you should try to relax. Moving can be stressful, but you hired movers to take care of the hardest part.

When it’s time to unload, the movers should place everything where you want it to go. If they try to just dump everything in the room closest to the door, step in to give directions.

As you settle the final bill, make sure the total is indeed the total. I talked to a friend of mine who received an invoice with additional charges six months after his move. That shouldn’t happen. Sign off on the final figure and ask the movers to do so as well.


Many people have stories of horrible moves, but if you follow these steps you should end up with a positive experience. And once you get used to the convenience of a professional move, you won’t want to go back to the DIY version. Tell us all about your first professional moving experience in the comments.

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ProShip Moving & Logistics, winter moving tips 2021, Vancouver local professional movers.

Winter is here! And you have to move your household right in the middle of it, winter means freezing temps and snow. We rounded up 17 tips from experienced Vancouver movers to help your winter move go smoothly.

1. Confirm details with your movers.

Waiting to move in the winter is pretty smart. Winter is moving companies’ off-seasons, so you should have a wider range of dates available to choose from. Just be sure to check in with your ProShip movers a week before the move and a day or two before the move. Because in winter, we all know the weather can be unpredictable.

2. Keep checking the weather.

Speaking of weather, keep a sharp eye on it. Check it every week leading up to the move, and then every day the week of the move. If you’re concerned the weather will shut down roads or hinder your ProShip movers, call ProShip moving & Logistics and express your concern. It’s better to delay the move than get caught in a blizzard.

3. Cover your floors.

not all companies provide floor runners to protect your flooring especially on rainy and snow days but ProShip Moving & Logistics moving trucks are fully equipped with 10-floor runners that are 20ft each its a total of 200ft of red carpet floor protection surface.

4. Turn the heat off.

Think about it: if you have people going in and out all day, your poor furnace will be trying to heat the house and it will all go straight out the door. If you turn the heat off, just for the day, not only will you save on that electric bill, but you’ll then be able to do tip 5 (and make your Vancouver ProShip movers’ day!).

5. Board your pets.

No one wants a puppy underfoot while they’re trying to move, and if you take our advice and turn the heat off, your puppy will need to stay somewhere warm. Check local boarders and kennels for heated runs, heated floors, and one or two day discounted rates. Make sure the fur babies are taken care of before the day of the move.

6.Clear the sidewalks, driveways, and street.

It doesn’t get more dangerous than carrying a heavy couch down an icy sidewalk. Be sure to salt, shovel, or snow blow any major walkways you think the movers will be using so they can walk safely with your belongings. And so you avoid a lawsuit.

ProShip moving & Logistics vancouver winter moving tips
ProShip moving & Logistics Vancouver winter moving tips

8. Check the utilities at the new house.

Nothing — we repeat NOTHING – is worse than having no heat and no light in the dead of winter. Make sure that all of the utilities at your new home are turned on and actually working before you start moving. We recommend getting everything turned on about two days before your move.

9. Check the snowplow schedule.

You’ve carefully planned every detail of your move, the ProShip movers arrived bright and early, and last night’s plow guy left a really nice bank of mushy, dirty snow between the ProShip moving truck and your house. Make sure you have parking available that’s not on the plow route or leave yourself enough time to forge a path to the house.

11. Warm up your insides.

Keep a crockpot of hot chocolate or hot apple cider heating in the kitchen – for you and your ProShip movers. When you can’t feel your fingers anymore, or the poor movers are looking a bit frostbitten, call a halt for a cup of hot cocoa. You’ll feel better, and your movers will think you’re awesome.

ProShip Moving & Logistics winter moving tips
ProShip Moving & Logistics winter moving tips

13. Double pack fragile items.

Many things that are delicate or extra fragile become more brittle in cold weather. Help your movers out by double packing your fragile items so they’re less likely to break while moving. Also remember: any items that can be damaged by cold should not be packed in the truck. The truck may sit out overnight, which could cause more damage than you hoped for.

14. Baby your electronics.

Electronic devices really do not like cold weather. Pack all electronics into one or two boxes, and make sure those travel in your car, where the heat will be on and they can maintain a steady temperature.

15. Keep winter essentials with you.

It’s tempting to make room in your car for a pillow and sleeping bag, but make sure your extra clothing layers, coats, snow boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and a handful of cozy quilts also make it into the car. Can you imagine if they got loaded on the truck instead?! Brrrrr!

16. Be flexible and err on the side of caution.

While it’s already really frustrating and stressful to move in the winter, winter weather only adds to the number of possible complications. ProShip movers can’t control the weather, and are probably colder than you are. So listen to their concerns – if the roads are icy, it’s safer to delay the move a little than risk your possessions and people’s lives.

17. Tip well.

Moving companies’ rates don’t change much in the winter, so your movers probably aren’t getting paid extra to deal with snow, ice, and wind. Thank them for coming out in the winter and make sure they each get a good tip to reinforce your appreciation.

Moving in the winter months doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. With a little forethought and consideration, you can make it an ideal move despite the weather. Good luck!

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