The Best Movers in Toronto
The best movers in Toronto is a list that everyone might need to refer to at some point. Moving is inevitable for most of us, and save a crew of willing friends easily bribed by beer, or some random strangers on Craigslist, chances are a moving company is going to play a part in the experience.
The problem, and this has been well documented, is that moving companies can be as sketchy as they come. There are countless stories of moves gone bad. Take this one, for instance, where a moving company called Executive Movers allegedly tricked a customer into forking over a $300 deposit, only to demand an even steeper payment once their goods were loaded onto the truck.
It's more common than you might think. Earlier this year the Toronto Star ran an investigative story in which they alleged two moving companies - Desi and Indo-Pak Movers - engaged in a similar practice.
Years ago, Joey DeVilla published a widely read post to his site documenting a call he received from Quick Boys Movers complaining about a comment a reader posted to his site. It's still a great read even four years later and by the looks of things Quick Boys has either gone out of business or changed their name.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government has published a couple of documents - The Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers and The Consumer Checklist for Choosing a Moving Company. If you're planning to ask a prospective moving company 20 plus questions, the latter document provides a good checklist of what to think about.
For starters though, it's worth noting a few things that are common practice with Toronto moving companies.
- Rates vary by day of the month and week: Most Toronto moving companies charge a different rate depending on the day of the month you want to move. Since most people want to move at the end or the beginning of the month, they'll charge more for this privilege. So if you can somehow swing a move in the middle of the month (and ideally a weekday, not weekend) you'll save some dollars. Some Toronto moving companies even charge more the closer you book to your moving date, so it pays to plan ahead.
- Moving companies charge you for their travel time: Most (but not all) Toronto moving companies will charge you for the time it takes them to get from their warehouse to your home and from your new home back to their warehouse again. So don't assume the clock starts and stops when the movers arrive and then unload your last piece of furniture. You'll generally pay for an extra 1 to 1.5 hours in travel time. Costs will escalate further if you're moving to or from the suburbs.
- Insurance is worthless: Moving companies generally quote rates that include what's called standard liability insurance. Basically, if something breaks you can get it replaced at a value of 60 cents a pound PLUS a deductible. In practice, you get nothing close to what your scratched, damaged or broken possession is worth. Have a $4,000, 200 pound designer sofa that got ripped and soiled? At 60 cents a pound the most insurance will cover is $120. At that kind of payback it's worth thinking of upgrading to a declared value or full replacement option. The standard cost would be a payment of $125 for $25,000 in coverage, minus a $300 deductible. Worth noting is that many Toronto moving companies will tell you that Ikea furniture, glass and anything they didn't pack isn't covered by insurance.
And with that as a primer on moving in Toronto, here's a list of the 7 best movers in Toronto. I'm not promising these are the best moving companies in Toronto, but they've all been recommended by readers of this site; and at the very least should be a good starting point to finding a Toronto mover that best meets your needs.
Despite their name, El Cheapo isn't the cheapest option around. If moving on non peak days of the month, 2 movers and van will cost $130 for the first hour and $37.50 for each subsequent half hour. To get things moving a bit faster you can add an extra guy for an additional $40 for the first hour and $10 for each subsequent half hour. During peak periods (end of month), rates go up to $150 for the first hour....but I was told that as time slots get booked up rates will go up as well and could go as high as $190 for the first hour and $47.50 for each subsequent half hour.
The good news is that they only charge for the time between when they show up and when they finish the job, so you're not paying extra for the travel time from their warehouse. They have seven trucks (cube vans, actually) and some trucks might do up to 3 jobs a day. The guy on the phone told me "you want to be the first job of the day". He also encouraged me to check out HomeStars which is peppered with favourable reviews.
Note: if you have more stuff than what would fit in a cube van don't go with El Cheapo as then you'll need to pay for them to make more than one trip.
Joe the Mover doesn't have a web site but what he does have is six trucks and rates that change from weekdays to weekends. Weekday rates between the 3rd and 27th of the month are $65 an hour for 2 men and 1 truck. Weekend and end of the month rates are $85 an hour. An extra hour is billed automatically for gas and travel time from their warehouse. In other words, if the job takes 5 hours from when they arrive to when they complete the job you pay for 6 hours.
Your Friend with a Cube Van is probably the smallest operator on this list. They have two 16 foot cube vans and sometimes they use both of them for the same job. So, if you really want to use these guys I'd suggest booking as far in advance as possible.
Rates? Not too friendly. For a regular non-peak job (ie. not the first or last two days of a month) they will send 2 movers and one truck and charge $150 for the first hour and $75 for each subsequent hour. A peak job will cost $170 and $85. Add an extra mover and the rates go up even higher to $205 for the first hour and $120 for each additional hour.
The good news is that there's no one hour surcharge. The clock starts at arrival and ends when the movers have finished unloading the truck at the destination. They also offer free in-home estimates where they'll tell you things like how much time they expect the job to take and whether everything will fit in to the truck in one trip.
Tender Touch has operations across Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary) and are the largest moving company on this list. In Toronto they usually have 8-12 trucks available on a given day which range from a two bedroom apartment friendly 24 footer to a Bridle Path estate worthy tractor trailer.
Aside from prices, what separates these guys from the other movers is the extent to which they'll help you pack your stuff. They actually recommend that their movers pack all the clothes into wardrobe boxes (4 are provided free of charge) and will also gladly shrink wrap your sofa (2 free shrink wraps. $5 for each additional shrink wrap) and wrap up two mattresses.
Like all movers, they have different rates depending on the day of the month. From the 4th to 25th of the month they charge a flat rate of $104 an hour + GST + a $25 fuel surcharge. Otherwise the rate is $114 an hour. They'll also charge an extra 1.5 hours for travel time before arrival and after unload so if the move actually takes 6.5 hours you end up paying for 8.
Dino's Movers was probably the easier to get a quote from over the phone. Unlike every other mover on this list, they offered me a flat rate of $90 an hour regardless of the day of the month. That's for 3 movers and one truck. A fourth mover bumps the price up by $25 an hour, still a cheaper rate than many of the other movers.
Where they likely fall a bit short if the lack of packing help and protection that a mover like Tender Touch provides. They'll happily wrap some big items in blankets but for anything else (wardrobe boxes, bubble wrap etc.) expect to pay extra. They also charge an extra hour ($90) for travel time from their location. So, again, if the move takes 5 hours you end up paying for 6.
G&S Moving and Storage are based in Scarborough so depending on where you're moving from and to it may be costly to use them. They charge a flat rate of $125 an hour for three guys and a 30 foot truck but they'll also bill you for the travel time to and from their warehouse (usually about 45 minutes each way I was told). They don't charge premiums/discounts based on day of the month and a fourth mover can be added for an extra $25 an hour.
Like Tender Touch, they'll do their best to make sure everything gets moved scratch free. They provide free wardrobe and picture containers, pad wrap and shrink wrap as well as mattress covers.
Energy Crew does away with a lot of the pricing practices in the moving industry that everyone loves to hate. They charge a flat rate of $120 for the first hour and $37.50 for each additional half hour. This gets you 3 movers and a 24 foot truck. An extra mover can be thrown into the mix for only an additional $10 an hour.
The small catch is that they charge in half hour increments when most moving companies charge in quarter hour increments. So, if the move takes 5 hour and 15 minutes you pay for 5 and a half hours. But, and this is a difference maker, Energy Crew does not charge for travel time between their warehouse and your home and they don't add a fuel surcharge.
Rent a Son used to be someone you'd call for help with heavy lifting. Now, the company has grown up and boasts 40 movers, 8 trucks and a 25,000 square foot warehouse.