Moving House / Need to transport bulky items? Here’s how to save money.

My Home Moving Experience

I moved house last month.  When I’d moved house in the past, (5-6 years ago), and ~15 years ago, I had engaged the services of a professional moving company. In the past, when we needed moving services, we would either look for a professional house mover on the Yellow Pages, or do a quick search on Google/Yahoo. These movers usually charge a markup on their own expenses as much as 200-300%, earning quite a bit of profit on their services. However, the widespread use of the Internet today, as well as the creation of many amazing apps and sharing services have truly given us consumers a better way of doing things.

Quotes from Professional Home Movers

I engaged quite a few professional home movers whose numbers I got on the Internet to come by my home to do a quick quote. The prices I got from them were not very cheap. However, these prices were much lower than from several years ago. I didn’t have many fragile items, and most of these home movers gave quotes in the range of $600-1000 to move all my stuff, including the packing process.

Quoted $350-500 Moved for a total of $152

In the end, I decided to source for my own movers, and managed to get a price of $152 to move all my items. Here’s the app I used to do it.

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Screenshot_2015-10-14-18-21-42 Screenshot_2015-10-14-18-21-56

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Total: $152 Delivery by 2 People.

What do you get for $152?

The thoughts on most people’s mind would be: Can movers paid only $152 be trusted? Overall, I can say that I had a VERY positive experienced with these guys. My movers were 2 Indian Brothers who were doing moving jobs on the sideline. They had a 14-Ft Lorry, and even provided trolleys for me to move. They were also very professional. Before I moved, they asked if I needed packing services, and they could provide boxes for me. They even asked me to take some pictures of the stuff that I would be moving so that they would be aware of any fragile objects. They actually had more than 1 year of experience moving things.

Unlike traditional movers, the experience I got from these guys was very friendly. I joined them in the moving process, and we had a good time moving stuff into my new home. We even had lunch together, and it was an amazing experience for me. There was no upselling or issues, all professionalism.

Even though on the App, it said that you had 2 hours to move your stuff, the 2 hours excluded the travelling time, so it’s just the moving process at your old and new homes.

P.S. (It was $152 only as I did not require any packing services as I had already packed my stuff)

How Easy Van works

Easy Van is similar to Uber and Airbnb as they are a shared economy type of system. Easy Van drivers are mostly people who have full-time jobs, but are happy to use their vehicles to earn extra money on the sidelines. Their services include document and parcel delivery, and transport of bigger objects.

Some Tips on Easy Van

Before engaging your Easy Van driver, make sure to ask him detailed questions, and sort of test him to make sure that he has the experience to carry out the job. You can ask him questions like how he intends to move your TV, etc. to see whether you trust him. Also, make sure to confirm your booking several days in advance, but check with them if they will be free 1 or 2 days before. This is because sometimes they might forget your booking and not reserve a time slot in the schedule for you.

It’s always useful to give monetary tips to them too!

More Tips on Moving

Finding a mover: Besides Easy Van, you can actually post ads on Carousell, Craigslist, and Gumtree to find your mover. There are actually many active movers lurking around on craigslist and Gumtree, so if you want, you can get them from there.

Packing: If you want to save on packing services like I did, There are several ways to do it. You can purchase cardboard boxes from those aunties at your local area who collect cardboard, or you can buy used cardboard boxes online. Some online stores even sell bubble wrap with the cardboard boxes. However, most of the easyvan movers will be able to help you with this if you do not want to go to the trouble.(Mine did). However, they might charge you a little more for this service. You can also buy Bubble Wrap from many sources like TaoBao.

Fragile and beloved items: It’s my advice that you should never move fragile and beloved items in the same truck as your other items. If you can, try to move these yourself by your car or taxi as you do not want them squashed somewhere or something to happen to them. Otherwise, keep a close lookout that these movers know to take care of your fragile and beloved items.

Save Money, and have a totally awesome experience!

That’s all folks. For those of you who need to move house in the future, do take the chance to do things a different way! It was a fun experience for me, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. Stay safe!

 

 

 

Airbnb Holidays Are Always Amazing! Tips For All Airbnb Guests – From An Experienced Airbnb Host

Hi There!

It’s that time of the year again, whereby you begin planning for a well-deserved holiday. You have decided on your travel destination, booked your air tickets, planned on the places of interest to visit, and all of a sudden you have coincidentally (and very luckily) chanced upon Airbnb’s website!

As a host, I have received many enquiries and met many guests from all around the world. It did not take me long to realise that I can truly maximise my guests’ experience by being the host I would love to have as a guest. But wouldn’t it be amazing if you, as a guest, can further maximise your Airbnb experience?

I’ve taken note of all the common questions and queries from my enquirers and I have answered them all in this blog post. I hope it helps all guests!

Here 7 tips on how you can maximise your Airbnb experience as a guest!

Read the Listing Description Carefully

As an individual searching for a listing, you would naturally want to browse through the images of the listing before reading anything else. Well, that is completely normal, but do bear in mind that a listing is formed by many parts and it is your duty as a guest to ensure that you do not miss any part out.

It is important to read the full listing description of the home or room that you are interested to book. It will only take you 3 minutes at most, and it will contain useful information such as what a guest can expect, presence of pets, what a guest can or cannot do, the nearby amenities, amenities within the household, a map of where the listing roughly is, extra charges (if any), and their cancellation policy.

What you can expect from the listing

What You Can Expect As A Guest

Can you imagine making a reservation for a listing that houses three dogs when you are totally allergic to pets? Or what if you were a chain smoker and this host strictly prohibits smoking, even in the balcony? This would definitely dampen your travel experience, don’t you think?

What you can expect from the host

Thoroughly reading through the listing description and the hosts’ profile also provides you with a clearer idea on the person or family that you are going to be sharing a home with. For all you know, your aim could be to spend quality time with the host to gain some useful local knowledge. But in actual fact, the host lives somewhere else and only meets you to check you in and out of the apartment.

Household and nearby amenities

Every Airbnb listing will have a map at the bottom. It saves a lot of time to actually analyse where the listing is as you plan for your trip. There is really no point in asking the host for information that is already provided! Reading this portion of the listing description is also of great importance as every guest has a different definition of comfort. That being said, if you are one who cannot live without the presence of air conditioning, you should never ever assume that all listings would have air conditioning available. You still have to check!

Extra Charges

Extra Charge

This is a question I never fail to get despite it being very clear on every listing. Do read this portion on extra charges very carefully! Do also take note that all of these costs are set by the host. Airbnb always provides a breakdown of what you will have to pay for, and the following will help you better understand it.

  • Extra charge for additional guest

All hosts have a flat rate per night. However, it is very common for them to impose an extra charge for every additional guest. For example, if the flat rate per night is 90 USD, and the extra charge for every additional guest is 15 USD, you’ll end up paying 115 USD per night.

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  • Cleaning Fee

Having a cleaning fee is very normal as well. This fee can very effectively aid your host in defraying cleaning costs. A cleaning fee is added to the total cost of your accommodation, and it is not charged per night. For example, if you are paying 115 USD a night, and the cleaning fee is 25 USD, a stay of 3 nights would cost (115 USD X 3 nights) + 25 USD = 370 USD.

  • Special Daily Rate and Weekend Pricing

Although all hosts will have a standard flat rate per night, it is absolutely normal for hosts to adjust the rates per night for certain days. If the following days of a listing is still not booked, the host might set a lower price specifically for the following few days, to entice viewers to make an enquiry and booking. If the dates you are interested in is within a festive period such as Christmas, the host might set a higher price for that period as it is considered to be a peak period. It is also common for hosts to set a slightly higher price for all weekends.

  • Security Deposit

Many guests misunderstand Airbnb’s security deposit and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify this point. Every host would usually set an amount for their security deposit. Do note that this deposit is NOT deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card upon payment. This deposit is only touched when your host lodges a complaint against you. Airbnb will then investigate and decide whether or not they should DEDUCT this amount from your bank account or CHARGE this amount to your credit card. I have heard of guests who actually gave their host cash as a form of a security deposit. This is not recommended at all.

Cancellation Policy

This is something that angers guests a lot. There are times whereby a guest cancels a reservation and only receives a 50 percent refund. Naturally, they will feel cheated. However, this can really be avoided. Do be sure to check the cancellation policy of your host in their listing description. Of course, you should never plan to cancel a reservation that you have made, so do be extremely sure before making a booking! There are 6 kinds of cancellation policies a host can have. Each will result in different amounts of refunds. Check them out here: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/home/cancellation_policies

Communicate Before Booking

Contact your host before booking!

Contact your host before booking!

I know that I said that it is important to read the listing description thoroughly and that we should not ask a host questions that we can already find the answers to. But it is still important to chat with your potential host via the Airbnb messenger to give a brief introduction about yourself. You should include your name, who you will be travelling with, your intended dates of stay, purpose of visit, and more about yourself, such as your profession, hobbies you might have, and so on.

Not all listing descriptions are detailed. Some of them can be pretty general and vague, so feel free to ask any questions to clarify your doubts!

You should also upload a clear image of yourself (showing your face clearly) on your Airbnb profile. As mentioned before, the host will be sharing his or her home with you, it is only fair that they know who they will be sharing it with!

Don’t Offer to Pay Cash Or Ask For Discounts

This is something hosts receive a lot from first time Airbnb users. I understand that guests would always aim to select the most affordable option for their accommodation so that they can have a higher budget to enjoy other activities. In order to do so, some ask for discounts, and some offer to pay cash to save the approximately 12 percent Airbnb booking fee.

First of all, I feel that it is perfectly fine for Airbnb to earn that small amount of commission. Airbnb is brilliant idea and we should not just use it as platform to find and contact a host.

Secondly, booking through Airbnb PROTECTS you. Airbnb is not liable for any unforeseen circumstances if you choose to undercut them and contact the host outside of Airbnb. Should your flight be cancelled due to bad weather conditions or should you have to cancel your trip because of a newly diagnosed illness, you will not get a refund. Booking through Airbnb will also result in them being responsible for any difficulties you face with your host.

Please also refrain from asking for discounts. Granting you a discount is very unfair to all the guests who have booked the listing before you. If the rates of this listing is on the pricey side, continue your search for a more economic option. Variety and availability of listings is something Airbnb does not lack at all.

Research on the Culture of Your Host

Some cultures are more sensitive than others. It is wise to research on the culture of the country you are visiting. You do not want to unknowingly offend your host. Hosts are definitely friendly and understanding people. It is true that they will expect unpleasant experiences and take it well. However, if this can be avoided, it is safe to say that your trip will be enriching and one to remember. If you are going to be living with a conservative family, it is perhaps not a good idea for females to check in dressed in revealing clothes.

Be Prompt in Your Replies

A guest only has his or her upcoming trip to focus on, but a host has a whole month to plan for. A host has to worry about back to back bookings and ensuring that the room is ready for every guest who checks in.

Make it a point to exchange contact details the moment the booking has been confirmed. Share your travel plans with your host so that he can effectively forecast and accommodate his plans to yours.

This will also benefit you as your host can at the same time enlighten you on how you can find the listing, and give you some advice that can prove to be very helpful in planning your itinerary.

Be considerate – turn off ALL electricity appliances when not in use

Almost all hosts have a fear that turns into reality when their electricity bill arrives in their mail. It is painful for hosts to find out that the air conditioner and lights have not been turned off despite the fact that their guests have already left home 3 hours ago!

As mentioned earlier, hosts are friendly people by nature and bringing up grievances to our guests is something we always want to avoid.

Do make it a point to turn off all electrical appliances when they are not in use! Over usage of such appliances can lead to wear and tear issues that will affect the experiences of future guests.

A common problem I face is when guests eat in their room and the smell chokes up the air conditioner. This results in frequent leakage that can be avoided! It is really a hard spot to be in when your air conditioner starts leaking while a guest is asleep.

Be Friendly, Enjoy Your stay, and Leave a Review!

Won't you want to stay at a place with great reviews?

Won’t you want to stay at a place with great reviews?

Never ever be afraid of approaching your host. Your host will be more than happy to have a chat with you. The reason why we sign up as a host is because we welcome new experiences, friendship, and conversation!

When you return at night, it is always a nice experience to sit with your hosts on their living room couch to share the happenings of your day. It is also a great opportunity to get to know each other better!

Feel free to also provide feedback on how your host can be a better one. Airbnb is also about being part of community that grows together. At the end of your stay, do also remember to leave an honest review. A review is a great way to say thanks to a host you appreciate. It is probably the strongest factor that can help your host receive more enquiries and bookings.

Have a great Airbnb experience!

Well, there are many more points to add but these are the ones whereby I feel are the most applicable to all guests. Browse as many homes as you can, and make as many enquiries as possible. I love Airbnb and I hope you will too! I wish you a very safe and fun trip!

Belong Anywhere 🙂