Budgeting & Saving

Average Cost of Moving a Home in Singapore

Despite Singapore being a small country, moving house from one part of the island to another can cost a fair bit of money. Most people have bulky items like furniture or pianos that cannot fit into a car. As a result, the most common and most convenient way to shift the contents of a home from one place to another is to use a moving service. 

Cost of Hiring a Moving Company

Prices vary greatly depending on the amount of belongings being moved, the number of trips the movers must make and the distance between the two properties. It is very important to get a quotation from a number of movers before hiring a service. To provide you with an accurate estimate, many movers will drop by your home to assess your belongings before providing you with a quotation. 

On average, you can expect to pay about S$500 to move the contents of an average-sized home of 3-room HDB flat, including furniture and packaging. However, you must make sure to accurately estimate the number of items you have and minimize the # of trips the moving company needs to make. If you do this, you can get a good fixed quote in the beginning and save a lot of money. In cases where the moving company has to make more than one trips, your cost can balloon quickly. For example, if van has to make more than five trips and you have many belongings, you could be looking at paying up to S$3,000.

The packages offered by various moving companies might differ slightly, but in general most will assist in simple disassembling of furniture and other bulky items, wrapping fragile items such as television sets in bubble wrap, loading and unloading the moving van and driving the van to the client’s new home.

An average of $500 to move house is quite a hefty amount, considering the size of Singapore. If you need some help in financing your move, especially if you need more than S$500, you could consider getting a personal loan at very cheap rates from your bank. They can cost you up to 7% of annual interest rate and can be made available within 24 hours for most banks. Otherwise, here are some tips for reducing the cost of the big move.

Cost of Moving On Your Own

Your ability to DIY (Do-It-Yourself) your move will depend on the following factors:

  • Access to a van: The heftiest cost of trying to move house on your own will be renting a vehicle if you don’t have access to a moving van. Renting a van for a day costs about $75, not including petrol.
  • Access to a car: If you do not have bulky items to move or would like to move some smaller items on your own while the movers take care of the bulkier ones, it will be a lot cheaper to do so if you own a car or can borrow one for free. Otherwise, the cost of renting a car in Singapore is about $50 a day, not including petrol.
  • Whether you have many bulky items to move: If you do not have any bulky items to move, DIYing the move is a lot simpler and can be easily done with a car and boxes. However, when you have bulky items such as furniture, DIYing the move will mean you have to dismantle the furniture on your own and independently transport it by van or lorry.

If you decide to engage a moving company, you can still save some money by transporting some non-bulky items on your own to reduce the number of trips the moving van has to make. For those without bulky items, it is significantly cheaper to simply rent or borrow a car and load it up on your own. You will need to factor in the cost of boxes and cartons, which will cost $3 to $8 apiece, and bubble wrap, which costs about $30 per roll of about 90 metres. Below is an estimation of the cost of moving supplies you might need to move the contents of a 3-room HDB flat.

Materials Per Piece Total

30 medium sized boxes (45.7 x 45.7 x 50.8 cubic cm)

S$4 S$120

20 large boxes (45.7 x 45.7 x 76.2 cubic cm)

S$6 S$120
1 roll of 90-metre bubble wrap S$30 S$30
3 rolls of packing tape S$2 S$6
Scissors S$1 S$1
1 set of markers S$2 S$2
Van Rental   S$75
Others (Packing Paper, etc.)   S$20
TOTAL   S$374

Know what the moving company charges for and what causes extra fees

The packages offered by moving companies can vary according to the services and materials offered. Here are some things that might attract hidden fees:

  • Packing and wrapping of bulky and fragile items - Most moving companies include bubble wrapping furniture and fragile items in the price of their packages, but some may not. Make sure you know what you are getting.
  • Packing items into cartons - Having movers pack your belongings into boxes usually attracts an additional fee.
  • Dismantling of bulky items - Never assume movers will dismantle all your bulky items for you. Some moving companies do this for free, while others will charge extra. In addition, there are certain items like pianos which movers cannot dismantle.
  • Moving of pianos or organs - Be sure to check with the movers if they have the expertise to move pianos or organs, and ask if they charge an additional fee.
  • Boxes, sealing tape and bubble wrap - Some moving companies charge a fee for materials such as cartons, sealing tape and bubble wrap, while some will lend you cartons for free on condition that they are returned after the move.
  • Temporary storage – If you need to store your belongings temporarily before your new home is ready, some moving companies also provide warehouse space, either free for a number of days or for a fee.
  • Hoisting – If you have large items that cannot be dismantled and cannot be removed from your house by the door and elevators or stairs, they may have to be hoisted, which will incur extra fees.
  • Lifting heavy items – Some movers charge extra if they are made to lift heavy items up and down stairs.
  • Distance – If your new home is located a long distance from the old, you might be slapped with a surcharge.
  • Time of day – It may cost more to move at certain times of the day or week, such as during rush hour or on weekends or public holidays. Make sure to clarify if there are extra surcharges for moving at certain hours or on certain days.
  • Express moving – If you insist on moving within a tight timeframe, you may be made to pay an extra surcharge.
  • Disposal of items – If you wish to discard furniture or other bulky items, most moving companies will help you do so for free or for an additional fee.

Don’t get cheated

One of the biggest bugbears of people who use moving companies in Singapore is being quoted a low price and then discovering that the actual bill adds up to much more. This happens because many moving companies tack on a multitude of surcharges and additional fees. To avoid any nasty surprises, always make sure you know exactly what is included in the price of the package, and what will attract an additional fee. If possible, write down all the services promised for the quoted fee and get the company to sign off on this when they visit your home for a quotation.

Also ensure you provide the moving company with as much information as possible about your belongings and home, so they can supply a more accurate quotation. You should brief them on all the heavy items to be moved, discuss which need dismantling or not, and also make arrangements for bulky items that cannot be dismantled such as pianos or organs. Finally, beware if the movers do not make a house call or provide you with a written quotation, as this is a warning sign that they might hike up the prices on the actual day.

Actively utilise your rewards credit cards

Credit cards in Singapore have some of the highest rewards rates in the world. Given this, you could potentially save 5% to 10% of your moving expenses further by using a cashback credit card or an air miles credit card. For instance, a card like UOB One Card can win 5% cashback on all of your purchases, and even higher savings of up to 24% on your petrol cost when you rent a van for your move. If you prefer to rack up air miles, Citi PremierMiles Visa Card can save up to 14% on your petrol while earning 1.2 miles for every dollar you spend in Singapore. 

Written by Joanne Poh

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