How do I find a couple people to cheaply move a few pieces of furniture?
March 10, 2014 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning to get some cheap/free used furniture from family/friends, thrift stores and maybe craiglist. I don't know anyone who's strong enough to carry it up to a second story apartment (no elevator). How do I find someone to do this that isn't a full-service moving company?

My ideal situation: rent a couple of dudes and a truck for a day, go with them to pick up stuff I bought and have them bring it back to my apartment.

I can't afford to buy new from a place that delivers (are there used places that deliver? pretty sure Goodwill does not and most craigslist ads specify pick-up only). I also can't afford a full-fledged moving company. I don't know anyone who could do this as a favor.

I'm scared of hiring random strangers off of Craigslist because of a) security concerns and b) liability. My worst fear is that someone will falsely claim an injury and sue me.

Is it a terrible idea to post an ad at a college or high school? I imagine they'd work relatively cheaply, but I still have the liability concerns. I'm not overly concerned with damage to the furniture since it will be cheap anyway.

I feel like there is some option I haven't thought of yet.
posted by desjardins to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
TaskRabbit is perfect for this.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:32 AM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding TaskRabbit.
posted by ewiar at 8:33 AM on March 10, 2014

TaskRabbit is not available in my city. :(
posted by desjardins at 8:36 AM on March 10, 2014

When I moved into my current apartment and had similar issues, I did some scouting from my stoop to find the block's social boss (you know, that person who always seems to be outside chatting to someone and saying hi to the folks who pass by) and then asked her if she knew a couple guys who could help me for 20 minutes carrying stuff up the stairs. She went across the street, grabbed them, and everything was over and done with shortly. I offered them a few bucks (which they refused) and then took boss lady some cookies the next day for her to distribute to the helpful guys.

It worked great for me.
posted by phunniemee at 8:37 AM on March 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't know what the situation is like where you live, but in Los Angeles the default for this type of thing is to hire day laborers hanging around outside of Home Depot and similar.
posted by something something at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

A lot of folks have friends/family members who could use an odd job once in a while - why don't you post it to all of your facebook friends in your town and see if they know of anyone who would be able to do this for a little cash.
posted by zettoo at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2014

Have you looked at I've used it a bunch of times and have loved it.
posted by mullacc at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2014

I also can't afford a full-fledged moving company.

That could depend on what you mean by "full-fledged". I've used regular local moving companies several times to move just a couple of large items. It was very much a couple of guys and a small truck, although these guys were professionals who knew what they were doing.

The only complicating factor that stands out in your description is your plan to drive around to several locations, pick stuff up, then move it upstairs. I've hired companies to do point-to-point. It might only be a matter of hours and/or mileage charges, though.

Couldn't hurt to call and get a quote. When I did this, it was cheaper than I expected.
posted by gimonca at 8:45 AM on March 10, 2014

Yeah there are companies that do just this sort of thing. When my wife and I moved we had a POD full of stuff we didn't really want to drag up the stairs by our selves. We ended up getting 2 guys from the local company we called for 2 hours for about 100$, they were done in like 20 minutes but it was well worth it for us.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:46 AM on March 10, 2014

I'm sure you know the price difference between a couple of random dudes and a truck, and contracting to hire the couple of dudes and a truck through a company is the liability insurance.

I had a small local moving company do a few runs to a storage locker, old apartment, new apartment, and move a fridge to my in-laws house all in one hourly price plus a base fee. They didn't care what they were doing, as long as we stayed in our time slot.

The trick is to get lots of quotes, then come back through the list with the lowest quote you got and see if they'll haggle down. Rinse and repeat.
posted by fontophilic at 8:48 AM on March 10, 2014

Metafilter Jobs!
posted by hydrophonic at 8:51 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought some large furniture from a local antique shop and they recommended a guy to move it upstairs. That might be a place you can ask around for informal man with a van situations.
posted by grouse at 8:55 AM on March 10, 2014

How big is your apartment building? If it's got a decent number of people in it I'd just post a note in the lobby explaining what I wanted done and "Offering $X -- if interested, contact me, apt 5-B..."
posted by kmennie at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2014

Here in Chicago there are almost always casual laborers hanging around UHaul places for exactly this reason.

If you can't afford real insured movers then a bit of risk is your only option. Home depot also has cheap truck rental.
posted by srboisvert at 9:09 AM on March 10, 2014

I'd post on your Facebook/Twitter and ask people to share/RT and see if anyone knows anyone who is strong and has a truck and would be interested in picking up some cash.
posted by radioamy at 9:36 AM on March 10, 2014

Many thrift stores that sell furniture will have a list of a couple of "man-with-a-van" services to whom they refer their customers who ask about delivery. Even if the specific thrift store you're buying from doesn't have such a list, maybe another in the same area will. I've generally had pretty good luck with these—much better luck than I've had with picking people off Craigslist (where I haven't had any issues with people getting injured or with security, but where I have had a lot of issues with general flakiness and people showing up hours late).
posted by enn at 9:39 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Metafilter Jobs!

Second! That's my plan for a couch I need to move.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:50 AM on March 10, 2014

Our casual labor guys hang out in front of a convenience store across from the Dim Sum place. Also, see Lowe's and Home Depot parking lots.

In Craigslist, there are usually "Two Men and a Van" ads that you might want to check out.

One thing I discovered at Lowe's is that they have an hourly rental service, you can rent a huge truck or a Jumbo Van for about $18 per hour. The gas and insurance are included, so it's super easy. You can go down to your local and see if that works for you. Sign up before you need it, because the sign up process takes about 20 minutes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:04 AM on March 10, 2014

You want a Man With A Van. You can usually find these types of folks on Craigslist. Just search "man with van" and the listings will pop up.

As far as help with moving the furniture into your apartment (not usually assumed under Man With Van services), just ask the person if they'd help you (for an extra fee), maybe ask if they know an extra dude you would also be willing to pay.
posted by Sara C. at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2014

Sometimes halfway houses will have programs where the residents can be hired out for tasks during the day; moving furniture is one of the commoner tasks. My mother-in-law did this once. ... it worked out!
posted by onehundredand80 at 10:41 AM on March 10, 2014

I've hired University students to load the truck when I moved and it was great. At the time my renters contents insurance had liability insurance built in that would have covered anything that went wrong. Double check that you don't have something similar in one of your policies because that would open up all your options.

My husband has also hired a man with a van to move furniture from a storage locker to the house then up stairs in the house and that worked great. He found him in the local free newspaper but they also advertise on the bulletin board at the local supermarket and online on the local equivalent of craigslist. In that case it was a professional guy so liability was covered but it was still supercheap because it didn't take long (the charge was by the hour).
posted by shelleycat at 12:25 PM on March 10, 2014

You could put up a couple signs on the door of your building. Somebody did this a few months back at my place, something like, "Need help moving this Saturday. 2-3 people needed, $20/hour, 8am-noon" with a phone number. Maybe some of your neighbors would like to earn a little extra money (or have friends/family who could use the cash).
posted by jabes at 1:55 PM on March 10, 2014

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