Planning a Move to Alaska or a Move from Alaska

April 27, 2011 by Brian Smith

We receive lots of inquiries to get quotes for moving to Alaska, moving from Alaska or anywhere in the Continental US throughout the year.  It’s always interesting that when asked what time of the year they are planning to move, the majority of those calling in are surprised to learn that there are seasonal changes that definitely affect the costs of moving.  The moving industry as a whole is an undeniable illustration of market forces at work.  The laws of supply and demand are very much alive and well and understanding the trends that affect the moving industry can be very helpful when looking for the least costly methods of moving.  A real simple case in point is that many people think that moving to Alaska or moving from Alaska during the fall or winter months is not possible.  That is without a doubt the most economical time of the year because demand for moving services is low.  However, there is much more to consider when looking at the moving industry as a whole or an Alaska moving company in particular.

THE BIGGEST FACTOR

First, let’s examine the details that affect individual consumers of alaska moving services or other moves around the country.  The biggest factor that shapes the decision of what time of the year to move is consideration of the school year.  Conventional wisdom is that it is much better for Alaska movers or any mover during the summer when school is out so that there is a smooth transition for the children into a new school.  The main consideration for doing that is so that the children will be able to make new friends more easily.  Research has shown this notion to be contrary to what actually occurs.  When children transition to a new school while in session, there is greater exposure to a larger number of children of the same age and much more possibility of interactions from which friendships are formed.  When executing an Alaska move during the summer season, while the kids may have more free time and have a greater opportunity to do summer activities, their exposure is far more limited to other children.

IMPACT OF THE LARGEST MOVING SERVICE CUSTOMER

Secondly, the one entity that affects the supply of labor, moving vans and time for those wishing to move in the summer months is the US Military.  Station changes for military members do occur throughout the year but the lion’s share of military moves to Alaska  is done from May through September.  In fact, the two absolute busiest weeks of the entire year are the last week of June and the first week of July.  Our best guess for the reason is that the 4th of July holiday seems to be an attractive time to move and many are very adamant about being in their new residence before the 4th of July.  It is also important to note that the US Military is the single largest consumer of moving services worldwide.  Therefore, moving companies across the country are inundated with military moves.  Due to the largess of this single consumer, the tendency is to give those moves higher priority than the individual consumer.  Therefore, low supply and high demand pushes prices up all throughout the industry.

LARGE MULTIPLE-MOVES NATIONAL CONTRACTS

The third point to be made is that large corporations wishing to move personnel around the world also follow the same conventional wisdom.  Like the military, they will shop for long-term contracts to negotiate lower normalized rates throughout the year even though they too apply greater pressure during the summer season further creating lower supply and even greater demand.  This most certainly affects household moving costs to or from Alaska.

SPRING & SUMMER HOME SELLING SEASON

Finally, conventional wisdom continues to influence choices for moving household goods to Alaska and elsewhere in the Lower 48 because people wishing to sell their own homes and ultimately purchase a new home elsewhere “know” that the most productive time of the year to sell is during the spring and summer months in anticipation of the upcoming move.  We would submit that this trend is fueled by everything else discussed namely that people prefer to move in the summer primarily for the smoother transition for changing schools which leads to getting homes sold in order to make the move.  The large majority of military members and corporate transfers operate accordingly.

So what does this mean for you?  As you examine these trends in your area, you will likely find opportunities to reduce costs to relocate to Alaska, or anywhere else, for that matter.  Using the trends as opposed to being unwittingly affected by them can truly be beneficial to you, particularly if you can anticipate and prepare for a move with solid, advance planning.

 

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