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[How to]: Hire Movers to Move Your Stuff to Your New Apartment

Three options varying in cost and effort for getting your things from one place to another in SH.
2021-08-17 16:00:00
From the directly and minutely useful to information on living your best self in the world. How To is our regular column on how to accomplish things in the city.

Living in Shanghai? Odds are more than good that the following is true: your landlord is terrible and you gotta get out of that place, my guy.

...Or maybe you're moving up (or down) in the world.

...Or maybe you're moving in (or out) of a place with your SO.

Congrats! Or... sorry, that sucks.

Or maybe you've finally found that dream apartment on SmartShanghai's Housing Listings, the best-est, most popular, and most user-friendly online housing listings in the whole city, donchaknow.

Now here comes the shit part. Moving your stuff from your old apartment to your new one. Here are three ways to get that done, broken down by cheapest but most effort on your part to most expensive but you basically don't have to do anything except saunter into your new place like royalty.

The Cheapest-Most-Effort Option: Hire a Van but Do All Your Own Packing and Lifting

Ahh, the classic. Put everything you own into those "migrant laborer bags" and throw it all in the back of one of those mini green trucks. This option is ideal if you've got like under 8 boxes and nothing too big.


So, yeah, with this option, you're sourcing your packing materials. The aforementioned migrant laborer bags that everyone uses are available at all corner supermarkets. You can also get proper cardboard boxes for .5rmb to 20rmb depending on size on Taobao. (The Chinese word for cardboard boxes is: 搬家纸箱.) If you're in a rush — the "midnight move" *wink*— you can boxes as well. (Search: 纸箱 / 搬家纸箱.)

We couldn't find any source for re-usable or second-hand delivery boxes, so we reached out to Seeds of Change who suggested this:

"The best way we would say is to contact the trash collection guy or ayi below your building who collects all the cartons thrown away by the residents. Can buy them from him / her and then give them to the trash collectors after you use them." - Seeds of Change


You're going to be calling a "moving taxi", which is usually those small green vans that you see around on the street. They'll send something bigger if you have more stuff. With the cheapest option, they'll just drive your stuff to your new place. It's up to you to load and unload the van. They usually show support by chilling hard and smoking cigarettes while you go up and down the stairs.

Two frequently used companies are:

Huolala,the go-to option. Open their mini program (search 货拉拉 / Huolala) or download their app, then select the 搬家 option then pick the 便捷搬家 option. You then select the size of car and the two addresses and you instantly get a quote, usually anywhere between 200 and 400 rmb for a normal sized apartment move. For all the stuff that you can fit into moving boxes you don't have to specify how much you have, as long as you think it'll fit into the car you choose. Larger items like shelves and tables have to be added separately, and those cost extra — roughly 40 kuai for a small table and 100 kuai for a giant piano. You are required to place an order three hours ahead of your moving time.

Dazhong Logistics, that's the same company that also runs most of the taxis in Shanghai. Ordering is less convenient than Huolala; this is their website: Delivery fee starts from 50rmb for 5km for a small van, with an additional charge of 4rmb added every kilometer. Make sure you appear on time, because they'd ask you to pay 4rmb per 5 minutes for waiting. They can also be at your place quick: staff will try to arrange a van for you within 30 minutes.

Medium Cheap, Medium Effort: You Pack, They Load, They Unload

This is the one you'll probably do. Let's say you've got 8 or more boxes and a couple bigger items. Say a dresser, a mattress, or an elliptical machine, or something like that. You're probably going to pack up your own things but hire a larger van and two guys to help. When you hire the guys you don't have to lift a thing. Very much the ideal situation.

Anecdotal example: I once moved around 12-15 bags down a sixth floor walk-up to my new sixth-floor walk-up 3 kms away, with one driver / mover dude, for 350rmb. It was effin' awesome to not have to lift a bag and I would have paid 350 million rmb.


See above. You're packing your own stuff.


Again, for a cheap option that's easy to book through a Mini-Program, Huolala is the go-to app. On their Mini-Program select the 无忧搬家 option, that's the one where they come and help you carry all your boxes into the moving car. They've got different packages for more flexibility. On their mini-program, they offer a basic package at 145rmb, which will get you one worker to carry and travel your stuff within 10km in a small van (additional fees will be charged if you live on higher floors, etc). Again, if you are moving something large, they will have to send more guys and the price goes up.

Dazhong, the company mentioned above, won't help you carry boxes, but they can help you arrange another company to do so. Prices are decided by general size and number of the packages, how many floors the guys are going to have to walk up, and how far the trip is between locations. Depending on these factors, and agreed upon beforehand, generally speaking, it's around 100-150rmb per mover. If you've got a load that one guy can move, they send one. If you are moving things that require two people, they send two guys.

Qiangsheng Banjia (强生搬家) is a bit more transparent than the two mentioned above. They arrange vans and book workers to help you carry stuff and have more clearly defined rates. 260rmb is the basic price for 5 kilometers of transport. It's 80rmb per person per hour for carrying your boxes, with 20rmb per person per floor. Their regular work hours are from 7am to 6pm. If you wish to use their service out of these hours, 30 percent of additional fee will be billed. They can also hook you up with boxes if you ask. Reach them at 6529 0456.

Option 3: You Do Nothing, They Do EVERYTHING, You Pay Up

Packing and Transport:

For the rich, lazy, and fabulous: These people to come into your house and put all your things in boxes for you while you're just hanging out, fanning yourself.

Allied Moving does both local and international relocation. Their local relocation packages start at 4k for packing up your apartment, taking an English-language inventory list, and moving it to another location. They'll also bring all the packing material so it's quite hands-off. Service is friendly and available in English.

A similar service is Lannt, and Zaier, both companies offer local and international relocation and offers excellent English-speaking service. Both of them responded to our quotation requests within minutes, and prices for a local full-service move start in the 4.5k range. All services mentioned here offer local storage solutions as well, with a month of storage usually being in the 600rmb range for a medium sized apartment.

SAE is a big name in the expat scene and a popular choice for international relocation, but they also do offer local relocation services with professional English-speaking service.

Asian Tigers is a huge Asia-wide relocation company that you've probably seen around with their yellow trucks.

Santa Fe, a moving company that specializes in you doing nothing and them doing door-to-door moves for you. You can reach them out at 135 0127 5116 for details. Their price is 4,500rmb for every 10 cubic meters, which covers everything, including insurance on the furniture.

But let's say you need even more... You need someone to hang your pictures and fill the fridge in the new apartment. It's a type of service called Japanese Moving. One option isJioutong Japanese Style Moving (久通日式搬家). They charge 300rmb per cubic meter and you can reach them at their hotline: 400 850 9660.

For all options, browse our full directory of Moving and Relocation companies here.

Additional Considerations

Deep Cleaning

Weilai Guanjia (未涞管家) is a one-stop cleaning chain that provides professional services to wipe up every corner of your new apartment. The price for the cleaning is 14.8rmb/sqm, the minimum size they serve is 60-square-meters. They also offer cleaning of a specific object or room. To contact them, call 183 0190 6621.


Loads of local locksmiths can be found on the street and your apartment bao'an will have the number of the nearest local guy, but in terms of reliable chains with brands, go with: Laosuojiang (老锁匠) or Suojiangdaojia (锁匠到家).

Both offer 24/7 service with quick installment and replacement of the locks. With both shops, the price for a regular lock is approximately 80rmb, but if you are looking for something more high tech, they've got options over 1,000rmb.

Testing Your Air Quality

Oriair and Xinju Weishi (新居卫士) are two places that provide professional measurement services for possible toxic chemicals in your place. The actual service costs around 68rmb/sqm. The whole process will take around half day, and they will have a follow-up visit to check the air quality index.

Air-Con Cleaning

You'd be shocked about the amount of dust and bacteria hidden in your summer savior. Definitely clean your air conditioner when you move into a place, no matter how new it is. We've written a "How To" article on this right here.