Two people who've hired Bay Area movers

What Is Double Drive Time and How Does It Affect Moving in the Bay Area?

Written by: Amelia Mead

Are you planning on moving in California with the help of Bay Area movers, but are still confused by the relocation lingo? Well, as a customer you ought to know how and why you are spending your money, and to do that, you’ll have to understand what double drive time (DDT) is. We are here to give you a crash course on the matter, so don’t worry. 

Why Is It So Important to Understand Key Terms Bay Area and San Francisco Movers Use?

There is one rule to relocation, and it has always been: If you want to move, you’ll have to get some help, and if you want to move efficiently, make sure that help is professional. Relocation isn’t always easy, and doing it without the help of local movers in the Bay Area makes it even more daunting. Unfortunately, scouting the best Bay Area moving companies isn’t where your to-do list of all the things to do before relocating stops. 

If you truly want to move without relocation stress, as a customer, you should be informed about how moving companies in the Bay Area charge and operate. Understanding the process will give you a good night’s sleep, but even more importantly, it’ll assure you don’t fall for a relocation scam. And while there are many benefits to relocation, there are a few dangers as well. So, in times like these, knowledge becomes the best route to self-preservation. So, without further ado, let’s get into breaking down travel fees of Cali relocation companies.  

 A relocation truck of a Bay Area moving company driving off into the sun
When you are relocating with the help of professionals, you should understand how their rate comes to be

Do Movers Charge for the Travel Time Between the Two Locations?

Yes, in general movers provide a rate for travel fees for any local move. Depending on the state you live in, and are relocating inside off, movers might ask you to cover the length of period it takes them to get to the place of your choice, and then once more, for the period it takes them to get back to their own place of work. In California, the state requires movers to use DDT for charging for the length of transportation. Before explaining how DDT travel fees operate, there are a few terms you should know.

Terms You Need to Know to Understand Double Drive Time

Understanding how DDT works is much easier when you have the crucial terms figured out. So, here are the three basic terms you need to know to understand the concept:

  • Warehouse – This is basically the address of the relocation company you are going to hire. It’s the place they keep their trucks, equipment, and materials required for the move. While the movers have to start the relocation process of your house here, by DDT, they won’t be allowed to start charging you the moment their truck leaves the warehouse.
  • Origin – Origin is the space your move is going to start at – your home, or for that matter, office (if you’re going for a commercial move). Once the workers reach the origin is where they’ll begin with services like boxing up everything from your packing list, as well as loading the truck.
  • Destination – The lovely new home you found, that is, the reason for your move is defined as the destination. Of course, this term is more flexible than just a house address. If you are looking to relocate items into a storage unit, your destination address could be that of a storage unit as well. 
A group of local movers in the bay area unloading boxes
You should be able to speak the relocation lingo once the relocation actually starts

Breaking Down Double Drive Time in California

As already mentioned, DDT is a way of charging the customer for the relocation fee. According to it, the Bay Area moving company you hire will charge you for the trip from your current home, the origin, to the best place to live in – your destination, at a previously agreed-upon hourly fee. Basically, the packers and movers will measure the length of the trip and double the charge. So, if you are relocating down the block, you’ll be charged double for the ride. We know it might sound scammy, but the point of DDT is actually to protect the customer. Let us explain.

Why Do Relocation Companies Use This Charging Method?

Previous to the introduction of this law, a mover would use a charging method known as ”Portal to Portal”. It implies that you would be charged for the period it takes movers to travel from point A (warehouse) to point B (your former home – the origin); then from the point B to point C (your future home), and then from point C to point A (warehouse) once the relocation (or the day) is done.

”Portal to Portal” proved to lack transparency and didn’t secure the customer’s rights adequately. And that’s where DDT comes in. The first and most important thing you need to know is that this law is primarily created for you and your benefit. But how does it make your relocation easier and secure you from fraud? 

How Does DDT Affect the Customer? 

Because the Bay Area is a vast one, DDT is more often than not much cheaper for the customer. Warehouses are often located on the outskirts of California towns and cities, so it takes the drivers longer to get to you, then the move from your origin to the final stop lasts. Additionally, other types of pricing leave you prone to fraud. If the mover was to charge you starting from the warehouse, you’d have no way to know when exactly they started the clock. 

Other than that, DDT ensures that no one company has a monopoly over pricing, creating a more fair playing field between the Bay Area moving companies themselves. In addition, it allows you to hire the mover you want to hire without having to rely on how far away they are from you as the main parameter. And last but not least, it allows you to best plan your move between Bay Area towns by providing you with a calculation you can easily incorporate in your relocation expenses checklist. When it all comes together, DDT gives the customer a more affordable, more transparent, and more easily manageable relocation experience – which is great! 

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What Is the CA Law on Double Drive Time?

It’s important to know that in the state of California, DDT is a mandatory way of charging for the travel fee. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires each and every relocation company to obtain a permit named a Household Goods Mover Permit. This is a state-issued license that is required to legally be able to pack furniture, as well as move large items, and do all other tasks and duties that come with a customer’s change of address

To obtain one of these, you have to provide various organized documents, a financial fee, as well as pass a test on rate caps and certain consumer laws – one of them being Double Drive Time. This permit is how the state protects the customers from fraud and ensures you don’t overpay for the services you are hiring. 

Are There Exceptions to the DDT Law in the State of California?

As with anything in life, there are some exceptions to the rule. In some situations, the mover you hire may be able to charge extra for the services they are providing due to some complications. Here is how and when, after you move, you might expect the final bill to be somewhat higher:

  • Exception 1 – When the mover has to create multiple trips between the places of origin and destination, the cost will be calculated as follows: the loading and unloading hours will be added to the period required to get from the place of origin to the destination. 
  • Exception 2 – In case you have to get more than one truck to move one single unit of equipment, the billing also may differ. In that case, you will be charged the loading/unloading phase plus the driving period, which will be extended by 25 minutes of each shipment. 
  • Exception 3 – The third exception is more complex because it may vary to a certain extent depending on numerous factors. This one could take place when you are relocating with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner for the first time: it is a move that incorporates multiple places of origin and just one destination. In this case, if you are relocating locally, you will be charged the loading and unloading phase, to which the DDT from each origin point will be added.
A girl checking out the bill a Bay Area moving company supplied her with
If your move falls under the exceptional category, there might be additional charges involved

What to Ask Your Movers About DDT to Ensure Everyone Is on the Same Page?

Unfortunately, while the DDT provides more transparency and security to the relocation process, for many, it is still a confusing law that leaves space for vagueness and manipulation. So, if you want to know exactly what you are paying for, here are a few questions to ask your mover before throwing that going-away party:

  • Will you be charged for fuel – Some companies fare the price of the fuel in addition to the DDT. For some, the fuel will be an additional item on your bill, for others, it will be incorporated into your hourly fee, so just make sure you know how you are charged.
  • How do you define ”origin” and ”destination” – Terms like origin and destination are not explicitly defined by the law, so it’s important to know how your mover defines them. While most of them will define the words as your former and future home, some might equate one or both of them to their warehouse. 
  • Does the mover round the drive time – Most companies round up the length of the drive to fifteen minutes. So, if the ride lasts 10 minutes, it will be rounded up to 15. So, find out how your mover calculates this and plan accordingly.
  • Does your situation fall into an exceptional scenario – Relocating is expensive, so it’s important to save money when moving out. Asking about whether your move could be considered as one of the exceptions above could do just that. This way, you’ll be better prepared for any additional costs that may arise and know how to manage your funds best.
A calculator that says ''costs''
Always have the details of your billing before the move starts – it’s the best way not to get scammed

Now That You Understand How a Moving Company in the Bay Area Charges, All You Have to Do Is Book One

Now that you have all the details on the Bay Area and San Francisco moving, you can get to booking the perfect mover for the job. And, you are in luck, because you’ve already found the best ones. When it comes to residential moving, there’s no one more suited for packing your fragile items and relocating heavy boxes than our professionals. And we should warn you that we have only the best movers in San Francisco available, and you better have cash ready because you won’t be able to resist tipping them.

Our Bay Area Moving Company Provides the Most Affordable Quotes 

All jokes aside, we truly are the best mover around. Our team of experienced professionals can move your home, your office and even provide you with labor-only relocation services. In addition, we supply customers with top-quality storage space, and of course, in- and-out-of storage relocation. So, if you want to book your move, you should contact us today. Our friendly customer support will gladly give you the most affordable free quote in the area, as well as answer any questions you may have prior to booking the dates. Don’t hesitate – we are waiting for your call! 

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Amelia Mead
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