You’re about to move. Do you really need to get a permit?
Moving day is coming.
You’ve bought your boxes. You’ve lined up a truck. You’ve recruited your friends (or hired professionals).
But do you have a parking permit? You might want to get on that.
Yes, permits for your moving truck can feel like one more hassle to deal with when packing up your apartment. You could easily spend $100 or more, depending on where you park, and may endure a schlep to City Hall, depending on where you live. All for a couple of “No Parking” signs you tape to a tree.
Do you really need to bother? Yes, experts say. Yes you do.
Think about it. Moving is stressful enough without having to find a box-truck-sized parking space on your narrow, crowded, street, or risk hauling your couch and everything else you own across a busy street or off around the corner.
“If you don’t have the permits, it makes moving day a lot more complicated than it needs to be,” said Chris Amaral, owner of Safe Responsible Movers in Allston. “We really recommend getting them.”
And cities around here are trying to make getting those permits less of a chore. Boston now issues permits online for moves that are less than a month, but more than two weeks, away (right about now if you’re moving Sept. 1). Apply online, and they’ll mail you the signs, though if you don’t get to this two weeks out, you can still go to City Hall and pick them up the old-fashioned way. Apply seven days in advance in Cambridge, and they’ll even post the signs for you.
Or you can outsource it.
Dan Backman was so frustrated with the process of getting a dumpster permit in Boston about 15 years ago that he saw a business opportunity. He launched Permit Puller, which today operates in dozens of cities coast-to-coast, handling the grunt work of going to City Hall and securing permits for movers, and moving companies, alike. There’s a fee, of course — $83 in Boston, on top of whatever the permit costs, a bit more in neighboring cities where they’re a little less busy — but, Backman promises, everything will be done right, the better to avoid moving day snafus.
“When people do these things themselves, I’m not always sure they follow the rules,” he said. “We do it by the book. We don’t want to get in a situation where the signs we have hung are not enforceable.”
Nor do you want your signs to be ignored.
It is not unheard of to wake up on moving day, with the truck en route, and see a strange car parked in the space you have carefully reserved. Yes, the police will tow the offending vehicle, but there’s no telling how long they might take to show up, especially on a busy day during peak moving season. Meanwhile, you’ve got stuff to move.
One defensive manuever — “an urban surval tactic,” as Jim Gillooly, deputy commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department, calls it — is to park your own car in the reserved spaces overnight, then pull it out when the truck arrives.
“That could prevent quite a headache,” Gillooly said.
Don’t have a car to block out interlopers? Cones work too, Amaral said. Or that snow day standby, the space saver. For a few hours in a space clearly marked with moving permits, no one should mind.
Just remember, amid all the bustle of leaving your old place, you’re going somewhere, too. So don’t forget to get a permit — and save the space — at your destination as well. If you’re moving across city lines, that could mean trips to two City Halls. But it’ll make it easier to haul your stuff out of the truck, and into your new place, getting moving day, and all its attendant headaches, over with.