While summer might conjure images of sun-soaked beaches and lakeside cabins, it’s also a busy season for moving trucks.

Summer’s the most popular time to move, thanks to abundant warm weather and school breaks, but it’s often the most expensive time to hire a moving company.

“You can get a lot of discounts in January because it can be pretty slow,” says Chris Williams, a mover with College Hunks Hauling Junk in Washington, D.C.

How much do movers discount winter moves? That all depends on the type of move, but Williams says prices can be discounted 15 percent or more compared to the peak summer months.

Savings and easier scheduling
Not only do January and February bring cost savings, but they also mean much more flexibility in scheduling your move.

“This time of year, we can work with a customer’s schedule, and you’ll have a better chance of getting a comfortable time for you,” says Trey Cunningham, Williams’ moving partner.

Here’s another tip: Try scheduling your move in the middle of the month, regardless of the season.

“Most people are moving toward the end or beginning of the month,” Cunningham says.

Of course, winter discounts don’t necessarily translate for those living in warmer climates.

“Movers stay busy in Florida all the time,” Williams says.

Cost depends on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you have and whether you choose to use a company’s packing services.

Get your moving cost in writing
To start, you want a binding estimate – a written agreement made in advance with your mover that clearly describes all services provided. It guarantees the total cost based on the quantities and services.

Compared to a binding estimate, a non-binding estimate is what the mover believes the cost will be, based on the estimated weight of the shipment and additional services required. The final charges are based on weight, services and the tariff provisions in effect.

Some movers offer a guaranteed-not-to-exceed estimate, which allows the consumer to pay the binding estimate or actual cost, whichever is lower.

According to recent estimates by the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate move is about $4,300, based on an average weight of 7,400 pounds and distance of 1,225 miles. The average intrastate move costs $2,300, based on the same weight and a crew of four.

Prices may fluctuate, depending on where you live, and of course, by season.

By Jason Hargraves Angie’s List (TNS)

Jason Hargraves is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.