How Do Movers Calculate Moving Quotes?

How do movers calculate moving quotes?Imagine this scenario –

You get a moving company referral from your obnoxious brother-in-law.

Site-unseen, you hire them to relocate you and your family across the country.

In other words –

  • No virtual or in-home surveys are done
  • The company doesn’t provide a detailed moving quote
  • They know nothing about your move or what’s most important to you.

Come move day; when the crew shows up, they’ll have no way of knowing which moving services you need and which you don’t.

Worse yet, you won’t know if your upcoming move will cost $800 or $9,000.

Talk about a huge hassle.

The takeaway here is that moving quotes are essential.

They’re also great tools for avoiding common moving scams.

That said, if you’re new to all this, familiarizing yourself with moving company quotes is a great way to become an informed consumer.

Before reading on, check out these helpful move resources –

  • How much will your move cost? – Plug in your moving dates, move size, and origin and destination addresses, and let our cutting-edge move cost calculator generate a free moving quote.
  • Hire professional movers – Risking injury and missing work to save a few bucks isn’t wise. Instead, opt for peace of mind by hiring reputable long-distance movers.
  • Consider moving containers – Looking for a customizable budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.

How do I get a quote for a mover?

Back in the day, getting the moving process started required picking up a home phone, talking to another human being, and scheduling an in-home estimate with the local moving company.

Yeah, it was horrible.

However, thanks to smartphones, computers, and the global Covid-19 pandemic, online moving quotes, and virtual surveys are more common.

To get internet quotes, you’ll need to enter the following information into a moving company’s website –

  • Your email address is usually enough (but they’d love to have your name and phone number too)
  • The size of your home or apartment
  • What services you’ll need (like storage and packing services)
  • Other moving needs or add-ons, like if they’ll need to use an elevator or reserve a loading dock
  • When and where you’re moving

On the other hand, virtual surveys allow estimators to remotely view the items you’d like moved through your smartphone or tablet.

They can be scheduled online or over the phone and can sometimes be done immediately if a surveyor is available.

Internet quotes and virtual walk-throughs are great for small homes and 1-bedroom apartments, but they’re often less accurate for larger and more complex moves.

How do I estimate moving costs?

Unless you’re making a DIY move, it’s best not to try to estimate your move costs.

With so many variables, it’s nearly impossible, and you’ll probably be way off the mark.

Instead, rely on experienced estimators from reputable companies to calculate your moving costs.

Remember, moving estimates are free, and surveyors are great resources, so take advantage of them.

When estimating move costs, companies take the following information into account –

  • Time of year – It’s most expensive to move during the peak season between mid-May and early September
  • Labor – The hourly rate for each crewmember, multiplied by the total number of hours estimated to complete the moving experience(on local moves)
  • Transportation – A combination of the weight of your household goods and distance between your old and new homes (on the interstate and long-distance intrastate moves)
  • Packing and unpacking – They will charge you You’llfor material and the labor required to pack and unpack each box
  • Extra services – Crating/uncrating, appliance disconnects/reconnects, shuttles, storage, etc.
  • Valuation (moving insurance) – Options usually include free released value protection and full-value protection coverage
  • Additional fees -Travel time and fuel charges

What does a moving quote typically include?

You should include every shred of relevant information in your moving quote.

Here we’re talking about –

  • Your name and contact information
  • Origin and destination addresses
  • Pick up and drop off dates
  • The distance between your old and new homes (on interstate moves)
  • The estimated weight of your household goods (on interstate moves)
  • Crew size and the estimated number of hours (on local moves)
  • A flat rate for other additional services
  • What kind of estimate it is – firm price (binding), non-binding, or guaranteed not-to-exceed
  • Accessorial charges for elevators, extra stops, and shuttles
  • Extra fees for fuel and/or travel time charges
  • Payment options and terms

Each estimate should include a detailed list of services that the estimator has included.

The spaces for services you don’t need may be left blank, but all others should be filled in.

Whether intentional or unintentional, omitted services will make your estimate appear lower than it is.

Pay close attention to –

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Crating and uncrating
  • Appliance disconnects/reconnects
  • Automobile transportation
  • Storage
  • Bulky article charges for pianos, hot tubs, and ATVs
  • Various valuation (moving insurance) options, and the cost for each

How do you compare long-distance moving quotes?

As they say – apples to apples.

The best way to compare moving quotes is to lay them side by side and go over them line by line.

To be thorough, address each of the items listed in the previous section of this article.

On interstate moves, it’s especially important to check that the estimated weights and mileages are similar.

Ideally, each estimate should be within 10 or 15% of the others.

Sadly, however, this isn’t often the case on big moves.

If you’re considering having the movers do some or all of the packing for you, compare the estimated number of cartons by size.

Remember, packing charges should never be a lump sum.

Moving boxes come in various shapes and sizes, and in addition to the container itself, you’ll be charged for the labor to pack it.

For example, you may be charged $8 for every 1.5 cubic-foot carton (material and labour), while a dish-pack carton may cost $47.

Each container size should be itemized.

Insider’s Tip

If one estimate is significantly higher or lower than the others, call the representative who provided it and ask why.

What do professional movers cost?

For recent college grads and mobile singles living in studio apartments, full-service local and interstate moves generally cost between $400 and $2,100, respectively.

Packing and moving a large home locally often costs between $3,500 and $8,000, while the price to move the same house across the country can exceed $20,000.

Throw in two cars, a few custom crates, and a month of storage, and you can tack on another four grand easily.

Do moving companies offer discounts?

Thankfully, they do.

On long-distance moves, nearly all movers offer discounts off their standard tariff rates.

If they didn’t, their moving prices would be prohibitively high, and nobody would use their services.

In addition, on both local and long-distance moves, many movers offer discounts to –

  • AAA members and senior citizens
  • Military, police and first-responders
  • Veterans
  • Students

Insider’s Tip

On local moves, labour charges may be negotiable. In addition, many moving companies include a free month of storage with each move and sometimes free used boxes as well.

What are the benefits of hiring a moving company?

Here at moveBuddha, we always recommend hiring professional movers for several reasons.

The truth is that DIY moves are very risky, and while they can be less expensive than hiring full-service movers, in some cases, they’re pricier.

When deciding which option makes the most sense for you and your family, consider things from every angle, keeping overall value in mind.

Also, think about –

  • Safety – You won’t need to worry about throwing your back out, falling down a flight of stairs, or driving a clunky U-Haul truck through rain, ice and snow when you hire pros
  • Convenience – Reputable moving companies have trained employees and the right equipment to do the job safely and efficiently
  • Peace of mind – If you’ve opted for full-value replacement coverage, you’re covered in case of loss or damage
  • Cost – When the cost of your move,  truck rental, fuel, insurance, tolls, and lost wages are factored in, hiring professional movers may be less expensive.

The benefits of hiring a moving company almost always outweigh the benefits of renting a moving truck and doing a DIY move.

What are the different types of moving estimates?

When moving locally, you’ll usually get a non-binding estimate.

Let’s assume you’re doing the packing yourself and just need a truck and labor.

If so, with a non-binding estimate you’ll pay for the actual time your move takes, regardless of the final charges are higher or lower than the original estimate.

In many regulated states, local movers can’t legally give customers binding estimates, but in unregulated states, they may be able to.

On interstate moves, there are three estimate options –

  • Non-binding – Your final charges will be based on your shipment’s actual weight in addition to packing and additional services performed, whether they’re higher or lower than the original estimate
  • Guaranteed not-to-exceed – If you haven’t added items or requested last minute services, your charges may be less than the estimated cost, but they won’t be more
  • Binding – If the scope of your move hasn’t changed from the time of the original estimate, you’ll pay the exact price you were quoted

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I get a mover quote?

Getting internet quotes is easy. Just enter a few move details on a moving company’s website, and you’ll usually get a free ballpark estimate instantly. To schedule an in-home survey, however, you’ll probably need to call the moving company.

How much does it cost to move?

Depending on factors like the size of your move and whether or not you need packing, most local moves cost between $300 and $1,500. The moving industry average cost for long-distance moves is generally between about $2,500 and $6,000. However, the cost for larger and more complex moves can be much higher.

What is the process of getting a quote like?

Virtual and online quotes are relatively quick and painless. On the other hand, in-home estimates require more time and effort on your part. The good news is that they’re well worth it because you’ll benefit from your surveyor’s expertise, and your estimate should be much more accurate since they have actually seen your items.

What are the most expensive times to move?

Since kids aren’t in school, most families move during the summer. Not surprisingly, prices go up significantly because most moving companies have more business than they can handle. If you’re flexible, moving during the fall or winter can mean significant savings and better service. In addition, it’s usually more expensive to move on weekends and the last few days of each month.

How accurate are moving estimates?

Remember, all moving estimates are not the same. Though they’re good for budgeting purposes, phone and online quotes may be inaccurate. In-home estimates aren’t always possible, but when they are, they’re preferable unless you’re just moving a 1-bedroom apartment across town.

How many moving quotes should you get?

Getting three moving quotes is a good idea. Not only will you be able to compare each company’s cost estimate, but you’ll get a good feel for the services they offer and how easy (or difficult) they’ll be to work with. Before scheduling your estimates, don’t forget to ask friends, family members, and coworkers for personal referrals.

How much are movers per hour?

Depending on location and time of the year, most local moving companies charge between $25 and $50 per person per hour. On average, you can expect to pay approximately $80 per hour for a 2-person crew and $120 and $160 per hour for three and 4-person teams, respectively.

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