How do movers weigh the moving truck?

Moving companies use Department of Transportation weigh stations to determine the weight of a shipment.

When you move long distance most moving companies give prices by the pound.

truck weigh station line

This leads to the obvious question…

How do the movers get the actual weight of all your stuff?

To answer this question we need to go back to middle school science class.

Remember when your teacher would ask you to weigh the beaker before putting anything in it?

Well, moving companies use the exact same method.

Before the movers load any furniture or boxes on the truck, they weigh the entire truck.

In the moving industry, they call this the tare weight or empty weight.

Then, once the movers load everything on the truck, they head back to the scales and weigh the truck again.

The loaded weight of the truck minus the empty weight of the truck is how the moving company calculates the total weight of your shipment.

Pretty easy right?

Let’s address some other question around weighing.

Where is the moving truck weighed?

Ever see the signs on the highway, “All trucks pull over”? These signs are for truck weigh stations run by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The DOT requires trucks to be weighed for safety purposes. But movers also use these scales to weigh customer shipments.

Every time a truck is weighed, the driver is given DOT certified weight tickets. Moving companies usually attach these weight tickets to the final bill given to customers.

Should I watch the moving truck get weighed?

Every consumer has the right to be present when the movers weigh the truck.

But if you hired a trustworthy moving company, there’s really no reason to go to the weighing.

However, let’s say after loading day you get a call from your moving company that your shipment came in “overweight.”

Of course, they want more money for the additional weight.

In this scenario, you may want to request a “reweigh” to verify the truck was weighed properly.

For a reweigh, the fully loaded truck is put on the scales. Then once everything is unloaded, the truck is weighed again to get the empty weight. The difference between the two is the weight of your shipment.

While some unscrupulous movers have been known to play games with the weight, this is rare. If a mover wants to scam you, there are far easier ways than trying to game the weighing process.

Normally, if a move comes in “overweight” it’s because the initial estimator made a mistake.

Is the moving company required to weigh the truck?

This is a very important detail you need to be aware of while getting quotes.

If you get a “non-binding” estimate, the moving company is required by law to get a certified weight of your shipment.

“Binding” or “Guaranteed Not-to-exceed” estimates are based on item counts and don’t require the move to be weighed.

For more info read which types of estimates are based on weight and the difference between weight and cubic footage estimates.

Questions? Leave them in the comments.

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