Getting A Moving Quote (or How To Not Get Burned Before Your Move Even Starts)
Today I think we should talk about moving quotes. I'm not talking about a moving quote like "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving," (thank you Albert Einstein) I'm referring to getting a quote for a move. Like many other projects, moving your home can be daunting. Lets face it, most of us have some stuff. Some of us have a lot of stuff. When it comes time to move it all sometimes it's just far more practical to have the pros move it for you. Enter the process of getting a quote from a moving company. There are a number of different options when choosing a moving company. You can utilize a smaller, independent company or go with a nationwide van line. There are pros and cons to both, but the decision will ultimately be up to you and how you'd like your move to happen. For example: A national van line can (more often than not) move your items across country for a lower price than an independent company can, but there's a higher likelihood that your items will change trucks or be held in storage until it suits the moving company's schedule. An independent company can often work to your schedule, albeit at a slightly higher price.
What types of estimate can I expect to receive?Regardless of the type of company that you choose to go with, you'll probably be presented with one (or more) of a few types of estimates.
- Binding Estimate - This estimate will give you a set price for moving your goods. The upside is that if you wind up moving more items than was originally planned, the price won't change. The downside is that if you wind up moving fewer items than planned, you'll still pay that set price.
- Non-Binding Estimate - You'll be provided with an estimated cost to move your goods. At the end of the move you'll be given an invoice for the actual costs incurred during the move. The invoice will either based on the actual weight of your shipment plus distance traveled and materials or will be based on an hourly rate plus materials. (Both types will also likely include a mileage/fuel fee and other smaller charges.)
- Binding - Not To Exceed - A Not-To-Exceed estimate will give you a cap on what your move will cost. It could be less than the estimated amount, but won't exceed it, regardless of the items moved.
Should I have someone come to my house for the estimate?These are all industry standard types of estimates and all have their merits, but there is a very important facet to getting a quote that you need to insist on before a quote is given to you: You should INSIST on an in-home visit by a representative of the company who will provide you the quote. That's not to say that a reasonable estimate can't be done over the phone or with photos of the items to be moved, but for the highest level of accuracy, an estimator needs to put his eyes on the items to be moved. (A classy estimator will also sanitize your items after laying his eyes on your things. Guffaw guffaw...) Our company has provided quotes over the phone when there's been no other alternative, but we MUCH prefer to see things in person. There are always factors that will have an impact on the cost of your move: What is the outside access like? Is the staircase that leads to your second floor a straight shot or is it a double switchback staircase with extra-high safety banisters? Will we need to utilize a crane to raise or lower your grand piano?
Should I check the internet for a moving quote?Many people will instinctively turn to the internet to get a moving quote. Fantastic! (Not only can the web provide you with assistance finding a moving company, you can also fritter away the hours looking at awesome cat memes and America's Finest News Source. *Warning! Here comes the fun squasher! Another type of site you'll find is that of the Moving Company Broker. While these folks may not be inherently bad people, they're not really all that invested in how your move will go. Their job is to simply take the info about your upcoming move that you provide and then to send you estimates (from other moving companies). You then select a company and your move is scheduled. The issue here is that if things go bad, the moving broker can easily wash their hands of the situation as it's not them performing the work, it's a different company altogether. I've heard countless horror stories involving brokers. Here's how it usually goes:
- Client gets a quote online.
- Joe's Midnight Movers show up, woefully unprepared for the amount of items, tough access, etc.
- The truck gets loaded and then the movers tell Client that the move will cost an additional sum of money to complete the move. (Anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.)
- Client calls the internet broker who says there's not much that they can do as it's not them doing the actual move.
- Client is left to either pay or to fight it out with Joe's Midnight Movers, all the while their goods are being held in storage somewhere.
The bottom line.The long and the short of getting a quote is this: Do some research before you make your calls. Make sure that the companies you call are reputable and have good reviews. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Surely at least a few of them have used a company or two in the past and can lend your the benefit of their experiences. Once you've chosen a company or two (or three) to get an estimate from, understand the types of quotes that you'll receive. If you don't understand something in the estimate, ASK THEM TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU. If they're not willing to make things clear to you, run. Run fast and far, Forrest Gump style. They are NOT a company that you want to work with. As always, we're happy to help you with your move, even if it's just to answer some questions! Feel free to call one of our offices or to request a quote for your move!
Posted by Jim Henderson