If you are getting ready to make a move, it’s essential that you contact multiple companies to provide you with moving quotes. But what should those quotes include and how can you pick the best quote? 

1. Don’t Focus On The Over-The-Phone Quote

While you can get initial moving company quotes over the phone, don’t just assume that this quote is actually the price you will pay. In order to get a truly accurate moving quote, you need a company representative to actually head out to your home or apartment and take a look at what will need to be moved and the logistics of the move.

For instance, let’s compare two homes that might sound identical over the phone:

Home 1 (2,400-square-feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms): This home includes just a single story with two steps up to the wide front door that allows easy access for large furnishings and appliances. Sparsely furnished, the owners also have decided not to move their washer and dryer as there are already new models in the new home, which also is a single-story residence.

 Home 1 (2,400-square-feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms): At this home, there are two stories, and a total of 18 stairs. The staircase is narrow and the upstairs furniture includes a washer and dryer, as well as a large sofa and three king mattresses. Additionally, the homeowners have 15 bookcases filled to the brim with books, as well as a plethora of patio furniture and a garage crammed with heavy items such as huge tool boxes and storage cabinets.

If you simply called and said, “I have a three-bedroom, two-bath home,” this wouldn’t really show the whole picture. The second move is more difficult, so we might need to assign more movers to handle the extra items and heavy items. The second move also will take more time because there are simply more items to move. We couldn’t possibly charge the same rates for these two moves because one is more difficult than the other.

When the moving company representative comes to discuss your move, be sure that you are very clear about the move-in location as well. The representative needs to know the number of miles from place to place, as well as the number of stairs and stories. It’s also helpful to know about any access issues at the new place or restrictions about moving hours.

2. Understand The Cost Of Moving

Moving isn’t cheap, and there’s a reason for that. When you receive moving company quotes, you might be surprised to see the actual cost of moving. Depending on the size of your home and the number of miles between the move-out and move-in locations, you can expect to pay about $1,000 for a local move.

Don’t panic yet. This number depends on a number of factors. For instance, if you are moving out of a studio apartment or one-bedroom apartment, it might be just $200 for a quick move. Moving out of a two-bedroom apartment also probably will cost less than $1,000.

However, if you live in a typical three or four-bedroom home, you can expect to pay about $800 or more for a move, but this may be more, again depending on factors such as the stairs, the number of workers needed, the number of hours we estimate it will take to complete the entire move, etc.

If you get three or four moving quotes and find that one company offers a substantially lower rate, this can be a red flag. It’s possible that this cheaper moving company is grossly underestimating the amount of time it will take or the number of employees. In addition, some less reputable companies will give you a cheap quote to get you signed on and then charge you extra fees on the day of the move. In some cases, these movers have been known to hold your items hostage until you cough up the extra dough.

3. There Are Different Types Of Moving Quotes

Basically, you will see three types of moving company quotes – binding, non-binding and binding-not-to-exceed. Let’s look at each type.

Binding – This mean that the price listed on your quote is the price that they will charge you unless something extreme changes. For instance, let’s say you planned to sell your piano but decide at the last minute to move it along with the rest of your furnishings. A piano is a difficult item to move and the extra weight and space on the truck and the time involved in moving this large, delicate item can affect the final cost.

Non-binding – For this type of quote, the moving company representative basically is just guessing what the final cost will be. Hopefully, this is based upon a thorough inspection of your home or apartment. If not, be prepared for a higher cost. If the moving company quote underestimates the weight, amount of time needed for the move or other factors, you could be charged way more than you expected. Legally, the mover can only charge 110% of the estimate but they can send you a bill later to collect the extra charges.

Binding Not-To-Exceed – This sometimes occurs when the company isn’t quite sure what your items will weigh, and often is a factor on long-distance moves rather than local moves. Typically quick local moves aren’t based on total weight because it might just be a question of moving items 10 or fewer miles. When you start to increase the distance, this cost of transportation adds up. Heavier trucks burn more fuel, and fuel is very expensive so the weight factor might come into play with a local move if you aren’t moving very close by your current dwelling.

Anyway, with a not-to-exceed moving quote, the company will provide you with a maximum amount they will charge you. If your items end up under a certain weight, you might actually pay less, but they aren’t supposed to charge you more than the top amount.

4. Get Everything In Writing

If a moving company rep hands you an estimate that is basically blank with just a simple cost estimate, this is not enough. The estimate should contain a general list of contents, especially making note of any large items, heavy items or other items difficult to move. The estimate should include all of your furnishings and an estimated number of boxes. Don’t forget to inform the mover about boxes they might not see easily, such as the 36 bins of Christmas decorations stored in your attic.

5. Don’t Forget About Insurance

Once you have selected a great moving company and have that detailed moving quote in hand, don’t forget about insurance and this should be part of the contract. Basically, you have three options – Released Value, Full-Value Protection, or Third-Party Insurance.

Released Value – This is available at no additional charge, so you’re probably like, “I’m sold, I’ll take it.” Sometimes things that are free aren’t really free at all, and this is the perfect example. With this type of insurance, the moving company is only responsible for 60 cents per pound per damage article. This means if your $500, 50-pound television is broken, we only have to give you $30, which doesn’t even cover the repair cost let alone replacement cost.

Full-Value Protection – We offer this, but it is an additional cost. With full-value protection, the mover at their discretion agrees to repair a broken item, replace it with a similar item or provide a cash settlement to cover either the cost of repair or the current market replacement value.

Third-Party Insurance – If you opt for Released Value insurance, we recommend that you look into third-party moving insurance. This is something you will purchase from actual insurance company, but we also recommend checking out your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if moving expenses already might be covered.

If you’ve been hunting for moving company quotes, don’t forget about Move 4 Less. We can handle both local and long-distance moves with ease and can come out, take a look at your place and provide you with a solid cost quote. You can get started by receiving a free initial estimate by simply clicking on the Get a Quote tab at the top of this page. This will give you a general idea of how much your move probably will cost.