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The Types Of Local Moving Estimates – What’s Best For You?

in Local moving by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Image courtesy of the Lead Republic.com

Image courtesy of the Lead Republic.com

Thanks to a lot of recent press about moving companies – a lot of it negative, customers are becoming more savvy. Most customers are doing their due diligence and getting at least three in-home estimates before choosing a company. Unfortunately, that’s where things might get confusing.

There are several basic types of estimates that moving companies will provide, both for local and long distance moves. As we talk about each, you might find that one has a clear advantage for the customer and in most cases you might be right, but there are exceptions.

If you are moving locally (within the same state and within approximately 200 miles):

1. By the hour – Moving companies all charge by the hour. You’ll find that rates probably don’t vary that much from company to company, but there are additional charges such as packing materials. If you aren’t sure what you’re moving or how much you will be able to pack before moving day(yes, that does happen), an hourly move will probably be your only option. Your moving estimator might give you an approximate number of hours, but that estimate is meaningless. It will ALMOST ALWAYS go over that estimate.

2. Binding – A binding estimate protects both the customer and the mover. It is a flat/guaranteed price for the move. There are a couple of disadvantages in binding estimates, though. First, the customer needs to read the fine print very closely. The contract might not include all the services the customer expects, like packing or sometimes, with less scrupulous companies, the tape used to wrap furniture. If the move takes less time than estimated, the customer will pay the estimated price, regardless.

3. Not to Exceed – Not to exceed estimates are, for the majority of customers, the best option. If it costs less than the estimate, the customer will pay less. if it’s more, the customer will not pay more than the estimate. As with a binding, though, you should always read the fine print and make sure that you carry out your end of the bargain, such as the agreed amount of packing. Otherwise, the estimate will be voided.

Next week, we’ll talk about long distance estimates.

How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part One (Local Moves)

in Local moving, Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

You’ve done your due diligence. You’ve gotten three estimates for your move, but why do they look so different?

The reality is, they shouldn’t look so different. All reputable moving companies will follow the exact same formula for estimating your move and the exact same formula for your final charges.

There are four types of moves – local, short hauls, interstate and international. Each of the four types of moves have different formulas in the way they are charged. But, despite that, calculating the cost of a move is not all that complicated.

Over the next four weeks, we will analyze types of moves and the types of estimates you will receive. 

If you are moving locally, your move will be charged by the hour. Of course, your mover might choose to cap or guarantee the price, but ultimately, that cap or guarantee will be based on the number of hours the move will take. You will also be charged for packing.

It’s recommended that if your home has more than three rooms, you should have a mover come inventory your home.

If you are looking at three estimates that all list a different number of hours, don’t fall into the trap of choosing the estimate that lists the fewest hours. Sure, some people might physically move faster than others, but at the end of the day, no matter who does the move, it will take approximately the same amount of time.

You will be charged based on the number of movers and the number of trucks. Fewer movers will not mean a cheaper move. As a matter of fact, unless there are so many movers that they are tripping over each other, shorting a move on movers typically ends up adding to the cost of the move, simply because efficiency goes down. On average, it requires approximately three to four man hours for every room in a home, without packing. If there are two movers, it will take about one to two man hours per room. If there are three, about one.

Obviously, these numbers are only averages. If your home is relatively empty, it will take less time and if you have a lot of items, it will take longer.

You might find more variables with packing, but they should be fairly easy to navigate if you keep these few facts in mind:

All items that aren’t furniture should be packed. You can pack them yourself or you can pay the mover to do that. You will be charged for material and the time involved in packing will be charged by the hour.

Of course you know that all clothing, linens, decorative items, dishes and cooking utensils need to be boxed but when I say that all items that aren’t furniture should be packed, I am referring to all electronics (including TVs), mattresses, lamps, framed pictures and mirrors. These boxes can be purchased through your mover (who generally delivers for free) or through box supply stores.

The more packing is required, the more the move will cost, but professional packers will pack much faster than most homeowners. Most full packs and moves will be completed within one to two days – as opposed to weeks of packing for most homeowners. Professional packers also do a much better job of packing than most people, helping to ensure the safety of all breakables and ensure that everything is well-organized.

Still, packing choices are a matter of priority. If budget is more of a concern than time, the first piece of advice most moving consultants will give is to pack for your own move.

If nothing else, many, if not the majority of customers, have the movers pack difficult to pack items.

If you are finding huge discrepancies between estimates, break them down based on what you now know and question companies. Are they willing to guarantee (or “bind”) their too-good-to-be true estimates and even if they are, ask yourself if you are willing to risk having movers who are rushed and possibly even sloppy and grumpy, because they know that they won’t be getting paid what the move is worth. If the difference is between an hour or two (on larger moves), that’s probably not worrisome, but it’s always a good idea to get a guarantee on even the most realistic estimates.

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Two (Long-Distance Moves)

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Three (Short Hauls)

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Four (International Moves)

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