Getting an accurate moving estimate can be tricky. Most of the time, it’s recommended that you get an in-person estimate, which should be a free service offered by any moving company. However, there are times when that might not be possible. Maybe you can’t arrange a time to meet with an estimator or maybe your move is small enough it can be handled over the phone, and with the right preparation on your part, it is possible to get a fairly accurate assessment of your moving costs. The key, of course, is to pick a reputable mover and give them an accurate assessment of your move.
Grab a pen and paper or a tablet
Before you call the mover, inventory everything in your home. You know how sometimes you can’t find your keys when they were right in front of you? The human memory can play tricks on you. When you look at a space every single day, you tend to overlook and forget things. Everyone does it. That’s why you need to tour your own home, as if you were a stranger, and write everything down. If things are under or over-sized, take measurements. Don’t leave anything out.
Are there stairs? Do you have narrow doorways? Do you remember any challenges moving items into your home? Are there particular hours that the movers need to be there? Are there parking restrictions? Can a large moving van pull right up to your front door? No? How far away does it need to park? If possible, answer the same questions for your moving destination.
Estimate the number of boxes. If you are average, you will probably have about 20 boxes. If you have a lot of books and you are moving more than about 200 miles away, let the mover know. Books are heavy and long-distance moves are charged by weight. On average, each shelf of books equals one box. Each drawer of clothing equals one box. Each two linear feet of closet space equals one box. Each set of dishes equals one box. Fine china and extremely delicate items need more space, so double the box count for them.
Even with a sight-unseen estimate, you are still entering into a contract. The contract will be broken if any of the terms are different. Don’t try to fool the mover by saying your move is smaller than it is. That is the number one reason people complain about their moves – the mover thought it was smaller and the price had to rise. Often, the mover is at fault. It’s the moving estimator’s responsibility to ask you all the right questions, but quite often, items are forgotten or overlooked and it tends to make for unhappy customers.
Avoid movers who don’t ask a lot of questions. It’s to everyone’s benefit for them to get details, like the size of your dining room table and the number of chairs being moved. They should ask about your electronics and whether you have the original packing material. They should ask how many people live there, how many bedrooms, etc. Once you get off the phone with a good moving estimator, you should feel as if you each know each other well and you should feel very comfortable with them. Don’t rush the process. It won’t take that long, but if it’s rushed, you can almost guarantee that something will be left off. Plan about 30 minutes. It will probably be less, but you should make that time.