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.