Everything You Need to Know About Moving Estimates

Everything You Need to Know About Moving Estimates

a scale with moving boxes on it showing a comparison
Learn about the different types of moving estimates, and how to compare them.

Hiring a professional moving company can alleviate much of the stress that occurs during a move. If you have decided on this step, good for you! You will save yourself the strain on your physical and mental health by letting professionals do the heavy lifting. However, you need to be prepared for the costs of such a decision. Moving estimates are a good way of having a ballpark picture of the money you will spend. Additionally, written estimates are state-required in Washington by the WUTC.

There are many factors that go into moving estimates. For a long-distance move, the cost of your move will typically depend on the weight of your items and the distance of your move. For local moves, the cost will be based on an hourly rate. Additionally, many companies offer extra services for an added cost. To avoid unpleasant surprises when the bill arrives, take a look at what you need to know about moving estimates.

Different types of moving estimates

Binding estimate

When you sign a binding estimate, you ensure that the actual cost of your move won’t exceed your estimate. Even if the weight of your items is more than on the initial estimate. However, if you decide to add more items on moving day or make use of any extra services, the company is allowed to charge you for those changes.

Non-binding estimate

This type of estimate is the most flexible and viable to change. The estimate is only an approximation and there is no guarantee of the final cost. The cost of your move depends on the weight of your items and the distance of the move. The actual cost may end up less than the estimate, but keep in mind that it can also be more.

Binding not-to-exceed estimate

Most people opt for not-to-exceed moving estimates, because they can guarantee you won’t spend more money than you initially agree to. This estimate guarantees that you will not pay more than the initial estimate, even if the items weigh more than listed in the contract. Moreover, if your shipment weighs less, the cost of your move will be reduced.

Moving estimates come in different types, so choose one that fits your needs.
The binding not-no-exceed estimate is the most popular and safest type of estimate.

What Do Moving Estimates Look Like?

In-home Estimate

When you opt for the in-home estimate, an estimator will come to your house and take a look at what you have in mind for the move. They will go around your house in detail, inspect every nook and cranny, gauge any potential difficulties (such as stairs or tight doorways) all of which can affect the price and tools required for the job. They can also accommodate a second trip, such as to a local storage facility. For this reason, this is the most accurate of the moving estimates, and strongly encouraged.

As the WUTC strictly regulates local and intrastate moves, in-home estimates are ideal. If an onsite is not possible due to extenuating circumstances, we encourage you to discuss your options with your estimator.

(See Also: Hidden Moving Costs to Pay Attention To)

What You Should Know Before The Estimate

Like most people, you want your move to go as smooth as possible. Before you arrange a meeting with an agent or call them on the phone, there is certain information that you should have ready. For example, you should know the time of your move. Moving during the summer usually costs more than in the other three seasons. Additionally, moving during regular business hours will save you money, as nights, weekends and holidays are charged overtime fees. Make sure to ask the representative or agent about these costs.

Secondly, you should know exactly which items you are taking with you. That way the agent can give you the most accurate moving estimates possible. Listing too many or too few of your items can result in a surprise when the moving company bill arrives. Keep in mind, you should pack all your belongings before the actual move, so you don’t have to hurry when the movers arrive.

Finally, know whether you will want to take advantage of additional services. Those services come at an extra cost and can greatly affect your estimate.

(See Also: Moving Checklist)

In-home moving estimate
In-home moving estimates are the most accurate and highly encouraged.

Extra Services and Costs

Whenever you hire a moving company, you will surely want to be hiring affordable movers. However, you should also be aware of the additional fees that you might be charged. If you live in a multiple story building, the movers will charge an extra fee for stairs or an elevator. Furthermore, if the movers have to park their truck far away from your home, you will be charged a long haul fee.

There are also services provided which you can select yourself. For example, many companies offer packing services. This can be very helpful if you are too busy to pack yourself or simply want to alleviate the stress that comes with it. Additionally, having professional movers provide packing services can result in better protection of your belongings.

Finally, the gratuity for movers is not included in the price of the move itself. It is customary to tip at least $20 a day for each mover. Remember that this is something you could not have done all by yourself. At least, not without serious damage to your physical and emotional health.

(See Also: Weekly Guide to Your Next Move)

Moving company packing dishes in a box.
Additional services (such as packing) are optional, and can be quoted on your estimate.

Never Sign a Blank Document

You should know your rights as a client when it comes to hiring a reputable moving company. Some companies use common scams to get people to pay up front. One such is asking the client to sign a blank document. When you sign a blank document, you open yourself up to paying money for services you will not get. Furthermore, don’t sign incomplete documents either. The company might later add services and fees which were not actually realized.

Finally, do not pay up front for any moving or additional services. Any reputable company will expect payment upon delivery of your belongings (for local moves) or prior to off-load (for interstate/intrastate moves) If you pay up front, there is no guarantee that your items will arrive safely to your new home.

Know the Ins and Outs

A professional moving company is a great way to take a load off your back and your mental health. However, you should know what you are paying for. Do your own research when it comes to moving estimates. Compare moving companies to find out which estimate is realistic and which sounds too good to be true. That way, you protect yourself from scam companies and are more confident in your skills.

(See Also: Weekly Guide to Your Next Move)

A document with the signature line in focus, and a black pen on top of it.
Never sign a document that doesn't explicitly list what the company will offer you and what you are paying for.
Betty White - Author

Betty White, Guest Blogger

I was never quite sure what I wanted out of life, so I explored job opportunities in all spheres of life. And that kept me going until, five years ago, I found myself in copywriting for different kinds of niche. It started with a simple internship and then quickly developed into something more. Today, I find myself working with a team of professional writers and doing what I love.

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