In our last blog post, Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them, we discussed how you should conduct research on every moving company you are considering. We also mentioned how important it is to obtain estimates from at least three different moving companies. But what exactly is an estimate, how are they done, and what is the point of them? These are the questions that we will answer below. We will also provide tips on receiving an estimate, factors that affect pricing, and how you can save a few bucks during your moving process.
What is an ‘Estimate’ and What is the Point of Them?
A moving estimate is a best-guess about how much your individual move is going to cost. The point of an estimate is to provide you, the customer, an accurate representation of how much you will spend come moving day. When you receive a quote, this is the total cost of your entire service, not just the moving part (we will discuss what factors affect costs later).
Estimate also give you an idea which moving companies might be trying to scam you, and which ones are legitimate professionals. To learn more about how to look for moving scams, please click here.
Move It With M&S LLC Estimates
There are so many ways to conduct an estimate, and each moving company is different. So with that being said, we are going to discuss how OUR company provides estimates.
Move It With M&S LLC has two options for customers to choose when it comes to estimates and paying: The hourly option and the flat rate option.The hourly option is based on how long the move will take. Costs vary depending on how prepared the customer is. The flat rate means we will do the entire move for an exact price- no surprises added. Special care items (pianos, antiques, grandfather clocks, safes, etc. ) are given flat rates, along with moves that have five items or less.
At Move It With M&S, we provide estimates in multiple ways. We can give phone estimates where we produce a best-guess based upon a few questions. There’s also an estimate sheet conveniently listed on our website. The customer fills out their own inventory list, sends it in, and receives an email back with their estimate attached. Lastly, we conduct walk-throughs by appointment. The owners will arrive at your house at a designated time, get a feeling for how easy the move will be, fill out an inventory sheet, and prepare an estimate based upon the details they noticed. This is the most accurate form of our estimates.
When it comes to estimates, customers can have peace of mind that our quotes are coming directly from those accountable for them- the owners. Other moving companies send salesman to conduct their estimates, but not us. It’s also important to note that our estimates are built into our price. We never charge for an estimate, no matter if it’s a walk-through, or simply a phone estimate. Other companies can’t say this either!
Tips for Getting a Moving Estimate
Do not sign blank documents! Everything must be in writing, and if you sign a blank document, the company can add extra fees that you never agreed to!
Although receiving an estimate over the phone is popular and easy, an in-home walk through is much more accurate. If you are trying to budget your move, walk-throughs are the way to go.
Every professional moving company should create an inventory checklist. This helps provide an accurate estimate, and allows you to make sure they didn’t forget anything. When you receive your checklist, make sure to check it for accuracy.
All of the extra fees should be included in the estimate unless you add items last-minute. Extra fees will be discussed later in this post.
Consider your moving date. Costs change based upon season, so while you are trying to get an estimate, ask the moving company if you could save some money if you waited a few weeks.
Factors that Affect Moving Costs
Travel distance– The further you travel, the more you should expect to pay.
Size of Move– How large is your house? How many belongings do you have? This will affect how long it will take for the movers to get the job done. The less time it takes, the cheaper it will be.
Packing services– If you are hiring a moving company to move your things, along with packing them up, expect to pay a considerable amount more.
Other add-on services- Things like pianos, guns, and safes take a huge amount of care to pack and/or move. Expect to pay a little more if you own items like these.
Supplies- Moving companies might charge extra for the use of blankets, covers, floor protection, etc. Talk to them about extra supplies when getting an estimate.
Storage- A lot of moving companies offer storage for those who need it, but it comes with a price!
Date of Move- You should expect to pay more during the busy summer months. If you’re looking into using a moving company, ask if you’ll be able to save some money if you wait a few weeks to move.
How Ready You Are to Move– If you are completely packed and have everything ready to go, the move will go more smoothly and will cost less. However, if you still have belongings left on your end tables, boxes that aren’t taped shut, etc., expect that the move will take longer and will cost more.
Adding Items– Tell the moving company about all of your items. If you add to the inventory on the day of the move, expect to get charged extra for the inconvenience.
Access– Will the truck be able to fit into an easy loading zone? Are their flights of stairs, narrow openings, or things in the way of the truck? Is it muddy, is the way clear for the movers, will the movers have to carry your belongings far? If so, you might be charged for extra fees.
How to Save Money While Moving
Moving is expensive enough, so we want you to be able to save money on your moving process.
If you are moving due to work, your moving expenses could be tax-deductible! Also, if you donated items while moving, you can deduct these as well. For more information on how to donate/purge items, click here.
Pack yourself. You’ll save money by packing your own stuff, especially if you are using a moving company. It’ll save time on the move, and you don’t have to spend that extra money on packing services and supplies.
Get rid of excess belongings. Whether you donate, sell, or throw away, the more you get rid of, the faster your move will go. For more information on how to declutter before a move, click here.
Rent a moving truck. Sometimes renting a moving truck and simply paying for labor from a moving company will save you hundreds of dollars.
Seek out free boxes. If you visit your local retail store (Walmart is a good option), you can ask to use the boxes they recycle instead of buying some.
Ask your moving company for possible discounts. This can’t hurt!
Again, consider a less expensive move date.
Moving is sometimes a stressful and complicated process. It’s important to understand different aspects of moving- especially estimates and pricing. Just remember that every moving company is different, so do your research and ask around, and you’ll be just fine!
Keep an eye out for our next blog about large deposits, types of extra fees, asking about said fees, the benefits of paying on a card, and getting everything in writing.