If you’re a first-time mover, it’s easy to equate the moving process with packing and transport only. But the bitter truth is that there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Now, we don’t mean to scare you off, just wake you up to some parts of the process you didn’t know about. So, before you start packing your boxes, a big part of organizing your relocation is setting up a moving budget. And in order to know how much money to set aside, you’ll need a precise moving estimate. In fact, it’s a crucial part of your negotiations with the movers, so read the rest of the article to learn more about it.

Why is a precise moving estimate important and how to calculate it?

Knowing the exact or at least close to the exact price of your move is extremely important if you’re moving on a budget. Also, moving can be rather pricey when you take into account all the factors. So, it’s only logical that a precise moving estimate will spare you the uncomfortable situations of an unexpectedly high bill. But, in order to come to a fair price, you’ll need to do some research on this topic. Otherwise, you risk blindly accepting the first moving quote you get or signing a contract without knowing all the nooks and crannies. The worst-case scenarios is dealing with fraudulent moving companies that can steal your money or even your belongings.

With all this in mind, it’s crucial you learn more about how these costs are determined. And not only that – learning about different moving estimates matters too. There is no one-type-fits-all kind of an estimate, as they vary according to many factors regarding your move.

squeezing a wallet

A precise moving estimate will help you set the right moving budget and make you feel more relaxed on a moving day

Ways of requesting an estimate

Speaking of different types of moving estimates, there are two subgroups you should cover. First off, there are different methods of getting moving estimates – and, mind you, not all of them are equal. Still, here are your options:

  • Moving quote online calculator – This innovative gadget is nowadays part of many moving company websites. Finishing this from the comfort of your home sounds great, but you might forget to account to every detail. Plus, there’s the threat of moving scams offering unrealistically low prices you might fall for.

  • Phone estimate – This type of moving estimate is decreasing in popularity, mostly because it’s not as precise as the other ones.

  • Video estimate – Just as there are real estate video tours, you can get a moving estimate by filming your belongings too. Still, it can be challenging to determine the exact weight.

  • In-home estimate – If you truly want a precise moving estimate, this is the safest bet. The company’s representatives will find it easy to determine all the challenges they might face while loading the truck as well as to measure and weigh the items. Not to mention that it’s a good opportunity to talk face-to-face and find out all details about the move.

getting a precise moving estimate online

Webcam estimates are becoming more and more common these days – maybe you could give them a chance as well?

Types of moving estimates

Before signing your contract with the movers, it’s essential you understand the two main types of estimates. Essentially, they could determine whether the final bill is a fixed price or subject to fluctuations. So, if your mover presents you with a non-binding contract, the estimate is actually just the mover’s best guess of the final bill. Think of this just as figuring out how moving reviews work – not everything you read is necessarily true. In such a case, the actual price can become much larger, or lower in the end. Interstate move estimates are most commonly non-binding – you get the final price by comparing the estimated price to the loaded truck’s weight.

The second type of moving estimates is a binding estimate, where the price of transport stays the same. In cases such as this, you pay the estimated price even if the weight is a bit lower or higher on a moving day. The advantage is simply the fact that you’ll have a precise moving estimate which is guaranteed to stay fixed.

Prepare all the necessary information and ask the right questions

If you’re under impression that setting a precise moving estimate is solely the mover’s job, you’re wrong. This may be so in the case of an in-home estimate, but your part is also very important. You see, in order for the estimate to be exact, you need to be clear on each and every detail about the shipment. Be as specific as you can during the walk-through – and ask questions so there’s no misinterpretation. For example, if you’re unsure how to pack fragile items, ask your mover for special packing materials. But you don’t have to just ask the questions about the moving process – take this as a chance to learn more about the company’s reliability. Remember, moving estimates are usually free, so it’s advisable you try a few companies and compare the prices. Ask about the USDOT number and license verification – especially if you found the company online.

In-house estimates are an especially suitable opportunity to meet with the movers face to face. That’s when you’ll be able to access whether they seem trustworthy or not. Ask about their moving insurance policy as well – you can never be too careful with your precious belongings!

a question board

When you meet your mover face to face, make sure to ask them everything that’s confusing you about the process

Beware of the hidden costs

But, what happens when you find a moving company, get a precise moving estimate and the final bill is still higher? Yes, this is very much a possible last-minute scenario which can really kill your mood on a moving day. To avoid such situations, ask your movers services they charge extra for. In case you didn’t know, there’s an additional fee if movers have to carry items up and down the stairs. Even if it’s not in the written form of the estimate, it may still appear in the final bill. Also, specialty items like a grandfather’s clock or a piano require special moving equipment you need to pay extra for. Then there’s disassembly and reassembly of furniture, handling bulky items, etc. And don’t forget to tip your movers as well – especially if you’re happy with how they’ve done the job!


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