The Bekins Blog
How to Get an Accurate Moving Estimate
As someone looking to tackle a move soon, finding the right moving company to assist you with your relocation is probably your top priority. After all, without the right professional movers on your side, you’ll have a lot of trouble getting your items to your new home safely and efficiently.
Especially when tackling a long-distance or international move, it makes all the difference to have a company on your side that you know you can trust – and who gives you the best possible prices for your relocation.
How to Shop Around for Moving Quotes
When shopping around for moving quotes, it can be easy to get overwhelmed or just not know where to start. However, as one of the first and most important steps in your moving process, finding the right company at the right price is integral to making sure your things arrive at you quickly and that you don’t break the bank during the course of your move.
When you get a moving quote, you’ll receive an estimate for the cost of your move, plus an overview of the entire moving process where your company will let you know what to expect from the process. It’ll also give you a good idea of how to pack and move your things. If you’re using a full-service moving company that is also taking care of your packing process for you, they’ll also give you the costs and overview of this as well.
When getting a quote from a company, always make sure to give the most accurate overview of your items, including things that might need specialty services to make sure that you’re providing your movers with the best idea of what to expect. Additionally, when your movers come to provide a free, in-person estimate, make sure they’re going through every nook and cranny to give you the best price estimate possible.
So how do you find the right moving company and get the most accurate moving quote? Let’s go over the process of making sure you’re going about the process the right way.
Things to Ask Your Movers Before a Move
When getting a quote from multiple companies, always ask them the tough or in-depth questions you need answers to be able to trust them and the process they’re providing to you. Asking questions will also let moving companies know that you mean business and have done your research, which will also help you avoid moving scams and weed out any companies that might not have the best intentions or care for your items.
1. Do Your Research
- Prior to reaching out to various companies for a moving quote, do thorough research on the company itself. Check its licenses, insurance, accreditations, and any affiliations it might have to ensure its validity. Particularly if you’re moving long-distance or out-of-state, make sure your company is licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the interstate trucking industry (including moving trucks). Your company should always (and is required to!) have this license, which also ensures you that you’re working with a legitimate company.
- You can check your company’s FMCSA licensing by using their US Department of Transportation number to research them through the FMCSA’s database. The company’s USDOT number should be either provided to you by the company or will be listed in fine print at the bottom of their website. You can also look up your mover’s licensure through ProtectYourMove.gov.
- If your potential moving company isn’t listed or licensed with the FMCSA or claims to, and if not, don’t work with them! Never work with an unlicensed company. Not having the right licenses is a sure pointer to a moving company being fraudulent.
2. Shop Around
- One of the best ways to find the right moving company, the best prices, and to avoid moving scams is by shopping around and getting quotes from multiple different companies.
- If you come across a company that offers a suspiciously low moving quote, or just one that seems a little too good to be true, they might suddenly raise it as soon as your things arrive. Unfortunately, it’s a common moving scam, and a way to back you into a corner and not release your items until you pay exorbitant fees. By getting quotes from multiple companies, though, you can weed out any ones that sound a little too good to be true and get a good idea of what you should be expecting from your company.
- When shopping around for moving quotes, you should also always thoroughly go through each company’s reviews. Don’t just look through the reviews they have listed on their sites, either, as these can easily be moderated to make a company look more favorable than they actually are.
- Go through each of your prospective company’s reviews from third-party sites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, and anywhere else you can think of! This will let you narrow down companies without having to even contact them for quotes.
3. Make Sure You Get an In-Person Quote
- Once you narrow down the companies you’d like to get quotes from, always make sure you get an in-home, in-person estimate from them. Many companies will offer a perfunctory over-the-phone estimate to start with and then will come to view your items in person to give you the best quote for your things (as long as you’re within a reasonable distance).
- Having an in-home estimate gives you and your movers alike the most accurate quote for your move, as your representative is actually seeing how much you own first-hand, as well as how heavy or bulky specialty items might be. They’ll also be able to factor in any wild-card or hard-to-navigate areas, like stairs, tight hallways, or anything that might require extra accommodations or that might raise your costs.
- Once you’ve received your in-person quote, also make sure that you receive a copy in writing so that you have a record of it.
4. Ask About Hidden Fees
- When receiving a moving quote from any moving company, always ask whether or not the company has any hidden fees, or any unwelcome ‘extra costs’ that might pop up later in your process.
- Sometimes, the initial quote you receive from your movers won’t include specialty costs for moving things like very heavy, bulky, or awkwardly-shaped items. If you’re using packing services, they may not include the costs of your packing materials either. Additionally, your movers might also not include the costs of things related to your items’ transportation, like tolls or drivers’ fees.
- Asking about these hidden fees and knowing what you’re in store for ahead of time will let you anticipate any hidden fees, or weed out companies that don’t operate with integrity.
5. Ask About the Duration of Your Quote
- Moving quotes can sometimes change based on how busy a company currently is, what time of year it is, what day of the week you’re looking to move on, or your location. Make sure to ask your company if there’s any expiration on the quote they’ve given you and if you might expect it to vary if you choose to use their services on a different date.
6. Binding vs. Nonbinding Quotes
- Knowing the difference between binding and nonbinding quotes will let you make an informed decision for your moving company. So what’s the difference between the two? A binding moving estimate is a written agreement showing the total cost of your move based on the weight of your items, plus any special services that might be needed.
- That being said, if you have more items than expected come moving day, or are in need of additional services the company wasn’t aware of, this estimate can change or not honor the estimate given.
- A nonbinding quote is a general idea of what you’ll pay for your move, without exact pricing involved. However, in the case of a nonbinding estimate, your moving company is still required to never adjust the ultimate price by more than 10% above the estimate you’d initially been giving. If your company disputes this, make sure to have the proper documentation on hand to dispute this.
When it comes to choosing the right movers for your relocation, it’s imperative to work with a company that will provide you with the best services for the best prices. Always work with a company that operates with integrity, and one that will give you the best services that you’ll be confident in, instead of suspicious of.
Always do your research, look at reviews, and educate yourself on how professional movers work so you’re not taken advantage of by movers who don’t operate under best practices.
Looking for movers that will provide you with the best moving experience every time? Look no further than Bekin Van Lines, who will give you the best service and best prices without any need to worry about the quality of move you’ll receive. Discover what we can do for you today.