How to Compare Estimates From Local and National Movers

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How to Compare Estimates From Local and National Movers

Staff Writer · Feb 8, 2010

Getting written estimates from local and national movers is essential before making any decision to hire a moving company. Don’t assume that any verbal quotes will remain in effect by the time you sign a contract with the movers. A part of doing all that you can to select the best moving services for your needs includes asking everyone to email or mail you an estimate of all charges. Once you receive at least three estimates, this is how to compare them:

Compare Shipping Weight and Volume

One reason for the differences that occur between estimates is a different shipping weight and volume. A long distance moving company, and a local one, will send someone to your home to look at your belongings. With one moving company, you might include particular items, and forget to include the same items with the next moving company that shows up to give you an estimate.  It could be that you changed your mind and decided to sell something or get rid of it, but now there are different shipping weights in at least two written estimates. Add up all the items along the way that get added or subtracted, and movers can end up giving you estimates that are a few or several hundred dollars off. Check the total shipping weight and cubic feet of each estimate first to see whether they’re the same. If they’re not, figure out the price per cubic feet to give you a true sense of what each company is charging.

Compare Advance Charges

If you’re hiring national movers to transport large appliances, a piano or other equipment, then these may or may not apply. For example, if you request the moving company to show up at your house, unhook your washer and dryer set, load it on the truck and transport it to your new location, you may be charged an advance charge. The rationale is that it takes an extra service to unhook the washer and dryer set, and a subcontractor needs to come in and do it properly. Some moving services may include it as a part of their moving charges and do it themselves, but others may hire a professional and pass on the costs to you. Compare the advance charges on your estimates, and take note of moving companies that don’t charge extra. You should ask them specifically about it, and they may beat out the competition in the end.

Compare Packing Services

National movers and many local movers offer full packing services to customers, to save them time and convenience. However, there is a cost for this service, and one company may charge much more for it, even though the final estimate is lower than the others. For example, if Company A will complete your move for $300 less than Company B and Company C, but charge $100 more for packing services, you shouldn’t necessarily go with Company A. There is the risk of your final bill being much higher than Company A estimated, so look at packing costs separately.

After you compare these major components of your written estimates, you can make a better decision as to what company to select. Make sure you sign a contract and purchase adequate insurance, especially when working with national movers.

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