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What to Look for in Moving Quotes

Jul 23, 2008
Here are several things that can affect the total charges on relocation, whether intrastate or interstate. Some apply to both; some are unique to the type of the move. Here is what you need to watch for.

1. Actual weight of the shipment or labor time The final charges on interstate relocation will normally be based on the actual weight of the shipment, whether it is more or less than the estimated weight. The quote that you receive should be based on an onsite estimate (unless waived) or a list of items that you wish to move. Anything that will be added or taken off the list will affect the price. The final charges will be based on the actual weight of the items to be shipped. Be sure to check what the charge per any additional pound is, as it may be different than the basic charge the quote is calculated by.

On intrastate relocation's the charge is usually based on the actual time of the move with a specified minimum of hours and a travel time or truck fee that covers the driving time from the moving company's facility to your origin address and back. Check what the minimum charge is for the hours, if the travel time is fixed or actual, what would be the charge per hour over the estimated time and what increments of time you are charged by. You may be offered a flat fee for the move, usually based on an inventory list. Make sure the quote specifically indicates that the charge is a flat fee and find out what the charge per any additional item would be.

2. Packing materials; You will usually have two options for packing:

Full packing: The carrier (moving company) packs everything for you and is responsible to provide all the necessary packing materials. All the packing materials and packing labor should be included in the price. Make sure that the charge is not calculated separately for the packing charges rather than a price per pound (interstate) or price per hour (intrastate), as that means that your cost will depend on the actual use of packing materials.

No packing: You are expected to pack everything yourself and the mover will usually only provide moving pads/blankets to protect your furniture. Some companies will require specific packing for certain items, such as shrink wrap for fabric, bubble for glass etc. some movers will not accept any container packing other than boxes (such as bags, totes, suitcases or plastic bins). Always be sure to read through your quotes and see if any requirements are specified as you will be charged extra by the movers for re-packing those items and for the packing materials they will provide.

3. Extra services: Such as additional insurance, storage, extra labor, taxes, fuel surcharges and processing fees. Additional services such as additional insurance coverage and storage will be added to your total cost and are probably very clear and acceptable by you. However, movers may charge you extra for stairs, elevators, bulky items, additional stops, hoisting of furniture, disassembly and reassembly of furniture etc.

Always be sure to check if your quote includes any mentioning of these charges and if not be sure to get that in writing from your mover as part of your quote. In addition, other taxes and charges may apply and will normally be calculated as percentage of your total cost, such as taxes, fuel surcharges or processing fees for the use of credit cards to pay for your move. These will not always appear in your quote but should be mentioned under the terms and conditions or explanation of your quote/services. Again, be sure to check if these are added to your price.

In summery, movers may pretty much charge you for anything. Take the time to read and understand your quote, from start to finish, including all the small fine print. If anything is unclear or not specified, be sure to check with your mover.
About the Author
If you are moving make sure you use a fully qualified and insured company. Browser our database of movers to find one that meets your needs.
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