Full-service movers are the most expensive option for moving. However, using a professional moving company can save you time and help to avoid any new grey hairs. After you have found a professional moving company that you are willing to pay for, an estimate will help you determine how much you can afford.
Moving companies use a moving estimate to determine the number of crew members and equipment they will need for your move. This is also an opportunity to identify difficult logistics such as how mover-friendly your home is and how you will arrange furniture in the moving van.
There are three types: virtual estimates, over-the-phone estimates, and in-house estimates.
What is the difference between virtual estimates, over-the-phone estimates, and in-home estimates?
A moving agent will visit your home to estimate the cost of your move. This type of estimate is the most precise and provides prospective movers with exact quotes on the total cost of the move.
A moving estimate over the phone is a simpler, less-expensive version of the in-home counterpart. However, they are usually less accurate. While you can still work closely and walk them through all the details of moving, if you aren’t at home when the call is made, it’s possible to rely on your memory.
Preparing for your phone calls is important. Make a list of all the inventory that you wish to move.
Although virtual estimates are rare, more companies are now offering them, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to innovate. There are two options. You can fill out an inventory online and send it to your company. You can also video-call your estimator to give them a virtual tour and take a look at all your belongings.
What are the factors that affect a quote for movers?
There are many factors that can influence the cost of moving, from the amount of space the van has in your driveway to how many stairs the movers must climb. Here are some other factors that could impact how much you spend on your move:
- How much furniture you have and how big it will take up in a truck.
- How easily your items fit in a moving truck.
- How easy it is for movers to move inventory (e.g., if your sectional doesn’t make it through the front doors).
- The total weight of all your inventory.
- Distance you will travel.
Your movers will need to travel the route between your old home and your new one. Some companies charge different rates for different areas, while rural areas almost always cost more.
When moving goods from one place to another (also called flight cost), the number of stairs and elevators that are used must be taken into account.
Time of the year (moving costs usually rise during summer, for instance, as it’s the most popular season to move).
Additional services such as packing and custom crafting are also available.
Moving companies do not have a set price because every move is different. It’s case-by-case. Our article on moving costs provides a detailed review of the overall pricing.
What can I expect from an in-home estimate?
In-home estimates are the most popular type of estimate. It’s also the most accurate. Moving companies can visit your home to estimate the cost of your move. This allows the agent to see all your inventory and may include items you might not have thought about.
Moving coordinators will inspect cabinets and closets for any hidden items, such as under beds. If you have a cabinet where things seem to disappear into it, now is the time to clean it.
Many people are unsure if they should be at home during an in-home move. The answer is yes. To walk them through every room, you must be present. However, a phone estimate means that you can go wherever your heart desires.
What are the expectations of an estimate over the phone?
You don’t have to spend time at work or walk through the house with a stranger when you get an estimate over the phone.
The consultant will discuss the logistics of your move, such as start and end locations, dates, etc. You will then list the items that you wish to move, room by room. This is important because you don’t want to forget anything if you aren’t careful.
An in-home estimate allows you to walk through the rooms and ensure you include everything. However, an estimate over the phone may require you to be away from your home and you could forget things like wall decor or your Turkish rug.
Even though good moving companies will remind you of this, it is a good idea to make a detailed inventory list before calling.
What should I expect from a virtual estimation?
Virtual estimates are similar to an over-the-phone estimate. You don’t have to meet someone in person. If your estimate is based solely on an online inventory, however, you will still need to show your estimator your entire home.
You can get an estimate by giving the estimator a virtual tour. It will be like an amalgamation of an in-home estimate with an over-the-phone estimate. Not only will the consultant ask all the questions they would normally over the phone but they can also see what you are hiring the company for.
It’s important to tell your estimator everything, just like with other estimation methods.
When should you get an in-home estimate
If your home is larger than a two-bedroom apartment, you should get an in-home move estimate.
What is the difference between binding estimates and non-binding ones?
Movers can’t alter a moving quote that has been given to them in a binding estimate. You will pay the price that you and your agent agreed upon, even if you add items to your moving estimate.
Even if you decide to toss your old futon at college, you still need to pay the original price.
Remember that adding something to your move can cause your final price to go up even if you have already received your binding estimate. You should expect to pay an additional fee if your movers arrive with a sofa or desk not included in your estimate.
It is important that you tell your estimator everything. Everything you “forget” or forget about will lead to a price increase later.
Movers can alter the price of a quote on moving day if they have a non-binding estimate. The final breakdown will be flexible and will depend upon the weight of your belongings and the labor and services as well as any taxes.
If numbers are what you like and you need to know how much your move will cost, a binding estimate is probably the best option.
How to determine if an estimate has been made binding
Movers are bound to move your goods at the quoted price if they provide a binding estimate. However, it is important to clearly state in writing that the estimate is binding. It is not binding if your estimate does not say “binding”.
FAQ about moving estimates
What is the time it takes to get an estimate?
It takes approximately forty-five minutes to get an estimate for each option. However, the size of your crib and the amount you are moving will determine how large an estimate is.
Virtual and in-home estimates are more time-consuming than virtual ones. This is because you need to consider how long it will take to get home from work if you have to leave early to meet the consultant, as well as how much it will take to prepare the house for the evaluation.
How do I schedule an appointment for an estimate?
Either fill out the form online or call your moving company to schedule an estimate. It takes only two minutes to fill out and a representative will call you back to schedule an estimate regardless of how you choose to do it.
When is it best to schedule an estimate?
Your move date will most likely impact whether your chosen moving company is available. We recommend that you schedule an appointment as soon you make your decision to move, or as soon as you know the date.
It is a good rule of thumb to schedule your estimate at least four weeks prior to your desired move date.
Does getting an estimate cost money?
Moving companies are not required to provide estimates at no cost. Moving companies understand the importance of providing estimates. They establish rapport with customers and help them make informed booking decisions.
How can I tell if an estimate is genuine?
We recommend getting three estimates from three companies to compare prices and find trends between them. Then you can choose the best one for you. If you are short on time, you can get estimates over the phone.