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How Do I Read My Local Moving Estimate?

Your local moving estimate – do you really understand it? When you obtain a local moving estimate or quote for a local* move it’s important to understand what that estimate includes and what it really means. You can’t compare quotes from competing movers unless you understand your quote fully and know that you are truly comparing apples to apples.

Local Moving Estimates – How Movers Charge

Local moving estimates are not bids or contracts. Instead, the estimate is an approximation of the cost of your move based on the mover’s survey of the items to be moved. This estimate is based on time: both the number of hours it takes to move and the travel time between your origin and your destination.
There will be an hourly charge given. The hourly charge is based on the number of men and amount of equipment (moving trucks) used for your move. Most important, you will be billed based on the actual time your move takes. If your move takes longer than estimated, you will be billed more, if it takes less, you will pay less.

What If Your Local Move Is Quoted As A “Minimum?”
The exception to a straight, hourly charge is what’s called a “minimum.” Like plumbers or other contractors who charge for a service call, it is common for movers to charge a 2-4 hour minimum, depending on the time of year. For instance, a 4-hour minimum usually includes an hour of travel time, plus 3 hours of moving with a driver and an additional man. If you have a very small move, it may take less than 4 hours, but you will still be charged the minimum.

Local Moving – How The Moving Consultant Creates An Estimate
To get an accurate estimate of your moving costs, you will need an in-house, pre-move survey conducted by a professional moving estimator. During the pre-move survey, you show the moving estimator the items you intend to move, as well as those you do not plan to move. He or she will then prepare an estimate of what those items will cost to move based on how long he or she believes it will take.
How good your estimate is depends upon the skill and experience of your estimator, and how accurate you are in telling your estimator which items you’ll take and which you won’t. Ask your moving estimator how long he or she has been estimating moves – this will give you an idea of how reliable the estimate might be.

Things That Can “Throw Off” Your Local Moving Estimate
If you plan to give your dining room set to Aunt Tillie and never get around to it, this will throw off your moving cost estimate considerably! Also if you plan to do “all” your own packing, but run out of time, your 4-hour move could turn into an 8-hour move before you know it.
Be sure to keep accurate notes of what you plan to take and what you are not planning to take on your move. If this changes, be sure to give your mover plenty of advance notice to either send more movers or send you some packing help. Don’t forget the items on your walls — like artwork and mirrors — or items like lamps and small appliances. These easily overlooked items must all be properly packed.

Comparing Estimates From Different Moving Companies

When you compare moving cost estimates from different moving companies, don’t be misled by a “low-ball” estimate, meaning that mover has shown a lower moving cost by quoting fewer hours or fewer moving men. There should not be a big difference between estimates. If there is, you should question why. Did one mover allow for the extra time to carry items an extra distance because of extra stairs or elevators? Don’t just look at the bottom line of the estimate. Remember: If your move takes longer than estimated, it will cost you more.

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diggins & ROSE Offers FREE Local Moving Estimates
diggins & ROSE has been serving New England since 1955 offering local moves as well as long distance and commercial moves. For a free local moving cost estimate, simply request a quote. For questions about moving, contact us anytime.

Note: a local move is “within the same state and moving under 50 miles.”