Getting an Estimate
Communication — You and Your Representative
When scheduling your appointment for a moving estimate, allow the agency sales representative at least one hour of meeting time. The main objective of the appointment is to provide you with an approximate cost for your move. Take full advantage of this time to express any concerns you may have. The more you communicate with your representative, the more “personalized” your estimate becomes.
For example, suppose you’re building a home in your new location and there’s a slight possibility that it won’t be completed in time for delivery. Storage-in-transit may be an alternative.
Or, perhaps it’s important that costs be kept to a minimum. Your representative may assist by offering a special pricing program suitable for your budget. He or she may even offer tips on how you can cut costs relative to your move.
Tip— Since deregulation in 1980, the moving industry has become a competitive market. Although discounting is now recognized by most carriers, poor service can result from “deep” discounting. Don’t let “cost” be the principal factor in selecting a carrier. Choosing the lowest price may not always be the wisest choice.
The Cost — How Is It Calculated?
The cost of your move can be broken down into three categories: the transportation charge, the cost of valuation and the cost of materials and services required to complete the move. Let’s look at each one individually as it relates to your moving estimate.
Transportation Charge—This is usually your largest expense (60-75%). It is based on a tariff rate per hundred pounds for the actual weight of your shipment and the number of miles it will be traveling. The cost of loading your goods, transporting them and unloading them at destination comprises the charge.
Valuation—Valuation is the liability the carrier assumes for your goods while in their care. Most major carriers offer three plans: standard liability, declared value liability and full value liability. Your selection will determine the premium cost.
Materials and Services—Any materials and/or services required to complete your move will result in additional charges. For instance, when packing and unpacking is requested, you will pay for the cost of the packing material as well as the labor charges for the actual service.
Listed below are examples of services which may result in additional costs:
- Extra pick-up and/or deliveries (e.g., to or from a vacation home)
- Excess distance carries
- Overtime loading or unloading
- Piano and/or organ handling
- Appliance servicing (i.e., servicing a washer and dryer)
- Automobile handling
- Bulky articles handling (such as satellite dishes, motorcycles, playhouses, hot tubs, etc.)
As you escort your representative through each room of your home, he/she will be making a mental note of the various services that your move will require as well as completing a Table of Measurements, or cube sheet. That document is used to determine the cubic feet that your furniture, appliances, cartons and miscellaneous articles will occupy in the van. By assigning an average weight value per cubic foot, the representative converts the total cubic feet into pounds; thus, determining the estimated weight of your shipment. The cost estimate is then prepared based on that figure. Your sales representative will provide you with an Estimate/Order for Service detailing the breakdown of charges.
It’s important that you point out to your representative items stored in concealed areas, such as attics, crawl spaces, garages and basements, to ensure the most accurate estimate possible.
Remember . . . an estimate is just an estimate! Unless you’ve been given a guaranteed price (a binding estimate), the actual weight of your shipment will be used to compute the actual charges.