In the moving business, there are a lot of different ways that companies come up with their quotes. Most times quotes are based on details including (but not limited to): locations, the actual and amount of work that needs to be done, and the amount of workers needed to complete the job in a timely manner, among other details.
Let's start with some questions that movers may ask you in order to establish an estimate:
#1. Location - So, usually companies will ask where your current location is and they will ask about the location at which your items will be moved to. This helps movers factor in the mileage and what is needed in gas to get to the second location.
#2. Inventory - They will ask about the items you have in your home, whether the home is fully furnished and if an item is over 400 pounds. In the moving world, lifting a single item over 400 pounds is a whole other job. The inventory will usually determine how many movers are needed for the job.
#3. Home Layout - Usually most companies ask how many stairs there are in and outside of the home, and they may also ask if they are able to back a truck to the front/exit door of the home. Stairs can add more time to a move and exerts more energy for movers. This includes elevators in large homes, multiple resident buildings and storage facilities. Even though elevators may not exert as much energy as stairs, it is time consuming, so prices may be more elevated depending on the inventory and home layout. Most companies try to be fair, because most homes do have stairs.
#4. Date - The more notice you give moving companies, the more likely it is for them to give you a fair price. Sometimes, short notice moves result in companies having to rearrange schedules. This could cause some issues, but most companies want your business so they will try to accommodate you with options to make it work. If you are set on a short notice time frame then the price of your quote could increase.
There may be more questions a company will ask you, but these are the basic questions that companies may ask. For now, we will move on to questions that you (the customer) should ask.
(The order of the questions do not matter. As long as the questions are asked, you will have peace of mind that you are getting an honest and reliable quote).
#1. Are you licensed and insured? Usually if moving companies are licensed and insured, you can feel better about them moving your items. If a mistake were to happen, you will know if they could cover damages to your personal items.
#2. Will there be experienced or trained movers on my move? Most companies try not to make mistakes. Experienced movers are less likely to make mistakes that cause delays in time or damage to personal items. New movers, as long as they are trained properly, can be efficient. However, you'd want at least one experienced mover on your job.
#3. Is a copy of the contract available to me? Not every company's policies are the same, so you want a copy of the moving agreement. If they cannot provide you with a copy, I do not recommend you use them for your move. Read your contract thoroughly, taking your time to read information about what their policies are. If they are reasonable terms for you, you may feel more comfortable about using that company.
#4. Are you hourly or flat-rate? Hourly rates can always be a risk. Anything can happen during your move. Traffic, weather, and customer emergencies to name a few, can all extend the time frame of your move. Also, if you are not going with a reliable company, their movers may move slower and take breaks. Depending on their policies in the contract, you could be paying for their breaks or downtime. Your hourly rate based quote will always sound smaller or better in the beginning, but nine times our of ten, you will end up with a much larger bill by the time your job is completed. My personal opinion is to always go with a flat-rate based quote. This way, your quote is most likely not going to increase once you receive your initial estimate, given there are no major additions to the move.
These are the most important question exchanges when communicating with a moving company. Questions are good! Never let companies make you feel like you are an inconvenience for asking any questions you may have. If you have other questions for me, please leave them in the comment section and I will get to you as best I can.