Moving Quotes – Easy Ways for You to Get the Best Moving Deal

By Staff

To understand moving quotes, you need to understand 'tariffs'.

Before January 2008, the tariff was an industry-mandated list of charges that moving companies used to charge you for a long-distance move – everyone had the same tariff. So when you received a quote for a long-distance move, it was based off of the tariff that all other movers used.

But in an effort to spur competition, governments allowed companies to ‘discount’ the tariff. So in essence, the lowest price was the one with the biggest discount.

As the government aimed to dismantle deregulation in the moving industry even further, it eventually did away entirely with the tariff, requiring individual moving companies to file their own.

Now that moving companies have to make their own tariffs, it's still an intricate part of the lexicon of getting a moving estimate for your move, and you should understand this document and how relates to setting a moving quote.

The Basics of the Moving Quote

That estimate will vary depending on the type of move you are doing and the type of moving company you hire.

Local moves (generally under 50 miles) are usually quoted by the number of crew members needed to complete the job at a flat hourly rate per crew (e.g. 2 men at $100 per hour). Long-distance moving quotes are priced by the weight of your shipment, and the types of services you require.

A local move estimate should be fairly straight-forward, but a long-distance estimate is more complicated.

On moves out of state, if you are not sure what you are taking with you and what you are leaving behind, the mover can give you a non-binding estimate with a guaranteed discount. But if you know exactly what you are panning to move, ask for a guaranteed price or a “Not-To-Exceed” Price, and make sure you get the moving quote in writing. (For moves within the state, ask your moving company representative about the rules and regulations in your particular state. Not all states allow guaranteed prices or discounts.)

A move state to state is regulated by the Federal Department of Transportation. The price of moving interstate is fairly standard and is normally calculated on a combination of the shipment’s weight and miles traveled from old address to new address. However, some movers base their charges on the volume or cubic feet the shipment takes up in the moving van. Be sure you know which your moving company uses, and why.

There is usually more leeway on price when moving state to state. Movers can discount their rates and/or give you a guaranteed price or “Not-To-Exceed” Price. Some states require that you be given specific literature pertaining to the rules and regulations for movers within that state. If you are moving interstate, read the federally mandated publication, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" and the “Ready to Move” brochure. Movers must give customers copies of these booklets.

Some Charges You Might Pay

  • Long distance move estimates should have the charges for each type of service clearly broken out on the estimate. Here are how the items are broken out – ask about any item or charge you don’t understand, and remember most items are negotiable.

  • Transportation charges include an origin and destination service charge. These charges are determined by the weight of the shipment, and the origin and destination. Labor costs vary in different areas. Because the origin and destination service charge is primarily to help with these costs, they will not be the same in each location.

  • Packing charges include carton cost, labor to pack, and unpack. If mattress cartons and certain other large cartons are needed, the estimate will most often include unpacking these cartons – at your new home, the mover will need to set up your beds, and will have to unpack those cartons.

  • Examples of third party charges are appliance servicing, crating of fine items, disassembly and reassembly of certain exercise equipment, and outdoor play equipment. (These types of services are not generally performed by the mover and an outside company is hired to complete them; these charges are typically just pass-through charges from the third-party company to your movers

  • Insurance-related surcharges became necessary because of the high costs of trucking insurance. The insurance surcharge on your moving estimate does not offer protection against lost or damaged goods; it allows the carrier to off-set some of the trucking insurance costs that they pay the moving trucks that actually transport your household goods.

  • Valuation charges are what protect you against lost or damaged goods, and they are based on the dollar amount on your shipment. Moving companies are required by law to have a minimum of protection. The coverage for local moves is commonly 30-60 cents per pound per article but varies state by state; for interstate moves it is 60 cents per pound per article. This isn't a lot -- ask about supplemental insurance.