Before you pay for any professional service, you want to know exactly what you’re getting and exactly what it costs. This is standard operating procedure, whether you’re getting a new roof or hiring someone to help you move. For moving companies especially, providing a quote and cost estimate is extremely important because it sets the expectation for the move to come.
Most reputable moving companies will provide quotes and estimate upfront after consulting with a potential client. It’s also appropriate to ask moving companies about their rates, fees and terms during a discussion about enlisting their services. Really, pricing and scope of work should be an open, honest discussion that leaves both parties feeling good about the result.
If this is your first time hiring a moving company or you’re looking for NYC moving quotes to prepare a budget for your upcoming move, here’s everything you need to know.
What is a moving quote?
A moving quote is a combination of the scope of work associated with your move and the cost associated with that work. A written quote is a piece of paper that says “we will provide these services for this amount of money.” There are two types of quotes: non-binding and binding.
Non-binding quotes do not fixate the price. The quote is just an approximation of the amount you will be paying for service. The cost may increase depending on the volume/weight of your items or the time it took to move it.
A binding quote means you will need to pay the estimated price even if the actual volume/weight of the shipment is more or less than what’s included in the estimate. These types of quotes bind the company and the customer to the price set forth in the binding agreement.
In both binding and non-binding estimates, adding services and/or items after the move starts will inevitably lead to a price increase.
What does a moving quote contain?
Moving quotes can actually be very sophisticated and informative—especially if you’ve had an on-site estimate performed. Moving quotes can contain some or all of the following information:
- Your name, address and the date of the quote
- The intended move date and location
- A scope of work detailing all services performed
- A cost breakdown across different services
- A review of service charges and fees
- An expiration timeframe for the quote
- Any notes that may affect the price of the quote
Simpler moves will have simpler quotes; complex moves may require more documentation or more specific cost breakdowns. Regardless of what your moving quote looks like, it should provide you and the moving company with the same baseline expectation for the scope of work and the cost of doing business.
What do you do with a moving quote?
There are a few things you can and should do with a moving quote once you have one.
First, shop around and see how other companies stack up on price. Don’t just look for companies who will provide the same services at a more affordable rate. Instead, gauge how accurate your quote appears to be. Are other companies throwing out much higher rates? If so, yours might be suspect. If other companies have dramatically lower prices, it might be worth inquiring as to why. Really, you want context for the quote you have.
Second, you can use a moving quote for budgeting. Moving is expensive! It’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of all your major costs before you start the process. A moving quote is your best way of factoring in the biggest cost of all: transportation for all your belongings. A good moving quote will help you make an even better budget.
Finally, you can use a moving quote to get reimbursement from a new job if they’re paying for moving expenses. Many companies won’t authorize moving expenses or reimbursement for them unless they have an estimate or invoice in writing. If your company is agreeing to pay for relocation, providing an official estimate upfront will help expedite the reimbursement process.
Why get a moving estimate?
Working with a moving company to get a quote isn’t just about getting to know the costs of your move—it’s also about preparing yourself for the total scope of work involved with relocation. You might not realize that you need X, Y and Z services until you start talking with a company for a quote. Likewise, you probably won’t think about something like furniture disassembly or special packing for art until it comes time to actually do these things.
The more you know about your move upfront, before the actual day comes, the better you’re going to feel about everything. Knowledge is the best way to alleviate stress. Just look at the information you’ll get from a simple moving quote:
- The cost of relocating everything
- A full scope of moving services
- A point of contact and the means to contact them
- Dates and times for the move
It may not seem like much, but these key pieces of information are what ensure a smooth, hassle-free move. A moving quote gives them to you in one single document! Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect with an estimate in your hand. All that’s left is to confirm everything and get the show on the road!
Important factors to look for in moving quotes
While moving quotes are a useful tool, they’re also a tool for scammers. It’s very important to look closely at the moving quote you’re given to make sure it’s honest and upfront about everything. Here are a few things that demand consideration:
- Understand the price structure that the moving company is using. It will help you avoid any unexpected or hidden expenses that may not be outlined on the quote.
- Make sure the moving quote includes all requested services and move related information. Missing information could end up costing you extra later on.
- Get a written moving estimate from the company. Never settle for a verbal quote over the phone or in-person. Everything should be in writing.
- Check how your goods are protected against loss and damage and whether the coverage is included in the price.
- Make sure you get a binding moving quote from the company so that the cost of the move cannot be changed, unless you ask for more services.
Scrutinize any estimate you get to make sure you understand it completely. You should have no problem looking at a quote and knowing exactly how much you’ll pay and exactly what you’ll get for your money.
Always get a quote
For most reputable moving companies, it costs nothing to get a quote. You can simply request one! It’s best to have an in-person assessment of your needs performed to get an accurate quote; however, an over-the-phone survey might be enough to get you an accurate quote. It’s worth the time to know what you’ll end up paying to enlist the services of a professional mover. And remember, your quote isn’t an obligation! It’s a way for you and the moving company to open a line of communication about the services you need and they offer.