How to compare moving quotes?

Moving is a very costly process that requires a lot of time and energy. When you start to plan it, you will see how huge the task relocation is. It is overwhelming, but the good news is that you can hire the moving company to do the hard part for you. It is surely the most painless and stressfree way to handle your move and we from the Master Moving Guide have specialized in finding the right moving company for you. Still, you may get confused about how to calculate the cost of the move. First, you need to know what are the parameters for determining and comparing moving quotes, in order to find the best moving quote.

a close up hand of a man in a suit after finding the best moving quote
Finding the right moving quote requires a bit of research, but you will be satisfied with the final result.

Moving quotes are different from mover to mover

You should know that moving quotes are different from company to company. That’s why collecting a moving quote from moving companies can get very confusing. The truth is that every moving company quotes differently so you will rarely have an equal comparison. While one mover is calculating the moving quota according to the weight of your load, the other is basing its calculation on the relocation distance.

Of course, the quote from the movers that provide full service will be very different for a local and long-distance relocation.

Moving quotes for a long-distance move

When we speak about long-distance moving, most companies are taking the weight of the shipment as the main perimeter in determining moving quotas.

Reputable companies will give you the most accurate estimate as possible. Until the load is measured on the scale it’s almost impossible to know how much the weight of the total items is. Still, it happens that a company under-estimates the weight, which means a more expensive move for the customer.

That’s why it is very important that the company representative does an in-house estimation of your belongings before they offer you a moving quote. After measuring, the bill can be slightly higher, but not significantly.

Asking three different companies to come to your home and make an estimation is a great recommendation.
Just make sure that all the estimates are basing on the same weight. If the estimation from some movers stands out by being much lower than the others, that is a sign that there’s something suspicious. Scratching such companies from the list of your potential movers is a good preventative for avoiding moving scams.

The weight will determine the moving quotes for long distance moving.
It’s simple math – the fewer things you need to move, the lesser will the moving quotes and costs be.

Moving  quotes for a local move

The moving quotes are usually easier for understanding since they are based on constant variables. The weight of the load can vary, but the estimation of manpower or materials can’t. You can also avoid extra charges when moving with these useful tips.
The parameters for determining moving quotes for the local move are:

  • The size of the truck
  • Number of movers
  • Time
  • Materials

When you are moving locally, the moving company will determine an hourly rate of moving quotes based on the number of movers, needed materials and size of the truck. The time traveling to your home, between homes, and back to their location is also subject to charges. Still, in most cases, you will get an hourly rate for your quote.

When moving locally, keep in mind that weekends, the end of the month, and relocating in the peak of the season typically cost more.

Clock and coins.
The more time that movers need to finish your relocation, the more costly the move will be.

Additional fees and costs

Maybe you find the movers that best suits you, but before you start to prepare your moving budget, pay attention to additional costs that can appear. Ask your mover to specifies the services that are included in the estimation, and which services they’ll charge extra for. Ensure the mover includes anything you’ll need in their moving quote and on your written estimate.

Fees and costs that you didn’t count on:

  • Large items – If you have heavy and big items to relocate, discuss it with your movers. Pool tables, pianos, and hot tubes are enormous, but also very delicate. Not all companies are capable of handling these items. Those who can are likely to charge an additional fee to do so.
    When you have such item like a pool table, the best way to ensure its safety is to hire a professional pool table movers.
  • Shuttle service – If the moving truck is too large to park close to your house, the movers will need to use a smaller truck or van to move items from the house to the truck or vice versa. If the size of the truck or conditions of relocations are listed in the contract that you signed, then additional costs of shuttle service shouldn’t be charged.
    To be sure, ask the moving company about the size of the truck and inform them if there any parking obstacles.
  • Long carry service – You will probably find in your written estimate what is the maximum distance that the movers will carry things.
    If it’s a long way from your house to the truck, you may pay a long carry fee.
  • Packing – Packing services are one of the additional services that most moving companies offer.
    This service is paid extra, but it worth every penny. Sure, there are many DIY packing tips, but this service will save you a lot of time and nerves. If you like to purchase packing services, be sure that they are noted in written estimation.
Shuttle service can increase moving quotes
Make sure that the moving company is using the size of the truck that suits relocation terms.


Although tips for the moving crew are not mandatory and are not included in the moving quote they are always a nice gesture and sign of good manners. Being a mover is not an easy job and they are usually hourly employees.

If you like the job that they did you should award them. Show them that you appreciate their efforts.
A standard tip is $20 to $40 per day, per mover, but there are many things to consider when deciding how much should you tip movers.

Choose the right type of estimates when comparing moving quotes

Whether the final cost of the move will be charged depending on the weight, distance or number of movers and time needed to perform the move, the type of estimate is very important. It will be easier for you to compare the moving quotes when you are using the same type of estimate. Here are three types that you can choose from when you are hiring your local movers.

Non-binding estimate

This type of estimate should never be your first choice when checking the moving quote. Basically, you will estimate the weight of your items, and the mover will offer you a final cost. However, since this is not binding if the weight is more than estimated you will have to pay for that too. The issue is not that much in payment, but in whether you were expecting it or not. If you do not have enough money the FMSCA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) says that you have up to one month to pay back the charges.

Binding estimate

This type of estimate is a better option than the non-binding estimate. For starters, you will pay the price agreed at the beginning. This is particularly suitable if your belongings weigh a bit more than estimated. You will know in advance how much the move will cost you. This will give you time to prepare and you will know what to expect. However, if your items weigh less than previously estimated, than you will still have to pay the original price. So, the key here is to have a proper estimate of the weight of your belongings done by the moving company itself. This is one of the crucial steps of the moving guide, that will make your move stress-free.

Binding not-to-exceed estimate

This is definitely the best choice for an estimate. It has all the benefits of the binding estimates, but some of its own as well. With the binding not-to-exceed estimate, you will know the price at the beginning. If your items weigh more than previously estimated, you will not have to pay for the price for them. But, if your items weigh less, you will only have to pay the cost of the shipping. This means that you will not have to pay the full amount if your items do not weigh as much as stated at the beginning.

a woman carrying a moving box in front of the yellow wall
If you happen to have extra moving boxes on the moving day, communicate this with your movers to make a different estimate.

Pay attention to details

However, when it comes to any kind of estimates, pay attention that you always get them in writing. Your final moving quote should always be in writing, which is sufficient proof that you have made an arrangement with a moving company. Plus, if they do not offer you an estimate in writing, know that this is one way to know which are the worst kinds of movers.

Another thing that you should pay attention to when using binding and binding not-to-exceed estimates is that you do not try to add some items on the truck the last day. The mover can switch to a different binding and make a new estimate on spot. Of course, if you have additional items, you can carry them but talk to your movers about a new estimate.

How to recognize a fraudulent moving company when comparing the moving quotes

One of the best things that you can do before you move, is to compare the moving quotes. The fact is, there are a lot of fraudulent moving companies out there, and you should know how to recognize them and avoid moving scams.

  • A fraudulent moving company will offer you a low price at the non-binding estimate. This is why these types of estimates are so bad. You never know how much the final bill is going to cost actually.
  • They do not have a license – Having a license means a lot. It is the best way to be sure that your moving company will not perform any scam on your move. Ask them for their USDOT number and search their name at the FMCSA site.
  • No physical address – If you have the time, check the address of your moving company and visit them in person. It may be a lot of effort to visit three to five moving companies when reaching for the optimal moving quote, but it is definitely worth it. A moving company that does not have a physical address is most definitely a fraudulent company.

Check for reviews

At the end of the day, it is not all about the money. You want to hire a moving company that is professional, reliable, with hard-working people that you can talk to. They will be handling all of your priceless possessions after all. So, when deciding on which moving quote is the best for you, take reviews into consideration. Go to and look up the moving companies that you chose. If you are in doubt which moving company to choose this can definitely help you make the choice.

a finger confirming a five star review
If you are in doubt, always check the moving reviews, they can help you choose the right moving company as well.

After comparing the moving quotes, ask your friends for a recommendation

This is an old-fashioned, but one of the best ways to find the perfect moving company for you. If you know someone who has recently moved, ask them about their experience. Compare your needs to theirs, ask them if they were satisfied with the service they received. Ask them how did their movers handle issues, as almost every move has unexpected problems that can arise. Talk to them about all that you want to know, and then reassess everything from your research so far. Once you make the decision you should have no doubts about the moving company of your choice.

Getting the right moving quote requires a lot of research and patience. Finding a moving company that fits all of your needs and offers a reasonable price for the best service they provide is not impossible, however. We are certain that you will make it. Good luck!

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