Packing and scheduling are both essential aspects of moving house, but arguably the most important aspect is selecting the right moving company. Yes, we may be biased, but if you’ve ever had a bad moving experience, you know this is a “make it or break it” decision. There’s several factors that need to be taken into account before settling on one, with a key (and probably obvious) factor being the moving company estimate.
At this point, working out which movers are value for money and satisfy my budget is old hat to me. But when it’s your first move, the estimate process can be a bit overwhelming. The trick is knowing what you should be looking for.
Let me put it into context. Viktoria Professional Movers is one of the leading Toronto moving companies, but it’s not the cheapest. That doesn’t bother us, because we know value for money depends on more than the price tag – it depends equally on quality of service. Think about it. Would you fly for a dollar if you know the airline has a fleet of tin buckets, or would you prefer to pay $100 knowing you’ll travel in comfort and safety?
Moving Estimates: What to Look Out For
Well, when it comes to assessing the value of a moving company estimate (or quote), that’s the kind of approach you should have. When you understand the significance the estimate has, you’re in a better position to select the right movers for your needs and your budget.
- How is the estimate calculated? – There are several aspects which affect how the estimate is calculated, so it’s important to know how a moving company is going to come to their figure. The aspects in question are:
- Number of rooms
- Degree of moving difficulty (large or heavy objects)
- Time and labor required
Watch out for estimates based on weight (usually long distance moves). Objects – especially furniture – can be deceptively heavy which means the calculated weight provided in an estimate may fall short of the actual weight confirmed at the licensed weigh station. If so, you will have to pay the extra costs. Comparing the weights offered by competing movers is very important, with the lightest probably the least accurate.
- Take telephone estimates with a grain of salt – How can a moving company estimate be accurate when no-one from the moving company has seen what has to be moved? Yes, you can give a general idea of what the job entails over the phone, but when weight is a key factor in calculating cost, you are bound be off. This means you can forget about an accurate estimate.
- Site estimate is a key indicator – Moving companies should send a representative (estimator) to take a look at what and how much needs to be moved. This is the best way for them to assess the weight, required manpower and, ultimately, likely cost. But it’s also a chance for you to meet the company and get an indication of the quality of work you would be paying for. Are they knowledgeable, friendly, and positive? Or, are they sketchy on details, distant and unfriendly, and do they speak badly of competitors. Also, did they arrive on time, or were they 30 minutes late and offer a variety of excuses? The estimate process can take about an hour, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to assess the assessor.
- Get it in writing – As with estimates in most other sectors, getting a moving company estimate in writing is all-important. Once it is written (in the contract) and signed by you and the mover, the company cannot increase the price by any more than 10 per cent regardless of weight or other operational costs. Reputable movers will do so as a matter of procedure, and without hesitation. If I had to ask for one, I would then be very unimpressed.
- It’s your money so quiz them – While you have them in your home, ask them to clarify some key issues. I’d recommend 6 questions in particular, though you may have more depending on your situation.
- Is the estimate binding or non-binding?
- How long is the estimate valid?
- Are there additional surcharges? These can include parking problems, road access, street accessibility, delivery time restrictions or if there are any stairs or elevators involved.
- What is the estimated delivery time and will the driver give you prior notice?
- What would be the packing policy of the company if you decide to pack yourself?
- What are the charges for additional weight?
- Seek a binding estimate – It’s worthwhile getting a binding estimate, which means the price stated on the written estimate is the price you pay. The risk is if the calculated weight is too high, you’ll end up paying more. But if the calculation is too low, you save money. Refusing to agree to a binding price is a little suspicious, firstly because the actual difference paid is rarely very much, and secondly because it may mean they intend quoting a low weight to secure the contract, then only for the actual weight to push what you pay way up – which is actually fraud.
As I mentioned earlier, there are several aspects to consider when it comes to choosing a moving company. I’ll cover the others in detail in the upcoming posts, but in the meantime be sure not to take an estimate for granted.
SprintMover – Moving Company
Address : 1814 S Bundy Dr #10 , Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone : (888) 858-1511