The first step of planning a move is to contact several reliable moving companies for quotes. These quotes should take place in your home or business so the movers can gauge exactly what the situation of your move will be. Most reputable moving companies in Houston will provide free moving quotes. In order to choose the right moving company, it is important that you understand the details of the moving quote.
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What Will Happen During the Moving Quote?
A moving agent will come to your home to do a visual assessment of your belongings. It is important that you show everything which is to be moved. Some people make the mistake of trying to hide some items in hopes that they will get a lower moving estimate. This only harms the customer as the move could take much longer or be heavier than estimated. Likewise, it is important to point out any items which won’t be moved (such as a couch you are planning on donating) so they aren’t included in the estimate.
The moving agent will calculate the amount of time it will take to move all items, or their weight. The costs of other services, such as packing, are then calculated. You then will be provided with a detailed estimate. The listed cost will be valid for a certain period after the estimate date, such as for 30 days. This gives you some time to get other estimates and decide on a mover.
When Should I Schedule a Moving Quote?
If you are planning to move during the summer or on a weekend at the end of the month, then you should start getting moving quotes well in advance. Generally, 4-6 weeks is recommended for moves during busy periods.
How to Prepare for a Moving Quote
To make sure you are getting the most accurate moving quote possible, it is important that you prepare some information for the agent, including:
• A general inventory of items
• Furniture which will need to be taken apart
• The distance of the move
• The floor/number of steps the movers will have to go up at the new location
• Where the moving truck will be able to park (if door-side parking is available, the move will cost less)
• Any elevators and whether they can be reserved
• List of any special moving items, such as antiques, pianos, motorcycles
Questions to Ask at the Moving Quote
• What is your registration number? (USDOT number)
• What is your insurance policy? Is additional insurance possible and at what cost?
• What are your rates? (hourly for local moves and per-pound for long distance moves)
• How many movers are needed for the job?
• What equipment do you use for the move?
• What size of truck will be needed?
• Do you use any subcontractors? For what services?
• What additional fees are there, such as for long-carry, stairs, elevators, heavy items, etc.?
• On long-distance moves, will there be any transfers of your items (putting your items on a truck with other belongings)?
• How is furniture protected? Are furniture blankets provided for free?
• What steps are taken to protect your property, such as putting down carpet covers?
• How is inventory taken?
• How are items packed and labeled?
• Do you have any complaints filed against you?
• What is your delivery rate and record?
• Can I have a referral or recommendation?
• Can you explain why your moving estimate is higher/lower than another one I received?
Making a Moving Reservation
Once you have gotten a quote and decided on a moving estimate, you will need to make your reservation. You will be provided with a contract that details the costs of the move and each party’s obligations. Be sure that all the services you want are included in the price and that the dates are correct.
Types of Moving Quotes
When getting moving quotes and signing the contract, make sure you understand what type of moving quote you are getting. Depending on the company and type of move, the quote may be a different type and this can drastically affect your budget.
•Binding Estimates: A binding estimate will list a fixed cost for the move. This amount will not change regardless of how long the move takes or how heavy boxes are. It is very rare for moving companies to give out binding estimates because customers can hide items and slip them in at the last moment. You may, however, find some services on the moving quote listed at fixed costs, such as fuel charges and labor costs for long-distance moves.
•Non-Binding Estimates: Non-binding estimates are estimates that can fluctuate. Local moves are typically quoted at an hourly rate, and you will pay that rate for however many hours the move takes. Long-distance moves are based on weight with a cost per pound. Non-binding estimates are risky for the customer because some moving companies may underestimate the moving costs, and you will be obliged to pay a higher cost on moving day.
•Not-to-Exceed Estimates: A “Not-to-Exceed” clause in a moving estimate is the most favorable option for both the movers and the customer. It is a non-binding estimate, but there is a clause which states that the move won’t cost more than a set price. The movers are protected against customers slipping items in at the last minute, and the customer is protected against movers who significantly underestimated costs.