Relocating to a new city or just down the street? Moving into a new home is a whirlwind of planning, packing, and reaching out to professional moving companies. Decided on ditching the DIY move for professional movers? Now is the time to investigate and decide if you need an hourly or inventory-based moving rate.

Companies will quote the moving job with either an hourly rate or a fixed rate. Both rates are based on weight or volume (cubic feet). Many moving companies give hourly rates for local moves and fixed prices based on inventory for larger and long-distance moves. Both approaches have pros and cons. We recommend a few essential questions to ask when receiving your quote:

Pros and Cons of Hourly Moving

Sometimes an hourly move quote makes sense from a financial standpoint. Moving locally and planning to pack your items? An hourly quote saves money except in the case of large furniture, wrapped in blankets and cling wrap.

Moving the contents of a studio apartment or small one-bedroom and having all of your boxes packed on move day? An experienced moving crew quickly protects your furniture and loads your items on a truck. Safe delivery to your new place and peace of mind follows.

Small, simple moves that don’t require the disassembly/reassembly of furniture are the best candidates for an hourly rate.

One of the biggest problems when getting hourly moving quotes is risking an underestimation of costs. Moving companies will often underestimate the number of hours to deliver a competitive rate. As you can imagine, the problem here is that once the moving process begins, you’re on the clock. Pricing estimates spiral out of control when all aspects of the move are forgotten.

Though it can be, this isn’t necessarily a shady practice. It’s often a lack of information that results in a much less expensive quote than what you end up paying. When movers need to add time to disassemble and reassemble items such as bed frames and couches, costs increase. These are two of the most common items that probably won’t fit through your door, resulting in movers spending extra time.

Granted, these are questions that an experienced moving company should ask and also the reason why we recommend having an in-home evaluation to receive a moving quote.

For these reasons, it’s important to give a moving company as much information as possible when getting a quote over the phone. Sending pictures and videos of the space can be invaluable tools to get an accurate quote and make sure there are no surprises on move day.

Uncontrollable factors like traffic and weather can also affect your hourly moving quote.

When moving within a large city, the route the driver takes, as well as the potential for gridlocked traffic or slower driving in rough weather conditions, can make a difference in the final price.
Ask if a minimum is charged with hourly moving quotes. Generally, a 3-4 hour minimum time commitment (including travel for hourly moves) is standard.

This could pose a problem if you’re only moving a few pieces of furniture within the same building or right up the block. Instead of being charged the 4-hour minimum, a fixed rate is the better option for a 2-hour simple move.

Pros and Cons of Inventory-Based Moving

Inventory-based moving is the standard means of pricing for interstate, long-distance, and rather large moves because of certain advantages over hourly moving that we will get into below. First and foremost, these situations result in a lengthy moving process with more unknowns that could turn your initial hourly quote into a nightmarish move.

If your current home is a few hours away from your new one, paying hourly for a highway accident, and adding 2 hours to the move, could drastically affect the price. With an inventory-based fixed rate, these extra unforeseeable hours aren’t your responsibility in the final invoice.

Knowing the cost upfront gives peace of mind because what you’re quoted is what you pay. Supplying as much information as possible will help avoid any last-minute adjustments to your fixed rate.

Forgotten bins or boxes, stored under the bed, sometimes for years, and on the day of the move are a classic missed item. When these aren’t included in the quote, you pay the price. This is why as always we recommend having a professional moving consultant do a walkthrough of exactly what’s being moved to provide a guaranteed price.

Consultants clarify unknowns with informed questions. You might not know to include the number of flights of stairs, or how to calculate the possibilities of parking tickets (moving trucks tend to get them a lot) and distances from the entrance of the building to the truck. Still, a consultant will not miss a detail. Not using a consultant? Be sure to include these questions when receiving quotes, whether in person or over the phone.

With the FlatRate blogs, we are trying to bring transparency to costs in the moving industry. Thanks for reading! Make sure to take a look at some past blogs or if you’re ready to receive a quote you can put input your information into our website and one of our dedicated consultants will reach out within the hour during normal business hours.

Categories: Moving Expenses