Moving Quotes: When Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
When receiving estimates for moving services, striking a happy medium between cost and quality of service isn’t always the easiest balancing act. In looking for the lowest price, it can be easy to ignore certain red flags. Cheaper isn’t necessarily better when looking at moving quotes for a variety of reasons.
Choosing the cheapest mover may cost you in the long run. Some movers may not be earning even minimum wage or benefits. Some may even be undocumented causing insurance problems down the line. This can also result in a huge lack of professionalism.
1. Quality Movers
Would you rather have college students or career movers entrusted with what could be all of your possessions? Career movers are more experienced with the nuances of the moving process. This extra experience could also save you as a client a lot of money if you hired an hourly company.
The best way to ensure a great crew is to look for a referral from a close friend or family member. If they had a great experience with a moving company simply ask for the same moving crew that they used.
Like anything in life, you often get what you pay for. Moving is no different. The extra cost is likely going to higher quality trucks, supplies, and the movers themselves. A happy, well-compensated mover is a happy mover. Ultimately they are more likely to do an above and beyond the job.
2. Quality Trucks and Materials
It’s often helpful to think about moving from the company’s perspective. A moving company that charges more than some other quotes is likely doing so for a reason. Generally, this is to offset the cost of quality movers and supplies. High-quality moving boxes from the moving company are worth it to prevent the possibility of damage to your items.
Moving blankets are also a huge factor in making your move a seamless experience. Bedbugs and other pests make their way into your home through dirty and overused moving blankets and supplies. We thoroughly inspect and wash blankets and moving materials daily. This is something FlatRate holds to a higher standard but other companies may not.
The interior and quality of moving trucks being used by a company are important as well. We make sure trucks are regularly inspected to be free of pests as well as in good working order. This can make the difference between a smooth and a nightmare of a move. The worst possible scenario is a truck breaking down and you being left with the bill. There’s no telling how much this will add to your final cost.
Worst Case Scenario:
In worst-case scenarios, but surprisingly common, moving companies will cancel your move altogether (often on the day of or the day before the move) because they received a bigger job. When there aren’t enough tracks to make both moves happen the less expensive one could be canceled last minute leaving you, the client, high and dry.
3. Hidden Fees
Hidden costs and fees act as a great segue from the last section. While you may receive an initial quote, there are a variety of factors that could increase the price of your move on move day with no other options. Some of these include:
- Providing Certificates of Insurance to building management and costs associated with processing them.
- Valuation coverage (sometimes referred to as insurance): All moving companies are federally obligated to provide at least a basic valuation (60 cents per pound of inventory). Be sure to ask about full valuation if you’re moving particularly valuable items. More on valuation coverage here
- Any parking tickets or tolls that are accrued during the move may be added to your bill.
- Extra services such as furniture disassembly, packing/unpacking, disposal, and navigating bulky or heavy items may also result in a higher than expected quote on move day. Be sure to ask who is paying for the packing materials as well, especially if you’re getting boxes directly from your moving company.
Make sure to choose a company that takes these things into account before giving you a quote. This is the best way to avoid a stressful experience upon paying for your move. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re below your budget and end up much higher than expected.
4. The Lowball Quote
Unfortunately, a very common sales tactic is to give clients a lowball quote that ends up much higher on the day of the move. It’s no secret that moving is usually an expensive endeavor. After all, you’re paying for a company to safely handle all of your possessions and get them safely from one place to another.
The adage, “If it feels too good to be true, it probably is” couldn’t ring more true when receiving moving estimates. This is the main reason why in past blog articles we’ve stressed getting multiple quotes before deciding on a company. When one quote looks suspiciously lower than the rest it could be a lowball offer to get your business only to increase the price on the day of the move through extra fees and hidden charges.
While sometimes underestimating the price on a move (especially with hourly quotes) is a blatant scam, sometimes it can be a lack of communication. When receiving moving quotes, things like furniture assembly and disassembly, heavier or bulky items, or stairs at either location that weren’t initially mentioned could result in a higher quote than previously estimated.
This is why it’s so important that any moving company you decide to go with offers the option for an in-home evaluation to get a guaranteed price on the move rather than a rough estimate subject to change.
5. Checking Credentials
Make sure to do some research on every moving company that gives you a quote. Any moving company has to be registered with the Department of Transportation. They can readily provide a “DOT #” to prove they are licensed and insured. In many states, New York included, licensing through the DOT is a requirement for local moves as well.
To check if the moving company you’re looking into is properly licensed and insured look them up on the DOT database.
Other things like a professional website and a physical location are all other signs of a reputable moving company. Movers who cut costs on creating a professional website or operate only online are likely to cut costs in other ways as well.