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How exactly can you calculate your moving cost?
Whether you're shopping for state-to-state moving companies or comparing local movers to take you down the block, knowing how much your move will cost and how much to budget for your move is a big deal. That's why the most common question consumers search for is
How Much Does it Cost to Move?
Thankfully, MoverJunction can give you the answer.
Designed specifically to take the guesswork out of planning for your move, our Moving Cost Calculator (found at the top of this page) simplifies the process of planning your moving budget from start to finish.
Of course, while it's convenient to have an accurate moving cost estimator at your fingertips, it's also important to understand what makes up your quote. After all, the more informed you are, the smarter shopping decisions you're able to make.
Read on to learn what factors make the biggest impact on how much your move will cost, followed by tips on the three different ways to use our Moving Cost Calculator to your advantage.
Factors That Cause Your Moving Costs to Go Up (or Down)
One thing to keep in mind, when using the moving cost calculator, is that every little thing can make a difference to your moving cost.
Do you live in an apartment building or a house?
Does your building have stairs or elevator?
What floor do you live on?
Whether you're moving down the street, interstate, or overseas?
The cost calculator will take everything into consideration because your moving quote will depend on all these factors.
Now some factors are more important than other and can effect your moving cost drastically, namely weight, distance and timing of your move.
So let's take a look how each of these factors will effect your quote when using a moving cost calculator.
How weight and distance of your move effects your moving cost?
The basic rule of thumb for estimating moving costs is this: The more stuff you have to move, the higher the cost will be. However, which factor is more important depends on how far your stuff has got to go. This is because the longer the move, the more gas will be used and the more time i'll take for the movers to free up their trucks for the next move.
For short distances, most moving companies will charge a per-hour rate. Moving costs will be calculated based upon how many movers it takes to do your move and how long it takes for them to complete the job from start to finish. While it's still the case that the more belongings you have, the longer it will take to move, weight is less of an issue in regards to the cost of fuel, when you're moving only a few miles or a few blocks.
longer it will take to move, weight is less of an issue in regards to the cost of fuel, when you're moving only a few miles or a few blocks.
If you're moving long distance, however, the way the moving cost calculator figures out your quote is different. In such a case your quote will most likely be based on poundage (how much your belongings weigh). This is to compensate for the cost of fuel, and also the size truck required to move households whose combined belongings exceed a certain weight.
Warning: Note that some companies will provide a quote based on cubic feet. If that's the case with your moving quote, we advise steering clear as it's all too easy for less-than-honest movers to make objects take up more space than needed.
How the timing of your move can effect your moving cost?
Just like any other industry, the moving companies get particularly busy during certain times of the month and year. Knowing when those are can help you cut costs.
With dry weather, long daylight hours, and kids out of school, summer is peak season for moving—meaning that professional movers rates can spike during the months of June to September.
While you might not be able to completely reschedule your moving plans, you potentially save big by pushing a long-distance move planned for mid-September move back several weeks. Alternately, knowing how the prices of moves fluctuate through the year might make the difference in whether or not you resign a six-month lease.
Since most leasing agreements are up at the end of the month, another factor that can cause your moving estimate to increase is when it falls in a monthly calendar. Additionally, most households schedule moves on the weekend to avoid taking time off of work.
What to take away? If you have some flexibility when it comes to moving dates, ask moving companies for a cost comparison between middle and end-of-the-month moves, as well as dates schedule mid-week to potentially save on costs.
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Regardless of the size of your moving budget, moving companies will offer different types of moving estimates. The three types of moving estimates are:
1. Non-binding estimate
2. Binding estimate
3. Binding not-to-exceed estimate
If you're hiring professionals to move your stuff, it's important to know the difference between estimates and which type is best for the kind of move you're making.
It's very important to understand the type of moving estimate you've been given to avoid any surprises in the end. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a higher bill than you were quoted initially.
So make sure you understand your moving estimate properly.
What is a Non-Binding Moving Estimate?
A non-binding moving estimate is the most common type of estimate given by the moving companies.
It is also the one that has the most room for fluctuation, hence making it a riskier option than the other two.
Moving costs based on a non-binding estimate are based upon how much a mover thinks your combined belongings will weigh. A lot of times moving companies will do estimates over the phone without really seeing your stuff or house. While these professionals have tons of experience giving accurate quotes, you won't find out the total cost until moving day.
Because the mover hasn't really inspected your house, there's a lot of room for error. It could be that you forgot to mention the stuff in your garage, or that basement full of kids stuff and boxes. Or maybe you have custom made furniture instead of furniture from Ikea which is generally not as bulky.
All these things can effect your moving costs and its hard for anyone to estimate it correctly without actually looking at the stuff.
So guess what? If you have a non-binding estimate, you could be stuck with a much larger bill on the moving day than you initially were quoted.
What is a Binding Moving Estimate?
A binding estimate means that the price you're quoted is the amount that you'll pay, even if your belongings weigh more or less than the estimated amount.
While binding estimates offer you an extra layer of security, they're less common as they can put professional moving companies potentially biting off more than expected. If your movers believe that you've snuck a few extra household items into the pile of goods to be moved, they're legally allowed to refuse you service.
For that reason, it's in both parties interest to carefully review a binding moving estimate before signing, ensuring that all items and services requested are accounted for in writing. Also make note of when payment is required, and what happens to your belongings if you're late delivering a check.
What's a Binding Not-to-Exceed Estimate?
Can't decide which type of estimate you prefer? The best of both worlds is a binding-not-to-exceed estimate, which allows you to lock in a quote without fear of paying too much.
Under a binding-not-to-exceed estimate, households that weigh more than estimated won't have to pay a penny over the amount quoted. However, if your goods weigh less than the written estimate, you'll pay the lesser amount.
Because this option means that you'll never pay more than expected, but might pay less, it offers the greatest amount of consumer protection and should be proposed when initially calling moving companies to compare costs.
Final Takeaway: Best Way to Get an Accurate Moving Cost
As you've seen there are several ways moving costs can be calculated and even more factors that can effect the cost.
So what's the best way? Here's what we recommend ..
Get a Binding Estimate!
To accurately assess the weight of your belongings, MoverJunction recommends that you arrange a in-home estimate and try to get a Binding Estimate or atleast a Binding-Not-To-Exceed Estimate.. A representative of the moving company needs to conduct thorough walkthrough of your home and see everything for themselves.. When at your home, they'll make note of everything to be moved, and also consider factors such as stairs, parking, and large items that might impact the what's required of your movers.
Get everything in writing!!!
The written estimate must accurately describe all of the services to be provided. It's also important that you are careful to disclose all items that need to be moved. Should you decide to purchase any large items or heavy furniture after receiving your moving quote, the moving company can refuse to provide their service at the quoted rate. So it's important to disclose any such change.
Ready to See How Much Your Move Will Cost?
You can call local movers to compare costs, but why spend the extra time searching around?
MoverJunction.com has partnered with the biggest names in the moving industry that lets local and long-distance movers compete for your business—including international movers and packers for cross-country moves!
If you're ready to learn how much your move will cost, be sure to check out our Moving Cost Calculator at the top of this page.
With just one quick form, you can get free and accurate moving quotes from competing moving companies within a matter of minutes. All you have to do is sit back, relax and compare the moving quotes before making up your mind about who to hire.
Benefits of Moving Cost Calculator
Create a moving budget
Keep your moving cost in check
Avoid moving company scams
Know exactly how much you'll be paying
Compare moving quotes
Get the best moving rate possible
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Read some articles written by our industry experts to guide you to your move