Remember – when you state that the process of moving is expensive – it’s more of a gross understatement.
You read that the average cost of an interstate move is approximately $4,200, while the average price to move locally is around $2,300. Those are nothing but rough moving cost estimates meant to give you just a hint of how much you need to keep in your wallet.
A mover bills you based on multiple factors which include move distance, shipment weight, extra moving services, and most importantly, the company’s name. Oops, let’s not forget something that most people tend to skip completely – your skill to negotiate.
Moving company quotes are not set in stone and they can be tweaked but you need to know the art of negotiation.
Every service by a moving company is negotiable and the better negotiable skills you have the better chance you have to score a good deal.
How could you enhance your bargaining skills? You are lucky MoverJunction is here to help you learn how to negotiate better this time while dealing with a professional mover. We’re confident that using our tips you’ll grab the lowest moving quote, which is almost the same as your moving budget.
You need to get an idea of what’s the cost in the industry
Before you create a moving cost estimate, you need to know what’s fair in the moving industry. Hold research on how much is the average moving cost and learn about the different moving companies operating.
Decide what is your requirement and what do you expect from a moving company.
Look for movers to learn the cost of professional moving services, research your options, and find out which companies are worth working with.
While you visit the moving websites, compare the tariffs and conditions. Pay attention to the overall quality of the website. You need to ensure:
- The address is clearly stated
- The local address is accurate
- The contact numbers are in working condition
- The client feedback section exists and it seems accurate
- The USDOT number is mentioned
Read the ‘About Us’ section to know more about the company and learn from experts in your neighborhood about its past performances. Your coworkers, friends, realty agents, or neighbors who recently moved in can help you in this part.
This way, you’ll get a general idea of what’s available, what to expect from professional movers, which companies to stay away from, and how much money you’re going to need for your move.
Prepare a moving cost estimate
The next step in the line is to make a moving cost estimate. Evaluate how many household items you have and find the average cost of moving a household the size of yours across the distance you’re moving. Use a moving cost calculator to get an approximate idea of the price of your move.
Free moving cost calculators are available online and you can pick one of your choices to get a rough idea about the cost you need to spend. MoverJunction’s free cost calculator is accurate and easy to use and if you are specific about the accuracy part, it’s a promise that nothing can beat our free cost calculator.
Collect estimates from reputable movers
Having multiple quotes in the hand will give you better negotiating power and hence, the next step is to collect different moving company quotes. There’s no limit to the number of quotes you can get and the more quotes you have, the better are your chances to negotiate. Collect as many you can and we’ll suggest a minimum of 6 quotes.
Discuss with the moving company about every aspect of moving. As an online quote or quote via phone need not be accurate and may have several flaws, the mover needs to visit your home to take stock of every household item and understand the pros of any possible obstacles or special conditions at both your old home and your new one.
The company rep should take a look at items at home that may need special handling or special packing materials, discuss extra services you need, and how much time it would take approximately to pack them and load the truck.
Compare the quotes offered by multiple moving companies. Consider what’s missing in the quote and enquire if that can be included. Similarly, you may not require a service included in the quote and can ask the company to remove it. Go for an open discussion about the quote with the company and see how they respond to your demands.
Consider the accessorial services (and their rates), valuation coverage, and special conditions. Ask as many questions as you can to make everything clear and transparent.
Smart tip: You need to be cautious about unrealistic moving company quotes. Some movers price a quote considerably lower than other companies but you should not fall prey to it as lowball estimates are a common sign of potential moving fraud.
Rogue movers offer a low quote alluring you to the trap. Once you make a deal, they disappear with the deposit or demand exorbitant extra fees for some alleged accessorial services or unforeseen difficulties during the moving process. Never hire a mover just based on a low moving quote.
Ensure you are dealing with licensed and trustworthy moving companies
Before you hire a moving company, ensure it is licensed and registered. The moving industry has many red flags that you need to be cautious about.
Verify the mover’s licensing and insuring information – registration with FMCSA, BBB accreditation, professional affiliations (such as membership in the AMSA), etc. Check its background to learn the history. You can connect with the FMCSA’s safety violation and consumer complaints hotline to ask about complaints against the movers and research the databases of ProtectYourMove.gov, MovingScam.com, and Yelp to learn about reported problems and disputes with the moving companies.
Learn the moving reviews online of the same company on several different reputable review websites and try to get word-of-mouth referrals and testimonials.
If you have come to know about the company from the internet, visit the local office to understand its business better. This will help you know whether the staff is trained and the company has equipment and fleet trucks as mentioned on the website.
How should I plan my negotiation strategy?
Now you know that you are dealing with fair players and there are no chances of scam anymore, you can decide on best negotiation tactics to get a better deal.
Ask for discounts and special offers, use the stiff competition in the market to your advantage, forgo certain services, and compromise on moving dates. Be fair and sharp at the negotiation table.
Let’s see how each plan can work on the table.
Ask for discounts, promotions, and offers
It is true that discounts and offers will be mentioned on the websites but personally asking them is different. For example, if the website is offering a 20% discount, maybe you’ll earn 5% extra by personally asking. But that depends upon how good you bargain.
Even if there are no discounts or plans on offer, a mover will be ready to provide you a special cut as they don’t want to lose a potential customer.
Give them the flexibility
Moving companies usually never advertise discounts and offers for special months and days in the lean season but they will be ready to slash the quote to earn an extra business in the slow time.
If you’re not particular about the moving date, consider switching the relocation to the off-season – between October and May, in the middle of the month, or a weekday. Ask the mover to suggest a date in return for a cut in the moving company quote.
Save on extra services
Despite moving rates being fixed, you can avail of a lower moving cost estimate if you are willing to compromise on a few services. For example, your home might be a little far away from the main road and the quote is higher as the items at home need to be carried through a passage. You can take the help of friends or relatives to move the stuff and instead ask for a cut in the quote. Maybe this will work.
You can even skip the packing service and hire just the loading service. Moving labor service is highly cheaper than full-moving service. When you take up the point of dropping the packing service, maybe the company will further slash the quote as it does not want to lose the business.
Take up the competing moving quotes
There’s stiff competition in the market and each mover wants to grab the business of relocating you. The price is a decisive factor and each mover will be willing to cut down the moving company quote to not lose the business. Use this to your advantage if moving rates are not affordable.
Tell the moving company you have multiple quotes and you are offered the same services at a lesser cost. Let them know the lowest bid you received and ask if they can match or beat the price. If they are excited about the business, they will be ready to reduce the quote or at least will explain to you why the quote is expensive (specialty equipment, experienced workers, full value protection, or fast delivery) and you may decide that the higher quote is worth it or not.
Come again to negotiate
When a mover you liked the best is not willing to negotiate, do not lose the heart. Come again in a day or two to again negotiate. Maybe you’ll get lucky the second time. You may meet a new representative who’s more willing to compromise and this time luck works in your favor. No one wants to say no to a customer and never be shy to make a second visit to the moving company office.
Bonus tips to negotiate with moving companies
You now know how to negotiate for a better moving company quote. What’s now left is to get a better deal with a mover.
Purge your belonging to move easy
You know that the moving cost and volume of the household belongings are interconnected. The less you move to take to the new home, the lower the moving cost will be. So, you’re advised to declutter the home before the big move and pare down your possessions.
Get rid of everything that you don’t want at the new home. Sell them off or donate them as a charity. The amount you earn through selling the items can be further used for moving purposes. When you donate for charity, get the receipt for a tax deduction in the future.
Book the moving company as early as possible
Make up your mind about the move as early as possible. When you schedule the move well ahead, you will not only get more time to streamline the process but also the best quote. When you contact a moving company at the last minute, it needs to tweak the schedule to include your moving, promoting to hike the cost. The early the move, the better your chances are to get a cheaper moving company quote.
How much does it cost on average to move?
On average, a local move will cost anywhere from $500 to $1500, based on the services you receive and the volume of household belongings you are packing with you.
If the distance you intend to move is more than 100 miles, (typically called a “long-distance move), you need to look up at up to something between $800 to $5,000 and it can even go beyond that.
Should I make advance payment while signing a moving contract?
Reputed moving companies never demand advance payment as they are confident about their services. And you need to be cautious about movers who demand full payment while signing the contract. Because it could be a moving scam and you should not fall into this trap.
However, certain companies would require you to deposit a little amount which you can make after ensuring that the company is genuine. This will be deducted from the final amount.
What are all included in a long-distance moving quote?
A long-distance moving company quote should include the name and address of your mover, the tariff cost, miles traveled, minimum weight and estimated weight, any discounts applied, packing and unpacking service fees, storage charges, transportation charges, fuel surcharges, insurance surcharges, and accessorial services.