Over-the-phone vs. In-House Moving Estimate – What’s the Difference?

Over-the-phone vs. In-House Moving Estimate – What’s the Difference?

Your move is final and you’ve already picked a date to move. Now its time to start contacting the moving companies and getting some moving quotes.

Hiring a moving company to help you move your home can make your moving a lot less stressful. But before you go ahead and hire a mover, start by getting some moving quotes to compare. The process can be tedious and confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing and often people make the most common mistakes that make them vulnerable to horrific moving scams.

When you contact a moving company, typically they’d like to go over your inventory to give you a moving estimate. This is the price they’ll charge to move you from point A to B. Generally, there are 3 types of moving estimates.

  • Non-binding moving estimates
  • Binding moving estimate and
  • Binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate

You can read about moving type here. Its very important to know what kind of moving estimate you are getting to avoid any surprises in the end.

So how can you start getting some moving quotes??

The first step is to make your life easier by having the moving companies contact you, instead of you calling them randomly. Check out our Moving Quotes Engine. We work with a network of pre-screened and licensed moving companies that are ready to help you.

Typically moving companies give out moving estimates in the following two ways:

  • Over-the-phone moving estimate
  • In-house moving estimate

Let’s take a look at both of them in detail to understand what you get with each one.

Over-the-Phone Moving Estimate

An over-the-phone estimate is easy to conduct and quick. The walk through call is often very easy, moving around the house and telling the movers what you have to move

If the moving company you intend to hire ask you to mention or describe the household items you intend to move over the phone and then give you a moving estimate based on that, it is an over-the-phone moving estimate.

While over-the-phone estimates are the most common type of estimates, they are often considered as the most risky ones because they leave a lot of room for error.

The company will simply make an estimate based on what you tell them about your stuff. And for this reason, the estimate can really jump up on the moving day when they actually see these items.

While over the phone may be the easiest way to get an estimate, some moving companies can use this method to give a low estimate and use it as a bait to close the sale. On the other hand, some customers might decide not to disclose all their items hoping they’ll get a lower rate.

Both of these situations are a recipe for disaster. Moving estimates are based on how much household items you’re moving and it can change drastically if anything is left out. If you opt for an over the phone estimate, be as accurate as possible so there are no surprises on the moving day.

Benefits of an Over-The-Phone Estimate

Easy and Convenient: an over-the-phone estimate is easy to conduct and quick. The walk through call is often very easy, moving around the house and telling the movers what you have to move.

It’s more convenient than scheduling a period for the moving representative to visit your home and conduct a physical survey before offering a quote.

Short-notice move: when you intend to make a move based on a short notice, you may not have enough time to schedule a physical survey from movers. At such period, you may consider an over-the-phone estimate.

Making a relatively small move: if your move involves moving a relatively small household items or goods, such as a one, or two rooms apartment, you may consider an over-the-phone estimate. You can easily inform your movers of what you intend to move on the phone without a physical survey and still hit the bull’s eye.    

In-House Moving Estimate

In-House estimates are generally considered to be more appropriate and genuine than an over-the-phone estimate.

take inventory of your moving items
Allowing the movers to visit your home will give you the rare opportunity to assess them before signing a deal. Photo by Morgan
@ Flickr / CC BY

An in-house estimate often starts with a call between the customer and the moving company to request a quote. Then the moving company’s sales agent will reach an agreement with the customer on the date and time for an in-house survey.

On the scheduled period, when the movers arrive, together with the customer, they will walk through the house, checking each room, and probably taking notes of items to be moved. Also, the agent will make an estimation of the weight of the entire shipment to be moved.

As a result of the survey, and the entire estimation of what is involved in the move, the moving company will come up with a possible cost for the move.

Benefits of an In-House Moving Estimate

Consider the following benefits of an In-House estimate:

Realistic and accurate estimate: When you give the moving company the chance to visit your home and perform a physical survey, it will allow them understand what exactly is involved in the move and come up with a realistic and accurate estimate.

See the Movers Yourself: allowing the movers to visit your home will give you the rare opportunity to assess them before signing a deal. You can observe how they communicate, and how professional they are, you can make up your mind if they are people you can work with or not.

Questions: You have the opportunity to ask the movers questions about their company, and the different moving options they offer. You may observe how they respond and figure out if they are real movers or rogue.

Use Technology to get a Moving Estimate

If for some reason, an in-house estimate in not an option, there’s a middle-ground that can get you the best of both worlds. Thanks to all the advances in technology, we all have a very powerful device at our disposal: Our Smart Phones!

If you have access to a smart phone, you can get all the benefits of an in-house estimate, rite over the phone. No need to have anyone visit or disrupt your work schedule waiting for the moving

Photo by Rafael Castillo @ Flickr / CC BY
You can use a smart device such as a smart phone or tablet to get a very accurate price estimate, without having the mover come over to your house. Photo by Rafael Castillo @ Flickr / CC BY

company rep. Almost every smart device today comes with a camera on it, that you can use to get a very accurate price estimate, without having the mover come over to your house.

Here are a few tools you can use in such a scenario:    

  • iPhone Facetime — iPhone has really brought the world closer and changed the way we communicate with Facetime. Do a Facetime call with your mover to do a walk-thru of the house and get an accurate moving estimate.
  • Google Hangout or Video Chat — almost everyone has a Gmail or Google account today. Google Hangout enables you to do FREE video calls with anyone in the world. Use it to your advantage.
  • Skype — this option is the less common one and more for the tech-savvy people. If you have a Skype account, you can use this to make free video call as well.

With all these options at your disposal today, you should easily be able to get a fixed, binding moving estimate without any hassle. Our expert tip is to always go for a Binding Estimate so you know exactly how much you’ll be paying and have the peace of mind throughout your move. Check, What Accessories you required when moving to a new home

Good Luck.