How To Make An
"Apples To Apples" Comparison
of Your Different Moving Estimates

By Christopher Noblit

Consumers who are moving are often justly concerned with the cost of their move and obtain three (or more) estimates in search of the best price. Unfortunately, "best price" doesn't really exist in the interstate moving business. Allow me to explain...


For Interstate Moves (Move That Cross State Lines And Are Governed By The Federal Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board)...


Most of the major interstate movers use the same base rate book; it's called "Tariff 400-M" and it is published by the Household Goods Carriers' Bureau. You will see "Tariff 400-M" listed as being used on the face of each of your interstate moving estimates. Tariff 400-M contains the charges for transportation, packing, storage, etc... These charges are essentially the same for all of the major interstate moving companies (if each company has the same weight and mileage estimate).

This being true, if you were to clone your move and ship your goods with each of the major interstate moving companies you would find that, while you may have vastly different bottom line cost estimates, in the end each mover would be just about the same cost (provided that each mover is giving you the same level of discount).

So why were your estimates so different? "Low-Balling" (purposely giving a low estimate to mislead the customer) may be one reason. Inexperienced estimators are often another. In the end, the customer pays for the actual weight and actual mileage charges, regardless of the estimate.

So how do I compare "apples-to-apples"?

Make arrangements to get three (3) estimates from reputable companies.

Show each mover the exact same items to be moved.

Obtain your three estimates and determine the highest estimated weight.

Review each estimate and determine what Long Carries, Flight Carries, Elevator Carries, Carrier's Liability For Loss or Damage, Extra Pickups or Deliveries, Bulky Article charges, etc... might be assessed. Do not believe any salesperson who tells you that these charges will not be assesed! These particular charges are paid 100% to the driver (the hauler) and only the hauler can agree to waive these charges. You will not meet the hauler until the day your shipment is loaded onto the moving truck.

Call (or better yet fax) each mover and request a revised estimate based upon the highest estimated weight you have obtained. Insist that the revised estimate include the Long Carries, Flight Carries, Elevator Carries, Carrier's Liability For Loss or Damage, Extra Pickups or Deliveries, Bulky Article charges, etc... which you believe might be assessed.


Once you receive the revised estimates, review them thoroughly to make sure that all of the services which you have requested have been included in the revised estimates.

You can now (relatively safely) assume that the final cost of your move will not be higher that the highest estimate that you have received.

 So be aware of how it works; and hopefully, you won't be misled by a salesperson who cares more about commission than the safety of your goods and the accuracy of your estimate.

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