Moving State Guide

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Moving State Guide

Let’s face it – moving is a pain and very confusing. We know that you’re probably feeling very confused by the massive number of choices you have when it comes to moving. It seems like you’ve been bombarded with offers which range all over the place in price and in what they include. That’s why we’ve created this free guide to comparing moving quotes. Here’s what you need to know (you can also try our Moving Dictionary!):

Binding or Non-Binding Estimate? 

These are extremely important terms to understand. There are two ways that the United States Department of Transportation allow movers to price their services. The first is a binding estimate. That means that the price is (theoretically – more on this in a moment) fixed and will not go up on move day. Non-binding estimates are based on the weight of your things and they can go up drastically on move day because you really have no way to know what your things weigh.

Packing 

This is another common ‘gotcha’ in the moving industry. Most full service movers will include at the minimum the use of moving blankets and pads. This is the standard that we hold to as well. However, some items require special packing – TV sets, mirrors, glass furniture all require more than just the standard moving blankets to make sure they don’t break along the way. Upholstered furniture and mattresses also require special packing with plastic wrap for hygienic reasons. You can do it yourself and save some money and we can send you a guide to how to do it or you can us to do it for you. Either way, we’ll let you know what needs additional packing and will never simply let you figure it out on your own.

Big Tariff Discounts

This is another practice we’ve seen some shadier movers using. They put down a discount of around 60-70% on their ‘tariff’ rate. That makes it sound like you got a huge discount. However, we’ve found that in almost every case, when a mover does that, they are doing a non-binding estimate based on CF (see above). This way, when your move exceeds the cubic feet listed, they can charge you for the difference at the full tariff rate (i.e. around 60-70% more than you would expect to pay for the difference).

What’s a Fuel Surcharge?

If the fuel surcharge is relatively small, around 3-6%, you can generally feel okay with it being there. However, some movers use the fuel surcharge to inflate their pricing while keeping their rate per cubic foot low to make it sound good. They’ll sometimes have rates as high as 15-20% in order to make their price per cubic foot appear lower.

Check the Inventory List

An inventory list is an industry term referring to the list of items that will be moved. We’ve found that oftentimes, when some other mover has a much cheaper price than us, it’s because they missed things on the list. I even had one client send me a list which listed around 60% of the inventory I had. I responded with a detailed list of what was missing, she went back to the other place, told them everything I said and they still left things off. Ultimately, if you see a mover seems to have left a lot of stuff off your list, it’s probably a good bet that you don’t want to deal with them.

Brokers 

If you want to know more about brokers, ask me for our email on them. Suffice to say that brokers are not real movers. They’re sales offices where they pawn you off to someone else and you never know who will show up on move day or who to talk to if something goes wrong. Almost inevitably, brokers also end up costing you a whole lot more than the price they quoted you. You can check if a mover is a broker by checking the government’s SAFER website. A real mover is listed as a carrier. Brokers will say broker.

Binding Based on Inventory or CF?

This is a tricky one – many people have heard that they need to look for a binding estimate. That means that the mover has a list of items that they are expected to move and as long as the list is accurate, the price stays the same. However, some movers call their estimates ‘binding based on CF’ or they simply call it a ‘binding estimate’ without specifying what that means. In essence, that’s another version of a non-binding estimate – if your things take up more cubic feet than the estimate says they do (and they usually will), your price goes up. Always insist on a contract that says ‘price is binding based on inventory.’

Other Hidden Fees

Be sure to read your moving contract carefully. Some fees that movers won’t tell you about elevator fees (yes, they charge you for pushing a button) and stair carry fees (every mover is different – some give as few as 7 steps free and some give as many as 16 free (we give 16 free) but every mover will have stair carry fees if you are moving from or to an apartment above the first floor. Long carry fees – if the truck can’t park within 75 feet of your residence, the mover will likely charge extra for having to carry your stuff further. Shuttle fees – If they can’t park their truck anywhere near your home (often a problem in large east coast cities and the large cities in the upper part of the West Coast), you will have to pay for the rental of a smaller truck in order to complete your move. If you’re concerned, be sure to ask about it.

Delivery Spread 

Check your contract carefully. Ignore what the salesman says and look at what it says is the actual limit for delivery. Honest moving salespeople will tell you that the legal limit is 21 business days from the first day you can take delivery. Some movers do hold themselves to a higher standard than that. However, you need to find that in the contract. Any mover who writes that they have more than 21 business days to deliver is violating the law and is someone you should never do business with.

Speaking of Cubic Feet 

If you want to make sure that a mover is being honest, you want to compare the cubic feet they list. It’s okay if a mover lists around 10-20 cubic feet less or more because they may be putting in slightly different numbers (if something comes to 1.95CF, some just round up to 2 and others go with the more exact total). However, if there is a difference of hundreds of CF, something is off and you’re going to have trouble on move day.

Deposits 

Contrary to what the news shows will tell you, most legitimate movers do charge a deposit. This is because we need to know that when we show up at your door and we’ve reserved space and turned away other customers, you won’t say, hey, I found someone else. Sorry I didn’t tell you. However, if a mover is asking for a 50% deposit, for example--that’s a big red flag and likely a sign of a broker. Also pay attention until when the deposit is refundable as some companies only refund the deposit a few days after the rservation is made. However, this is also a red flag. With us, the deposit is fully refundable for whatever reason up until 3 days before the move. 

Like our guide? Then you’ll love the kind of service we can provide you with We are willing to tell you everything you need to know about making sure you don’t have hidden fees on move day. Our number is 1-888-311-0231

February 26, 2019

Moving Services | Winfield, AL | Interstate Movers | Long Distance Movers

Winfield, AL

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