No one enjoys getting a surprise bill, and that can be particularly true in the middle of moving. Moving is stressful enough without unexpected capital outlays lying in wait. To get a final bill from the movers that is close to the estimate, here are a few tips that can help.
1. Contact at Least Three Companies
To get the best and most accurate estimate, it's important to discuss the project with multiple movers. Be sure to schedule meetings at your home, with at least two hours between visits. Federal regulations require movers with an office within 50 miles of your home to offer site-specific consultations, or you can use a video-surveyor for your convenience.
2. Itemize the Belongings to Be Moved
One of the biggest errors that can lead to extra charges on your moving bill is a forgotten room or appliance. Any items not on the estimate can actually void the agreement. You might think there's nothing in the basement you want to take, but go over the entire house with the estimators to be sure, and don't forget to keep an accurate inventory!
3. Ask About Binding and Non-Binding Estimates
There are two different types of estimates: binding and non-binding. A binding estimate ensures that your final bill will be exactly what was on the estimate, with no additional charges on the day of the move. However, it is crucial to be exact about the items that are being moved so the binding estimate is valid during the move. With a non-binding estimate, the final charges are based on the actual weight of the shipment and accessorial services performed. If the actual charges exceed 110% of the estimate, the customer is only required to pay an additional 10% at the time of delivery. The remainder of the actual charges are still due and payable and the customer will be invoiced for the remaining balance 30 days after delivery. Ask about the type of estimate before signing a contract with a specific moving company.
4. Have All Decision-Makers Present for the Walk-Through
If you interview one company and your spouse interviews another, the estimates can be very different. Even small differences in what is moving versus staying can dramatically influence the final price. Have everyone present who will have a say in the final moving list.
5. Discuss Moving Dates
To get the best price, being flexible about dates is helpful. A busy week might drive up the cost if the moving company is running into overtime. By working with the moving company to avoid busy times, you can often shave off some of the cost of the move.
6. Check the Expiration Date on the Quote
Every quote has an expiration date. Some are good for a week, while others might be valid for 90 days. Confirm the time limit when you receive the quote to avoid an unanticipated increase on moving day.