When you’re shopping around to buy a new Christmas dress, you might only want to look at a few dresses and finalize the one; because the more options you have, the higher could be the confusion, right? While this stands true for your various knick-knacks, when it comes to moving, the more options that you research, the better can be your choices.

All moving companies in the industry today have something unique to offer to their customers. While some lure you with attractive deals and discounts, a few others offer a wide range of services and excellent customer support. In such a scenario, choosing the best moving company for your move can get a little tricky. Here’s when researching about the companies and comparing their moving quotes will come in handy.

To help you with the process, here’s our comprehensive guide on how to compare moving quotes. We’ll give you a gist of the different types of moving quotes you can expect to receive as well as a few things you need to take note of when comparing the quotes. Let’s dive right into it!

Types Of Moving Quotes

When you approach a moving company for a quote, a few of them might offer an instant online ballpark estimate. This estimate will only give you a tentative idea of what you can expect your moving costs to be like. If you choose to go ahead with the company or if you need a more detailed quote, you can expect to receive one in either of these three forms.

Binding Moving Estimate

A binding moving estimate is a fixed quote that a mover adheres to, as long as the pre-decided conditions of the move are fulfilled. Basically, if you receive a binding estimate from a company then you can be sure of paying that amount as your final price. Some companies offer a binding estimate regardless of the weight of your move. This means, whether the final weight of your shipment is lower or higher than the estimated weight, you will still be paying the same price. A few other companies might have some other conditions to these binding estimates as well.

Binding quotes are considered to be one of the most preferred kinds of estimates among customers as it helps them plan the move at their convenience. A reputable moving company offering a binding estimate will stick to the final price in most cases. However, there are a few legitimate reasons like additional pick-up or stop points, additional items added at the last minute, and increased labor time that could affect your binding estimate as well.

It is best that you clearly go through the paperwork and understand the conditions associated with a binding estimate offered by the moving company.

Also See: Moving Paperwork – Important Moving Documents and Forms | Last Minute Movers: Helping You Move at the Eleventh Hour

Non-Binding Moving Estimate

This kind of moving estimate is again just an approximation of your total moving costs by the mover. Based on the services that you choose and the estimated weight of your shipment, the company puts forth its best approximation of your moving expenses through a non-binding estimate. The actual cost that you end up paying after the completion of your move would be determined by the final weight of your shipment and it might be way above your non-binding moving estimate at times.

Usually, a non-binding quote should be avoided if possible as it becomes a little difficult to set aside a particular moving budget. However, a good moving company will try to estimate the cost of your move as accurately as possible and will give you a fair idea of the pricing strategy. Do keep in mind that a mover can only be charging you 10% of the overage cost at the time of delivery while the remaining overdue can be settled within the next 30 days. If the final weight of your shipment is below the estimated weight, the mover will adjust the costs accordingly.

If you receive a non-binding estimate from your mover, make sure to thoroughly study the paperwork before going ahead. Be prepared with an approximate budget and try to stick to the agreed-upon estimates as much as possible.

Read Also: Moving On A Budget?

Binding Not-To-Exceed Moving Estimate

Similar to a binding estimate, the binding not-to-exceed estimate sets a final price for your move but has the leeway of reducing the price, if the final weight of your move is below the estimated weight. This kind of estimate is the most popular and also the most preferred among customers as you know what exactly you’ll be paying for.

As is suggested by the name, a binding not-to-exceed estimate will stick to the quoted price and might even be lowered, but will not be exceeding the original price. However, there might still be a few conditions under which your actual costs might vary. Make sure to clarify the same with your mover before going ahead with the move.

How To Compare Moving Quotes

When you’re comparing moving quotes from different companies, here are a few parameters that you need to look at and carefully examine.

The Name And Identity Of The Company

Reading through online reviews of the company can give you a fair idea of how the company stands in the industry. When you receive quotes from different companies, pay attention to whether it’s only a local moving company or it also deals with nationwide and international operations. A reputable moving company must have already established its identity in the industry, irrespective of the number of years it has been around. Naturally, such companies will have an edge over others when you’re comparing moving quotes.

The Services Included In Your Package

You need to know what exactly is included in the base rate offered by every company. Basic services like loading, transport, and unloading are included in the base rate of most companies. Beyond these, if you require any packing materials or packing and unpacking services, you will have to incur an additional cost. Some companies might offer these as complimentary services while others could charge you separately for them. Clarify all details regarding the package when you’re comparing moving quotes.

Type Of Moving Estimate

We’ve already given you a gist of the different types of moving estimates you can expect to receive from a company. But along with the nature of the moving estimate, it is also important to study the method of getting a moving estimate. For instance, most moving companies will give you an instant ballpark estimate over the phone or via email.

Of course, these are just tentative estimates based on the information and details you provide about your move. Insist on getting an on-site or in-home estimate as well to get a better idea of your moving costs. Comparing these on-site estimates from different moving companies will give you a better idea of what suits your budget the most.

Additional Costs

This could be one of the trickiest aspects of a moving quote. Many moving companies might not keep you informed about the additional charges that you could incur if the movers have to move your items through a flight of stairs or through a long driveway. If you’re moving fragile, unique, or large items, you might be charged separately for that as well. Along with these, some of the other additional charges that could be included in your moving quote are:

  • Packing and unpacking costs
  • Fees for disassembling and reassembling items
  • Shuttle service fees
  • Flight charges and long-carry service fees
  • Extra costs for moving heavy items

Make sure to clearly understand all the services included in your package and clarify any additional charges that you might have to incur.

Liability And Insurance Policies

All moving companies are expected to provide at least some kind of liability for your items while they are being handled by the movers. Your written moving quote from a company must specify the type of insurance provided by them. These could be either of the following:

  • Basic Carrier Liability: All carriers will have to provide at least a basic carrier liability without an additional cost in the moving estimate. Usually, you can be offered a package of $0.60 per pound of every item that is damaged by the mover, though local rates might vary.
  • Full Value Protection Moving Insurance: This type of insurance might be available at an additional cost but it typically requires movers to pay for the damaged item or replace it. Some movers might reimburse the depreciated value of your damaged items while others might find you a replacement. The conditions and amount of this insurance might vary with each company, so make sure to clarify the same before making a decision.
  • Third-Party Insurance: Some moving companies may also encourage you to purchase third-party insurance from their tie-up companies. If you have high value items like antiques, art collections, piano, etc. a lump sum or an assessed value insurance will be worth it for you.

Also Read: Do I Need A Moving Insurance?

Cancellation And Refund Policies

This is one more aspect where moving companies will differ from each other. Make sure to understand the existing refund policies of every company and whether or not you will have to pay if you happen to cancel your move or reschedule your date. If the company insists on taking an initial deposit, will it be returned if you cancel your move or not? Clarify all these details with the moving company before finalizing your choice.

Things To Keep In Mind When Getting Moving Quotes

  • Most reputable moving companies out there will give you a quote based on the weight of your shipment. But a few of them might even charge you based on the volume of your cargo and they could be measuring that in cubic feet. This way, there are more chances for the company to overcharge your move. If you’re moving locally, you might even be quoted an hourly rate. So, when you’re comparing quotes, make sure to understand the pricing strategies of the company, before you settle down on your choice.
  • While comparing the quotes, you will also have to take into account the factors that influence the quote. The distance of your move, season and timing, size of your move, and the services that you choose are some of the main factors that would impact your moving quote. Make sure that you’ve given the same information to all companies and have the same inventory list when you’re comparing different moving quotes.
  • Another thing to take note of is the timeframe for which a specific quote would stand true. It is possible that a specific moving company is offering special discounts for that time period and so the quote that you receive then would be a discounted quote. However, if you aren’t moving in that time frame then chances are that your actual costs might differ from the initial quote. Since every company differs in how long a moving quote lasts, it is important that you pay attention to the timeframe as well.
  • Under no conditions you should be signing an incomplete or a blank estimate. An unreliable moving company might try to convince you to sign on incomplete estimates and then add charges that were never agreed upon. Consider this to be a red flag and stay away from such moving companies. We highly suggest you do thorough research and understand the estimates completely before signing the deal with any moving company.

Read Also: Tips For Hiring Quality Movers


How Do I Research And Compare Local Moving Companies?

Good research is key to finding reputable and trustworthy moving companies. Most companies today have a strong online presence. So when you’re looking for local moving companies, make sure to search them on the internet, check their websites, and read online reviews about the company. The services provided by the company and the rates offered by them are going to be some of the main parameters for comparing different local moving companies.

Have a thorough look at the services mentioned on the company’s website and get in touch with them for a quote. After you’ve shortlisted a couple of names, make sure to have a look at the customer ratings and reviews on various third-party platforms like Google Reviews, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau. In the end, make a choice for your moving company based on these parameters as well as your moving needs, schedule, and requirements.

How Do I Get A Good Moving Quote?

You do have some scope for bargaining and negotiating when getting a moving quote from a company. To get a good moving quote, it is important that you have a complete understanding of the things mentioned in your quote. This would include all the relevant details of your move and the services included in the estimate. Make sure to run a quick background check of the company, their US-DOT, and accreditations from known platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

By having some idea about the company as well as its competition, you can try and negotiate to get a good moving quote. At the same time, this information will save you from moving scams that offer quotes and services that are too good to be true.

How Many Moving Quotes Should I Get?

As a general rule of thumb, we highly recommend getting at least three to four moving quotes from different companies. This will ensure that you aren’t just wasting your money on the most expensive one, but are getting the best deal for all the services that you need.

What Is The Cheapest Moving Company?

Moving companies like U-Haul and College HUNKS Hauling Junk are some of the reputable moving companies out there providing some affordable and cheap rates. You might also find a few local moving companies in your area that provide reasonable rates for their moving services. To know more about these companies, do check out our article on Best Cheap Moving Companies.


Remember that moving is an expensive process that involves a substantial amount of your money. So, before you decide on a moving company to assist with your move, make sure to conduct thorough research and even more importantly, get a clear understanding of the moving quotes provided by them. To get the best deal for the services you need, make sure to compare a couple of moving quotes from different companies before finally settling down on one.