In a world where seemingly everything can be done online at 2:00 AM, it can be jarring (and a major hassle) when moving companies tell you that they need to do an in-person survey to get you an estimate. But there are some good reasons for this moving industry standard.
The majority of your moving cost is based on the amount of stuff you have, as well as how far you’re moving them. That includes time to load, how much fuel for the move will cost, and how difficult it will be to unload. While the only way to know for sure how much your belongings weigh is to pack them on a truck and weigh the truck, conducting a physical survey of belongings lets an experienced estimator get you a good estimate. (Remember, an estimate is just that: An estimate, and your final bill may be higher or lower.)
When we live with items, we see them differently than a person whose job is to move them. They can look at your shelves of knick-knacks and see not items, but how many boxes they’ll fill, as well as how much those boxes will weigh. They know what furniture weighs, and how many people it will take to carry your massive entertainment center out of the house.
There are online estimators that can help you get an idea of how many boxes you’ll need, or how big a truck you’ll require. But many people either underestimate how much stuff they own (especially if they have big closets, an attic or a full garage), or overestimate how much they’ll be willing to get rid of. An estimator will be able to get you a more accurate estimate.
Finally, an in-person estimate allows you to ask questions of the mover, as well as put a face to the person who will be responsible for your paperwork and handling questions between the estimate and moving day. It’s a way to set your expectations for the moving team, as well get a feel for the company.
One last thing to consider: Reputable moving companies provide in-home estimates. This is a moving industry standard. Consider any company that’s unwilling to do a physical inventory of your belongings prior to providing an estimate carefully, as this may be a red flag. If they don’t know what you have, what are they basing the estimate on, and how will they account for your final bill?