How to get an accurate estimate / How to pack for moving (by Bill Adams)

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BillAdams
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

How to get an accurate estimate / How to pack for moving (by Bill Adams)

Postby BillAdams » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:38 pm

HOW TO GET ACCURATE ESTIMATES

Having done an average of 400-900 estimates per year over the past 24 years, I would like to share a few tips for the homeowners in their quest to get accurate in-home estimates from their movers of choice.

Once you've narrowed your selection of movers to consider, call and schedule the appointments.

1. Try to do all of them on the same day, spaced 2 hours apart.

An estimate normally takes about an hour. Moving is a big event, and taking this time out of your normal schedule to interview movers is time well spent. Getting them done on the same day keeps all discussions fresh in your mind. Use the time between appointments to make notes.

2. If possible, have your spouse take part in the process.

If not possible, have the same spouse interview all the movers. Too often, each has different opinions on what is to be moved. I've actually gone back for a second walk through with the spouse now present and the inventory looks nothing like the first. Actually, I have a rule when doing a walk through with couples - if one of them wants it, it's already on the list.

3. Be clear and consistent during the walk through.

Include attics, garages, basements and include any unseen items that will there on load day. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that nothing is being moved from the basement, and when I insist on seeing it, there are items that would have been overlooked. "Oh yeah, that freezer's coming, and so is the workbench."
It is also many movers' policy to require the estimator to make a list of items not being moved, on a room by room basis.

Please avoid the word "going" when showing us the items to be moved. This term can mean going away (not being moved), or going to the new house (to be moved). It's actually pretty common for a client to use this word through the survey and mean both! Consider "taking" and "leaving", or simply "yes" and "no".

Be sure to ask for your copy of the inventory from each company, and check it for accuracy.

4. Be sure to ask any and all questions that you may have.

Remember that this is not just price harvesting, but an interview with a company that you may be trusting to move all of your life's possessions. While most reputable movers have similar pricing, it's the little things that might help you to decide which one is right one for you.

5. Discuss your anticipated dates for loading and unloading.

Often, price and dates go together. If you're looking for the best price, be prepared to be flexible with dates. If you're looking for guaranteed dates on a small load, be prepared to pay a little more for that quick turnaround.

6. Ask for a packing and unpacking estimate.

Even if you are planning to do your own packing, you'll get a list of the number and size of the cartons you'll need from each estimator. You might view the cost as a good value, and ask the movers to do it. Or, you might view it as expensive, and you'll know how much you're saving by packing yourself. Tip: If you decide to let the movers pack, use your free time to purge the things you don't want at your new home. Less weight = less shipping cost. Also, the movers will pack everything they see. Fewer boxes = less packing cost.

I'm sure the other pros here have some tips of their own to offer as well, but I promised myself I'd post this in an effort to help those good consumers who are taking the right steps to securing a reputable mover to handle their next move.

HOW TO PACK FOR MOVING

What is packing?

The term “packing” in the moving industry refers specifically to putting smaller things into cartons in preparation for a move. If your mover puts something in a carton, there is a cost for the carton and the labor. Furniture, on the other hand, is pad-wrapped when loaded onto the truck, and there should be no additional fees for that.

What needs to be packed?

Anything small enough to fit into a box should be packed. Consider packing any household items that are smaller than the average sized microwave oven. Examples of things that do not need to be packed include vacuum cleaners, folding chairs, garden tools, stepladders, and stools.

Should I pack or have the movers pack?

Ask the movers you are interviewing to prepare a full packing estimate for you, even if you are planning to do your own packing. It is easy for them to do this, and the cost will be shown as a separate line item. You may decide that the cost is well worth it, and it will free you up to do other things. You may decide that it’s too expensive, and you’ll be able to see how much you’ll save by packing yourself. Maybe you just enjoy packing. Either way, you’ll have a list of all the cartons required to pack your home.

The advantages of having movers pack are simple: They do it all in one day (more time needed for larger homes), so you can live your normal life without stacks of cardboard boxes taking up all the space in your home; They are responsible for damage to the contents of the boxes they’ve packed, as long as you’ve selected full value protection; You have a whole lot of extra time on your hands to do other things associated with moving, like selling, donating, and discarding things you no longer want. By getting rid of things you don’t want, you reduce the cost of the move, and you don’t have these unwanted items in your new home. This is especially important if you ask the movers to pack, because they will be packing everything they see.

If you’ve decided to do your own packing, you will have the advantage of making decisions to keep or throw as you go.

How should I pack?

Most movers have pamphlets that offer guidance on how to pack for moving. Here are the basics:

• Small, medium, and large boxes are needed to pack most things. Packing paper, also known as newsprint, is used to wrap fragile items before placing them into the boxes. Plastic packaging tape is required to seal boxes. Each box should be labeled with your name, the room the box was packed from (or will be delivered to), and the contents for quick reference during unpacking.

• Use smaller boxes for heavy things like books, paperwork, small hand tools and canned goods. Use large boxes for lightweight items like towels, clothing, toys, and lampshades. When packing lampshades, pack only the shade and the light bulb in that box, wrapped carefully. Use medium sized boxes for everything else including shoes, small kitchen appliances, electronics, pots and pans, etc.

• Dishpacks (5cf) are double-walled cartons used to pack breakables. These cartons are very sturdy, and hold approximately one full place setting for ten. It is a good idea to start by wadding up some paper and lining the bottom of the box for added cushion. Be sure to wrap individual items with plenty of wrapping paper, or bubble-wrap, before placing them into this box. Place durable breakables like plates at the bottom, stood on edge, and work your way up with the most delicate items at the top. Leave an inch of air space to be filled with a towel or crumpled paper before closing and sealing the top.

• Wardrobe cartons are extremely useful when packing hanging clothing. Typically, this box is 24” wide and comes with a metal bar, which rests across the top onto which clothes on their hangers are hung. Since many garments are not full length, pillows and other lightweight items can be packed at the bottom.

• Mirror cartons are essential for packing large mirrors, pictures, paintings, or glass tops. Wrap each item with padded paper before sliding into the box. The standard sized mirror carton is 30” x 40”, or 40” x 60” when using two together in a telescopic fashion. Your mover should crate items that are too large to be packed in this carton.

• Most professional movers will pack mattresses and box springs for you on the load day. Confirm this with your mover in advance of your load day.

Pack room-by-room. Start with the rooms you don’t use frequently. Finish packing each room before you start packing another room. This way, you’ll see that you are making progress, which can be motivational. Pack one box at a time. Each time you fill a box; use a permanent marker to clearly write your name, the room it was packed from, and the contents. You may choose to write on the top and/or sides of each box. Having the info on the sides will help you to find boxes you’re looking for quicker when they are stacked in your new home. Labels are acceptable, but they can fall off. When packing breakables, be sure to indicate that clearly on the box.

Lastly, if you fall short of a full packing effort, don’t worry - you’re not alone. This situation is common, and professional movers are usually prepared by having a few extra cartons on their trucks on load day to help you finish. Remember that you are obligated to pay for this service on a per-box basis. If you anticipate needing help with packing more than a handful of cartons, call your mover with enough advance notice to schedule time for the additional packing to be done.

Am I covered for damage to items in the boxes I pack?

The short answer is no. Your mover cannot be held liable for damage inside boxes that their movers have not packed. Most people that choose to pack themselves do an acceptable job of wrapping items placed inside, but it is important to understand that if the box arrives at your destination with no clear signs of mishandling, your claim will likely be denied. The only way to assure that you’ll be covered is to have the movers pack, and select full value protection. If you’re planning to do most of your own packing, but have valuable and/or fragile items that you’d like covered, leave them for the movers to pack.
Last edited by BillAdams on Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:14 am, edited 7 times in total.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby Diane » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:48 pm

Excellent advice, Bill! I changed the title somewhat and made it a sticky post so it won't get lost while we look for a place to put it permanently.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

BillAdams
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby BillAdams » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:57 pm

Thanks, Diane.
I hope these few tips will help the customers and estimators alike.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

nabordawg
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:20 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby nabordawg » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:10 am

Bill, Thanks for this. I found this site (great site by the way - thanks) and these tips have helped me prepare for visits I have coming today to my house for two companies. (I am moving from MI to OK) Assuming I get a deal on the house, I might need pick-up as soon as Oct 28th. Is this going to be too soon to request? (Just higher pricing results I suppose)

BillAdams
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby BillAdams » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:25 am

It is normally best to give your mover 2-4 weeks notice to get on their schedule, but this is a slower time of year, and since the economy has affected movers, I'm sure you'd be able to get on the schedule of your mover of choice with less notice.
Good luck.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

nabordawg
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:20 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby nabordawg » Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:56 pm

Thanks. One has already come today (Graebel) and they can meet our Oct 28th date. I have Palmer coming shortly.

BillAdams wrote:It is normally best to give your mover 2-4 weeks notice to get on their schedule, but this is a slower time of year, and since the economy has affected movers, I'm sure you'd be able to get on the schedule of your mover of choice with less notice.
Good luck.

RickyLynn
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:00 am

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby RickyLynn » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:07 am

Thank you for the advice, Bill. I'm new to this wonderful forum, but, I'm already learning a lot. I'm printing out your advice for my "To Do" folder. :D
Ricky

BillAdams
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby BillAdams » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:45 am

We're glad to be of help to you, Ricky.
Please let us know if have any questions or concerns as you go.
Good luck.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

MikeLitt3810
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:29 pm
Location: Pittsburgh
Contact:

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby MikeLitt3810 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:59 am

I wish that all of my customers have seen this, I'm on the other end of the deal I have to break the news that the shipment is over the original estimate, I have to pull out my cube sheet and show them what the sales man was shown and point out that the pool table and baby grand where not on the original cube sheet. As well If you are moving don't forget to point out the shed, basement, or any where you have your items stored.
good example would be outdoor set stored in parents house 2 miles away. If it's not seen The sales man can not assume you own it.

BillAdams wrote:Having done an average of 400-900 estimates per year over the past 21 years, I would like to share a few tips for the homeowners in their quest to get accurate in-home estimates from their movers of choice.

Once you've narrowed your selection of movers to consider, call and schedule the appointments.

1. Try to do all of them on the same day, spaced 2 hours apart.

An estimate normally takes about an hour. Moving is a big event, and taking this time out of your normal schedule to interview movers is time well spent. Getting them done on the same day keeps all discussions fresh in your mind. Use the time between appointments to make notes.

2. If possible, have your spouse take part in the process.

If not possible, have the same spouse interview all the movers. Too often, each has different opinions on what is to be moved. I've actually gone back for a second walk through with the spouse now present and the inventory looks nothing like the first. Actually, I have a rule when doing a walk through with couples - if one of them wants it, it's already on the list.

3. Be clear and consistent during the walk through.

Include attics, garages, basements and include any unseen items that will there on load day. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that nothing is being moved from the basement, and when I insist on seeing it, there are items that would have been overlooked. "Oh yeah, that freezer's coming, and so is the workbench."
It is also many movers' policy to require the estimator to make a list of items not being moved, on a room by room basis.

Please avoid the word "going" when showing us the items to be moved. This term can mean going away (not being moved), or going to the new house (to be moved). It's actually pretty common for a client to use this word through the survey and mean both! Consider "taking" and "leaving".

4. Be sure to ask any and all questions that you may have.

Remember that this is not just price harvesting, but an interview with a company that you may be trusting to move all of your life's posessions. While most reputable movers have similar pricing, it's the little things that might help you to decide which one is right one for you.

5. Discuss your anticipated dates for loading and unloading.

Often, price and dates go together. If you're looking for the best price, be prepared to be flexible with dates. If you're looking for guaranteed dates on a small load, be prepared to pay a little more for that quick turnaround.

6. Ask for a packing and unpacking estimate.

Even if you are planning to do your own packing, you'll get a list of the number and size of the cartons you'll need from each estimator. You might think that the cost is a great value, and ask the movers to do it. Or, you might think that it is very expensive, and you'll be able to see how much you'll save by packing yourself. Tip: If you decide to let the movers pack, use your free time to purge the things you don't want at your new home. Movers won't decide for you, they'll just pack everything.

I'm sure the other pros here have some tips of their own to offer as well, but as the season has started to slow down, I promised myself I'd post this in an effort to help those good consumers who are taking the right steps to securing a reputable mover to handle their next move.

tommor
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby tommor » Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:52 pm

You can never know as a customer, how much you are going to pay for the move at the end of the day. Especially if you are getting hourly estimate. Movers can add charges all day long, no matter what they told you before.
For local moves, always try to get either a flat rate or an all inclusive hourly rate.

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Good Luck Everyone.

Movinghelper
Posts: 1867
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: Panama City Florida
Contact:

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby Movinghelper » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:44 pm

Bill:
Great advice.
1. I would also suggest to them that they get a Bound Do Not Exceed estimate. The good companies will give you one and also it ensures that you will not pay more at the other end but can pay less.
2. Never pay anything up-front!
3. Use the 10 lbs bag of flour to guage if you are going to move it or not.
If it cost 50 cents per pound to move and the bag of flour is going to cost you $5.00, can you buy it cheaper on the other end of the move than spend money moving it. This is true for everyday dish's which may be warped, missing one, chipped etc. They usually weigh heavy and you can buy it cheaper on the other end.

4, Keep receipts notes and all communications with you personally on the move.
5. Fill out the company survey when it comes in the email or mail and make sure you are honest.
For more information on moving or to file a complaint go to http://www.protectyourmove.gov

1..NEVER PAY A MOVER A DEPOSIT FOR INTERSTATE MOVING! IT COULD BE THE START OF THE BIG SCAM
2. GO WITH IN HOME ESTIMATES ONLY.
3. DO NOT USE A BROKER.

cunme777
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:48 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: How to get an accurate estimate

Postby cunme777 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:35 pm

I so wish I had taken the time to read and research on the moving companies really. Everything happened so first, One minute I land, the next there is an emergency to get things loaded and get on a plane back to my home for a family emergency. Then what happens, No calls,No emails, No correspondance whatsoever from the mover.. plus a x 2.6 from orignal $ 930.00 increase on the charges to be incurrred on the move which at this particular moment I have no clue where my belongings are.
WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY.

Tony.Anderson
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:26 am
Location: Brentwood, Essex

Re: How to get an accurate estimate / How to pack for moving (by Bill Adams

Postby Tony.Anderson » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:53 am

Thanks really helpful.

Baileys77
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:32 am
Location: Reading, Berkshire

Re: How to get an accurate estimate / How to pack for moving (by Bill Adams

Postby Baileys77 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:46 am

Great thread. I wish I had this info when choosing the removal company I used!

kanecarter
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:34 pm
Location: London,Uk

Re: How to get an accurate estimate / How to pack for moving (by Bill Adams

Postby kanecarter » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:53 am

Thanks Bill, it is really a great post and great info.


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