Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

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chauncy
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:22 am

Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby chauncy » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:18 pm

Thought the board would appreciate my quick math on weight allowance math.

The estimators job seems 1/2 art + 1/2 lots of experience. But not a science.

One quote from Humbolt / S&M Movers. The structure is in favor of the company to over estimate the weight. Two other companies have estimated our stuff thousands of pounds lower.

For example:

For every 100 pounds "hundredweight" under the bound weight they credit you $47. My quote is around $1.02 per pound with out insurance.

So...

Say the over estimate by 2000lb.

2000/100 = 200*47 = $940 credit.

But if that 2000 pounds is shipped it is a $2040 cost.

My math seems to be right. This is a BIG difference in favor of the company.

The line on the contract to fill in the weight allowance credit is blank, so I assume it can be negotiated?

Thoughts, experiences.

Miami Sean
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:22 pm
Location: Miami

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Miami Sean » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:07 pm

Hi Chauncy,

I'm not nearly as experienced as others in here so I don't want to act like an authority cause I'm not but I do want to point out some things.

1. Someone that comes into your house and quotes based on the old eyeball, those folks will not need to pad so much because they can see everything.

2. The person padding it perhaps is looking out for you if they are doing this over the phone and cannot see everything. Sometimes it is better to allow for overage. Lot of companies charge double/triple the day of the move if you go over...perhaps someone was trying to make sure you didn't get screwed on the back end.

3. The ones you feel are low balling...trust your gut there. Many times the lowball quotes can cost more than double on the back end.


You are going to have to make a choice...pay a little more and find someone that will come in and look at what you are moving...even if it is painful to read that Mayflower is going to cost $5k, it's best to know what an honest estimate looks like. At the least, your on site estimate will give you a pretty accurate number for weight and or cubic feet. You could then use that figure to shop around a bit.

I'm going to say though IMO that some of the heavyweights in here will tell you to stop messing around with folks who can't see what you actually have and will charge you one way or another for everything going on their truck...I would start finding 2-3 moving companies from the likes of United, Allied, Mayflower, North American Van Lines, Bekins, and also 1-2 mom n pop places that are still somewhat local to you. It sounds like you are possibly dealing with moving brokers right now.

Your doing the right thing asking for help in here, just be patient and folks will help you figure this out.

BigLeeCalif
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Location: Escondido, California

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BigLeeCalif » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:55 pm

First of all, there is no incentive for a company to over estimate weight.

Humbolt is in business to make money, and you do not make money by padding weight estimates. Any estimator who overestimates by more than 10% consistently isn't in this business very long.

This is a competitive business, and before you infer that a company is over estimating weight, you should look at both sides of the coin.

If two companies out of three are estimating my shipment "thousands of pounds lower" I would ask myself two questions. Did I show all three movers exactly the same thing? Who are the 2 companies that estimated so low?

Before you accuse a company of inflating, you should ask yourself if the other two companies are low balling? There's more incentive to low ball to get a job, than to over inflate and lose the job.

If you want informed advice, then present us with all three estimates, and let experts decipher them.

Don't lump estimates together. Each needs to stand on its own, and each mover has different guidelines from their company.

The advantage of moving with established van lines is that they have certain standards set by the van line, and they have to adhere to them, which leads to consistency in estimating.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

BillAdams
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Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BillAdams » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:53 am

2 things:

1. Moving estimators are sales reps - usually 100% commissioned, meaning if they don't book your move, they don't get paid. Therefore, they have no incentive to over estimate by any large margin.

2. You have uncovered a very interesting strategy used by some movers and not others. When you receive a NTE price, and the actual weight is lower than the NTE weight, you owe less. Some movers will give you the difference in price as a credit for every 100lbs under the NTE weight. This rate is less of a credit to the customer than if the mover charged the actual tariff price for the actual weight.

Example: Transportation charge on 10,000lbs from Los Angeles to Boston is $8370.00. If it weighs 8,000lbs and you have a $47/cwt credit, you'll get $940 back. The actual tariff charges on 8,000lbs is $6897 (a difference of $1,473).

The reason these movers give less back is that they feel that they are taking a risk that the actual weight will be higher and they won't charge for it, so when it comes in lower, they want to retain as much profit as possible. They feel it is a fair arrangement for mover and customer.

Not to offend all of the pros who are here with the companies who do it this way: I personally feel the cwt credit is a little "smoke and mirrors-y", as most customers will just see the cwt credit as a fair arrangement, but they don't do the math like chauncy and some others have.
Last edited by BillAdams on Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:05 pm, edited 1 time 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

Movinghelper
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Location: Panama City Florida
Contact:

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Movinghelper » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:34 am

I give estimates all of the time. I work for Mayflower. i do nto pad them since getting business is important to me not just for my pay but I have a lot of people relying on me to keep them employed. Form packers and laoders to the drivers and office staff. If I am not competive they do not work.
I just had a customer yesterday call me about the weights. They were 38 pound more than the estimated amount that I gave them. So the company lost and the customer won. Not much either way.

If you lowball the weight and have 6000 lbs for the estimate, you get a truck that will at least have 6000 lbs of room on it. It the weight goes over, it will nto fit on the truck. So where does that leave you?

I'll tell you. You have to send another truck and it will not get there the same time the other items will get there. And since it is an overflow it does not fall under the time constraints as your other load.
Now you have two loads to worry about not just one.

I have never had an overflow and really do not want one.

I competed against a company her ein town and they were 6000 lbs less than I was. I told the customer exactly what would happen.
The load actually weighed at 640 lbs more than my estimate.
The customer recieved his goods 47 days later and he was not happy. The only reason I know this is that the customer called me to let me know everything I said was going to happen did.
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.

BigLeeCalif
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:39 pm

If you lowball the weight and have 6000 lbs for the estimate, you get a truck that will at least have 6000 lbs of room on it. It the weight goes over, it will nto fit on the truck. So where does that leave you?


Since we have a large hauling fleet, we have experience with that. Not so much as being low balled, but young, inexperienced estimators forgetting to ask critical questions.... do you have goods in attic, crawl space, or shed out back you forgot to tell me about.

You send a van in that has 1000 feet open, but now the shipment needs 1500 feet. So there's your leaveover. That's why most Unigroup agencies monitor the surveys, and if there is a pattern of being more than 10% off, action is taken, ranging from retraining to adios amigo.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Movinghelper
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Location: Panama City Florida
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Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Movinghelper » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:42 pm

You got that right.
Since OCT my rating is 4.6 %. all but two have been underweight by very little and I had two over weight by very little. Either over or under it figures in on the average above.
Either way it is under 10% variance.
I try to do my best but will side on a heavier weight to prevent overflows.

This is not good for the customers satisfaction or the van lines operation when this happens.
There has to be a medium when you are looking at satisfying everyone involved.
I have never had a successful challenge on my weights from any driver.

To those not in the industry this would require me to go out and give a new estimate before anything gets loaded on the truck. This would be the correct way to do things following the federal regulations.

It could increase the price of the move and would place us in the same category as how the scammers work.
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.

chauncy
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:22 am

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby chauncy » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:44 pm

Thanks for the replies, insight from everybody.

For those first time consumers, like myself, who are reading this and learning about the business I wanted to add a few clarifications.

All three companies are comparable, large national and recommended on movingscam.com. We have two more estimates left and will be able to better compare.

All estimators have been in home, fantastic and professionals. Their phone staff have been great too.

Our goal is not lowest price but best over all.

All companies we're dealing with have some sort of floor/ceiling price structure. I think this is great for all involved but you still need to be aware.

The goal of the post was not so much to highlight any particular company, I just thought, as BillAdams highlighted, it is interesting math to highlight as a customer.

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

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Movinghelper » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:06 pm

No problem, That is what we are here for.
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.

Champaign
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:08 pm

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Champaign » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:10 pm

I'd add one more thing. Did any of the companies give you a copy of their cube sheet? This is how they figure your weight estimate. Could be the old style of a tick sheet, or the newer computer or ipad applications.

Get a copy of the cube sheet and look at the number of items, the number of carrier packed cartons, and the number of PBO (packed by owner) cartons.

I believe most reputable van lines have a 'challenge' procedure where the driver can challenge the estimator's weight and ask to be paid for the actual. The sales rep may have to come to your residence and ask you to sign a change order.

If you didn't receive anyone's cube sheet, how can you be certain of what the sale rep included in your estimate?

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

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BillAdams » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:10 pm

Nice work, Chauncy.

Once you have had 3 movers come to your home, you'll be able to compare the weight and packing estimates from each. If they are very similar, you'll be confident that each has done a good job estimating accurately, and you will not likely have any surprises. Consider witnessing the weighing of the truck before and after they load your shipment. It is one of the rights a consumer has, but very few do it.

Don't forget to ask for references - and call them. They should be recent.
Pick the mover you feel most comfotable with. I can't imagine with all the good homework you've done, that you'd end up in a scam situation.

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

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:42 pm

chauncy, it looks like you are going to have a total of five estimates.

While it is your choice to do that, you could really make an informed decision based on the three you have in hand, since you said they are from recommendations.

One thing you need to avoid is having estimates from more than one agent of the same van line. it puts them in the awkward position of competing against a fellow agent, and most times it won't be much of a difference, because they all operate under the same corporate guidelines.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

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

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby Diane » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:45 pm

BillAdams wrote:2. You have uncovered a very interesting strategy used by some movers and not others. When you receive a NTE price, and the actual weight is lower than the NTE weight, you owe less. Some movers will give you the difference in price as a credit for every 100lbs under the NTE weight. This rate is less of a credit to the customer than if the mover charged the actual tariff price for the actual weight.

Example: Transportation charge on 10,000lbs from Los Angeles to Boston is $8370.00. If it weighs 8,000lbs and you have a $47/cwt credit, you'll get $940 back. The actual tariff charges on 8,000lbs is $6897 (a difference of $1,473).

The reason these movers give less back is that they feel that they are taking a risk that the actual weight will be higher and they won't charge for it, so when it comes in lower, they want to retain as much profit as possible. They feel it is a fair arrangement for mover and customer.

Not to offend all of the pros who are here with the companies who do it this way: I personally feel the cwt credit is a little "smoke and mirrors-y", as most customers will just see the cwt credit as a fair arrangement, but they don't do the math like chauncy and some others have.

Very interesting post, Bill . . . I never knew this. (And plaudits to Chauncy as well, for noticing it.)
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

chauncy
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:22 am

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby chauncy » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:59 pm

Sidenote.

I did ask one carrier to increase the cwt to $71 (as suggested to me by a moderator in a separate exchange). The carrier said they could not, it was set by HQ.

I'll let the community advise or comment on if that is true or not.

I did notice however, that all forms have a blank/fill-in spot for the cwt amount so the assumption would be that this number is and can be changed. It is not fixed.

Last comment, BillAdams mentioned: "they feel that they are taking a risk that the actual weight will be higher and they won't charge for it..."

I understand this but in my experience the estimator were amazing and amazingly right on for their estimates.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Over estimating weight / Weight allowance math

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:07 pm

I can tell you definitively that what can and cannot be negotiated is set by the van line.

Sometimes there is a little latitude with the agent, but that comes with a price, because if an agent goes outside the established guidelines, then that agency will subject the chargeback or a reduction in their commissions equal to the amount of the offset.

If you run across a mover that says "we can do anything, or make promises without getting approval", run up the red flag.

Of course those who operate outside the regulations are exempt from that policy, because they don't give a rat's backside about laws.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain


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