MoveChat – Tips for an Accurate Estimate

On the first and third Thursday of the month, movers from across North America participate in a discussion on Twitter, called MoveChat, where stories, tips and advice are shared. Every week, we discuss a specific part of the moving process. This week the topic was, “Tips for an Accurate Estimate” and what follows is an edited transcript of the discussion. To view the full discussion, simply log into Twitter and follow the hashtag #movechat.

Q1. What are the Benefits of a Non-Binding Estimate?

MovingBusiness The benefits is that it is hourly, so if there is more weight than was intially expected, you are still receiving what is due.

jkmoving Benefit to the customer with a non-binding estimate is that they will pay for services provided. Can pay less in the end.

HolmanMoving Flexibility. Customers can change their mind, adding services or removing services more easily.

PortageCartage I only see one benefit: the final cost might be less than the quote.

Q2. What is the Benefit of a Not-to-Exceed Estimate?

MovingBusiness A not to exceed estimate locks down the customers payment, so they have that closure of only paying the specified amount.

MovingBusiness with no hidden charges.

MovePoint It is a way to help your potential customer fees more secure about the estimate that is provides to them.

jkmoving The customer knows the maximum they will pay for a move. May pay less though.

HolmanMoving A not-to-exceed estimate locks down the payment so there are no surprises. Added services, however, can still cost extra.

Q3. What is the Benefit of a Binding Estimate?

MovingBusiness A binding estimate locks the payment to an extent, but also gives the company more flexibility to raise or lower rates of items.

PortageCartage Final price is known in advance, which can open up other payment options like personal cheques or money orders.

jkmoving Customer is locked into a price. Adding services will changes price however.

Q4. What would be the Ideal Estimate Type for a customer?

PortageCartage We’re going to go with “an accurate one.”

MovingBusiness From experience the binded estimate. It has the most overall flexibility and has customer closure.

PortageCartage In all seriousness, the ideal estimate will vary for each customer. A good salesperson will probe & find the right fit.

jkmoving We like the non-binding because the customer pays for the services they receive.

MayflowerCanada Do not have hidden costs! Evaluate needs & let customers know packing, valuation, transportation, etc. costs before booking!

Q5. Tips for customers to receive an accurate estimate?

PortageCartage Make sure you show the salesperson everything that’s to be moved – crawl space, attic, storage locker, garage, etc.

jkmoving Know what is going to be moved and if things change (yard sale, donation) let your move consultant know.

HolmanMoving It’s important to be very clear on what is being moved.

MovingBusiness Keep an accurate account of inventory.

HolmanMoving Don’t forget about patio furniture, grills and swing sets!

Q6. Anything else important to add for customers regarding estimates?

PortageCartage The key to estimates is simple: make sure you as a customer understand and agree to the written terms.

jkmoving When comparing estimates, compare apples-to-apples. Remember, it’s ok to ask questions.

We hope you enjoyed reading the transcript and we welcome you to join in the next chat. MoveChat takes place on the first and third Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. ET. Join in and learn from the pros.

Previous MoveChat Transcripts:


  1. Its always good if you have estimated the cost of moving prior to your move, so that you can set your budget accordingly.

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