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Estimates, Quotes, Exact, Flat Rate – Types of Moving Prices Explained…Once and for All!

One of the reasons some people get so frustrated trying to hire movers and plan a move is because they do not understand the lingo. Whether you are talking to movers or trying to read a document they are requesting you to sign, you will likely be faced with a few terms that you simply are not familiar with. It can almost be as confusing as trying to understand terms associated with buying a house or life insurance. You do not necessarily need to understand every word used, but there are definitely a few you will be happy you learned.

 

Estimate
You will hear this term used by nearly every moving company. An estimate is a price provided based on a few different factors, but subject to change. There is nothing concrete about an estimate. Although having one could be helpful in budgeting for your move, you have to be prepared to pay more. Estimates are often given over a phone, so the mover does not know how many heavy or bulky items you have, or that you live on the 20th floor of a high-rise building unless you tell them.

Quote
Most people get quotes and estimates confused, and some are even under the impression that they are the same thing. While an estimate is based on a guess, a quote is a fixed price offer. Once accepted, this price will not change.

Exact Pricing
This is a guaranteed price that includes all the services you are requesting. It is quite similar to a quote. However, a moving company could give you a quote for the move, but an estimate for packing supplies and services, if you are having them pack and disassemble large items. An exact price includes everything, so you know you will not be paying a penny more.

Flat Rate
A flat rate is the price of your entire move, regardless of speed bumps along the way. If it ends up taking five hours to get your piano out the door because the door frame needs to be removed, and then there are complications getting in the elevator, it is not your problem. You will pay the same price whether it takes one hour or all day.

Hourly Rate
Many people think movers that charge an hourly rate are the cheapest, but they’re not. If a company gives you an estimate that the move should take about two hours, you can typically plan on it taking four. Plus, they start the clock when they leave the facility, so you are paying for them to drive to your house, and when they stop to grab coffee on the way to your new place and tell you they were stuck in traffic, you are still paying!

Total Cost
Also known as “cost of move,” this is generally figured by calculating the cubic feet of inventory and adding any additional fees associated with stairs, packing, etc.

Flight Charge
This has nothing to do with airplanes. It is a charge applied to moves with excessive stairs. Some movers will charge for even one flight, but most fair movers will include one flight and charge for anything that exceeds it.