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Hourly vs. Guaranteed: How to Read Between the Quotes

Fixed price? Hourly rate? Non-binding? What is really driving the differences between quotes and why Unpakt only offers customers guaranteed quotes.

If you have ever moved, you have likely had to choose between moving quotes based on different pricing formulas. From guaranteed, fixed prices to estimates and hourly rates, trying to compare moving quotes can be difficult, if not downright impossible. Depending on where you live, transportation regulations allow moving companies a wide berth for how to structure their pricing formulas. But whether you’re managing 3 somewhat similar moving quotes or a dozen distinctly different ones right now, here are the simple truths about different moving quotes and how to understand what you’re looking at.

 

Flat Rate, Fixed Price, Binding, All-Inclusive, Guaranteed Moving Quotes

Moving companies vary in the term they use to describe this type of quote but if you’re dealing with a flat rate, fixed price, all-inclusive or guaranteed price quote, this means the moving company is saying that unless something about your move details changes, your price is not going to change—it is guaranteed. It includes everything as stated and it will not have hidden fees or unexpected additional costs.

This is the formula that Unpakt requires all moving companies use for creating their price quotes on Unpakt. It eliminates risks on both sides by creating 100% transparency. It requires a comprehensive view of the move, which is “more work” in the beginning to create a detailed move plan with the full inventory, but it results in peace of mind and clarity for both the mover and the customer.

Non-Binding Estimates

Unlike binding estimates, this type of quote is not guaranteed. It sometimes presents itself like a flat rate quote to the customer, but it can be changed at the mover’s discretion. This type of quote is often the source of ire for moving customers because it can change subject to anything (or sometimes, seemingly nothing at all).

While often seemingly cheaper and more attractive than guaranteed quotes, it is critical to realize this is not an even comparison. These estimates are often misleading at the outset because moving companies can change their prices later. Be very careful when choosing a non-binding quote as you may have no idea what your ultimate costs will be.

 

Hourly Rate

Hourly rate quotes are exactly what they sound like—a fee by the hour. Only loosely correlated with your moving inventory’s cubic feet or weight (because it may take more or less time depending on how much stuff you have or how much it weights), an hourly rate is likely to be the least predictable of moving quotes. This is especially true if you live in an urban or congested area that may have major traffic issues. Keep in mind with hourly quotes that the rate will extend not only to the move in and out of the home but also the amount of time transported to the destination. Tolls and other related fees will also be extra.

This type of quote can often seem attractive to micro moves (very, very small moves) because you can generally guess time constraints—just make sure to find out if your moving company has a minimum number of hours required. However, for most types of moves an hourly rate will be the Pandora’s box of moving quotes. You really won’t know what you’re in for until you get there.

 
Concerned about whether you can accurately predict the cost of your upcoming move? Unpakt can help.