Whether you’re moving long distance or locally, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the large selection of moving companies to choose from. Each one seems to having a different pricing system. Some charge you by the cubic foot, some do it by weight, and some even advertise themselves as flat rate movers. As someone who has worked in the moving industry for over 10 years, I can get why it’s stressful for the consumer when trying to figure out which route to choose. Unfortunately, there are many different companies out there who promise flat rates, but fail to deliver. I’m going to show you how to avoid the headache and make sure you don’t pay a penny more than you have to.
Types of Pricing
There are many different ways to do pricing in the moving industry. Depending on a variety of different factors, the way you have your move priced can make all the difference regarding how much you will pay and what service you will get. I’m going to explain the different ways of doing pricing in the industry so you’ll be better equipped when deciding on a moving company.
Price per pound basically means you pay for the weight that you take up on the truck. The moving company will stop at a Department of Transportation certified weight scale and have the truck weighed. That ticket is going to be time and date stamped showing the exact time and date that the truck was weighed. When they arrive to pick up your items, a reputable company will provide you with that ticket. Your items are loaded and the truck is weighed again. Your price per pound rate will be multiplied by the weight and your final payment on delivery will be adjusted. We always recommend doing a price per pound rate if you’re are moving from state to state. It prevents hidden charges and is usually more accurate than cubic footage pricing.
Cubic Footage Pricing
Cubic footage pricing is as simple as it gets. The customer pays for space taken up inside the truck. Before weight scales were readily available, this was the gold standard in the moving industry. There is one problem with doing pricing this way: it’s terribly inaccurate. Instead of paying for the cubic footage of you’re items (like you do with price per pound), you rely on the moving company to do a good job squeezing your items into the allotted space inside the truck. You will exceed the allotted space if the company moving you fails to do a good job packing you items.
Chances are you will want a flat rate if you are moving locally. A flat rate is just that: you pay a flat fee to get the job done start to finish. Obviously if you are going a few blocks away, a moving company will not want to weigh the items and charge you on a weight basis. Unfortunately, a lot of companies are notorious for offering a flat rate and charging more money later. In some cases, they will even hold your items hostage on delivery and request more money. So how do we avoid this? Read the contract, and read reviews. More than likely there will be a lot of negative reviews for shady companies pulling these bait and switch tactics. A lot of one star reviews typically means a bad company.
Which pricing model to choose?
For long distance moves, I suggest a reputable company who does it by weight. If you have a lot of heavy items, cubic footage is going to your best bet. Last but not least, for local moves definitely get a flat rate movers to handle the job, and always check their reviews on sites like Yelp.
How To Find Flat Rate Movers
Plenty of companies are offering flat rates for their moves, but how do you know which one is best? Well to start, call each company and ask for their DOT number. Next, all licensed movers will have an active license number. Taking that number and putting it in the search bar at the top of this page will result in that company’s information, which is key. Knowing who you’re dealing with gives you a huge advantage and upper hand. Use that information to cross reference with our moving checklist.
Brokers vs Carriers
When looking at flat rate movers, see if their company snapshot lists them as a broker or a carrier. Ultimately, there are good brokers and there are good carriers. There are also bad brokers and bad carriers. I will help you understand the difference in each so you can make an educated decision when hiring a company.
Flat Rate Moving Brokers
A broker is someone who sells the job and uses their network of drivers to get the goods picked up. These companies do not own trucks and they do not physically move you. At first glance, you probably think “what’s the point?” and “why not just use a carrier”. The good thing is that a reputable broker only works with good carriers, and they typically supply them a lot of business. The carrier has an incentive to do good work for the broker. If they don’t, a good broker will stop sending them jobs. This accountability is advantageous to the consumer. One problem: bad brokers will price a job low on purpose to collect the deposit (their fee) and let the carrier up charge the customer down the road.
Flat Rate Movers (Carriers)
The carrier is the one who actually moves your items. Good carriers will provide a driver and a few “helping hands” to help load and unload the items. These people are employed by one company, and they usually are insured. Just like there are bad brokers, there are bad carriers too. A bad carrier will send out one driver in a rented truck, and hire people on craigslist to help with the move. Really, they have little experience with moving. Because they’re not accountable to the company, they are only there to make their days money and move on. Watch out for these companies, and as always check their reviews.
Best Flat Rate Movers
In conclusion, I suggest referring to our List of Recommended Moving Companies. You’ll be able to get a few quotes from reputable movers who actually care about their customers. Furthermore, compare the quotes and decide on who you want to earn your business. Remember, you’re moving your entire life. It’s important to choose a company you are comfortable with. In the end, use your brain, check reviews, and trust your gut.