Long Distance Moves or Interstate moves are generally based on weight and distance so a visual onsite estimate by a professional moving company is definitely the best method to get an accurate quote. It’s a good idea to get 3 different companies to come out and provide you with quotes for validity. Understandably, movers probably wont’ want (or need to) come out and look at a small studio or 1 bedroom apartment but for anything 2 bedrooms and up, I’d get the onsite long-haul moving quote. If you have a smaller move and only need a phone estimate, read Long distance Moving Quotes over the phone: What you can or Should Expect.
Just like with long distance moving quotes over the phone, you need to determine how much you need to move and the level of service required (packing, etc), the logistics of your current and future residence, and the distance between two points (determined by zip codes). Find 3 movers with good references, good Better Business Bureau Ratings, and set up your onsite estimates. Schedule them separately so you can compare apples to apples. When you schedule your onsite estimate, make sure you leave yourself about an hour for each moving company to complete.
When your move estimator arrives at your home walk with him/her and go room by room to determine what is going to be moved, and what services you require (packing, etc). The estimator will record what furniture you are moving on a cube sheet (either paper or computerized) and calculate how many boxes you have or will have upon completion of the packing. Accuracy is key; make sure the estimator visits all areas of your home; including all rooms, garage, basement, attic, cupboards, and closets. This way you have a better chance of removing unwanted surprises and costs at delivery.
After you visit all areas of your home, your move estimator will either sit down and calculate the quote (which is good because then you can ask some service related questions) or get the quote back to you at a later day (by email, mail or another appointment). The good part about having the quote completed onsite is convenience and that you will have a hard copy of your quote in hand. Always make sure all long haul estimates are given in writing and spell out what services (and their related costs) are to be performed. The long distance moving estimate should include origin and destination address (at least zip code) packing materials, and possible packing costs, Line haul (load, transport and unload charges), possible fuel surcharge, move day materials (furniture and floor protection) and insurance options. Make sure you get insurance options and costs spelled out on your estimate.
The logistics of your current and future home need to be revealed to the long haul move estimator as things like flights of outside stairs, long distances to the home and even the possibility of a shuttle (or transfer of the shipment onto a smaller truck to unload or load) can all affect the price of the move. The distance between your current and future residence is the easiest part of the quote as mileage is determined by zip code.
Once all of this information is received your long distance move quote can be completed.
Make sure you get specific (or at least a range) of load and delivery dates and your recourse if these dates aren’t met. Also verify what type of quote, you are receiving adjustable (weight and distance), not to exceed (where the price can go down but not over a certain amount) or binding (the quoted amount is what you will be charged).
A good question to ask before choosing who will complete your long haul move is who will be hauling my shipment. There are generally 3 different options. A self haul is when the company or agent that gives the quote hauls the shipment, This has its advantages with regards to familiarity and potentially better communication. The second option is a “system” move while the booking agent puts your move into their van line pool of shipments to be covered by a hauler within the van line family. For instance a move booked by a local mayflower agent may be hauled by a mayflower driver from another state. The third option is what’s called a brokered move where the mover who quotes and books the move can’t or won’t handle the move so they “broker” it to someone who can. This can be a complicated process and great care should be taken if choosing his method.
With all onsite long haul moving quotes get everything in writing, sign all documents, and refer questions to the American Moving & Storage Association www.moving.org at 703-683-7410 or to the FMCSA www.fmcsa.dot.gov (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)at 1-800-832-5660 .