Why Do I Need a Written Estimate?
First of all, moving is a busier industry than you likely think it is. We get calls from people who want us to move them the same day they call, or maybe the next day or the upcoming weekend. Depending on our schedule, we may be able to make one of those work, but one thing you should always require of your moving company before agreeing to have them move you professionally is a written estimate.
Written estimates protect you as a consumer (I am referring to moves within Washington state and those crossing state lines; moves in Idaho are not regulated, so a written estimate is not required). When you contact a moving company, find out if moving is regulated in your state. That means that moving companies must be licensed with the state and follow state-mandated rules, such as carrying a specific amount of liability and cargo insurance, as well as labor and industries insurance. Another requirement is to provide all customers with a written estimate, which are always free and do not require you to utilize the services of that moving company.
Written estimates are typically scheduled in the home you will be moving from, and you do not have to have everything packed for a moving estimator to give you a reliable estimate. What you do need to do is be consistent and realistic with what you will want the moving company to move for you: Just the furniture? Both the furniture and the boxes? Are you going to move anything on your own, such as clothing, lamps, artwork, flat-screen TVs? Do you have any specialty items or access problems at your current home or where you’ll be moving to? Figure out what your game plan is and follow through with that.
It’s a good idea to get 2-3 estimates so you have others to compare prices with; but remember that a lower price does not always mean a better moving experience. Look at online reviews, ask to speak with previous customers, ask your friends on social media, and see how you were treated when you initially contacted the company and how the estimator made you feel. All of these things should be a good indicator of which company should do the best job for you.
Make sure you understand your moving contract. All too many times we hear stories of how someone’s china broke into a million pieces or the walls of their brand new home were scuffed or dented. Will the moving company you hired take care of the damages? Which level of Valuation Protection did you choose for your move? Is damage to your home covered by the moving company you hired? These are all questions you should ask your moving estimator and make sure you understand before making your final choice. Because most people don’t care about things like this until something precious to them is damaged or, worse yet, beyond repair. As the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning for your move is a safe bet.