how do moving companies calculate quote

How Do Long Distance Moving Companies Quote Moves?

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“I have been preparing for my long-distance move for a few weeks now. I have researched moving companies, gotten quotes, and made a list of what I need to do to prepare for the move. I am now receiving quotes from moving companies and am trying to decide which company is best for me.”

The rigmarole of getting quotes from moving companies can be a little confusing. Some companies ask you to provide information about your moves, such as the size of your home and the number of rooms that will need to be packed. Others may ask you to estimate the weight of your belongings. Quotes can vary significantly depending on the company you choose and the services you require.

When you’re moving, you’ll likely be inundated with quotes from moving companies. This can prove to be a combination of overwhelming and confusing, as the quotes can vary significantly in price. It’s essential to understand how the company’s quote moves to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

long distance moving costs

The Two Methods For Quoting Long Distance Moves

Moving Companies quote customers by calculating the weight of the move and multiplying it by a certain rate. This is usually a per-pound rate, so the total cost of the move will depend on the weight of your belongings.

Another way companies quote customers is by estimating the size of the move. This is done by measuring the number of rooms in your home and multiplying it by a certain rate. This rate is usually quoted per room, so the total cost of the move will depend on the size of your home.

It’s important to remember that moving companies use these two methods to quote customers. Quotes can also vary depending on the distance of the move, the number of movers required, and any additional services you may need. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the quote to understand exactly what you’re paying for.

Charging By Weight

Many people find themselves perplexed when they receive their moving quote from a moving company. This is because the cost of the move is usually based on the weight of your shipment. This is why it is important to get an accurate estimate of the weight of your belongings before you move. You can do this by packing all your belongings and weighing them yourself.

This means that if you have a lot of heavy furniture or boxes, your move will be more expensive than if you have lighter items.

When you are getting ready to move, the moving company will come to your house to weigh your household goods. This is so they can get an accurate reading of your quote. They will use a weighing station to do this. The station will weigh each item in your home and give the moving company a total weight. This weight will help the company determine how much it will cost to move your belongings.

charing shipment by weight


Is Weight-Based Moving Estimates the Right Idea?

While this may appear on the outside like a fair way to do business, it’s actually not a good idea to go with a weight-based mover. Here’s why:

It isn’t easy to assess the weight of a piece of furniture before it is taken to a weighing station. This is because the weight of the furniture may not be accurately estimated when the moving company’s estimator is evaluating it.

The weight of the furniture may also be affected by the way that it is being carried. For this reason, many moving companies will often quote a price for the move after the furniture has been weighed formally at a weighing station. This will give a more accurate estimate of the cost of the move.

Your household items will only be taken to a weighing station on the day of the move. So if there are any discrepancies, it will be too late for you to cancel. The movers will have already been paid, and they won’t be coming back to your house.

If your belongings are already on the moving company’s truck, you may be faced with an off-loading fee. This fee is charged to have the moving company unload your belongings from their truck and into your new home. The fee can be expensive, so it’s essential to ask the moving company about it before your move takes place.

Make sure that you are left in no doubt about the weight of your belongings before the move so that there are no surprises on moving day.

Charging By Volume

Another way that companies quote customers is by estimating the size of the move. This is done by measuring the size of the furniture belongings in your home and calculating the cubic feet for each item. This rate is usually quoted per room, so the total cost of the move will depend on the size of your home.

This means that they will charge you a certain amount per cubic foot or meter. The more stuff you have, the more it will cost to move. You can save money by downsizing before your move.

An in-home estimator may measure all of your belongings with tape to properly read the volume. This will help the moving company provide you with an accurate quote for your move. The estimator will measure each object’s length, width, and height and add up all of the measurements to get the total volume. This is the best way to get an accurate estimate for your move.


The Right Idea?

When you’re looking for a long-distance moving company, it’s important to select one that charges you based on volume instead of weight. This is because weight can vary significantly depending on the type of item being moved.

For example, a box of books will weigh much less than the same-sized box if it was filled with bricks. The moving company will provide you with a precise estimate of how much your move will cost by charging based on volume.

It is easier to calculate your quote based on volume because it can be done accurately prior to the move date. This way, you can calculate with better accuracy how much your move is likely to cost and prepare for it well ahead of time.

Be sure to check with your moving company about their pricing structure so that you can come to an informed choice about which company is best for you.

Going the Distance

The distance of your relocation is one of the main factors that moving companies consider when quoting a price for your move. The further you are moving, the higher the price will be. This is because the company has to account for the cost of fuel and labor, which increases as the distance increases.

When you are moving to an adjacent state, your moving company will likely give you a lower quote than if you were moving to a far-off state. This is because moving companies have to account for the additional distance and time that it will take to move your belongings to your new location.

Going the Distance

Off The Beaten Track

If you are located far away from the interstate, you may be charged an off-route fee. This fee is applied to cover the cost of the moving company having to take a longer route to get to your home.

Unfortunately, when negotiating prices with cross-country movers, there is often not much that can be done once you are facing an off-route fee. This is because these fees are usually put in place to cover the cost of the additional time and resources that are needed to complete a move that is not according to plan.

For example, if you select a moving company in Denver, CO, you can expect to pay no off-route fees for pickup if you live anywhere on I-25 between Colorado Springs and Loveland. This is because the moving company may already be making several pickups at these popular and well-traveled locations.

However, if you reside in an area like Pueblo, which is on I-25 but located too far south of Denver, or if you live in a city like Breckenridge, which is considerably remote, you will be likely to face an off-route charge for this kind of pickup.

The same would apply to deliveries as well. If you are just relocating to one of the major cities or a town located on a well-used national artery (such as I-70 or I-10), you’re in the clear. But if you’re moving somewhere more remote, off-route delivery fees may apply.

Be sure to speak to your moving company about any potential fees before agreeing to a move.


If it is not possible to park a long-distance semi-truck outside your address – either because there is no parking allowed on-street, if the road is too narrow/winding, or if there are low lying overhead power lines – your moving company will have to send out for a smaller shuttle truck to complete this leg of the move.

The charge for this is normally split into two sections: a flat fee for the shuttle followed by an excess fee if your shipment is a more significant size/weight. To this end, it is vital to verify that your street can accommodate our semi-trucks to avoid this. For apartment buildings, you can check with your Superintendent.

If you are working with a moving company that is located in the same city as you, shuttle fees may not apply since they will most likely send out one of their own box trucks to facilitate your pickup. But, if you are using a national moving company that is based in another city, be prepared to pay this fee.

shuttle delivery


Bulky Items

A bulky item fee is a charge that a moving company may assess for moving certain large or heavy items. This fee is in addition to the overall cost of the move itself, and it is generally assessed for items such as significantly large furniture, appliances, or other large objects.

Most moving companies will charge this fee for any item that is larger than a specific size or weight. The size and weight restrictions may vary depending on the company.

Examples of when bulky fees would apply are if you are moving something such as a gun safe. These can weigh as much as 600 lbs. so therefore require special handling. Another example would be a motorcycle. While motorcycles are also heavy, the problem lies not with the weight but with the fact that your mover will be unable to stack anything atop the motorcycle in order to capitalize on the empty space in their truck. By giving up this much headroom in the truck, the mover will be expecting compensation in the form of a bulky fee.

kayak bulky item


Flights of Stairs/Elevator

There is usually no charge from the moving company for the first flight of stairs in your apartment regarding moving to and from apartments. Each additional flight would cost a flight-of-stairs fee which, for their added labor, goes straight to the movers rather than into the coffers of the mover. Alternatively, if your apartment has a service elevator, then a once-off elevator fee is applied in lieu of the flight-of-stairs charge. For example, if you live on the 4th floor, but there is no elevator, you are looking at significantly higher costs than if you had an elevator.

Soft Crating

Many moving companies simply will not accept certain delicate items for insurance purposes unless they are adequately prepared for transit. This usually means having said item inside a cardboard box.

All fragile articles like mirrors and artwork and units with substantial amounts of glass, like table glass tops, as well as marble, granite, and stone items, need to be appropriately wrapped, padded, and boxed before your movers can load them onto the truck. The alternative is that your mover will need to crate these items, which comes at various different charges.

soft crating curio cabinet


Examples of items that must be boxed up before loading include:

  • Televisions, monitors, computers, electronics
  • Mirrors, pictures, artwork, lamps
  • Glass tops, glass shelves, glass doors, marble top
  • Mattresses MUST be in mattress covers or a mattress box

Prepare for Everything, Be Surprised by Nothing!

When you’re getting ready to move, all of these factors must be considered, and it’s important to discuss all of them with your mover, so you understand what you’re paying for.

Be sure to keep communication open with your mover, so there are no surprises.

By understanding how moving companies quote moves, you can better prepare for your upcoming move and get the best price possible. Contact your mover today to get started!

It is important to receive a few prices from different moving companies to find the best price when getting ready to move.

Picture of Roger M
Roger M

Roger is a moving expert with Delta Moving Systems. Roger has a lovely wife, 2 naughty boys and a pitbull who are his life. Roger likes to fish and he’s always planning BarBQue for his friends from Delta Moving System.

He understands that moving is considered one of the most stressful events in a new homeowner's life, so no matter your move size or distance you need, if you have any question call Roger.

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