6 Quick Tips for Finding and Comparing Moving Quotes

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated March 24, 2022
A family of four moving in a new house
Photo: Niphon Khiawprommas / iStock / Getty Images

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With so much riding on finding a reputable moving company near you, it's worth taking the time to research and compare moving quotes—especially if you’re investing thousands of dollars into this service. 

Before you sign on the dotted line with a moving company, check out these tips that will help you weed out the non-contenders and choose the best moving quote for your needs. 

1. Contact at Least Three Moving Companies 

When it comes to hiring moving companies, the more knowledge you have about the overall process and your moving company candidates, the better your experience. Relocation professionals widely recommend that you solicit price quotes from at least three moving companies before deciding who you’ll hire to move your worldly possessions. 

Here’s how to get started: 

  • Start your search early: The best moving companies book well in advance, and you’ll have more dates to choose from if you contact them early in your moving process. 

  • Get recommendations: Ask your neighbors, friends, and family for local moving company recommendations.

  • Read online reviews: Take the time to scroll through the company’s website and read the testimonials from previous customers, as well as reviews on third-party websites.

2. Ask for an In-Person Estimate

A couple discussing in-person with a moving company representative
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If your companies offer a free in-person estimate, say yes because this method typically provides the most accurate quotes. In-person assessments save money and time by preventing mix-ups later. 

Some companies use video calls instead of in-person visits. Video is the next best option, especially if the conversation is live, so they can ask questions about your moving plans. Instant online estimates and quotes aren’t as reliable because details are often left out, so don’t base your moving budget solely on those numbers. 

3. Learn the Factors That Impact Your Moving Quote 

Moving quotes have many factors that determine your final costs and are significantly influenced by the type of move. 

Local Move

Most local moving companies consider a move within 50 miles local. In this case, companies typically charge by the hour and by the number of movers needed, usually between $25 to $50 per hour for each. Your quote will include an estimate of how many hours your move requires, including any special services, like disassembly and reassembly of furniture. 

Long-Distance Move

Quotes for long-distance moves are calculated differently than local moves. Moving companies base quotes on the total weight of your items, the distance between pick-up and delivery, and labor costs. Moving companies could also include a fuel surcharge and storage-in-transit options. 

Special Services 

Many moving companies offer extra services beyond packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. Talk to your company rep about charges for additional services, including: 

  • Car shipping

  • Piano transport

  • Oversized items

  • Exercise machines

  • Staircases

  • Packing materials

  • Last-minute changes

4. Understand the Main Parts of a Moving Quote 

Learning the major parts of a moving quote helps you compare your options and ultimately choose the best moving company for your job. Your quote should include:

  • Move date

  • Move distance

  • Special services 

  • Estimated size and weight of your household goods

  • Moving insurance option 


Your potential moving companies will provide you with one of three kinds of estimates. Compare them; you could find benefits to one or the other. 

  • Binding moving estimate: The company guarantees the price (flat-rate) they quote you if there aren’t significant changes. 

  • Non-binding moving estimate: This type of estimate is based on the moving company's educated guess of how long your move will take (if it is a local move) and how much it will weigh (with a long-distance or interstate move). You could pay more or less once the company calculates official numbers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guarantees that the company can’t ask you to pay more than 110% of the original estimate at delivery. 

  • Binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate: Similar to a binding estimate, a-binding-not-to-exceed estimate allows you to pay less than your quote if your household goods weigh less than the estimate. 

Moving Insurance 

During your company research, you’ll need to verify whether the companies you’re considering are insured, as well as what type of additional coverage you’ll need to protect your items during transit. 

  • Released-value protection: This is basic coverage and only pays you 60-cents per pound per item, but it's included in your moving costs. 

  • Full-value protection. This type of moving insurance is more comprehensive, based on current cash value, and the costs are calculated based on your shipment and could cost you several hundred dollars more. 

5. Make a Side-by-Side Comparison of Your Moving Quotes

A woman doing online research on her laptop
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Now that you know what you're looking for, it's time to compare the moving quotes and factor in the company’s ratings and reviews. For reference, you should know that hiring professional movers can cost anywhere between $240 and $10,000. 

Take notice if one company’s quote is significantly lower than the others or if they require a partial payment upfront—these are red flags that the company isn’t complying with industry standards or promising more services than they can deliver.  

6. Ask for a Discount 

If all of your quotes are similar but you’d like to trim your costs, there are ways to spend less on moving day. 

  • Lighten the load: It's best to donate or throw away your unwanted items before soliciting your quote to lessen the weight of your belongings. 

  • Try DIY packing and unpacking: If your movers simply load and unload, you’ll save time and money.  

  • Pick a less popular day to move: Weekends during the spring and summer months are the most expensive days to move. If you have the wiggle room, try a fall or winter mid-week schedule instead. 

  • Ask for discounts: Plenty of moving companies offer discounts to students, military members, AAA, and AARP members.

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