Updated Oct 10, 2022
You’re preparing for your big move. However, you’re faced with some steep moving quotes, probably leaving you wondering if it’s possible to negotiate with a moving company for a more reasonable price.
It definitely is! However, there are some best practices and tips for negotiating with a moving company that you must know before you get started. Keep reading to learn the best ways to get a better deal from your moving company.
Before you try to negotiate with a moving company, take these steps to prepare yourself and give yourself the most leverage to get additional discounts from your preferred moving company.
The most important thing you need to know is that leverage is everything. Don’t leave negotiating with a moving company until the last minute before your big cross-country move, as you’re unlikely to have the leverage you need to negotiate a better deal. Ideally, you’ll want to reach out to multiple movers months before your move to secure the necessary date and ensure you’re not up against the clock during negotiations.
The best first step for negotiating with moving companies is to gather at least three quotes from several moving companies. Each quote should be for the same number of items and services. From there, choose your favorite of the three companies and ask if it can offer you the best price out of the three quotes.
Consider the specific details of your move, such as the weight and number of items that need to be transported, the distance, and any special services for specialty items that need extra care during the move, such as artwork or a wine collection. Local moves will undoubtedly be less expensive than interstate or long-distance moves.
Gather all these details and submit them to several moving companies in your area so that you have different estimates to compare. Ensure that all companies include a breakdown of the services and items moved so that the quotes are for comparable services. This is crucial because a company won’t price match a moving estimate from another company if the quote isn’t comparable.
Moving companies have different licenses and services they provide. Check that the companies you’re asking for quotes from have similar licenses.
For example, you’ll want to avoid moving brokers, who are middlemen that book your move but then hire a third-party moving company to complete your move. The brokers are not actual moving companies, and there have been too many horror stories about third-party moving companies damaging homeowners’ belongings.
Many moving brokers lack accountability and will not closely deal with the moving company, which can leave you with broken belongings and inaccurate representations of the extra fees and cost of moving. As a result, reading all estimates from moving companies closely and researching the businesses extensively are essential steps in protecting yourself and giving yourself bargaining power.
Check that you’re only gathering quotes from moving companies that have the following:
Moving company scams happen frequently, so take the time to check these details out first and ask your friends and family for referrals. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble by doing so.
Once you’ve completed your research and gathered several quotes, use the following moving tips to negotiate with the moving company of your choice.
Being flexible with your schedule and moving date can save you massive amounts of money. Peak moving season is usually during the summer when many families are moving before school starts again and on the weekends. As a result, summer and weekends will be more expensive. Consider moving during the week and winter or fall months if possible when hiring a reputable moving company.
Moving companies may be able to offer you a much better price during these seasons or the middle of the week because they are not in high demand.
If you must move during the summer, see if you can move during the week and get a better price. If you must move over the weekend, ask about discounts for moving early in the morning or later in the day. Some moving companies will offer lower prices if you ask for them during these less desirable times.
This may seem like an obvious negotiation skill, but few people simply ask for lower prices or special offers on their moves. Many businesses, including moving companies, are open to offering special discounts or deals to polite customers who ask for one. Some moving companies may also offer special discounts for the elderly, veterans, first responders, etc.
Don’t be shy. Remember, it’s a business that wants you as a customer.
If you’ve gathered quotes from several moving companies and received a lower quote from one, you can use this as a negotiation strategy with the company you want to work with. Your preferred moving company may not be the one that offered you the lowest quote, so try negotiating with it first by mentioning the lowest estimate you were given.
Call it and explain that you’ve received a quote for the same number of items and type of moving service and were quoted a lower rate. Ask if it can give you a better offer. Even if it can’t, it may be willing to match another company’s price if you provide it with a copy of the estimate showing that the services and items are the same as what it quoted you.
Never choose a company solely on price. If you receive a quote with a significantly lower estimate, you should ask about additional fees and double-check that the company is reputable because it could be a moving scam.
However, a lower quote can give you additional leverage when negotiating with a different moving company that you like more. Don’t be afraid to point out the price difference. Some companies may break down why their prices are higher than others. However, some may be willing to provide you with a discount or price match. It certainly can’t hurt to ask!
If your budget is genuinely stretched and you’re concerned about moving costs, consider trimming extra services you don’t need.
For example, you might consider cutting packing services and packing your own artwork and delicates. Instead of having the moving company pack for you, you may be able to spend a weekend with a friend or family member packing up your belongings so they are ready for the professional movers.
If you cut any services, contact the moving companies again for updated quotes to reflect the cut. Then, ask about any additional charges the company may have and how you can potentially cut costs to save money. If possible, ask for a discount on the company’s regular services, especially if you’re moving during the off-season or middle of the week.
Another key factor to consider is the type of estimates provided by moving companies. There are two primary types of moving company estimates: a binding estimate and a nonbinding estimate.
Binding estimates are written agreements between you and the mover that state the service will be performed for a specific and guaranteed amount. This means that a mover cannot try to collect more money than what is written in the agreement unless you request additional services or have more belongings or weight than what was represented in the estimate. For those on a budget, this may be the best estimate because you won’t need to worry about the price being upped at any time.
On the other hand, nonbinding estimates are more of a general idea of how much the move will cost. For example, you could be quoted $1,000 for the move but be charged $1,200. It’s not uncommon for the final cost to be about 10% more than the estimate. This is just one reason why these estimates should be written and clearly stated.
When considering which moving company to go with, you should look at what kind of estimates you’ve been provided. Even if one company has offered you a budget-friendly moving quote, it won’t matter if the estimate is nonbinding because it will likely cost a bit more than that. In contrast, a binding estimate can give you peace of mind knowing the exact cost of the move.
Never work with a moving company that does not give you a written estimate until its team has loaded your belongings up or a company that doesn’t send someone over to inspect your home to provide you with a proper estimate. These common red flags can lead to your belongings being stolen or held hostage until you pay a much higher price than agreed upon.
A moving company may not be able to lower its price for you. However, it may be willing to throw in additional moving insurance or liability coverage, especially if it’s confident in its abilities to load and move your belongings carefully.
You should always ask about a moving company’s liability if your belongings are damaged. Additional moving insurance may be an extra perk it throws in if it’s firm in its price but wants to compromise with you in some way. The moving insurance can save you a lot of money if any of your belongings are damaged in the process, so don’t undervalue this added benefit if the company offers it.
Don’t be shy if you’ve never negotiated with a business before. It may feel awkward initially, but stand your ground and remind the company of the lower quotes you’ve received and other compromises you’re willing to make, such as moving during the week, early in the morning, or packing up your belongings to prepare for the move.
Remember, the moving company is a business looking to secure you as its customer. It’s in its best interest to negotiate with you and make a mutually beneficial deal that satisfies your budget and brings it a loyal new customer.
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