When you compare moving estimates, you don’t want to find the least expensive mover, you want to find the right mover. Ideally, you should obtain three to five estimates. Be sure you have in-home estimates, rather than ones conducted over the phone or via an online phone. And you should try and compare the same types of estimates, so you might want to request all binding estimates or all non-binding estimates, as comparing a binding estimate to a non-binding one may make things more difficult.
If you’re moving long distance, check that each estimates has roughly the same mileage and are for the correct destinations. For local moves, check that time estimates and number of crew are about the same; fewer crew means your move will take longer and potentially cost more. If you see discrepancies, call and clarify with the moving company.
Begin with the lowest estimate. If it’s significantly lower, figure out if anything is missing. Does it seem like a low-ball estimate that’s too good to be true? If items like furniture disassembly and assembly, packing supplies and storage aren’t included, you may get sticker shock on moving day.
Move on to the highest estimate. What have they included that the others haven’t? Take into account extra crew, days in storage, and mileage, and see if those rates are in line with your other estimates. If so, are they including service upgrades that would make sense for your move?
Then go to the middle estimates. Will they cover your needs, and provide a low-stress move with a minimal amount of work on your part? If there’s a service from the higher estimate that you’d like them to include, give them a call and ask for pricing on it.
Your last step is checking that the movers providing estimates are licensed and regulated, and that they have good reputations with the Better Business Bureau. You can also check with friends or your social network to get feedback on any of these movers and learn how they’re move went. Eliminate any that are unlicensed.
Once you understand what each company is offering and what is covered or not covered, toss out any that are suspiciously low or high. With the remaining estimates, you’ll make a choice based on reputation, whether the mover can work with your dates, and how you think they’ll perform your move. The deciding factor should be the mover’s ability to complete the job, not the price.