What to Look for in a Moving Estimate
Ever wonder how moving companies in Brandon, Manitoba and other cities decide what to charge for a long-distance move in Canada, a local move, or a move from Canada to the United States? Do they just pull costs from the top of their heads, or is there an official published rate that itemizes all charges involved?
The answer is: all professional moving companies use respective tariff schedules to price out moves. These detailed tariffs include every charge applied to a move and depend on what services a customer has chosen. For this reason, anyone looking to get a move estimate done, should only get one from an accredited moving company like Premiere Van Lines – an agent company for national moving corporation, Atlas Van Lines.
At Premiere, our estimates will always show a complete breakdown of all charges, so customers will walk away confident that the approximate move cost is accurate. Moving tariffs are broken down into rate sections for:
- Fuel Surcharges
- Large City Service Charges
- Remote Area Surcharges
- Packing Charges
- Unpacking Charges
- Automobile Transportation Charges
- Full Replacement Cargo Protection Charges
Rates are based on the cost/100lbs tied to the total estimated weight of the shipment. If partial packing services are required instead of a full packing job, charges will be calculated on a per unit basis, depending on the quantity of each type of carton.
Premiere tariff schedules are a matrix divided into a combination of weight and mileage categories. The transportation cost is expressed as a per dollar rate/hundred lbs, multiplied by the total estimated weight of the shipment.
Items to Consider
Don’t forget to consider how a moving estimate relates to competitive landscape. Movers routinely offer customers a discount from the published gross tariff rates. Discounts can vary from one moving company to another. In Canada, it’s most common for the moving company to apply a discount once the computerized calculation is processed. That’s why, the printed estimate will already include those discounts. The charges shown on a formal estimate will be the “net cost” for all services a customer has asked for.
For competitive reasons, Premiere (and other van line agents) may also offer some form of guarantee on the estimate. In Canada, it’s always noted that final charges will not exceed the estimated charges by more than 10 percent. Sometimes, the option to apply a similar guarantee to just the weight of a shipment is available. This is often done when the customer has requested a partial pack where they may change their mind about the number of cartons actually packed.
Moving to or from the United States
If you’re moving to or from the USA, there are two differences with cross border estimates to be aware of. The first relates to discounts. For legal reasons, estimates for USA moves must show the gross tariff rates and the percentage and dollar value of any discounts as a separate line on the printed estimate. There are also two types of guarantees offered on US moves, binding and non-binding estimates.
Binding estimates require a payment on the total cost of an estimate. The downside to this option is that if a shipment weighs less than the estimate, the customer is still bound to pay the total estimate cost.
Non-binding estimates are more common because they’re tied to the actual scaled weight of the shipment. Often customers dispose of items after the estimate’s been completed, therefore the scaled weight of a shipment can be less than originally estimated.
As mentioned, there are quite a few advantages to using Premiere Van Lines and affiliated moving companies for a big move. Here are a few other pros:
- All moving charges are based on published Van Lines rates
- All move documentation, including scale tickets, are forwarded to Van Lines headquarters after a shipment is delivered
- A comprehensive audit is performed to ensure accurate charges
- Any found errors are corrected and refunds are issued in a timely manner
Finally, in the unlikely event that Premiere Van Lines doesn’t resolve an issue, customers have the added protection of escalating to owner company Atlas Van Lines. This gives our customers a two-layer shield against packing, scheduling or pricing mistakes.
Short Distance and Local Moves
When it comes to local and short-distance moves, all charges are based on total number of hours needed to load, transport and unload the shipment. Extra costs for accessorial services like packing will also be added in.
Due to congested cities and general traffic, most professional movers will “cap” travel time costs to a set period. However, using an experienced moving company will assure that only minor variances between estimated and final cost are found, if any.