For families in Vancouver, British Columbia (or other cities across Canada) getting an accurate estimate for moving is absolutely critical. Nothing is worse than thinking you know what a move will cost only to have all of your household possessions held hostage unless you are willing to pay thousands of dollars more than what your moving estimate showed.

The cost of travel to the new destination, interim lodging and meal expenses are carefully calculated so as to stay within budget. And of course, the money allotted is intended to buy new things or to have renovations made to the new home. Basically, every dollar counts. Having an accurate cost estimate goes a long way towards helping a family keep within its budget.

Warning … Stay Away from Rogue Movers

If you only follow one piece of advice…make it this one! Rogue movers roam the internet looking for potential victims. Often, they have an attractive website, partly due to the fact that they have duplicated the look of professional movers’ sites and have reproduced their site in tens of different names.

The problem is that everything they say is a lie. Rogue movers do not have clean, modern warehouses, numerous trucks in good mechanical condition, lots of moving equipment or personnel specially designed to handle household moves. They don’t have professional moving estimators to come to your home to help you plan your move and get an accurate, written estimate.

Instead they lure you in with an unrealistic cheap price. Then they auction your move off to the lowest bidder who has the authority to do what they wish with your move (i.e. charge more, sometimes two or three times the estimate; takes weeks or months to deliver or take no responsibility for any damage claims. Basically, neither the original mover nor the subcontractor takes any responsibility for your move. You are left totally on your own!

Here are some tips that will help you to get an accurate cost estimate and to see what options are in place to help you save money without jeopardizing the quality of the move:

1. A Professional Moving Consultant

Unlike a rogue mover, a professional mover like Premiere Van Lines will always offer to send one of their certified moving consultants to your home to assess what needs to move and to help you plan your relocation. Once this is done, then and only then will the consultant prepare an accurate estimate. The only exception to this offer is if you have a small move or if the residence is located in a very rural area.

A professional moving consultant is educated and certified through the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) to understand what steps are taken to complete a move and how to calculate each of the applicable costs. They know what options are available and know the importance of “no surprise pricing”. Barring unforeseen circumstances, a proper estimator can price a move within 10 per cent of its final cost.

2. Number of Pounds or Number of Hours

When you are comparing moving estimates, it is important that you are comparing “apples with apples”. Your competing movers should estimate approximately the same weight for a long distance move or the same number of hours for a local move. If the variance between companies exceeds approximately 10 per cent less, we recommend you discard the low estimate. Either the estimator is not accurate and figures you will pay whatever it takes to get your possessions delivered or they are working with sub-standard personnel.

3. Per Unit Packing Cost for Partial Packs

A professional estimator will always include the number of each type of carton, its corresponding cost for packing and/or unpacking and the calculated cost for this service. If you trying to save money they will offer a packing option whereby you pack your own less breakable/valuable items. To ensure these self-packs are done properly Premiere Van Lines will offer you printed packing tips and will sell you professional grade packing materials at a nominal cost.

4. Cost of Full Replacement Cargo Protection

If you have opted for full replacement protection, a professional mover will calculate the cost on their estimate. For a long distance move this amount will be calculated based on a minimum of $10.00 per hundred pounds. (i.e. a 10,000-pound move will have a declaration of $100,000). Cars will have a separate declaration based on its value. Depending on the value of the contents portion of your Homeowners insurance policy, your declaration may be higher than the $10.00 minimum. The specific cost will be added to your written estimate.

5. Taxes

Unfortunately, taxes are a way of life in Canada and must be added to the cost of the move. Companies who try to skirt this law are doing something illegal and therefore fall into the category of rogue movers. If you want the moving company to be upfront and accountable for your move, make sure the taxes are included on your estimate.

6. A Written Estimate

Getting a complete an accurate estimate means getting a written, itemized estimate is the only way to know in advance what your move will cost. Beware of companies who send you a couple of lines by email advising the cost of your move without telling you what you are paying for and how much. Once you have an itemized estimate, can you ask your moving consultant if there are any ways to save more money. Usually this means shipping less than intended, however, think of it as a way of getting rid of things you no longer need or want. Regardless of whatever you do, always get a comprehensive estimate. You will be glad you did.

For more information about getting a moving estimate for your local or long distance move please call our Premiere Van Lines Vancouver Branch at 604-530-2221 or contact your local Premiere Van Lines office.