How to Negotiate a Moving Company's Estimate

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You can negotiate a lower price with a moving company.
You can negotiate a lower price with a moving company. (Image: Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you're past the age when everything you own fits in the back of a friend's pickup truck, then you're probably going to need to hire a moving company. Moving is expensive and most people underestimate the amount of belongings they have. To negotiate an estimate with a moving company, you need to be realistic about the amount you need to move, the distance you're moving it and the size of the items you are moving. Use that information to negotiate with moving companies.

Negotiating a Moving Company Estimate

Create an inventory. List all appliances and pieces of furniture you are moving, room by room. Record the measurements of each large item.

Estimate the number of boxes it will take to pack up the items in each room. Total the number when you have completed your inventory.

Call multiple moving companies for estimates. Give as much information about your inventory as possible. Ask questions about the moving companies' bonding and insurance, availability for your time frame, warranties in case of damage and years in business. Check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

Choose the company you want to work with, even if it is not the cheapest. Call the company and tell them what you have been offered by their competition. Ask them if they can beat the deal. Look for ways they can cut costs, such as if you supply all of your own boxes, have certain appliances already at the curb or if you reduce the number of boxes to a certain amount.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to ask the companies what they charge if you have underestimated the weight or total number of boxes you have to move. Some companies may charge higher rates than others for each extra box or bag, no matter what the weight.
  • Many moving companies will want to visit your home before making an estimate, or before agreeing to lower an estimate. Clean out bookshelves, closets, the basement, attic and garage beforehand so the company can give an accurate estimate.

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