How the Estimate Process Works with a Moving Company

Moving to a new home or office can be both exciting and stressful. One of the key steps in ensuring a smooth transition is obtaining an accurate estimate from a moving company. Here’s a breakdown of how the estimate process typically works:

1. Initial Inquiry

The first step is reaching out to a moving company either via phone, email, or their website. During this initial contact, you’ll provide basic details such as:

Your current address and the new location.
The size of your move (e.g., number of rooms or specific large items).
Your preferred moving date.

2. In-Home or Virtual Survey

To provide an accurate estimate, the moving company will need to understand the scope of your move. This can be done in two ways:

In-Home Survey: A representative visits your home to assess the volume and nature of the items to be moved. They’ll take inventory of your belongings, noting any particularly large or delicate items.
Virtual Survey: Using video conferencing tools, you walk the representative through your home, showing them what needs to be moved. This has become more popular, especially post-pandemic.

3. Estimate Types

Based on the survey, the moving company will provide an estimate. There are typically three types of estimates:

Non-Binding Estimate: This is an approximation of the cost, which can change based on the actual weight of your belongings and any additional services required.
Binding Estimate: This is a fixed cost, guaranteed not to exceed the quoted amount, as long as there are no additional services requested.
Binding Not-to-Exceed Estimate: This type of estimate ensures you won’t pay more than the quoted amount, but if the actual weight is less, you pay less.

4. Detailed Quote

The company will provide a detailed quote outlining:

Transportation Costs: Based on distance and weight/volume of items.
Labor Costs: Charges for the crew handling the move.
Additional Services: Costs for packing, unpacking, special handling of fragile items, storage, etc.
Insurance: Basic liability coverage is typically included, with options for additional coverage.

5. Review and Comparison

Take the time to review the estimate carefully. Compare quotes from multiple companies, ensuring you’re looking at similar services and coverage. Ask questions about anything that’s unclear and make sure you understand all terms and conditions.

6. Booking the Move

Once you’ve reviewed and are satisfied with an estimate, you can book your move. Confirm the date, any special requirements, and make sure you have a clear line of communication with the moving company leading up to moving day.

7. Pre-Move Coordination

In the days leading up to your move, the moving company will typically reconfirm details and provide any necessary instructions. They may also conduct a final walkthrough or virtual check to ensure nothing has changed significantly since the initial estimate.


Understanding the estimate process can help you budget accurately and avoid surprises on moving day. By following these steps and ensuring clear communication with your chosen moving company, you can make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Blog Submission: Chuck Smiley, All Season Movers &  NJWMA Board Member.

If you have any questions or concerns about your next move, you can contact New Jersey Warehouse and Movers Association –


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