Get two to three moving estimates
There’s no need for more than three; it’s a strain on you and waste of your time. Set up an estimate with your local Wheaton representative and representatives from two other major van lines. There are plenty of fine movers out there, but you minimize the risk of problems if you stick to the big guys and the brands you know.
Ask lots of questions
Be prepared with your questions before the salesperson gets there. That way, you won’t forget what you wanted to ask. Ask each representative to carefully explain their entire estimate to you. Your goal should be to ensure you have enough information to make an informed, “apples-to-apples” comparison between estimates. That’s not always easy. Every moving company is required to maintain its own pricing tariff. As a result, you can’t simply look at a discount level and compare. You have to look at each line item.
Compare weights and services
Remember, the key factors in creating a moving estimate are weight and distance. It’s unlikely the distance will be too far off from one estimate to the next if you’ve given a specific destination address. But weights can vary drastically. If the weights are different from one estimate to the next, ask why? What did one salesperson include or exclude from the mix that caused the weight to vary? A difference in weight can make a significant difference in cost. You also need to compare services. Did the estimates include appliance servicing? Extra costs for particularly bulky items? Overtime? Extra labor?
Again, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. If one estimate quoted the lowest level of liability, your valuation will be at no charge. But at 60 cents per pound, you won’t get much back if something happens to your household goods in transit. Another estimate might have included full Replacement Value Protection – it can cost hundreds more but protects you from damage if something goes wrong.