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Moving Part I: Hiring a Mover

Making a successful move to your new home is reliant on the mover hired to get you there. With so many aspects to consider, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one is best, or even how to approach choosing. By breaking everything down, further examination of an individual company doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

First, you’ll need to establish your individual needs.

Where are you moving?

There are three types of moves that can be made; interstate, intrastate, and international. Interstate is moving between states, where pricing is based on the weight of your belongings and the distance they are shipped with additional costs incurred by the amount of packing or other services you may require.

Intrastate pricing, or “local” move, is usually priced per-hour for the personnel and number of vehicles provided by the moving company. This also is dependent on the distance; after a certain number of miles additional charges may be added for the weight of belongings and distance travelled.

As far as international moves, the charges are a combination of the land charges between your residence and ports, the ocean transportation between ports, and any additional customs, postage, or handling charges that may apply in the various countries travelled.

What type of estimate does the company give?

Moving companies will typically give either a non-binding or a binding estimate. Non-binding estimates are not bids or contracts but rather an approximation of the cost based on the mover’s survey of the items to be moved, finalized after the entire shipment is weighed. A non-binding estimate is based on the actual weight of the shipment, so the price will usually be lower than a binding estimate. However, there is no guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate originally given. Despite this, the mover cannot charge you more than the amount of the estimate plus ten percent, or 110% of the estimate amount per governmental regulations*.

Binding estimates require you to pay the price set forth in the binding estimate even if the shipment weighs more or less than the original estimated amount. This covers only the goods and services listed on the estimate, allowing the mover to bill you for any additional services requested and/or performed during the move itself.

A third commonly used estimate type is a not-to-exceed estimate. Sometimes referred to as Guaranteed Price or Price Protection, this type of estimate is based on a binding estimate or actual cost, whichever ends up being lower. Whichever type of agreement you select, be sure to thoroughly read the terms so that you understand exactly what is included and what may bring additional charges. 

What services does the company offer?

Other than the obvious need for moving your belongings from point A to point B, there may be things that you need in order to make your move a success that you’ll want to ask about when consulting with a moving company.

  • Will they pack your belongings for you?

  • Should you want to pack yourself, can you get packing materials through the company?

  • How do they handle bigger or more expensive items such as artwork, pianos, etc.?

What kind of reviews or past client testimonials does the company have?

So many of the decisions we make today are based off of other peoples’ experiences, especially thanks to the internet. You’ll want to check out sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie's List to see what people are saying about the company you’re interested in. Sites like these help chronicle what a company might not put on their own reviews section, like if something went wrong with a move, how employees temperaments are, and small acts setting them apart from their competitors.

What options are offered for moving insurance?

Moving companies offer an amount of insurance as part of their services to cover your belongings to a certain extent. You should always establish how much insurance the company will provide should something happen in the move. Additionally, more insurance can be purchased based on your individual needs. There are three types of valuation a moving company may provide:

  • Declared value: The value of your possessions based on the total weight of the shipment multiplied by a specific amount per pound. The settlement would be based on the depreciated value of the damaged goods.

  • Lump sum value or Assessed value: If your household goods do not weigh much but are valuable, this type of insurance would be a better choice since it is based more on cost rather than weight, allowing you to purchase insurance for a specific amount per $1,000 of value.

  • Full value protection: This covers lost, damaged, and destroyed property, also paying for repairs or replacement of goods. There is usually a minimum coverage amount and deductibles.

It is recommended to consult with at least three different companies so policies and pricing can be compared. Doing your research can not only save you money, but could alleviate the risk of bigger issues arising during the moving process. Contact Dwell360 today to find the perfect home for you to move to or sell your current property! Next, check out our Moving Series Part II: Planning and Packing, and finally Part III: It's Moving Day!

*American Moving and Storage Association. Before You Get An Estimate. Retrieved from
Schmidt, Diane. Should You Purchase Moving Insurance? Retrieved from


Dwell360 is a residential real estate firm based in Newton, Massachusetts, servicing the cities and suburbs of metro Boston. Our experienced real estate agents will not only manage the sale or purchase of your home, but they will also provide you valuable resources and advice as you make your move. Search for homes in Massachusetts and then give us a call.