Moving Guide – How Moving Charges Are Determined

Determining the cost of an interstate move was much simpler a decade ago. Back then, all moving companies charged the same rate based on the total weight of the shipment and the distance of the move. These rates - or tariffs - were set by the federal government. Shipment tonnage was determined by weighing the truck before and after the goods were loaded. This amount was multiplied by a predetermined rate. Upon delivery, the driver was paid by cash or cashier's check. No matter who moved you, your cost was the same. Van lines competed on service quality alone.

Today, however, van lines have some flexibility in determining charges, depending on the specific needs of the customer. Prices, determined locally, can vary between different movers. Price, however, is only one factor to be considered by a prudent customer.

To determine a price that is fair, your moving counselor must take a full and complete inventory of your possessions that you want moved. He or she will inspect your attic, basement, and garage, as well as anything you have in storage. (NOTE: Customer is responsible for removing items from attics, crawlspaces, and other hard-to-get-at-storage areas unless customer authorizes additional labor charge for van line to perform this task.)

On a local move, your cost will most likely be based on an hourly rate and the amount of time it actually takes the movers to handle your shipment. On an interstate shipment, however, the cost still will be largely dependent on the weight of your shipment and the distance between origin and destination.

In either case, you should determine which items have outlived their usefulness, so that you don't pay for moving something that you don't really need. (There's no better time to clean out closets, drawers, attics, crawlspaces, etc., and get rid of those things that you no longer use.) Also make sure that your moving counselor is fully aware of what's not being moved. The savvy consumer will make these considerations carefully. (Pay careful attention to "Garage Sale Guidelines - One way to Save Money on Your Move.")

After taking into account everything that needs to be moved, as well as any special services that you may need (packing, for instance), your moving counselor will prepare your estimate. Your final cost will be based on the actual weight of your shipment (plus the charges for any extra services); however, if the estimate was too low, you'll be expected to pay the estimated cost and up to 10 percent of the overage upon delivery. The balance will be due within 30 days. NOTE: Skaleski Moving & Storage also offers guaranteed prices as well, so be sure to ask your moving counselor about Guaranteed Pricing.

If, after receiving an estimate, you have any changes regarding special services needed or additional (or fewer) items to be moved, be sure to advise your moving counselor of these changes prior to your moving day. Such changes are likely to affect the final cost of your move.

Again, in addition to shipping costs, you'll be charged for additional services such as packing, unpacking, appliance servicing (detachment and hook-up), etc. Also, if the van foreman and his crew have to contend with an especially long distance or several flights of stairs when carrying your goods from your origin residence to the van or from the van into your new home at destination, there will be an additional labor fee for the extra effort required.

One final note regarding the price of your professional move: Remember that, as is the case with any product or service that you buy, you usually get what you pay for - and the lowest price doesn't always mean the best value. In selecting a professional mover, also consider such factors as reputation, reliability, performance record, claims settlement process, and overall commitment to customer satisfaction which is what Skaleski Moving & Storage offers to all of our customers.

NOTE: Some moving expenses are tax deductible, so save receipts and check with your tax advisor for details.