Interstate moving quotes are often presented in a variety of formats, leaving you, the consumer, the challenge of understanding the information and deciphering it to determine whether you are comparing “apples to apples” from one moving company to another.
There are some basic things to consider when comparing Chicago area moving quotes so you are in position to make the best decision which moving company you prefer. To begin, you will want to research and select a reputable household goods carrier that is qualified and licensed to perform interstate moves. (List ways to do this research such as IMAWA and AMSA / Pro Mover/ etc…)
When reviewing your quotes, do they meet the guidelines prescribed by Federal Law as detailed in the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet?
This booklet is compiled by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), and details consumer rights and responsibilities for people who are planning an interstate move. By law, all moving companies quoting interstate relocation services to consumers are required to provide this valuable information. It helps ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract and your ability to pursue remedies that are available in case problems arise.
Is the quote provided binding or non-binding?
A binding estimate, often referred to as a “not to exceed” quote, is an agreement with your mover that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is what an estimator calculates your move will cost and can vary depending on the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect. You could pay up to 10% over the estimated total prior to delivery and be billed for any excess over and above that amount
Does your initial quote include Full Value Protection (FVP)?
By law, as of May 2012, all moving companies are require to provide to consumers the initial quote for interstate moves with Full Value Protection (FVP) at $0 deductible. FVP is the most comprehensive option available for the protection of your goods. You are given the option to change your deductible, which will alter the cost of the coverage, or to waive FVP to Released Value Protection of $.60 per pound, per article. A damage claim example would be: A 2 lb $50 vase broken with FVP could be reimbursed and/or replaced with a like item. However, Released Value coverage would cover you for a return of only $1.20
Do your quotes list the same quantity for packing and/or any other accessorial (define accessorial services) services?
There is a job to be done in providing you service for your relocation and you want to make certain that nothing is left out or possibly overstated. Services not included in the quote may create a lower estimate to begin with, but will be followed by hassle and aggravation the day of your move, while overstated services can have you paying too much. Compare your quotes for consistency, and if you notice significant differences make inquiries to your estimators so you can understand the services and charges they calculate to execute your move.
What is the estimated total weight that the quote is being based upon?
The weight of your shipment is a major factor that determines how your move will be serviced and the cost of your relocation. The estimated weight is used to determine truck space capacities, as well as the crew size needed, and is also the factor used for how household goods drivers are paid. That being said, when receiving a suggested three quotes; at least two of the three should be fairly close in weight. Be leery if an estimator is willing to guarantee a weight/price significantly less then other quotes you have that are similar. The reason being, a driver has the right to “challenge” the shipment on the day of load after having done a walk through, eye test and determining they feel the estimated quote weight is understated. The driver will not get paid what they should for hauling your load and either will work something out with the estimator for more money or they can refuse to load and make your move. Again, as with comparing and verifying packing and other services; the day of your move is not when you want to be dealing with hassles and issues. Drivers and crew members work hard to do a great job for you and should be paid for the service they provide and not suffer loss of income because an estimator either made a mistake or tried to roll the dice to win your business by providing a lower quote based on a significantly lower then actual weight.
Is everything that was discussed and communicated regarding your understanding and expectations for service listed in writing?
The bottom line, as in all situations, if it is not in writing; you can not expect with any certainty that you will receive that service. Be thorough in your review of your move and the different needs that you require and make certain that any information of importance is detailed out in writing so there are no last minute surprises or confusions.
Remember, you have “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” to guide you along the way to understanding the intricacies of an interstate moving quote and other quality information for your protection as a consumer.