A small move sales agent explaining the shipping contract to a customer.

Small Move Pricing Demystified

What to look for in your small move quote?

Have you ever read a shipping contract? It can be confusing, but small moves don't have to be a big headache. Ship Smart believes in transparency and does not have any hidden fees in our estimates. Every customer receives a detailed quote outlining our service. Our customer service team will help you fill out your paperwork and answer all of your questions. Our first tip is that you really should read the paperwork, that way when comparing rates you really are comparing apples to apples.

Many companies will email you with just a price based on your inventory, but fail to provide you with your estimated weight or any specifics about their charges. This is a common practice that you need to be aware of. For instance, let's say you call two companies for an estimate. Company A's price is $900 based on 1200 pounds, and they send you a detailed quote in writing. Next you call Company B, and they email you a price for $550, and tell you that the estimate is based on the inventory you provided. They usually follow up with "when you are ready to ship let me know, and I'll send you the paperwork". You might look at the price of Company B and say wow what a great rate. You call them back, and they send you the paperwork, you sign it, and send it back. You miss that the estimated weight was for 400 pounds and they also have a couple hidden fees if you are over the estimated weight. When they weigh your items it turns out that it is 1200 pounds, and you are charged $1650 plus a $300 hidden fee for the additional weight. Company A's quote for $900 on 1200 pounds was the best deal.

In this article, we highlighted some main things to look out for on your paperwork.

What Is The 'Estimated Weight' In A Small Move Estimate?

Your estimated weight is the total weight of the inventory you give a sales agent at the time of your online or phone quote.

The pricing on most small moves is typically based on the estimated weight of the shipment. The estimate that you receive should be based on a list of items that you need to move. Any items added or removed from the list will affect the final weight and the final cost. Adjusting your inventory is pretty common, so ask your estimator what the charge is for every additional pound, because it could be different from the price per pound that the quote is calculated by.

Some companies quotes are based on the time it takes for the move, with a set minimum for labor hours and travel time. Others have truck fees that calculate the drive time from the moving company's facility to your origin address and back. Check if the time is fixed time or actual time, what is the minimum charge for those hours, and what the charge per hour over the estimated time you are estimated for.

What Is The 'Packed Weight' In A Small Move Estimate?

Your packed weight is the weight of all your inventory plus the packing materials.

If you have a long distance small move, you must also calculate the weight of the packing materials used to encapsulate the entire shipment, as well as, any additional packing used for fragile and delicate pieces. If you have glass or marble top furniture, artwork, valuable antiques, they will need to be crated. If you are insuring one single piece for a large amount, it probably will need to be crated. The important thing to do here is identify fragile and valuable pieces and let the sales agent know during the estimate.

Each pallet weighs between 40 and 50 pounds, and you will need one for every 128 cubic ft. If you multiply your item's length by the width by the height you get the pieces cubic footage. Add the cubic footage for all your pieces together, and you get an estimated cubic footage for the entire shipment. Know that the cubic footage you calculate will probably be an overestimate because many items can be packed together, but it is a good gut check for how many pallets you might need.

Crates will weigh more than that and they vary depending on size. Most estimates have an inventory list with dimensions, and weights. If you are shipping items that require crating make sure your dimensions and weights are accurate in the estimate. This will help the salesperson calculate a correct weight for your crate.

One last thing you should note on packing. Most estimates for small moves have an estimated weight and a packed weight. The estimated weight is the weight of your inventory and the packed weight is the weight of your items after they are palletized and crated. If you are shipping items that need to be crated and the difference between these two weights is a little light then call your small mover back and ask if they have taken into account your items that need to be crated.

The takeaway here is to double-check the weights and dimensions on your inventory, especially the large, fragile, and the valuable items. Next subtract your estimated weight from your packed weight and do a gut check. Is the difference large enough for your items? If not simply call the company back and tell them you would feel better if they could add some weight to it. You only pay for the weight you actually ship anyway.

What Are Additional Services?

There are many additional services including: storage, insurance, on-site packing. These extras will be added to your total expense and most likely are clearly noted and acceptable by you. However, some small movers may charge you extra for elevators, stairs, additional stops, reassembly, and disassembly of furniture etc. Glance over your quote to see if these charges were included. If not make sure to get all additional services in writing as part of your estimate.

Some small movers will charge you for almost anything. This can be a large expense, so take some time to read your quote. Read the small fine print. If anything is unclear or not specified, be sure to check with your mover.

Ship Smart Makes Paperwork Easy.

Here at Ship Smart we have made your paperwork easier by combining many of these extra charges like fuel cost, taxes and others into your shipping cost. In order to help customers identify important areas in your paperwork, we ask for initials. Our team has really tried to streamline this process for you, but if you do not understand any part of your paperwork, call us we have a friendly staff that would love to answer your questions and help fill out any part of your paperwork.

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