An in-home estimate allows moving companies to calculate your moving quote based on your furniture and household items. A relocation consultant visits your home to prepare a list of your possessions and asks questions about the details of your move. This helps them provide the most accurate cost estimate possible for your upcoming move.
Follow these steps to prepare for your in-home survey:
1. Getting Started: Set Up an In-home Survey
To set up your in-home estimate, find a reputable moving company that services your area. Always choose a moving company that is insured, offers FREE in-home estimates, does background checks, and drug tests their movers. Remember, these people will enter your home and handle your valuables.
It’s also not a bad idea to check out their Google reviews. Once you choose your moving company, reach out and request your in-home estimate by phone or online. Ask each moving company, or check on their website, about their survey requirements. Some moving companies ask their clients to fill out an inventory checklist for their furniture called a cube sheet.
This works best for homes with two or fewer bedrooms. Other moving companies offer the option of a video survey. Most, however, require an in-home survey with a member of their team. Don’t be afraid to let them know if it’s the first time you are hiring a professional mover!
RED FLAG: Some movers base their quote on square footage alone by asking questions on the phone like, “How big is your house?” or “How many rooms do you have?” Don’t be fooled by this type of estimate.
2. When is the best time to schedule your in-home estimate?
Book your in-home estimate as early as possible. The date you wish to move most likely influences the price and availability of your preferred moving company. Opting for a survey ahead of your target date helps you determine your best option. Traditionally, four weeks before your move is enough time to get everything set.
If you’re on a tighter moving schedule, being prepared for your survey is even more important. Try to schedule surveys with at least three moving companies as soon as possible. Then, review them thoroughly to find your best option quickly. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask. A reputable moving company should be more than happy to provide answers to all your questions.
3. Will it stay or go?
Keep your survey accurate by clearly labeling any furniture you do not plan to take with you. It may help to use brightly colored sticky notes or tape to make the moving professional aware of the designation. If you’re undecided about bringing certain items, it’s BEST TO INCLUDE THEM in the estimate. The inventory list can always be amended. It’s always better to overestimate than underestimate.
4. What services do you really need?
Moving companies offer more than a truck and helping hands. Ask your moving company about the additional services they offer during your survey. They take care of bringing the right crew and equipment on moving day.
Here are a couple of examples of services a moving company might offer:
- Packing & unpacking
- Long & short-term storage
- Antique moving
- Pre-move planning
A complete list of the moving company’s professional services and capabilities should be readily available on their website.
5. Survey Day Prep
Make sure at least one decision-maker in your household is present for your appointment. Prepare to show the moving company’s relocation consultant hidden spaces with furniture like garages, crawl spaces, attics, or sheds. Before they arrive, do a “dry run” of all of your belongings to ensure you don’t miss anything.
6. Q & A
Create a list of questions to ask the moving company during your survey. You will need these answers to help make your final decision.
Here are some examples:
- Are packing services included?
- How long have you been in business?
- How do you determine the cost?
- Do you charge by the hour or weight?
- Are there any extra fees I should know about, like for flights of stairs or the distance the moving truck is parked from the door?
- Is this a binding estimate? If the estimate is non-binding, you may end up with extra fees on moving day.
- Do you offer valuation coverage?
- Is your moving company licensed and insured?
- Are your movers employees or “freelancers?”
- Are your movers background checked and drug tested?
- Do you offer climate-controlled storage?
- Do you own your own trucks?
- What happens if the weather is bad?
RED FLAG: If you do not receive an immediate “YES” to your question as to whether a moving company performs a criminal background check and drug screening on their movers, do not do business with them.
7. Decision Time
Consider these additional questions to ask yourself after the survey is complete:
- Did the moving company representative arrive on time?
- Was the representative dressed professionally?
- Did they wear a company identification badge or logo attire?
- Was the representative polite?
- Did they answer all your questions or make arrangements to get you the answers?
- Were you given copies of important documents?
- Did they provide you with an estimate in a timely manner or better yet, before leaving your home?
Your moving company representative should be knowledgeable, prompt, and professional. If you have any concerns about your in-home estimate, contact your moving company directly.
8. Don’t stress, trust your preparation!
Getting an in-home estimate, along with the dozens of other moving tasks, can feel overwhelming. When finding the best moving company for your needs, preparation goes a long way. If you feel unsure about any element of your move, ask questions. In the end, choose the moving company that makes you feel confident going into moving day.