1. Getting a price quote over the phone or from the Internet: One of the most common and potentially disastrous mistakes consumers make is accepting a moving quote given without a visual survey of the consumer’s goods being conducted first.  Most reputable national moving companies won’t do this even if asked to by the consumer.  Any quote given without a visual survey is a “non-binding” quote…meaning, the moving company is not obligated to honor the price.  If you accept a moving quote given over the phone or the internet, you are setting yourself up for a nasty scenario when the mover shows up at your new home and demands more money, sometimes up 2 to 3 times more.
  2. Waiting too long to line-up a mover: Allowing time for a visual survey of your household goods, receiving a written and binding moving quote, and reserving a truck for your move typically takes a total of 4-6 weeks.  Although a state-to-state move can be arranged in a shorter period of time, many consumers find that their choices are limited by availability, especially in the busy summer months.  In the current real estate market many homes are taking longer to sell, but once sold are closing very quickly.  The time to obtain estimates for your move is before your home sells so that you are prepared when it does.
  3. Misrepresenting what you are moving: It is very important to show the surveyor or estimator everything you are planning to move.  If you forget to show items in the basement, garage, attic, or off-site storage unit and then add those items at time of pick-up, your moving estimate will no longer be binding.  In the same vein, if you commit to packing your own items but don’t have time to finish, the mover will pack your items and charge you for the service.  If you are uncertain of whether you will be taking something or are not sure if you will have time to pack everything, ask the surveyor to include the items or service in the estimate.  If you decide not to take something, or do not require the packing, the cost will be adjusted downward.
  4. Paying a deposit up-front: Reputable moving companies do not ask for payment up-front to reserve trucks or dates.  This is a classic red flag in moving.  A reputable mover will expect payment upon delivery of your household goods to your new home.
  5. Choosing a moving company based on price rather than reputation and service: If a mover quotes you a price that is significantly lower than other movers, it is likely that you are being “low-balled.”  If a surveyor has underestimated your weight in order to give you a lower price, you may find on moving day that the moving truck does not have enough room for all of your belongings.  This is called an “overflow,” which means that your items will not travel together, will not all arrive at the same time, and will generally just cause you a big hassle.  Another way to lower cost is to compromise service.  Look for a competitive bid from a professional mover who is certified and reputable.  Although price is an important factor, don’t base your decision on price alone.