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Flat Rate Moving Quotes Explained

With all of the moving companies on the market these days, along with the many promises and pricing structures that those companies offer, it can be difficult to see just which one of them would be the best for you and your family when faced with the need to move. At the same time, from the moment you find out that you need to relocate to a new home, you will be tasked with finding the best mover of all of them to transport your things to your destination.

This is, perhaps, the most difficult aspect of the entire moving process, simply because there are so many moving scams throughout the industry these days. However, there are some tried and true methods of avoiding such problems, with one of the best being simply to hire flat rate movers rather than opting for the traditional quote and run method. To learn more about flat rate movers, read on, and see if these companies are the best solution to your relocation problems.

Pricing Problems Today

One of the biggest issues with moving companies and relocation in general these days falls within the realm of pricing, charges, and quotes for moving companies who work in your area and who offer the services that you are looking for. Sure, there are plenty of choices out there when it comes to hiring a mover, but at the same time, there are just as many moving scams. How do you know if you are hiring a company that will swindle you out of more money than you could possibly imagine? More importantly, how do you avoid falling into that trap?

How Movers Charge

Some movers today charge hourly fees. Generally, these movers only operate in the local area and will not move items to locations outside of a very small area of operations. Local moving companies are great if you are moving your things within the local area, but they generally won’t offer flat rate moving or binding moving estimates because of the nature of their work. They will, however, offer you a time estimation on how long the job should take, and if you’ve hired one with a good reputation, this is usually fairly dead on.

When you are speaking of long distance moving companies, who charge based on the weight of your goods, however, you are entering an entirely different arena. Because these long distance companies are less worried about their local reputation, these types of movers are involved in more scams than their local counterparts. For that reason, if for no other, getting a flat rate moving quote or hiring specifically flat rate movers will save you money and heartache in the long run.

What is a Flat Rate Move?

It can be confusing to look at a bunch of long distance moving companies and try to pick out those who offer flat rate moving. That’s because it’s quite possible that all of the movers on your list offer this as an option, you simply have to ask for it. Some moving companies call this service flat rate moving, but others simply refer to it as getting a written binding moving quote. So what is a binding moving quote? This is a legally binding quote for your move that takes all eventualities into account before stating a price that you will have to pay in order to hire their services. Such binding quotes include things like:

  • Insurance – A good binding estimate will already include a certain level of moving insurance coverage. If you want to purchase more, be sure to let the representative of the company know so that it can be included in a new draft of the binding contract.
  • Transportation – Regardless of the cost of fuel, your binding quote will account for the cost of driving the moving truck, full of your things, to your new home. This is the main reason behind quotes being good only for limited amounts of time.
  • Workers – The quote will always account for the workers who will be loading your things into the moving truck and then unloading them at the other end of the move.
  • Service Fees – Any additional fees that you will be responsible for will be included in the binding estimate so that there are no surprises at the other end of the move.

As you can see, a flat rate mover will make sure that all things are included in the contract that they give you. The reason behind this is quite simple; they are not allowed to exceed this price, so they want to make sure that they include everything and are not working at a loss when it comes time to actually move your things.


Just like with all things, there are legal disclaimers at the bottom of these binding, flat rate contracts. It is important, as a consumer, that you know what these disclaimers are and what kind of an effect they can have on you and your move.

  • 110% Rule: The 110% rule states that the movers can actually charge you ten percent over the moving estimate, even if it is in writing, to account for extras that weren’t present during the quoting process. Perhaps the most common of such charges includes stairs at the new home that weren’t made known, or other obstacles that movers may encounter. This 10% may also include fuel surcharges for spikes in the cost of fuel or any other fees not taken into account when the estimate was given.
  • Payment of the 10%: While most movers would have you believe that the money is completely due when your goods arrive, legally all you have to pay at that moment is the amount written on the moving contract. The other ten percent is due within the first 90 days following your move in day or delivery.
  • Unknown Costs: If you failed to tell your movers about the piano you were also moving, or some other costly venture, you won’t get out of paying for it just because it wasn’t included in the moving contract. On the contrary, if you present such issues on moving day, you can expect to pay an extra fee. It’s never good to hide things from the company representative when they arrive at your home to offer you a quote; the only way to ensure that it is valid is to be honest and up front.

Moving company representatives know what you ask when they arrive at your home to give you a flat rate moving quote, but some things do get missed. For their protection, they’ve included fine print on the contract. For your protection, make sure that you read the fine print and ask questions if you have them. It is in asking those questions that you will save yourself tons of headache and trouble.

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