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The Inherent Bias in Moving Price Estimates

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When you’re looking to move, the last thing you want is to be blindsided by a huge bill that you didn’t expect. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens far too often in the moving industry. Why? Because of the way that moving companies structure their pricing.

On every move in the history of the household goods moving industry, when a mover is contacted to offer an estimate, a salesperson schedules an appointment with the customer to meet onsite. The salesperson is incentivized by commission that is based on the price. So, how can you be sure to get the best price? The answer is simple: do your own research beforehand and know what to expect.

Read on to learn more about the inherent bias in moving price estimates, and what you can do to avoid being taken advantage of.

How Moving Companies Structure Their Pricing

Most moving companies structure their pricing in a way that gives them a built-in advantage. Here’s how it works: when a potential customer contacts a moving company for an estimate, a salesperson is sent out to the customer’s home or office to survey the space and assess how much capacity will be necessary to perform the move. This survey is what ultimately determines the price of the move.

The problem is that these salespeople are incentivized by commission, which means that they have a vested interest in giving you a higher estimate. In other words, the salesperson has every incentive to inflate the price as much as possible. And, unfortunately, there’s no easy way for customers to verify whether or not the salesperson is being truthful about the size of the move. As a result, many people end up paying far more than they should for their move.

What You Can Do To Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by these unscrupulous moving companies. First and foremost, make sure to get multiple estimates before selecting a mover. This will help ensure that you’re getting a fair price. Secondly, ask questions! If something doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification. Finally, remember that you are the customer—you are in control. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision that you’re not comfortable with.

The Inherent Bias in Moving Price Estimates

The Benefits of an On-Site Appraisal

When it comes to moving, one of the most important factors is getting an accurate estimate of the cost. After all, no one wants to be hit with hidden fees or be surprised by the final bill. That’s why an on-site appraisal is so important. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of an on-site appraisal:

1. You’ll get an accurate estimate.

When you meet with a representative from the moving company on-site, they’ll be able to take a look at everything that needs to be moved and give you a more accurate estimate. This is opposed to getting an estimate over the phone or online, which can often be inaccurate.

2. You’ll have peace of mind.

Once you’ve received your estimate and know how much the move will cost, you can rest assured knowing that there won’t be any hidden fees or surprises down the line. This will help reduce stress and make for a seamless move.

3. You can ask questions.

During your on-site appraisal, you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the move. This is a great opportunity to get to know your moving company and learn more about the process.

How to Get the Best Price on a Mover

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you get the best price possible on your next move:

1. Get quotes from multiple movers.

This will give you a good idea of what the going rate is for movers in your area. Don’t just go with the first mover you contact; get at least three quotes so you can compare prices.

2. Know what services you need.

Do you need packing services? Do you need storage? The more services you require, the higher the price will be. Figure out exactly what services you need before getting quotes from movers so you can compare apples to apples.

3. Be flexible with your dates.

If you have some flexibility in when you move, try to avoid moving during peak periods like summer or during major holidays. Movers are typically busiest during these times, so prices will be higher. Moving during off-peak periods will likely save you money.

4. Do your own packing.

Packing is one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive parts of moving, so it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the most expensive parts of hiring a mover. If you’re willing to do your own packing (and unpacking), you can save a lot of money. Just be sure to pack properly and label all your boxes so nothing gets lost in the move!

The Inherent Bias in Moving Price Estimates

By doing your research and knowing what to expect, you can be sure to get the best possible price on your next move.


Moving can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking the time to educate yourself about common industry practices, you can avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous moving companies.

Remember: you are in control.

Get multiple estimates, ask lots of questions, and don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision that you’re not comfortable with. With these tips in mind, you can ensure that your next move is as stress-free as possible.