Avoid Being Scammed by Online Moving Quotes

Asha Kennedy
Sep 01, 2022
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These days, plenty of the industry’s most reputable moving companies will offer free moving estimates (or quotes) for long-distance moves using an online tool. However, it’s important to understand that instant moving quotes are great for getting a general ballpark—but that’s probably about it. You’ll definitely want to do more digging if you want to know exactly how much your move will cost. We’re here to help make sure you understand the facts so you can make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Here’s what you should know:

Online moving quotes are not always accurate

We’ve mentioned that online instant quoting tools are pretty common now, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. And they’re fantastic for those of us that have never hired professional movers and have no idea what to expect. Using a few basic parameters (like when you plan to move and how much furniture you have, for example), most tools can provide an approximate price range for your moving services.

Unfortunately, though, getting an online estimate leaves a lot of room for error. Because of this, you’ll definitely want to be wary of a mover asking you to sign on the dotted line after receiving an instant quote. Any reputable mover will provide a virtual or in-person survey before providing a firm estimate.

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See what other people pay for their moves

While it’s important to get moving quotes from different companies, it’s also a good idea to see what others have paid for their moves. At Move.org, we’ve asked people to share their moving stories, the services they’ve used, and their quotes and final costs. Take a look at these moving quotes from real customers using Allied Van Lines, International Van Lines, and United Van Lines.

Follow up with a virtual (or in-home) survey

Well-established moving companies will usually follow up with you after you’ve requested an instant online quote, and this is a great time to schedule a survey for a more in-depth analysis of your move. These days, you can complete most surveys virtually using video-conferencing software. However, you can always have someone physically come out to your home, too. And the best part? It’s usually free!

Bottom line: once a salesperson has surveyed and inventoried your home, you’ll receive the most accurate moving estimate a company can provide.

Understand your moving estimate

When trying to avoid hidden fees and overpaying, it is important to understand the difference between the two types of estimates, binding and nonbinding. A binding estimate guarantees the total moving cost, while a non-binding estimate approximates what it will cost. If a company surveys your home in advance, it’s more likely it will be able to provide a binding estimate. Shy away from companies that offer non-binding estimates, especially if they’ve never performed an in-home survey.

Choose estimates by weight

Another tip? Make sure the company bases your final estimate on weight, not cubic feet. When a moving company charges by weight, it is obligated by law to provide proof of weight. It has no obligation to provide evidence of how many cubic feet it’s transporting.

Get multiple quotes before committing

Whether using an online estimating tool or receiving an in-home survey, we strongly recommend getting more than one quote before committing to a mover. This gives you a good idea of each company’s level of professionalism so you can ask questions and identify red flags more easily—like if a mover refuses to perform an in-home survey or asks for a large upfront deposit.


The best moving companies are not looking to scam you into paying more with their online quote tools, but it’s really important to remember that they are only there to give you a basic idea of what you should plan to pay for a professional move. And while ballpark estimates are wonderful for the early planning stages, it’s essential to get a complete estimate (from more than one company) based on the results of an in-home survey to find out exactly how much you’ll need to pay for your move. Good luck!

Asha Kennedy
Written by
Asha Kennedy
Asha Kennedy is a researcher and content writer who brings almost 5 years of experience working directly with multiple carriers as a Move Coordinator, including Mayflower, United, and Allied International. During her career, she has successfully partnered with diverse clientele to coordinate Military, International, Interstate and Corporate relocations—and uses this experience to create meaningful and educational content for future movers! Asha graduated from Hampton University with honors in English. Asha enjoys being in nature, reading books, and learning new things.