Moving Estimates: What You Need to Know

Decoding moving company estimates

Moving to a new home is exciting, but there are many things to take care of to make sure the process goes smoothly. One of those tasks is hiring a moving service.  

No matter which company you pick, the goal is to move your things from one place to another. So, all moving quotes should look the same, right? Not exactly.  

Long-distance moving estimates can be complicated if you’re unsure how the company figures pricing and handles quotes. Let’s look at how to get a quote, estimate types and what they mean for your move.  

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How to request a quote 

When you’re ready to figure out your moving price, here are the common ways to get a cost estimate: 

Online quote

Online quotes typically use space estimators to determine the equipment size you might need. You can base these on the size of your home, or you may need to fill out a form listing the items you plan to move. U-Pack® offers free online quotes based on home size.


Many companies will give an estimate over the phone. This call can take a while since you may have to inventory your home’s contents verbally. Some companies might offer a hybrid option where you start the quoting process online and then call to get a price.  

U-Pack also provides pricing over the phone. It’s just as easy as our online quote option — just tell us your move dates and home size!  

In-home meeting

Some companies, especially full-service movers, require an in-home visit to provide a quote. During the visit, a company representative will walk through the home with you to estimate the weight of items. They will also check for tight doorways and staircases that might add to the cost.

Virtual (or video)

In a virtual meeting, you'll connect with an agent through a video call and show them around the home to receive an estimate. You might also be able to record a video and send it to the moving company. 

Types of moving estimates 

Most companies estimate moving costs in one of these ways: 

Binding moving estimate

A binding contract means you agree to pay a set price based on the proposed weight of your belongings. If you agree and sign the contract, the rate won’t change. This means if the movers overestimated the weight of your things, you might pay more than the shipment's actual weight.

Binding-Not-to-Exceed agreement

This estimate is also called "guaranteed-not-to-exceed." Like a binding estimate, you agree to a price based on the projected weight of the shipment. If it weighs more, you won’t pay more. However, if the shipment weighs less, the rate will decrease to reflect the actual weight. 

Equipment-based quote

With an equipment-based quote, you pay to rent the moving equipment rather than get a price based on the weight of your stuff. This is common with rental trucks, and it’s also how U-Pack handles pricing.  

U-Pack will provide a price for equipment based on the size of your home. You only pay for the space used in a 28’ moving trailer (down to a minimum of 5 linear feet) or the number of ReloCube® moving containers used.  

Non-Binding contract

A non-binding agreement means the moving cost might go up or down based on the final weight of your belongings.

What else should I know about moving quotes? 

Before signing any contracts, it's essential to understand what's included. U-Pack recommends requesting pricing 1-2 months before the moving date to allow plenty of time to make plans. 

Here are some questions you’ll want answered: 

  • What type of contract is it? (Binding, Binding-Not-to-Exceed, Non-Binding, etc.) 
  • What services are included in the price? (Additional services like loading,
    packing supplies, etc.) 
  • Does the price include taxes (if applicable)? 
  • Are there any extra fees? (For example, credit card processing fees.) 
  • Is liability coverage included? 
  • How long is the quote valid? 
  • What is the cancellation policy? 

Learn how to read your U-Pack moving quote.

Get your long-distance moving estimate

U-Pack makes it easy to request a free quote online. Our prices are all-inclusive, and you’ll only pay for the space you use. If you have any questions about moving estimates or how U-Pack works, don't hesitate to ask in the comments. You can also call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak with a helpful moving consultant.