Tips to Relocating to Portland, Oregon


Type of Estimates From Movers

There are three major types of estimates you can get from a moving company.  Each of these has it's own advantages and disadvantages. 

1. Binding. The mover offers a guaranteed price.  Usually there is a small percentage of deviation for unforeseen circumstances.  The estimate is based upon a complete list of items to be moved and the amount of services to be performed.

2. Hourly Rate or Non-Binding. This is not an estimate at all.  It's basically a price list.  The rates are based upon the movers' previous experience of jobs similar to yours.

3. Not-To-Exceed. This quote is binding for the mover. The final price for the move cannot exceed the estimate figure.  If the move comes in under the estimated amount then you will end up paying the lesser price.  This is important for people who are on a very limited budget and need to know the absolute maximum cost involved.

According to the best estimate that you can get is the "not to exceed" estimate. Like binding estimates, "not to exceed" estimates are based upon an accurate and complete list of items that you expect to have moved.   In contract though, the "not to exceed" estimate gives you a little bit of leeway if you happen to decide on bringing extra items with you moving day.   Please note that all if all the extra items exceed the "not to exceed" estimate, you will be charged more.   If the final bill comes out to be lower than the estimate, you pay the lower price and nothing more.   If you get the Not-to-Exceed contract make sure to get it in writing.

One item to be aware of when dealing with a "not to exceed" estimates.  If the movers sees that the job will cost more than anticipated, they may try to cut corners on the packing of your items.  It's important for you to ask the movers how they will pack each item to try and prevent any corner cutting measures.  You may have done everything perfect but the movers still may have misjudged the estimate. 

Insurance for any type of move is essential.  By law, the movers must provide you with insurance. Get the best coverage for your items, depending on what they may be.  Movers will provide you with minimal coverage.  Here is an example of one way the insurance is evaluated in case of a loss.  If the movers damage your 200 pound dining room table the insurance might only cover a cost of 55 cents per pound.  So in this example you'll receive only $110 which could cost you hundreds of dollars.  Only items with damage visible to the naked eye will be insured.  Internal problems with electronics will not be recognized under the minimal coverage.  This is why if you need something protected you need to make sure you purchase additional insurance coverage.  Or if you're movers come with a great reputation than you might want to take that risk because but accidents do happen.

In general, not-to-exceed estimates are very popular for long distance moves, but not popular for local moves.   Long distance moves are mainly based on weight and distance and time is not much of an issue.  Whereas with small moves across town time is everything.  Typical problems such as heavy traffic and bad weather prevent local movers from offering you this type of estimate.