Getting accurate moving quotes can help you manage your moving costs, especially for international moves. In order to help understand your moving expenses we recommend you get 3 free moving estimates, each from reputable moving companies. You should understand the services quoted and compare those cost between each estimate to fairly evaluate each quote. Some movers will quote all cost associated with the move, these costs cover the door to door services. Other movers may only show you your origin cost in order to win the business, then the spring on the destination cost after they’ve booked the order. Be cautious of movers operating solely on the internet because many don’t have true processes, moving resources, or good intentions and may mislead you with their pricing.

How is moving cost calculated?

Many factors are considered when quoting an international move, such as weight, distance, customs fees, origin/destination fees, port fees, and insurance. In this blog, we will focus simply on the two most common ways we calculate transportation cost for international moves.  These costs are factored are by weight or volume (Cubic Feet). Most experienced international moving companies factor their transportation cost based on weight as it is easier to understand than by volume. At Dewitt Worldwide, we only calculate costs based on weight for one simple reason: it gives our customers a clear understanding of what their transportation costs are based on.

To clarify how weights are determined, we have listed below tools and methods on how we calculate the weights on a household goods shipment. A quote is only as good as the information provided to the moving company representative at the time of the survey. Lack of clarity on items being shipped can lead to a poor quote costing you more money than has been budgeted for. Shipments are only weighed on State certified scales, which are monitored by the Department of Weights and Measurements for their accuracy.

Weights are a clear method of measurement and scales don’t lie. This is why we feel that quotes generated by weight are favorable to the moving public and should never be quoted based on volume alone.  Federal regulations require all legal movers to provide consumers with a free in-home survey; if your mover won’t do this you should not give them the business. There are valid reasons why a survey might be impractical or not possible, in those cases there are acceptable alternatives to those situations which are effective in developing an accurate quote.  We have listed those methods below.

  • Technology with embedded weight averages provides generalized weights on items being shipped. This information can then be used to generate your quote.
  • Technology such as handheld devices like the Apple I Pad, tablets or computers help list by room all furniture and cartons being moved. This information can then calculate the weight of your shipment allowing your mover to accurately provide you with a moving quote.
  • Phone surveys are common but not recommended as they require the customer to communicate by phone all the items in their home being moved. To ensure an accurate assessment, it is highly recommended that a trained professional physically conduct a site survey to make sure items aren’t overlooked to avoid an inaccurate survey of weight being shipped.
  • Recent technology utilizing video surveys allows a professional to view a customer’s household goods from an offsite location to accurately determine weights. This technology has proven to be beneficial as it allows a moving company to see items being shipped generally at a time that is most convenient for our customers.
  • Lastly, customers may be asked to complete a cube sheet checking all items in their home to be shipped. This method can be risky as it factors the results based on the accuracy of the customer’s assessment of their goods to be shipped. This is normally used to create a generalized quoted but should be verified prior to booking the move to avoid unexpected increases in moving costs.

Volume pricing is a risky proposition for the moving public.  The estimated volume may differ from the actual volume as the final charges have a direct correlation with the skill set of the crew loading the shipment.  The following points illustrate clearly how your final bill can be affected if these factors come into play.

  • If crew on loading has little experience properly loading the household goods into the container, you could pay far more as it takes up more volume/cube.
  • Should your household goods not be disassembled and protected, they can easily take up additional space costing you more than expected if your quote is based on volume of cube.
  • Overprotecting of goods or poor utilization of packing materials can increase the volume of your shipment and subsequently costs as well.
  • Frankly, volume pricing is simply subjective. This provides the customer little or no control over the outcome of shipment volume, and can also result in costs which exceed a customer’s budget.

As mentioned before, there are many factors which go into pricing a move but none which has more impact on the budget than the transportation costs. This is the reason we strongly recommend only accepting quotes which have been based on the weight of your shipment and not on volume/cube and have been surveyed by a professional mover at no cost. Dewitt Worldwide provides free no obligation surveys which allow us to quote costs accurately. We would be happy to assist you with a free international relocation quote using only professionally qualified moving personnel.  We hope you find this information helpful as you begin the selection process for your next move. We also recommend the following organizations which we are members of: California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA), the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), and the International Movers Association (IAM) as helpful resources.

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