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-> Moving estimates
Apr 26, 20:59
Question by Gayle Smith (Gayle Smith)

Moving estimates by cubic feet vs. moving estimates by pounds

I am moving from Santa Rosa, CA to Dallas, TX. What would be cheaper and to my advantage: a moving company that estimates by cubic foot or one using pounds? I got an on-site estimate by pound from one company, using 5,600 pounds (two-bedroom large apartment full of furniture). Another company says cubic feet is a better way to go and cheaper. Help!

Apr 26, 22:05
Answer by julie (Julie Owens)


First of all, let me tell you that offering estimates for long distance moves by volume (cubic feet) is illegal, and you should not hire a company that offers you that option.

Second, cubic feet are translated to pounds as 1 to 7 for household goods (it is an industry standard). Assuming that you in fact have 5,600 lbs then your shipment would take 800 cubic feet. Here is a typical scenario for moves that are closed by cubic feet:
  1. The movers come to your apartment and start loading the truck. The actual volume that your shipment will in fact occupy on the truck depends on how well the movers will load the truck (you will be surprised, but bad loading might result in increases of up to 20-30% in the volume it takes). In your case it might mean that your shipment will take around 1,000 cubic feet on the truck.

  2. After the movers arrive at the transitional storage they unload the shipment and store it on pallets until it is loaded on the interstate truck.

  3. When loaded on the interstate truck your shipment will be carefully positioned inside to take as little space as possible. In fact it will shrink back to around 800 cubic feet.
Bottom line - when dealing with cubic feet you have very little control over the final bill, and this method is number one tool for the moving scammers. Beware.

Weight estimates offer some comfort, since at least the weight of your shipment does not depend on how the truck is loaded (although there are ways to make it bigger then it really is, but its not as drastic as with the volume).

To protect yourself from all that trouble here is what I recommend you to do:
  1. Do not accept any estimates over the phone. Only sign with a company that sent a visual estimator to your house that gave you a written estimate based on the weight of all the items you plan to move.

  2. Do not close any deal based on variables, such as weight and volume, that might suddently change after the pick up. Your goal is to have a solid deal that is based on guarranteed price (also called flat, fixed or binding). Basically, you should agree with the company on a single price that you would pay them for your move, that will include all the services they will provide you with and the list of items that they will move for you.

  3. Don't give any deposits. Real company doesn't need it, they will have your items as a security for your payment.
Hope it helps.

Good luck with your move,

Julie Owens @

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