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Preparing for Long Distance Move

 Preparation sign

Long distance moves require special preparations. 

The customer and the mover must have a full understanding of the tasks, time lines, budget and have open lines of communication from the time of getting a quote to the time shipment is delivered to new residence.

The following steps must be taking during long distance relocation:

  • On site estimate,
  • Getting an accurate binding estimate,
  • Understanding options that can help control the costs,
  • Selecting dates for packing, moving, and delivery,
  • Packing boxes,
  • Dis assembly of furniture,
  • Crating fragile items (carton or wooden crates available),
  • Taking written inventory of every item, each item gets a tag its number goes in the inventory form, and both you and mover sign the receipt of the items and their condition on the day of pick up,
  • Weighing the truck - calculating final and exact weight of the shipment,
  • Transportation of the shipment,
  • Keeping in touch with office and driver at all times,
  • Re assemble furniture, reconnect electronics&appliances,
  • Review items for any damages or missing items.

Some of the services may be added or done by you to control the cost of the move. Work with moving specialist to assist you in fitting the cost of relocation in your budget.

As long distance moves are calculated by weight (pounds) or size (cubic feet) of shipment and the distance to delivery location. It is important to get your shipment properly prepared. Exclude any heavy and over-sized articles that have no value. It is much cheaper to replace them than pay for their transportation.

Do not select a company strictly based on the low tariff (price per pound or per cubic foot). Most companies have just one tariff (based on weight or size). 

Choose a reputable company that uses a tariff that better suits your shipment. 

-  In case you have a large shipment that does not weigh all that mush, (6 lbs per cubic foot or less), you will definitely benefit by  choosing a company that uses a weight tariff. 

-  Shipment that is compact but heavy in weight (more than 8 lbs per cubic foot average) better to use a size tariff.  

-  The shipments with average 7 lbs per cubic foot (industry average) will not get a benefit of going size or pound, make no difference.  

Example: if your shipment (3 bedroom house) is estimated: 1,000 cubic feet of space, the weight should be 7,000 lbs, in this case there is no difference which tariff to use, just choose the mover with better reputation. 

When you order estimates make certain to get at least 2 estimates based on size and 2 based on weight. This will be your indicator of your shipments average weight per cubic foot.

Here is a simple formula: take the sum of the two weight based estimates and divide them by the sum of two size estimates. You will get an average weight per cubic foot of your shipment. 

Exapmple of three different cases:

Case A.

1st est.  - 6,750 lbs

2nd est. - 6,600 lbs

3d est.   - 920 c.f.

4th est.  - 860 c.f.

Case B.

1st est.  - 8,500 lbs

2nd est. - 8,800 lbs

3d est.   - 1,300 c.f.

4th est.  - 1,450 c.f.

Case C.

1st est.  - 12,380 lbs

2nd est. - 12,950 lbs

3d est.   - 1,860 c.f.

4th est.  - 1,750 c.f.

  1. Case A: (6,750 + 6,600 = 13,350 / 2) = 6,675; devide by (920 + 860 = 1,780 / 2) = 880 6,625 / 880 = 7.5 lbs/c.f.  In this case you should choose the cubic foot tariff.
  3. Case B: (8,500 + 8,800 = 17,300 / 2) = 8,650; deivde by (1,300 + 1,450 = 2,750 / 2) = 1,375; 8,650 / 1,375 = 6.3 lbs/c.f.  In this case a weight tariff is a better option.
  5. Case C: (12,380 + 12,950 = 25,330 / 2) = 12,665; devide by (1,860 + 1,750 = 3,610 / 2) = 1,805; 12,665 / 1,805 = 7.01 lbs/c.f.   this is an industry average weight per cubic foot.  In this case it makes no difference, which option you choose.


Once you are settled on the tariff that is best for you, interview a couple of more movers that use the tariff you prefer. 

A reputable mover is not necessarily the one with over 100 positive reviews all written in the past couple of years. A reputable mover has many years of experience and with no negative reviews/claims with Department of Transportation. As a rule of thumb, the companies with dozens of positive reviews are more likely to be overcompensating or in some cases covering serious, negative audits, claims or reviews by DOT agency.

The company that was easiest to reach through out the interview process and the one you have built the best report with is the company you should choose. Most likely they will be the ones to stay in touch with you and be easily available while your shipment is picked up and is in transit; or after shipment is delivered and you need to file a claim.

You need to familiarize yourself with as many people inside the company as possible. This way if you have critical questions and your representative is unavailable, there will be other persons that you know and can contact.

Test your mover by calling them on weekend. See if they even answer their phones. Leave them a message and see how long it will take for a call back.  


Lastly, ask two last candidates to provide you with names of a few references you can call. The one that passes the last test and you have the most comfort with should get your job.

Good luck.