How To Identify And Avoid A Lowball Estimate From Movers

How To Identify & Avoid Lowball Estimate From Movers
Summary: Wondering how to identify and spot a lowball estimate from movers, there are signs to signal rogue movers. To help you avoid moving scams and hiring the wrong movers, we'll tell you how to spot lowball moving estimates and avoid that trap.

The best way to identify and avoid a cheap estimate from movers is to make effort to research your prospective moving company to be legitimate, reputable and not based on cost.

If you want a smooth move, you need to find out how to identify and avoid moving scams. You need to prioritize this for your safety. One of the means to get this done is by knowing the biggest warning signal of them all – the lowball moving estimate.

With a lot of movers around, one can simply come across a rogue moving company that is ready to offer you a lowball estimate. These estimates are meant to draw you with a false sense of safety, just to hit you with the actual price at the final phase of the move, totally surpassing your budget.

So, when you receive estimates from many moving companies and see a ridiculously lower estimate than others, you may want to accept it. Selecting a moving company based on just the price can, however, be a deadly moving mistake.

So, for you to get help in avoiding making such mistakes, we’ll reveal to you how to identify these lowball moving quotes and hire a legitimate moving company instead. Let’s get it rolling.

What is a Lowball Moving Estimate?

A lowball moving estimate is a significantly low moving quote gotten from a moving company, attracted by the ridiculously cheap price (that is often too good to be considered true), unsuspecting people may take this offer and hire the moving company. This is one of the popular types of relocation scams – dishonest moving companies make significantly low offers to attract unsuspecting customers and then maybe go away with the deposit or add more charges for extra services, unforeseen encounters during the move, and so on.

The moving contract is signed already and you can’t start looking for another moving company, so the customers are left with no choice but to pay the toughest price (can even be twice the actual quote). In a different case, a lowball moving estimate may identify incompetent moving companies, those that offer ridiculously low moving quotes may not be adequately licensed and/or sufficiently insured, may not have the relevant moving equipment, may not offer specialized relocation services, and so on.

Cheap moving labor may also imply that the moving companies are not properly trained professionals and don’t have the relevant skill and experience needed to offer a smooth and efficient move.

How to Identify a Lowball Moving Estimate

To protect your move from moving scams, you need to be able to identify a lowball moving estimate. Below is what to search for:

1. Moving that is not binding

One thing you have to know when you are requesting for moving estimate is that there are various types of moving estimates. You can either go for binding or non-binding estimates. What then is the difference between them? Well, when you receive binding estimates, it implies that you will pay the actual amount you get quoted. On the contrary, non-binding moving estimates provide the moving company an opportunity to add more charges in the future. So, when you are getting quotes, ensure you receive non-binding ones to prevent being scammed by lowball moving estimates from movers.

2. The movers don’t check your shipments

Did the moving company send its agent to your house and check all of your shipments in person? Did they ask to access your shipments via video or photos? If no, then you may be working with a rogue moving company and a lowball moving estimate. Know that any moving estimates received via the phone are completely not accurate. After all, how can a mover quote you an accurate estimate when they are yet to see your belongings physically?

Together with assessing the quantity and weight of your items, professional moving companies will possibly ask about stairs, parking rules, elevators, and other issues that may affect the overall estimate.  

3. Movers that don’t ask for your moving details

If a company cannot send an agent to your home, then this option can bridge the gap to get a moving quote online. A moving company cannot provide an accurate and real estimate without understanding the specifics of the move.

Two factors can affect the overall price – not only the moving distance and the number of bedrooms you plan to move – so the moving company needs to find out the entire details of your move to provide an accurate quote (the quantity and type of belongings you have to move, the specifics involved with the pick-up and delivery points (stairs, parking rules, the layout of the property, elevators, physical obstacles, and so on), any unique requirements you may have, and so on). If the moving company provides you a lowball quote without asking a lot of questions about your relocation, you should run from them.     

4. You are only quoted over the phone

Another way to prevent lowball estimates for your move is to stay away from moving companies that only quote you via the phone. This is one other thing that the moving companies can do to get the opportunity to charge you more later.

On the other hand, if you received written estimates, you can be more certain that the estimated price is exactly what you are paying. If you are only quoted on the phone, you won’t have any evidence to show if things go south. Therefore, it would be difficult for you to file a complaint or anything of that kind because it will only be your work against the moving companies.

How to Avoid Lowball Estimates

Luckily for you, there are lots of things you can do to prevent being overcharged on your move:

  • Get recommendations and references: The best way to locate a reputable moving company is to seek verbal recommendations. So, ask your friends and family for advice or make use of the social networks and neighborhood forums to gather opinions and feedback from those who have moved recently. You can find out reputable websites such as Moving Feedback, Yelp, and others for genuine reviews from old customers of various movers. A moving company that promised or charged more than normal will have a lot of negative reviews and low-star ratings.
  • Properly research movers: Make sure you research all movers you are considering as possible partners –check their online profiles (media pages, websites, and so on), find out their licensing information, complaint histories, BBB ratings, and so on.
  • Be careful of warning signals of moving fraud: No certain information about the moving company, bad customer reviews, invalid USDOT and MC numbers, no on-site inspection and no question specific to your move, often low moving estimates, huge deposits, blank, wrong or incomplete paperwork, insurance problems, and so on.
  • Obtain quotes from many reputable companies and request for on-site moving estimates: Get quotes from 3-4 top-rated movers (so you can better understand the idea of the median price of your move) and get on-site binding written estimates;
  • Obtain accurate relocation estimates: when a moving company agent comes to your home to inspect the belongings you plan to move, make sure you:
  • Give them complete and clear information and show them all you want to move, identify specialty items that need special handling, focus on possible challenges and obstacles, and so on.
  • Talk about the specifics of your relocation: any needed additional services, insurance options, special requirements, possible extra charges, pick-up and delivery dates and times, and so on.
  • Gather as much information about the moving company as possible and ask all your questions (also check: questions to ask moving companies). Ensure you collect everything in writing from your movers.
  • Check the moving companies’ paperwork: Immediately you compare the moving offers (price, services, special requirements, and so on) and pick out the best moving company for you, read through the document (inventory list, bill of lading, valuation addendum, and so on) to determine if you clearly understand and agree with its contents. Find out if the details of your move are indeed properly stated in your moving agreement and make sure you don’t sign any or incomplete paperwork.

Read 7 Things To Know Before Hiring National Moving Companies

What Other Warning Signals Should I Watch Out For?

Lowball moving estimates are only one of the numerous warning signals to know when hiring a mover is not genuine. Other popular warning signals to look out for include:

  • The mover is not appropriately licensed or insured
  • The moving company ask for up-front payment
  • The mover seems unprofessional. They may not have a business address, business moving truck, online presence, and/or business cards. They also may arrive late to your home and show off other rude behavior.
  • The moving contract (bill of lading) appears fake
  • The moving company doesn’t provide the written document.
  • The moving company’s reviews are not positive or no review at all. The moving company may also be known for customer complaints. To check the complaint history of a moving company, check the Better Business Bureau or verify their USDOT number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  • The contract doesn’t have the option to select valuation coverage

Read Guide: How To Find The Best Movers


If a moving company gives you a lowball moving estimate, you should be alert – something is likely wrong. You may want to check other companies – to make sure your move is smooth, successful, with great experience. You need to take the price and reliability of the moving company into consideration, together with the quality of their service. A higher moving estimate by an insured, licensed and trustworthy mover may save you in the end (including time and efforts). Smartly select and safeguard your move.

This guide on identifying lowball moving estimates from state to state moving companies will be useful for you. Just don’t forget to be alert and always research your movers and other offers. Immediately you have a conclusion and understand the warning signals to check, you are ready.  Check Get Online Moving Quotes For Your Move