Understanding Tariff rates
This is what confuses a lot of people. The actual rates that moving companies charge are regulated by the government. They all use the same rates and the same formula.The tricky part is understanding that nobody actually charges or expects you to pay this rate. Since the rates are already set, the moving companies charge based on a discount of the actual tariff rate. In most areas of the country, the going charges are 50% of the tariff rate, plus packing and materials.
When hiring a mover, negotiate the discount to at least 50% off of the tariff. (Yes – pay no more than half). This is the “going” rate in most parts of the country. If you can’t get at least 50% off, call another mover. Watch out for scams/false promotions. A lot of the moving companies obtain their leads from Realtors. There is usually a quid pro quo here. They tend to try and obtain business for each other, or sometimes just pay for the leads. A common scam, and one I’ve seen quite often, is the moving company representative telling a homeowner that if they list their home with a particular Realtor or real estate company, that they are entitled to a 50% discount off of their moving expenses.
Now that you know about tariff rates, I’m sure you can see how ridiculous this is. You should get 50% off of the Tariff rate anyway! Not to long ago, I spoke with a homeowner who had just listed his home with another Realtor, and at a higher fee than normal. Since I happened to know that not only was the fee excessive, but that he also had managed to find the worst Realtor in town. (I didn’t tell him the second part – I do have some class.), I couldn’t help but ask why he had chosen that Realtor at such an excessive rate.
He explained that because of a special deal between the moving company and the Realtor, he would now get 50% off of his moving expenses. Instead of $9000, he would only have to pay $4500. He felt that the extra savings, more than offset the higher brokerage fee, and definitely made it worthwhile for him to use that company. He actually thought himself quite shrewd for finding this “great deal”. (In case you are wondering? Yes – after I hung up the phone I was laughing my head off)
This is often where an extra profit is made by a moving company. Keep in mind that there are somewhat different laws in some states, but as a general rule, most moving companies are only responsible for 50-60 cents per pound. Not very much when you think about it. This is why it is important to take the additional insurance that is offered. But be careful here. Most people buy – and pay for way too much. Many people spend an additional $1000 or more to insure everything, when in fact, $200 worth of insurance is usually more than enough.
The average household will move 8000-12000 pounds, so when filling out the forms, the moving company will offer you a replacement policy for the entire load. This usually includes a dollar amount based on the value of the entire shipment, and this is what most people pay for. but think about it. What are the odds of a moving company breaking every single thing you own. It’s not possible. Most people over buy and over pay for insurance. Unless you are moving some very expensive items or priceless antiques, buy no more than $10,000 worth of additional coverage. That should more than cover any possible damages.