How to assess International Moving estimates & quotations

Posted on March 6, 2019

In this blog we look at everything you need to know in order to accurately assess a number of international moving quotations and estimates.

Generally an international moving quotation has four key criteria:

  • the services being offered
  • the estimated volume or weight on which the price is being based
  • the rate, or cost per unit (which is normally either volume or weight)
  • the costs that are included and excluded

So lets break these 4 criteria down, and look at what really needs to be assessed in an international moving quotation:

The Services on Offer:

Generally what most clients look for in an international move is a full “door to door” service which includes export packing, removal, transport by land/sea/air to the destination country, customs formalities upon arrival, delivery unloading and unpacking in the new residence.

However, by dispensing with some services, the price can be reduced dramatically, for example clients may choose to pack and unpack themselves, or they may opt to collect their consignment from the port instead of having a full delivery service. A good Mover will offer a variety of options depending on a clients needs.

The estimated volume or weight

This is sometimes a big bone of contention, as the price you pay is based on the volume (if by sea freight), or weight (if sent by air freight) – the volume or weight that you see on the quotation is only an estimate and therefore final charges will be based on the final packed and measured volume/weight. So be aware of this when you’re looking at quotations, because the lowest price, maybe based on the lowest estimated volume/weight and in fact you may have a nasty surprise when packing is completed.

The price per unit

This is a key area of the quotation and one that will give you a very good indication on the competitiveness of the Mover. For sea freight consignments charges are based on volume – general a cubic foot (CUFT) or a cubic meter (CBM), consignments going by air freight are based on weight, pounds (LBS) or kilos (KGS). Generally, the lowest rate per unit (for example $10 per CUFT, or £6.5 per Kg) will offer the best value for money, on the basis that the quotes are comparing apples with apples in terms for services, which brings us onto the final criteria – inclusions and exclusions.

The costs that are included and excluded

Of course nobody wants to read the small print, but the reality is that not all International Movers offer the same services, some will not pack, some will provide only a partial packing service, whereas others will will do a full export service. some will chose a direct shipping service, others will price based on the slow boat that makes multiple stops en route. Most will include all the tangible expenses relating to customs clearance, but not many will include an taxes or duties that are payable. And the list goes on and on.

So in summary, read and re-read the Moving estimations and quotations that you have collated, cheapest on paper doesn’t necessarily mean cheapest at the end of the day