Moving Quoted by Space or Weight? What’s the Difference?

One of the most important issues moving shoppers have to deal with is having to choose a quote based on space (in CF) or weight (in lbs).

Both are legal and accurate under different circumstances, this article is in no way a suggestion to choose either method of quoting; it’s meant to help you make an educated decision for yourself.

Many believe there is not one definite system to choose; that by going either by cubic feet or poundage your price will not miraculously drop by hundreds of dollars and could save you a few bucks here or there tops…

That is not necessarily true.

How to know which is best for you?

First let’s clarify which is what…

Cubic feet (CF)

Means the space your belongings will occupy in the back of the truck. You can calculate the CF of an item by simply multiplying its height X width X length = actual cubic feet.

You will be told how many cubic feet you have with a revised estimate before the movers leave your house.

Note – some specific items may exceed their actual cubic feet due to the fact that it’s unsafe to stack on top of them (such items are pianos, motorcycles, and others…).

Pounds (lbs)

The weight of your belongings. This is determined at a federal scale station, after the movers have already loaded everything and left your house.

You will be given a federal weigh ticket stating exactly how many pounds you have.

It’s your legal right to be present at the scaling. And in case of a dispute – a re-scale will be done at a station in your destination.

So, now that we have a better understanding as to what each system represents – how does it apply to your move?? It comes down to two main aspects:

The estimate

It’s easier to provide an estimate based on CF. That is because there is an average measurement for furniture based on their volume. But it’s very unlikely to come up with an accurate estimate based on weight.

For example, if you told your potential mover that you have 40 boxes. Some have books, some have clothes, some have china. If you go by weight – one box will cost more than the other. If you go by CF – they all have the same volume, and therefore will cost you the same.

Same goes for a king size bed. No one will ask you if the headboard is made of wood, oak or metal – all king size beds will cost more or less the same, according to their size on the truck, which is similar in all king size beds.

With cubic feet – 4 dining chairs are 4 dining chairs; regardless if they’re made of plastic, wood or metal. The mover would know their size is 5 CF each, therefore 20 CF in total, nothing more.

Pickup day

It’s also important to keep in mind that with CF you will know the final price BEFORE the truck leaves your home. You get a revised visual estimate and the truck cannot leave your house without your approval. The space your items take on the truck is completely visible.

BUT with lbs, the company will load the truck, leave your house and head to the scale station, and only THEN you’ll know how much you’ll have to pay. This means you’re basically stuck with a bill you might not like, but have no choice but paying.

Our suggestion

Go with the company that makes you feel the most comfortable and gives you the most professional explanation as to how they came up with the cost of your move.
*** Disclaimer: this article is in no way a suggestion to choose one quoting method over the other. We’re merely presenting the information to help you make an informed decision.


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