How do moving companies estimate weight?

How do moving companies determine weight?
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Are you good at guessing? You are? Perfect. In this case, how much do you think your 3-cushion sofa weighs? 350 pounds? Bingo!

Want to play the ultimate guessing game in order to guesstimate how much each and every possession in your home weighs? If you’re moving house, those exceptional skills of yours can be really useful.

However, Weight Guessing is not a game professional movers enjoy too much. In order to give their customers an accurate price estimate, they need to have a weight estimate first. But how can they possibly know how much a person’s stuff weighs?

How do movers calculate weight? Do they do it with the help of some cutting-edge technology? Do they possess some kind of a secret weight estimating tool that only professional moves have access to? Or do they use some form of magic?

Well, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed to learn that the way moving companies determine weight is not only fairly simple but it can be rather boring too. Sorry, there are no breathtaking magic tricks involved!

How do moving companies estimate weight? Pre-move weight estimation

Want to really know how movers estimate shipment weight? Here’s what actually happens, more or less:

  • You get into contact with a few reputable cross country movers and request price estimates for the residential move ahead of you.
  • The top-rated movers you have contacted send to your home representatives of theirs whose primary job is to quote you a price.
  • To furnish you with moving quotes, the moving experts will first need to assess your relocation scenario in general by looking for possible problems come Moving day (narrow hallways, even narrower doorways, multiple flights of stairs, etc.).
  • Then, the moving companies representatives will take an inventory of all the items you intend to move and will calculate the overall weight of the shipment by using special furniture weight calculators (proprietary weight charts and weighing systems). Of course, the home surveyors will also rely heavily on their years of moving experience and professional judgment.
  • Based on the estimated total weight of your items and the move distance to your new home, you will be given a price quote by each representative. And then, it’s up to you to pick up the offer that best fits your moving budget and suits your requirements as a shipper of household goods.

In summary, during the initial period of price estimation, the weight of your household items will be calculated through the help of average weight values for household goods. For example, how much do you think your coffee table weigh?

What you think your coffee table weighs won’t really matter because until the moment your entire shipment can be weighed accurately (find more information below), your coffee table will be estimated to weigh around 35 pounds – the same as your vacuum cleaner. Also, your plasma TV will be roughly 70 lbs., your loveseat sofa – around 245 lbs., your refrigerator – around 315 lbs., your spinet piano – approximately 420 lbs., while your king size bed can reach the whopping weight of 490 lbs.

Move Advisor: Take advantage of this state-of-the-art mobile app that will help you calculate your shipment weight on-the-fly as you’re completing your virtual house inventory. Packed up with amazing features that will make your move even easier, the modern home inventory app is free for all iPhone and Android users.

How do moving companies determine weight? Moving day truck weighing

Since the cost of your cross country move will be determined by the total weight of your household items, that weight should remain only an estimated value. Instead, you must know exactly how much your stuff weighs so that you are certain that the moving company you have selected is not trying to rip you off.

How do movers calculate weight? According to the booklet Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move – issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation and supplied to you by your mover free of charge, your moving company must weigh your shipment on a certified scale once the moving truck has been loaded with your stuff. The truck weighing procedure can be done by using either origin weighing or destination weighing.

Origin weighing

If your moving company chooses to weigh your shipment at your pickup home, then:

  • The movers should weigh the vehicle before arriving at your place to load the items for moving. The resulted weight is known as the tare weight.
  • During that initial truck weighing, the vehicle will contain the standard moving equipment that will be used on moving day. If the truck has already been partially loaded with another person’s items, that’s fine – that fact will not change anything for you.
  • Once all of your household goods have been loaded inside the moving van, the movers will weigh the truck once more to determine the loaded weight. That new weight is called the gross weight.
  • The moment the two weight values are known, the net weight of your shipment can be calculated accurately by subtracting the tare weight from the gross weight.

This is nothing but simple math: net weight (your shipment weight) = gross weight (loaded weight) minus tare weight (truck weight before arrival)

Destination weighing

Sometimes the cross country moving company you have hired may choose to determine the weight of your shipment at your destination home.

  • Both weighing methods are approved by the law, and you shouldn’t worry which one your mover selects as neither of the methods will affect negatively the accuracy of the shipment weight.
  • In contrast to origin weighing, destination weighing is performed in reverse order, which basically means that your movers won’t be able to determine the exact charges before they have unloaded your items from the vehicle.
  • Once in the destination city, the movers will weigh the moving truck with your shipment still inside. This way, the gross weight will be determined before the truck reaches your destination home.
  • After your shipment has been unloaded, the movers must weigh the moving vehicle again to get the tare weight.
  • To obtain the net weight of your shipment, all they have to do is subtract the tare weight from the gross weight.

How to make sure your mover is not cheating you

Keep in mind that because the move distance remains a constant value, the shipment weight is one of the relocation aspects where a dishonest moving company could try to cheat their customers.

Of course, the best way for you to stay away from any possible attempts at relocation fraud is to find a reputable and experienced moving company that actually cares about their clients.

As long as the shipment weight is concerned, here’s what else you must know about the way movers calculate weight:

  • You have the right to observe in person all weighing instances of your shipment, and your moving company is required to give you a reasonable opportunity to be present there. Should you watch the weighing of a moving truck? Yes, if possible, you should do it. If you can’t do for lack of time or any other reason, then you can waive your lawful right to do so and choose to trust the mover.
  • Demand that you have your shipment weighed at a certified scale. Certified scales are regularly inspected for accuracy by the U.S. Government itself or a licensed agency. Say no if your mover wants you to waive your right to have the shipment weighed upon a certified scale. It comes down to protecting your hard-earned money, so be firm about this.
  • Your moving company is required to get a separate weight ticket for each weighing, and present the true copies of those weight tickets to you as proof.
  • The truck driver and all other members of the moving team are required to be off the vehicle while the moving vehicle is being weighed. Also, the fuel tanks of the truck must be full during the weighing instances, and the driver cannot add more fuel when the tare weighing has already been performed.

There are several good ways for you to make sure you never fall victim to a moving scam. Which are the most common moving scams and how to stay safe when moving house? Read all about this important topic here.

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