Kayla Coco-Stotts
November 10, 2021
Article type:
Understanding Bailey's Moving
Applies to:
All Moving

The Virtual vs In-Home Estimate: What's The Ideal Scenario for Each?

You’re going to have a lot of options to consider once you’ve decided to move. Who’s going to move your stuff? When are you going to move? How are you going to get everything to your new place?

This early decision-making process is where many choose to schedule estimates with a few moving companies so they can better understand pricing and timing. Customers have the option to conduct these estimator appointments either in person or virtually via phone or video conference.

The type of estimate you choose does impact the written estimate. As such, it’s good to know which estimate is best for most scenarios.

Let’s Cover the Basics

A moving company’s written estimate is your all-inclusive guide to everything you should expect to pay for a move. It includes a lot of information, such as:

  • Whether it’s binding or non-binding, which affects your final cost.
  • Your liability coverage and all its charges.
  • Transportation costs.
  • Storage fees and recurring costs, If applicable.
  • Deposits, taxes, and any additional fees.
  • Any additional services you may have requested, such as packing services and additional stops.

You will receive this estimate after meeting with an estimator. During this meeting, you’ll cover everything you want the movers to transport, when you’d like to move, and where you’ll be moving to. The estimator’s job is to take that information and tell you what it’s going to cost for their company to transport your household goods.

You can elect to meet with an estimator in one of two ways: in-person or virtually.  

In-Home Estimates

In-person estimator appointments involve you touring them around your current space and pointing out anything you think they should take note of. They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the volume of household goods and the preference of the estimator.

Virtual or Phone Estimates

Virtual estimator appointments take place over the phone or on a video conferencing platform. You can still tour estimators around your space, showing them just as you would if they were there. However, since the screen or description doesn’t always convey things accurately, estimators usually request additional photos and documentation on the specifics.
These meetings tend to take a bit longer than in-person appointments but usually last no longer than an hour and some change.

How Do I Evaluate Which Moving Estimate I Should Go With?

Every move is different, and every customer’s specific circumstances influence their whole move. To best determine what kind of estimate is right for you, ask yourself a few questions before scheduling your initial meeting.

Just How Big Is Your Move?

When figuring out the specifics of your move, ask yourself just how much needs to happen to get you to your destination. If you have a lot of stuff that needs packing, or if you think you’re going to need a few add-on services, then an in-person estimate should be the way to go. It’s always easier for estimators to get you accurate estimates if they can see everything you’re going to need transporting.

On the other hand, if you’re planning a relatively small move or moving things that have already been packed and prepped, an estimator will likely be able to accurately quote you after a virtual appointment.

How Simple Will It Be to Get from Point A to Point B?

In the same vein, the distance your shipment travels matters when you’re considering an initial walkthrough. The further the household goods must go, the more complex the move will be.

Most local moves can be accomplished in a single day, but interstate moves take an average of 7-21 days to arrive. If you’ve got an interstate or international move coming up, in-person estimator appointments should be your preferred choice. It’ll ensure your written estimate and shipment delivery spread are as accurate as possible.

Where Are You in Relation to Your Origin Location?

Arguably the biggest factor in determining how you’ll meet with your estimator is just where you’re located relative to your household goods. If you’re nowhere close to the origin location, then a virtual estimate ensures you’re still able to contact your estimator.

Commonly, customers will arrange moves for family members in another state. Virtual estimator appointments allow everyone involved in the moving process to be on the same page.

How Many Times Have You Used Movers?

No matter what, moving is stressful. But the first move is always the most confusing. If this is your first time using a moving company, then an in-person estimate is exactly what you should go for. You’ll be able to meet your moving team, ask any questions that come to mind, and point out everything that gives you pause.

On the flip side, if this isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to movers, then maybe you’d like to go for an estimate over the phone. This is especially true if you’re moving with a company you’ve worked with in the past. If you’ve already got a pretty good idea of what’s in your move, chances are it won’t be too complicated for your movers either.

How Do I Evaluate Which Moving Estimate I Should Go With?

Determining which estimate option is the best for your situation is all about taking some time to consider what you want and how comfortable you are with the specifics of your upcoming move.
Though, as a rule of thumb, an in-home estimate is the best option for first-time movers and those looking to undertake a big move. But seasoned pros and customers far from their origin location have the option to meet with an estimator virtually.