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“Buy the Hour” or “Buy the Job”?

If you’re like me, you want to get the best value for your money. When you move, this means getting prices from at least three reputable companies and choosing the one you think offers the best quality and service for the dollar.Couple Watching Movers Load Truck

So, how do we movers determine pricing for a given job? Why are there differences in prices between movers for the same job?

Move prices are based on three factors: the weight of the shipment, the distance it will travel, and the work required to prepare the load. The first two, weight and distance, are easily calculated based on standard industry tariffs. We can even give you a quick, online moving quote if you're interested. The third, preparing the load, is not quite as objective. Here in California, movers determine this cost based on the time and materials they use. However, this approach is not without drawbacks.

For one, different people work at different speeds. Although we train packers to work methodically and using best practices, not all will produce the same output in the course of a job. As with sports teams, it seems every crew has an “ace player.” Whether for moving or roofing or landscaping, someone sets the example for others to follow.

Now, when I am the customer, and people are working for me “by the hour,” I expect them to perform swiftly. This is human nature. I see someone taking a break, and I start looking at my watch. If that break goes on longer than I think it should, I do a little math in my head. I realize that, over the course of a couple of days, that little extra time here and there adds up to several extra dollars. Now I’m unhappy. The crew may be doing a superb job, working efficiently and giving me excellent value. But I’m hung up on the perception that it’s costing me more than I think it should. No matter how great their work is, I’m going to feel a little underserved, i.e. “overcharged.”

What if the mover simply specified a flat fee for packing? I wouldn’t have to worry about that extra twenty or thirty minutes it took to make sure those fragile items were properly prepared. I’d be much more attuned to the quality of the service being provided me. I could feel good about every little extra effort taken to give me the excellent service I expect.

I realize most businesses pay employees by the hour. So, it makes sense to charge for their labor by the hour. That’s an easy method for controlling costs. But, what if you, the consumer, had a choice? Would you be happier with a flat, all-inclusive price for everything? Or would you rather “buy the hour”? If you're not sure and you'd like to explore your options give us a call. We'll be happy to help you find your best move. 

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