When choosing a moving company, it’s important to decide whether a flat or hourly rate is better for you. While most moving companies charge by the hour, it is not necessarily always better than a flat rate. Both payment methods have advantages and disadvantages and are suited to specific types of moves. 

Below, we’ve further explored what hourly and flat rates mean, their pros and cons, and what circumstances are best suited to each. 

What Are Hourly Moving Rates?

The majority of movers in Westlake, Texas you encounter in your search will charge an hourly rate, especially for local moves. Billing will begin when the movers arrive at your house and end when the move is complete. 

Then, the mover’s hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours spent on the move to calculate your total bill. The final bill generally also includes other factors like drive time, so traffic conditions and long distances can significantly affect your bill. 

One advantage of hourly rates is that they are a pretty standard and convenient way to determine your moving price. No in-house evaluation is required, and as long as you are honest about factors like flights of stairs involved and the weight of your furniture, it is easy to get an estimate of your bill over the phone. However, because this is not a fixed price, your bill is open to the influence of factors that can hike up the price. 

For instance, rush-hour traffic or an unexpected road blockage can prolong your move, which will increase your bill. Similarly, if your movers have to park down a long alley or a parking lot far away from your home, that will also cost you more. 

What Are Flat Moving Rates?

A flat rate typically involves the movers conducting an in-home evaluation of your belongings to determine the estimated weight and value of the items being moved. They take into account the size of your home, the distance they have to travel, and the nature of the move, giving you an estimated price point. 

The mover guarantees that the overall bill will not exceed that amount and will generally promise no surprise charges or hidden fees at the end. 

One downside of flat rates is that you’ll have to invite the movers into your home beforehand to figure out an estimated price. However, flat rates are the best option for a long-distance move–you can rest assured knowing your bill won’t contain any last-minute charges and exceed the movers’ estimated price, and also don’t have to worry about factors like traffic and time. 

How to Choose Between Fixed and Hourly Rates

We recommend choosing hourly rates if: 

  • You are moving locally 
  • You plan to do your own packing 
  • You have a small-scale move, like a small apartment or a studio 

Hourly rates generally start with a package of a minimum of three hours. A small-scale move can take as little as three to four hours as long as you are organized and have prepared beforehand. The number of movers the company sends also matters in this scenario–if there is less labor to do the same job, it will likely take much longer. 

If the moving company has given you a time estimate, try and agree on a maximum amount of time to get an idea of your final bill. Some moving companies also sign a contract establishing the upper cost limit, which is always a good idea. Also, consider scheduling your move to avoid rush hour traffic and other factors that can add to your final bill. 

On the other hand, we would recommend choosing a flat rate if: 

  • You are moving across a long distance 
  • You are moving a lot of boxes or belongings from a house or condo 
  • There are factors like rush hour traffic to account for 

In the above situations, the moving process will likely be lengthy, so a flat-rate quote will serve you better. Because long distance or larger moves are more expensive, it is good to know exactly what fee to expect so there are no surprises in your final bill. 

The rate will be established depending on your house’s location, distance, flights of stairs, whether you want the moving company to store your items, type of furniture you’re moving, and a thorough inventory of all your belongings. 

When opting for a flat-fee package, make sure to be entirely transparent with the company about what is included in your move to get an accurate quote. Reliable, professional moving companies like NDMS will offer a free, up-front, no-hidden-fee moving cost quote so you can rest assured you’re getting as cost-efficient a move as possible.