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What's a Guaranteed Flat Rate Move?: An Interview with Brooke Sperry of HomeStretch Moving

By Brooke Sperry

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

HomeStretch Moving is a locally owned and operated Florida moving company based in Tampa. We offer all levels of service from full service packing and moving to sending professional movers to load or unload your rental truck. Our pricing is competitive; our service is exceptional.

HomeStretch Moving operates with integrity, offering each customer a personal moving experience and providing peace of mind from start to finish. We achieve this through reliability, professionalism and efficiency in all stages of the moving process, from initial contact through the completion of each move. Let us bring your house . . . home.

Is there something important that people should know about getting an estimate from a moving company?

The industry standard among most moving companies is to offer customers an hourly rate along with an estimate of how many hours the move might take. This often leads to situations where you end up getting charged considerably more than you expect because the move took longer than the estimated hours.

HomeStretch Moving provides a guaranteed flat rate for your move, so you are completely protected and can budget appropriately. Since we are providing you with a guaranteed flat rate, you can rest assured that accuracy is our top priority. This means that once you have received our written quote, you can use it to verify quotes you receive from other moving companies. Our guaranteed flat rate quote provides you with the information you need to make an apples-to-apples decision.

How do you calculate what the flat-rate cost to move a household will be?

We obtain a list from you of the items to be moved. We can do this over the phone, with an onsite estimate or you can fill out our online quote form from your smartphone, tablet or computer. This only requires 5-15 minutes of your time. Once we know the size and scope of your move, we can tell you the best size team for your move, what size truck is required, and exactly how long it should take to complete the job.

Are there any specific things that could possibly raise or lower the price?

Assuming when the team arrives for the move that the job onsite is as described in our quote, then no, the rate will not change. It does sometimes happen that when we arrive for the move, the customer has gotten a head start and already moved all their boxes or a few carloads of the smaller, lighter pieces of furniture (just some examples) - then the lead mover calls the office for a rate adjustment since the scope of the move is now smaller.

Conversely, if we arrive and the customer had planned on getting a head start and did not and now there are additional items or double the number of boxes estimated, then our office would adjust the rate to compensate for the move being larger than what had been quoted. The customer always has the option to call the office prior to the move date to discuss any changes to the list of items and to get a rate adjustment at that time.

What are the main differences between a flat-rate move and a moving estimate?

Getting a guaranteed flat rate is the most important decision you will make as you plan your move. We provide each customer a flat rate so that there will not be any surprises at the end of the move. Even if the job takes longer than we expected, there is never an additional charge to you. This eliminates one of the biggest contributors to moving-day stress; it provides peace of mind and security.

What advice do you have for a homeowner who has a limited budget but doesn't necessarily want to go with the company who provided the lowest estimate?

This customer needs to remember that the lowest estimate is still just an estimate. Because we offer a guaranteed flat rate, our time estimates have to be accurate - otherwise, we wouldn't be able to stay in business. So, using our estimate of hours, do the math - at the lowest estimate hourly rate, what will be the final charges if the move takes the full amount of time we have estimated? Does that company also charge for wrapping furniture? Do they charge a fee for stairs, mileage, drive time? Do they charge a fee for their commute to the job site? Once you take all these factors into consideration, then you have the true cost of your move with the lowest estimate.

Homeowners with limited budgets have other options as well. If you have the physical capability, consider hiring movers only to help with the large, heavy or awkward pieces of furniture or appliances and taking care of things like dining chairs, end tables, lamps and boxes yourself. If the move is local, consider hiring labor only and renting a truck yourself, or if the move is a longer distance, rent the truck and hire local labor at each end.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

We can easily be reached by phone or through our website.

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