Consumers shopping for deeply discounted relocation products or services flock to popular find-a-mover venues, open community forums and free bulletin boards, or unregulated reverse auction websites to search for the lowest possible price online.

Discounts are a cheap marketing tool that in reality are a very unreliable measuring stick for determining the true value of the scope of moving services provided under each carrier’s individual pricing agreement.

They’re effective because they grab the attention of consumers by fulfilling the universal urge to get something for nothing – or at least for a whole lot less than the original ‘list’ price.

A 65% discount is certainly a whole lot more attractive than a measly 50% offer, but only if the final price paid is less than the actual cost of the competitor’s product. But even that isn’t an effective tool in buying wisely. When purchasing moving services, the cheapest price doesn’t necessarily equate to good value.

Consumers who based their carrier selection on the lowest possible ‘discounted’ or ‘negotiated’ price are frequently disappointed.

Most inexperienced and uninformed shippers are genuinely ‘surprised’ by the high out-of-pocket cost of inexperienced, untrained, untested, and unprofessional laborers; or, long unexpected delays, stolen or missing items and expensive cargo and property damage claims caused by irresponsible drivers.  Many are frustrated by incorrect billings, and inaccessibility of a company’s management, sales or customer-service personnel to answer questions throughout their entire move process.

If you want to determine each carrier’s worth, compare their quality as defined by:

  • their monthly on-time pickup and delivery performance for the last three-quarters.
  • packing and transportation claim frequency results and average payout and for the last three years.
  • documented hiring, training and safety procedures.
  • compliance to FMCSA consumer protection, insurance and safety regulations.
  • internal customer satisfaction service results, and finally,
  • community and industry accolades and acknowledgments.

And some very important advice:

Most major household goods carriers and large independent movers keep track of these types of ‘value’ statistics. Their sales staff don’t get to use them much, however, because most consumers are too preoccupied shopping for the highest possible discount and lowest ‘guaranteed’ price.

Unfortunately, many get exactly what they’re looking for.. but find they still have to pay through the nose in the end.