How Do Moving Companies Estimate Weight?

How Do Moving Companies Estimate Weight?

Moving is an intricate process that requires careful planning and execution. One of the critical aspects of this planning is the estimation of the weight of your belongings. This estimation not only affects the cost but also the logistics of the move.

Let’s delve deeper into how moving companies tackle this crucial step.


The Importance of Accurate Estimations

Before we explore the methods of weight estimation, it’s pivotal to understand its significance:

Cost Determination

The weight of your items is a primary factor in determining the overall cost of your move, especially for long-distance relocations.

Vehicle Allocation

An accurate estimation ensures the moving company can allocate the right type of vehicle. Too small and not everything will fit; too large and you might be overpaying.

Efficiency & Safety

Proper weight estimation leads to a more organized, safe loading & unloading process.


The Walk-Through Survey

In-Person Surveys

Traditionally, a representative from the moving company would visit the client’s home for an in-person survey. This entails:

  • Walking through each room.
  • Listing down all items to be moved.
  • Making educated guesses based on experience about the weight of each item or group of items.

Virtual Surveys

With advancements in technology and the rise of remote services, many moving companies now offer virtual surveys. This method uses video calls to:

  • Allow clients to show their belongings.
  • Use software tools to help estimate the weight based on the items shown.


Weight Estimation Techniques

Standard Weights

Moving companies maintain databases of standard weights for common household items.

For instance, a medium-sized refrigerator might have a standard weight of 200 pounds.

Volume-to-Weight Conversion

Some companies use volume-based estimation. They calculate the total volume of your belongings and then convert this into an estimated weight using industry averages.

Weighing the Moving Truck

Another accurate method is to weigh the moving truck twice:

Before Loading: The truck is weighed empty to get its base weight.

After Loading: Once all the items are loaded, the truck is weighed again. The difference between the two weights gives the total weight of the shipment.


Caveats & Considerations

While these methods aim for accuracy, it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls.


The weight of items you eventually decide to leave behind or dispose of can skew the initial estimate.

Packing Materials

The weight of boxes, padding and other packing materials is often not considered in initial estimates but can add up.

Hidden Items

Always inform the moving company about items tucked away in attics, basements or storage units.



Weight estimation is a combination of science, experience and sometimes a touch of art. Whether you’re moving across the street or to a different continent, understanding how moving companies estimate weight can provide clarity in the process and help ensure a smoother transition to your new abode.

Also read: Do Moving Companies Charge by Weight?

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