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Comparing International Moving Quotes

Moving overseas is expensive. Some people who move overseas at the request of their employer are lucky to have their move paid for, in whole or in part. However, most people pay the cost of relocating to another country out of their own pocket. It is understandable that people consider the price first. You have to be very careful with quotes you might receive, they are liable to fall into two misleading categories: quotes for a smaller than reasonable size, and quotes that don’t include all services. Comparing international moving quotes needs to be careful, because lowball quotes will try to trick you into something that, in the end, will be far more expensive.

Volume of Shipment

The number one factor affecting the final cost of your shipment will be its size.

When you send less than a full container load, known as an LCL shipment, the total size of your shipment will be measured using cubic feet. On rare occasions, your shipment might be measured using cubic meters, but not often. 1 cubic meter = 35 cubic feet.

Just to give you some idea, a typical large-sized packing box is 1.5 x 1.5 x 2 feet will be 4.5 cubic feet of volume, and a medium one will be 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.25 will be 2.75 cubic feet.

A typical pallet will have both sized boxes on it and can accommodate about 100 cubic feet. What you need to know is that you are not charged for only the boxed size, but also for the net size of wasted space between items on your pallet. This is one of the critical reasons to hire professional movers like SDC International shipping, who know how to minimize wasted space in your shipment. Please note that you pay for wasted space on your shipment. Beware of quotes that only calculate your gross volume.

If you are sending a full container load, known as an FCL, you will be charged a set price for the container. Additional charges might be added if you require special handlings like a piano or a car, but in general, it doesn’t really matter if you are sending 700 or 800 cubic feet of cargo in your shipment, the charge will be the same. 

Whether you are sending an FCL or LCL shipment, we request that you fill in an inventory form. When we create a quote for you, we want it to be as close to the accurate cost as possible. Our quote will try to take into account the actual size of your shipment, and not just try to give you an artificially low estimate to lure you in to contract into For the record, the quote that you get is an estimate. If you are sending an LCL shipment, we can only know the exact cost once your cargo has been palletized in our warehouse.

Cargo Weight

In general, weight is not a factor when you are sending a shipment consisting mainly of household goods and personal effects. Even if you send an automobile in your shipment, it will take up about 40% of a 20’ container and you should be well within the total weight allotment for your container.

When you send an LCL shipment, the total weight of the shipment should not exceed 7 lbs. per cubic foot. If, for instance, you are sending 300 cubic feet, your total allotment would be 2100 lbs. 

International Moving Quotes – What is Included?

Your international moving services company should know about almost all of the costs that you will incur during your relocation. There are certain things that can’t be accounted for because we don’t know about them, like container inspections. Most containers aren’t inspected, only about 5% are subject to full random manual inspections, and X-ray and brief “open the door” inspections are also common. Each of these has different costs in various ports and could have accompanying demurrage and administrative fees.

Outside of this, however, your international moving services quote should be inclusive. Our relocation specialists will try to take into account any additional costs. We already should know if your shipment requires special handling, storage, extra equipment, etc. As the client, you should try to apprise us of anything we need to know. Your relocation specialist will know how to ask the questions, but some of the things we will need to know about in addition to shipment size are: 

  • Difficult access – we need to be able to park a truck near to the entrance of both the pickup and delivery locations. Smaller vans will need to be sent in addition to trucks for some locations. 
  • Stairs – beyond the one flight of stairs, apartments requiring extra stairs or elevators.
  • Extra heavy items – if you have especially heavy items, we need to know about ahead of time in order to send out the appropriate moving crew.
  • Crating – especially valuable or fragile items should be crated. 

Always included in your quote from SDC International Shipping will be the destination terminal handling charges (DTHC), packing and packing materials (when you order the packing service), loading, destination charges, delivery, unloading, removal of moving the debris on the day of the move and more. Insurance is not included as it is not mandatory and is based upon your choices as to what to insure.

Quotes from Reliable Sources

One of the critical subjects in comparing international moving quotes is making sure that the quote you’re getting is from a reliable source. SDC International shipping is an international relocation services company licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for the maritime export of household and commercial goods from the United States. Make sure that you are only comparing quotes from FMC licensed exporters. 

While the FMC does provide some degree of reliability, there is still plenty of ambiguity in quotes for moving services. You need to check that the quote suppliers are also members of the International Association of Movers who ensure that members conform to the highest standards for international removals and deliveries. Also, participation in the Better Business Bureau will ensure that you are dealing with a company with has set a formal dispute resolution process.

You will want to compare international moving quotes, just make sure that you are comparing comparable companies.

Send Your Quote to SDC

SDC International Shipping prides itself on being able to provide our clients with honest and fair estimates for the cost of international shipping. As we have said, we try hard to account for everything that we know about beforehand in your quote. This won’t be the case with most of the quotes you will receive. They are liable to be intentionally misleading, trying to get you to agree to terms that sound good, but in actuality are far less inclusive, and at the end of the day will end up being far more expensive than the quote you get from SDC.

If you have received any quote for international relocation service, please send it to us. Your relocation specialist will take the time to review that quote with you and to explain the differences between it and the honest quote that you receive from SDC International Shipping.

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