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Accurately Sizing a Move

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Movegistics CRM helps you get pre-move surveys done in a number of ways.

electronic-pre-move-surveys estimate-volume

The pre-move survey is perhaps the most critical activity that helps sales teams accurately estimate the volume, weight, accessibility, any special needs; essentially a survey helps determine the size and scope of a move and helps an estimator arrive at the true cost of doing the move, especially so on the originating end. Pre-move surveys also give your customers the confidence that your estimate quoted for their move is based on their own inventory and their unique needs rather than some arbitrary number. Movegistics CRM has powerful capabilities that allow you to execute pre-move surveys swiftly and size a move accurately.

The rate you quote for a move and any effort you put into sales, follow ups, etc., is only effective if the move sizing is as close to accurate as possible during the pre-move stage, whether such sizing was done by means of a physical onsite survey or a phone survey. If the sizing is not right, then everything after will probably be ineffective and even impact the sales bottom-line in the long run.

So let’s spend a few minutes talking about the importance of a “pre-move volume & weight baseline” for accurate move sizing. You are probably wondering, what does the term “pre-move volume & weight baseline” mean?! During a pre-move visual survey it is common practice for a Surveyor to eyeball familiar items in each room and mark quantities along with approximate volume or weight. For this reason, most manual pre-move survey forms used by moving companies reflect the approximate volume or weight of commonly shipped items. It helps the estimator arrive at a quick and close approximation of the size of each move. These approximate values differ from one moving company to another and are often based on what has worked best for each moving company in their specific geographic location over the years. As one example, the general or average volume of a 3 seater sofa can be anywhere between 50  ft3 / 1.4 m3 to 80 ft3 / 2.3 m3 depending upon the moving company. This is what we mean by your pre-move volume & weight  baseline; i.e., the approximate volume / weight for commonly shipped items used during estimation by your company.

As of this writing there is no globally accepted standard or technique for sizing a move except for agreement on the units of weight and measurement used in sizing. This is partly because there is no uniformity in the volume or weight of common household items, especially so for furniture given the multitude of styles, and upholstery options available today. Even though most furniture is manufactured to standard measurements, all the styles and upholstery options make it next to impossible to standardize volume or weight. Another common estimation approach especially in domestic moves is calculating the weight of the move based on the number of rooms in a house. Unfortunately, even here moving companies cannot agree on a weight based on the number of rooms because every house has a different square footage, and the more square feet of space you have, the more furniture and belongings the customer is likely to own. For example, an average four-bedroom house can range from 1,200 square feet to 4,000 square feet in size.

Given all this disparity and the lack of standards for commonly shipped household items, the baseline that your company has established is crucial in retaining the sanity in your estimation process. It may not be based on any International standards but it works for you, and that is important. It is therefore critical that any new system that you consider for conducting pre-move surveys absolutely must support the pre-move volume & weight baseline that already works for your company. Having to enter in volume / weight survey every single time for common items is not an acceptable solution. As you carry out process improvements and embrace new technology within your company, it is also important to identify what does not need change in light of what does. Your pre-move volume & weight baseline is one thing you may not want to change. Why? Because those approximate values have worked for you all these years and so you know it is bound to work in future too. Any new system or process that makes you change your existing pre-move volume & weight baseline is likely to skew your estimates and sales figures too. This issue is best illustrated with an example question..what is the value of an automated system that gives you an estimate of 35 CBM using it’s own baseline if in comparison, a manual survey using your existing baseline for the exact same move is only 30 CBM?  Your unit rates may be more competitive than that of your competitor’s but what are the odds that your overall quote will be perceived as competitive by the customer? I’d say, pretty slim. The converse scenario also works against you if an automated system gives you a lower than real estimate. In that case, chances are that you will have under-quoted the customer and likely end up with billing disputes once the shipment is actually weighed or measured after pickup or perhaps will have to deal with an overflow situation that is hard to rationalize with the customer.

So at Netensity we put a lot of thought into this issue and built a fully configurable solution that does just that, it works well with your existing volume & weight baseline. Simple. You can use Movegistics CRM without fear or concern of skewing your numbers, knowing that your estimates for moves surveyed using the Movegistics CRM tools will be just as accurate as your manual surveys.

In addition to letting you retain your existing volume & weight baseline, Movegistics CRM also allows you to completely customize the pre-move survey screens with only a few clicks. You can add rooms, categories and assign specific items to multiple rooms all with only a few clicks. As an example, Living Rooms aren’t very common in densely populated cities so Movegistics CRM allows you to push the Living Room to the very end of your survey screen if you don’t survey that room frequently! How is that for configurability?!

But wait, there is one more, very important thing. Any automated system must first be capable of supporting the units of measurement that your company needs, otherwise it won’t work, period. If you are used to Cubic Meters and if a system forces you to record and estimate volume in Cubic Feet or the other way around, then it isn’t of much help. Is it?  Movegistics CRM uses your preferred system of measurement, be it the metric system, the US system of measurement or the Imperial (British) system and remembers your preferences throughout the system.

Once you have the initial setup done, conducting pre-move surveys is really a breeze and we are not exaggerating here. Your surveyors can simply tap their way through a home survey on our iPad / iPhone app, and your sales staff can click their way through a phone survey in their browser just as easily.