When you’re researching a move to Hawaii, you’ll probably encounter a number of online tools to estimate your moving cost, including moving quote calculators and moving estimate forms.

You’ll also likely see other companies who don’t offer these online tools. Instead, they send out a surveyor to do an in-person quote at your house or even via video.

Sometimes you’ll even see a combination of both. For instance, here at Royal Hawaiian Movers we give you an idea of the cost with a non-binding per pound price upfront and use our in-person surveys to lock in your best price.

At this point, you may wonder why different moving companies offer such different approaches to moving estimates.

We’d love to help clear up any confusion—and give you a better handle on the real cost of moving to Hawaii.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the options you’ll encounter for moving company estimates. By understanding the pros and cons of these options, you’ll get a more complete view of the costs involved, so you can choose the right services, options, and carrier for moving to Hawaii.

The Pros and Cons of Online Moving Quote Calculators

You can research almost everything online these days: airline tickets, homes for sale, used cars, even college tuition. So why not leverage the online moving quote calculators and moving estimate forms available when you’re investigating a move to Hawaii?

Pro: These online tools can be really useful for understanding the range of costs. By taking into account the major factors behind moving costs—including your location and destination, the number of bedrooms and the level of packing services you’ll want—these moving quote calculators can output a range that will give you a ballpark estimate for your overall moving cost.

However, it’s important to realize that there are a number of factors involved in the cost of moving to Hawaii that online forms and calculators don’t take into account.

Con: So although they can be helpful in giving you a range, these estimators and online forms can’t offer you an accurate guaranteed quote. Instead, they serve up an estimate that could change significantly on Moving Day, rendering their online calculators pretty much useless.

To get a moving quote you can rely on, your best bet is to get an in-person survey from several moving companies so you can compare quotes and rates per pound. Your weight is the same no matter who moves you, so the cost per pound is key. And remember, it is a federal requirement for moving companies to offer an on-site survey of your home, whether it’s in-person or via video.

The Pros and Cons of In-Person Surveys

Con: At first blush, it may feel like in-person surveys are more inconvenient. They don’t give you an instant result. They also require extra time and logistics around scheduling the survey and walking the moving company’s surveyor through your house.

Pro: Not all moves are the same. And with so many variables, your surveyor will do a thorough inspection of your possessions so that you’ll end up with a guaranteed price per pound you can rely on.

In fact, your surveyor will look at a number of things that simply can’t be captured in an online moving quote calculator or online moving estimate form. He or she will look at:

  1. How Many Possessions Do You Have? – After all, no home is truly the same. Are your family minimalists? Or do you like to surround yourselves with lots of décor, knick-knacks, sentimental reminders, art and more? Your surveyor will go into each room in your house and look in your closets to get a sense of how much you own. Armed with this information, your surveyor will also make a recommendation for what kind of shipment you’ll need—a full container load (FCL) or a less-than-container load (LCL).
  2. How Heavy Will Your Move Be? – Did you know that your shipment will ultimately be priced on weight? So if you’re shipping an extensive library of books and a set of heavy wooden furniture, you’ll ultimately pay more for your move. However, if you decide not to move your heavy items, your cost will go down.
  3. Do You Have Any Special Items? – Surveyors will also look for any possessions that require extra care, such as fine art, large flat-screen televisions, large glassware collections, etc. Because these items require special packing, they can add to the cost of your move.
  4. How Many Flights of Stairs Will Your Movers Have to Navigate? – Each flight of stairs could add to the time and expense of your move.
  5. Are There Any Access Issues? – Do you live in an apartment building that requires special parking permits and elevator access? Or do you live down a small road that can’t accommodate a large truck or a container? Because these issues will add time and logistics to your move, they’ll factor into your final quote. Your surveyor will also ask about access issues at your final destination, which will also play a role in your final cost.
  6. How Do You Want to Protect Your Move? – You’ll have a couple of options for protecting your possessions during your move, including what’s called Full Value Protection. This option covers the replacement or repair value of your possessions, should they get damaged. Although you’ll need to pay for this coverage, it will offer you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most precious possessions are protected in transit.

Pro: After the survey, reputable moving companies will offer you a guaranteed quote per pound. This type of quote offers you a very transparent understanding of your moving cost. Wondering whether to ship your couch or buy new in Hawaii? If you know the weight, you’ll know exactly how much it costs to move that couch.

Budgeting for Your Move to Hawaii

Moving quote calculators and online moving estimate forms can be extremely useful for defining an initial cost range for your move to Hawaii. They’re simple and free, so it makes sense to leverage these tools.

However, once you’re ready to start a serious moving budget, an in-person survey will offer you a much more complete and comprehensive understanding of your moving cost. Although it requires a little more time and effort up front, the result will be worth it: You’ll finish with an accurate quote you can trust, with no surprises on Moving Day.