Breaking Down the Real Cost of Inaccurate Moving Survey Estimates

The survey is not only the first step of the move process–it sets the tone for the entire move. If the survey process is not top quality, the customer experience it produces will be unsuccessful for everyone involved.

Sales leaders are responsible for training and managing their moving sales team’s surveys, including quality assurance. Are all moving companies taking the necessary steps to maintain and improve survey quality? Fortunately, enhancing the customer and surveyor's experience with technology is quickly becoming standard practice for the moving industry.

The Purpose of Surveys for Moving Company Estimates

Moving surveys are the basis for moving company estimates and plans. By creating a precise inventory of the items to be moved, companies can calculate the estimated weight and packing needs for each move. Getting eyes on the shipment and origin property also helps movers identify items that require special handling and determine any accessibility challenges to moving furniture out of the home. 

The information collected from the survey informs the company’s resource allocation. Once that is documented, the surveyor can communicate the resulting move plan to the coordinators, operations, drivers, and moving crews.

In terms of importance to the customer, the cost estimate is derived from the survey. A highly accurate quote reduces unexpected cost increases during the payment process and builds their trust and satisfaction with a moving company.

The bottom line? Moving surveys are the determining factor in the customer’s purchase decision. It is their opportunity to evaluate the company and ask questions that impact their choice. During the moving survey, the customer observes their interactions with your company and determines if the pre-move service is easy, communicative, proficient, and trustworthy.

The results of the move survey are the cube sheet inventory, moving company estimates of costs, and the customer’s purchase decision. Therefore, quality and accuracy are vital.

The Accuracy of Types of Moving Surveys

These days, moving companies provide three main types of surveys:

In-Home Move Survey

Traditionally, sales representatives conduct move surveys by driving to the customer’s origin house and inventorying in-person. Originally, the surveyor wrote the cube sheet with pencil and paper, but these days, most sales representatives utilize tablets in-home.

While visiting the home is the best method for observing items and residence details, it is also prone to human error due to the manual input and lack of visual record. Here is where technology has started assisting moving teams beyond the scope of digital cube sheets. For instance, with Yembo SmartConsult surveyors can mitigate human error using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate an inventory while they walk through with the customer. In fact, companies like Mohawk Moving & Storage were able to reduce weight variances by 5% with AI assistance.

Another factor to consider is in-home move surveys are the most time-consuming and expensive survey method. So, what is another survey option for moving companies?

Video Move Surveys

An increasing number of moving companies are conducting surveys via Facetime, Zoom, and other virtual video platforms. These remote surveys allow surveyors to get eyes on the move and eliminate costs and drive time.

However, video surveys make it more difficult for the surveyor to “see” the entire home, increasing the possibility of missed items–or even entire rooms. This method is highly dependent on both the skill of the surveyor conducting the experience and the ability of the customer to follow instructions. The probability of human error is high, and there is no resulting visual record. There’s a better way to marry the accuracy of in-home surveys with the convenience of video surveys.

Virtual Move Surveys

Virtual survey platforms are specifically designed to navigate both the sales rep and customer through a moving survey process, using AI to automatically identify and inventory items.

Virtual surveys with AI are the fastest and most accurate survey method. AI-powered software combines deep learning with computer vision and graphics to conduct a highly accurate, real time inventory. Simply put, AI learns by doing–it reduces human error while providing clear guidance to ensure surveys are complete. 

In addition to compiling a cube sheet, virtual survey moving software creates a picture inventory and video record for companies to reference throughout the move process.

Virtual surveys are the fastest survey method and offer a significant cost reduction vs. in-home surveys. This method is also the most convenient experience for customers.


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Consequences of Inaccurate Surveys and Moving Company Estimates

Inaccurate surveys are incredibly costly. Underestimating a move inventory could result in expensive overflow shipments, customer service refunds, and the use of more resources than expected. On the flip side, overestimating the move could prevent a sales rep from winning a job during the sales process.

Inaccurate moving company estimates also increase claims. Not providing suitable packing materials, crews, or third-party resources can result in damage. In addition, only virtual surveys offer a visual record of items’ pre-move condition and agreed-upon scope. This proof can save movers from unnecessary customer refunds in a dispute over scope changes or pre-existing damage.

In addition to immediate expenses, inaccurate surveys potentially create an unhappy customer. Dissatisfaction has the long-term consequence of negative word-of-mouth, online reviews, and lost opportunity for referrals and repeat business. The impact of inaccurate surveys on a business’s revenue potential can be far-reaching.

How to Improve Moving Survey Accuracy

Moving company sales managers can make decisions to improve moving survey accuracy.

Training & Process

Training and improving move surveyors should be a continuous investment. Arrange for new surveyors to shadow experienced reps. Create processes that ensure surveyors ask customers the right questions, identify shippers’ needs, and capture often-forgotten items on inventories - such as inside closets or the garage.

Managers should occasionally shadow their surveyors to find areas for improvement, as well as utilize reporting to analyze shipment weight variances and identify inaccuracy trends.


Great moving survey software is designed to maximize accuracy. Companies should go with a survey platform suite with workflows that clearly guide the user, AI to automate inventories and reduce human error, and a visual record of the move scope and item conditions. 

Using technology to automate the move survey process means surveyors don’t need as much experience up front to build an accurate survey. In an interview with Dan Schwabel, he noted that 40% of employers believe AI-powered survey tools can help employees get up to speed faster and compensate for skill gaps. For example, The Imlach Group invested in Yembo virtual surveys to scale their business with less experienced surveyors. Not only did they reduce costs, but their survey accuracy increased by 40%

You Can Improve Your Moving Company Estimates

It used to be an industry belief that an in-home survey was the only way companies could create an accurate moving estimate. Granted, the only alternative at the time was a phone survey. 

Technological advancements have not only made leaps in the accuracy of remote surveys, but best-in-class tools include additional benefits that in-home surveys could have never provided: AI accuracy, video records, reduced costs for moving companies, and increased convenience for the customer.

Want to find out how Yembo can help your company improve your survey process? Set up some time to demo with Yembo.

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