When you apply for a mover, you must ask for a moving quote before pursuing the subject to contract conclusion.

After you negotiate with a salesperson what kind of moving work the staff will do, how much the transportation charge and optional service charge cost you, you have a salesperson made the quotation that tells you about the total moving rate and the breakdown

A quotation is used as a contract document and becomes an easy schedule note which you can check the moving process flow and the schedule. Staff will do the moving work in accordance with the quotation.

In short, the content described in the quotation is all about the moving work on that day. If there is another moving work which is not mentioned in the quotation, you may be claimed to pay an additional charge.

Omission error of a quotation is frequent trouble to be caused between a customer and a mover. This human error causes the trouble that a mover includes additional moving work later, which is not written on a quotation after you make payment.

Mutual Lack of recognition and misunderstanding is the reason for the troubles in many cases. So, I want you to learn how you can get a quotation without any troubles with some important points.

5 points you pay attention to when requesting a quote in Japan

Point 1, Don’t make instant decision on the day

Get moving quotes from several companies is standard preparation for moving in Japan. There is a case a mover rips you off by taking advantage of the fact you know nothing about market moving rate.

The ministry of affairs and communications alerts people not to make haste decide, and to get quotes from several companies as much as possible to avoid being claimed to pay an extraordinary expensive moving charge.

Except for those who are in a hurry to move, when you decide a mover, it will be just right if you doubt all movers whether or not, they quote more expensive than the standard rate because you are a foreigner who knows nothing about this.

Please refer to the following article to make sure how much the moving market rate costs you.

10 English friendly moving companies in Japan

Case that quotation can be cheap

Depending on the occupancy rate of a truck, the moving rage will change.

For example, if an empty truck goes to your house and picks up luggage and transport to a new house, simply the labor cost until a truck comes to your house will be fully paid by you. In this case, a moving quotation will get close to the market moving rate.

On the other hand, if you a truck have already transported another customer’s luggage on the way from the base office to your house, the labor cost you have to pay is only one way, because another customer will pay half of the labor cost.

When you negotiate with a mover to draw out a cheap quotation, you just make sure if the mover will take an opportunity to do the moving work at your house while it has other moving tasks from somewhere to the area where you live on the same day.

Point2 Fix the condition when asking for a quotation

If you compare several of mover’s quotation contents, it is quite hard to inspect accurately unless they are quoted under the same conditions.

Just request all movers you asked for to make quotations with the same number of boxes, the same service content, and on the same date.

Comparison items

Especially, make sure the following things and these costs.

The number of workers The more people work, the earlier the moving work finishes
The size of truck A big size truck has a room for your additional stuff
The moving route Use a toll road or not.

Point 3, Coverage of damages

First thing first, damages of furniture and other stuff during transporting are not guaranteed. This fact is mentioned in the carriage conditions of standard moving transportation (標準引越運送約款: Hyoujun hikkoshi unsou yakkan), regulated by the MLIT (the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism) The following is the excerpt of article 23 of the carriage conditions.

The carriage conditions of standard moving transportation by MLIT

  • No liability to compensate for the damages generates to the mover about the following cases
  • Original damage or natural exhaution (of furniture or stuff)
  • Igniting, exploding, getting steamed, rotting, changing color, getting moldy by the nature of the material
  • Sopping service by strike, sabotage, and other social turmoil. Your stuff is stolen by a robber
  • Fire breaks out by inevitable accident.
  • Unpredictable extrordinary traffic obstcles
  • Disasters such as earthquake, tsunami, storm, flooding, land sliding,
  • Stop transporting, opening boxes, confiscating luggages by a compulsory order from the public authority.
  • An accident arising from an intentional act or the negligence of the transporter or the receiver

In some places, there are advatages for transporters one-sidedly to avoid the rsik of liability for damages. Probably, this is the evidence that movers influenced and pushed their opinions to the authority as one of lobbying activities in order to protect the moving industry.

However, if all the movers adopt every single condition written in article 23 when doing the moving work, customers will not apply for any movers but they somehow trasnport their stuff by themselves with retal truck. Moving is a business service. Looking after the damages of customer’s stuff should be included in the serivce so that major companies have agreement of damage compensation to customers ‘s stuff.

However, guranntee contents are really different depending on the mover because coverage of damages and the compensation is not legally described in Japan.

No matter how carefully workers pay attention to carrying stuff not to break, the risks of loss, scuffing, and breaking are always involved. So, you must look over if a quotation describes guarantee conditions, and the coverage of damages. Prepare for just-in-case trouble.

You also have to notice that if you have something which is easy to break or difficult to handle, you have to declare the fact before making a quotation. If you order quotation without declaring it, the stuff is not guarantteed during moving work.

Point 4, Postpone getting a quotation from your most favorite mover

Don’t rush but save your favorite mover for the very end to draw out a very good condition from it.

Salespeople want to win contracts from clients as much as possible. In order to connect a quotation to an actual contract, they tend to reduce the rate more than that in another mover’s quotation you’ve already got.

If a salesperson suggests a quotation with bottom rate, he will probably present you some free services.

Point 5, Check if a mover is certified

A company doing moving business needs to be certified for “General cargo transportation business” by the minister of LMIT

There are some movers doing this business illegally without having permission. You have so many risks to ask those amateur movers for your moving work.

How you can distinguish whether or not, the mover is certified is “certified number”. If you can find a certified number on a quotation, a mover you ask for is a certificated mover. A certified number consists of 9 digits.

事業者番号 (business number) 460006664

If you can’t find the number on a quotation, you directly ask the number to the mover and make sure if the number exists by calling to a branch office of the ministry of LMIT.

Good timing to request a quote

Before requesting a quote, you should decide what kind of moving service you need in advance. How many staff you need, How much amount of luggage you want to transport, etc.. It is quite obvious that you can’t request a quote although you don’t even know what moving service you need beforehand. Just make a moving plan before requesting a quote.

Necessary information when requesting a quote

The followings are the necessary lists before requesting a quote, which is described in “General cargo transportation business”

  • Requester’s name, address, and phone number
  • Consignee’s name, address, and phone number (If a requester receives stuff)
  • Date of carrying out
  • Types and the amount of stuff
  • Payment method (Usually pay by cash)
  • Moving work content
  • Other optional services

Telling all the necessary information without miscommunication to avoid being claimed to pay an additional charge on the day

If possible, you tell your apartment or house information such as how many stories there are, how wide the entrance is, if there is an elevator, etc… in addition to the above minimum information.

If a mover knows in advance your house information, it smoothly calculates an accurate quote from the necessary number of workers, moving tools, etc…

For example, moving work, working time, and the number of necessary workers is different between an apartment with an elevator and an apartment without an elevator.

It is obvious that a mover will suggest a more expensive quote to an apartment without an elevator. If you know this point in advance, the moving cost that generates from the problem of apartment structure can be included in the quote in this stage.

Likewise, telling the house location to a mover is very important. If the width of the road in front of your house is too narrow to somehow go through one car. Parking a big truck aside your house prevents every single car from going through.

For that reason, a big truck needs to be parked in a wider space somewhere around your house. If the place where a truck is parked is far from your house, a mover arranges another car to transport your stuff all the way from the place where a truck is parked.

Of course, the new charging list will be added on your quotation later.

Some people are concerned if telling too detailed information gets moving cost more expensive. But information clarification is a way better advantage for negotiating the moving rate because a mover can’t target the point of discounting from the quotation with lack of information.

The best timing you request a quote is after preparing necessary information you describe on a quote and your house information.

Timing of requesting a quote

  • A week before the day you move at the latest
  • 3 months before the day you move at the earliest

If you think you move in busy season (February, March, April), a mover may refuse your offer even if you request a quote 3 months before. So many quoting requests are concenntrated in this season. If possible, you consider excluding this season to move and choosing another season. Then you can save your moving cost, too.

Checklist of information you need to prepare before requesting a quote

You just make sure if you already have information in the following checklist

Items Information
Moving date If you want to change the moving date, you tell your request in advance.
Time to start moving working (Time when moving staff visits your house)
A house or an apartment you move out, and move in Post codem address, building type (house or apartment), house layout, number of stories, with or without elevator, the size of the elevator.
Furniture and luggage Type of and number of stuff
Discarding stuff Unnecessary furniture, garbage created when moving work. If you request a mover to pick up these stuff, you need to apply for another service.
Optional services Packing and opening boxes, investigating wiretap, removing and installing air-conditioner

As much as possible, you check the website of the mover you are going to request a quote about these things and you should prepare answering smoothly.

Items that a mover can refuse to transport

The following items are what a mover can refuse to transport. This is mentioned in “the carriage conditions of standard moving transportation” regulated by the MLIT.

  • Valuables (cash, Securities, jewelries, cash card, Inkan)
  • Dangerous materials (gunpowder, other materials that may case damage to other stuff)
  • Plants, animals
  • Piano, Plants, animals, art works, antiques

When transporting these items without noticing to a mover, if there is damage during the moving work, you just remember nothing can be garantteed. Transporters that can carry sensitive items such as artworks and antiques are quite limited and these items cannot be covered by the moving insurance but you need to take special insurance for these items.

If you have some items that corresponds to the above lists, you let a mover know first.

Deposit for a quote and cancels fee

Letting a customer pay deposit for a quote is prohibited

The regulation about deposit for a quote is mentioned in article 2, clause 6, the carriage conditions of standard moving transportation. Letting a customer pay deposit for a quote is legally prohibited.

Just in case you are claimed to pay a deposit for a quote, you must not pay and never contract with the mover.

Deposit for a moving quotation and cancellation fee

Cancellation fee and postponement fee

Cancellation fee is mentioned in article 21, the carriage conditions of standard moving transportation, “Cancellation fee and postponement fee”

Cancellation fee generates on either of the appointed moving day, the previous day of the moving day, two days before the moving day by customer’s own convenience

Exceptionally, if you don’t receive a message of confirmation about updated quotation content from a mover 3 days before the moving date, you don’t need to pay cancellation fee legally.

If you already receive optional services such as packing, cleaning from a mover before the moving date, you should pay for these services even though you already make a cancellation request to a mover.

Cancellation and postponment penalty rate
Noticing timing Penalty rate
two days before the moving date within 20% of the moving charge written on the quote
the previous day of the moving date within 30% of the moving charge written on the quote
the appointed moving date within 50% of the moving charge written on the quote

No need to pay deposit for a moving quote

Even if you are claimed to pay a deposit for a moving quote, you don’t need to pay. The regulation of deposit payment prohibition is mentioned in article 2, clause 6, “the carriage conditions of standard moving transportation”. Exceptionally, when a mover inspects your house carefully in advance, it can claim the inspection fee but in this case, you are notified at the stage of making a quote whether or not, inspection fee generates

If the mover explains a deposit for a moving quote, you just cut your ties with the mover as early as possible and find another one.

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