How to Create Pricing for International Moves

December 13, 2021

By Jeff Nadeau

(Editor's note: the figured used in this article are examples only, and not reflective of the author's actual costs.)

Are you looking for diversification, a new source of revenue? If so, providing origin agent (o/a) and destination agent (d/a) services on international moves may be a way, and here are some simple examples to help you create pricing within your company to offer new clients.

International moving experts usually charge for services by the hundredweight (ncwt). How to calculate these rates has seemed like a daunting task for many movers, so here are some helpful tips to help you create such a tariff. Please note any reference to rates or pricing are examples for the purpose of showing calculations and not to be construed as suggested rates for bidding on work.

To establish your own pricing schedule, you will need to understand how your crews perform. How long does it take your crew to pack, wrap and load a shipment into a lift van?

For instance, 3000 pounds pack and load - If 2 men could pack and load a 3000 lb. shipment in 5-7 hours. If we use 7 hours as a starting point and use a hypothetical rate of $120 per hour - 7 hours X $120 = $840 that covers your street labor.

Additional costs - On 3000 lbs., you’ll likely use about 30 cartons, paper, and tape at an average sell of $10 per box (add $300 for materials).

You will have three used lift vans (valued at $100 each) (add $300 for lift vans)

You will need to band, mark, and fork the lift vans (add $200 for such)

Your total cost of service is $1640.  Take this total cost of service and divide by weight of 3000 pounds = your cost per ncwt.

Then, I’d suggest adding another $5 ncwt for wiggle room, you’d likely add that rate for any flights or long carries as those will impact hours on the job.

Therefore, using the example above $60 ncwt for origin services would be your rate to international carriers on a shipment of 3000 lbs.

Let’s do the same in reverse for d/a work. 3000 pounds in 3 lift vans to deliver to a residence. Most would agree that 2 men could deliver, unwrap, and unpack (as requested) 3000 lbs. in 4-5 hours. So, let’s take 5 hours @ $120 = $600.

Plus, some lift van handling (to receive them and then load them onto a truck) $200.

Debris cost $50.

Total cost of service is $850.

To establish a hundredweight rate, take that total cost and divide by hundredweight (850/30) and you’ll have a per ncwt cost of $29.

Repeat both the o/a and d/a calculations for each weight bracket until you have established your own lift van service tariff. Most people do it on 2000 weight breaks.

For instance:

1000 mini- 2999   




When doing this, always use the lower weight to figure your cost. You do this for origin and destination. Do not forget to add in extra’s per ncwt for flights, elevators, long carries, shuttles, short-term storage, or anything else odd.

Finally, be SURE to shop your competition to know your market. You don’t want to overcharge and be non-competitive or unnecessarily leave money on the table. Hopefully, next time someone inquiries about your hundredweight rate, you will be in a position to win some new business.