Free On-Site Survey

Once you understand your options for types of shipments, it will be time to have an on-site survey to determine your volume. Contact us as soon as you are ready for an onsite survey.

One of Kef’s trusted agents will come to your home and survey the items you plan to bring with you. The first survey is without charge; additional surveys are $125 each.

Costs will be determined by your items, size, and any palletization or custom crating if necessary.

It is a good idea to have different labels for the items you are definitely bringing and those that might not be shipped.

Our quotes include all of the known fees associated with your shipment, and we go over the quote with you in detail to make sure that everything is clear so that there are no surprises.

To make sure your estimate is accurate, you must:

A. Make a detailed list of goods and label the goods you are shipping before the estimator comes, including “must go”, “might go 1”, and “might go 2”. You will use that to check against the surveyors list.

B. After the surveyor comes, make sure to get a copy of his estimate, whether by email or a physical copy.

C. Whether by email or on the spot, compare it with your list for accuracy and completeness.

D. Carefully review the estimate and communicate freely with the estimator, if there are discrepancies between what you plan to ship and what is on the estimate, or if something seems wrong or unclear.

E. Be clear if your estimate is net or gross. Net is actual measurements. This may not be written, but you know it is “net”, if a 1.5 cubic foot box is counted as 1.5 cubic feet! Gross is billable volume after packing/palletizing/crating–the usable space taken by goods. Packing adds 15-20% to net; crating/palletizing adds 15-25% to that. Much depends on how goods fit standard pallets and crates.

F. If you need/want a limit on your volume, say it. If, and only if, you segregate, prioritize, and label we can do our best to respect it. In some cases we are able to bring out a crate, truck, or container that fits that exact size. Remember that palletizing or crating adds another 15-25%.

The amount of furniture is the main factor which affects the volume of your shipment. Boxes of household goods also add up, but not as quickly as furniture. You can ship more or less than what you showed the surveyor. Be sure the survey includes what you want to ship and leaves off items you don’t. Ask questions and review the volume sheet below.

These factors make estimates less accurate:

  • Less than container load shipments (LCL’s)–the smaller the shipment the less accurate.
  • No on-site estimate
  • Disorganized sites
  • Changing your mind about what is going–especially multiple times
  • Unclear division between send and don’t send
  • Many ‘loose’ goods–goods in boxes or requiring boxes
  • Irregular or non-standard boxes
  • One person giving instruction for estimate and the other for packing
  • No pre-survey list
  • Not reviewing the volume estimate with the estimator
  • Listening to movers who estimate volume at time of packing
  • Goods that are large and irregular or do not fit together well
  • Communication problems with the surveyor
  • Not labeling goods according to priority
  • Forgotten or added items


Packing, crating, and palletization can each add 10-25% to the volume.

Factors that can make the total figure much higher, even over 100% are:

Goods with a wide variety of shapes and sizes can result in large sections of unused space and more settling, as in a cereal box.
Crates under 200 cubic feet have a greater likelihood of unused space, usually at the top. There are fewer options of ways to combine items
Delicate goods need isolation, often leaving empty space above and around them

Lift Vans (Wood crates used in LCL shpments)

Lift vans are crates that are not built to the size of goods. Though crates provide the best security against breakage and loss, they are the least efficient use of space. If goods do not fit perfectly into available crates, there is more unused space than on pallets.

Your forwarder might have crates of 75, 150, 200, 220 or 250 cubic feet, though 200 is most common. Inside measurements of a standard crate are 84” W, 84” H, 45″ D. Externally in meters: 2.2m W x 2.2m H x 1.2m D. Depending on the forwarder, crates may be standard procedure or by special order.

Important note. Estimators estimate volume; movers pack and load. Movers are famously unreliable about volume. Neither movers or estimators are reliable about pricing, timing, rights, reassembly, or anything else out of their specific, limited fields of packing/loading and volume estimating, respectively.

Going over minimum

Contracts are based on estimates and may state a minimum volume or weight. If you exceed that, you will be billed for the additional at the stated rate.

Going over container capacity

If you exceed the capacity of your container, you will be billed for an additional LCL (consolidated) shipment, including one time fees. If your estimate is close to or over a volume limit, seriously consider going to the next level. The cost of an LCL overflow is usually more expensive.

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