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February 19
What is a binding estmate?

One of the key factors of a successful move is a reliable moving company. It takes time to search for, compare and then finally choose the mover you can trust with the whole process.  Your final choice always depends on various factors and a moving estimate is definitely one of them. So, what is a binding estimate? What other alternatives are there? Finally, which estimate is the best option for you? Luckily, we are here to help you with this matter.

What is a binding estimate?

A binding estimate follows an in-house estimate when a moving company representative comes to your current home to examine all the items to be relocated.  According to the amount and the type of your stuff, the representative creates the price which is then stated in the given estimate. The price is the one you will have to pay on a moving day upon the delivery of your items. This further means that you are protected from unexpected costs of moving.

A binding estimate follows an in-house estimate.
A binding estimate follows an in-house estimate when a moving company representative comes to your current home to examine all the items to be relocated.

Advantages and disadvantages of a binding estimate

A good thing is that you will pay the stated price even if it turns out that the weight of your items is much bigger than estimated. On the other hand, moving companies charge the issuing of a binding estimate. Plus, if it turns out that your items weigh less than estimated, you will have to pay the stated price nevertheless. If you have any doubts concerning this aspect of your move, make a list of the questions to ask a moving company and use the presence of your potential mover’s representative to get all the necessary answers.

Things to know about a binding estimate

There are certain rules concerning a binding estimate. These rules are defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). Consequently, each binding estimate has to comply with these rules without exception. So, here are the most common questions and the appropriate answers concerning these estimates.

What does a binding estimate include?

Each binding estimate has to state all the items to be relocated as well as the list of services to be provided. It also contains the price you will have to pay after the relocation is over. To avoid any misunderstandings, it is of utter importance to check the accuracy of the information in the binding estimate.

When and how do I pay the moving price stated in a binding estimate?

On a moving day, when your items are safely relocated to the new address, you have to pay the amount stated in the binding estimate. The methods of payment can be various, but you should discuss them with your movers. Then, you can use cash, a check, money order, a credit card, etc. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes that people can’t afford to pay their moving costs on a moving day. What then?

What happens when I can’t pay for the moving services on a moving day?

Well, the answer is very simple. The moving company has no other solution than to take your items to storage.  You will be able to take them as soon as you pay for the relocation. Also, the company will charge you the storage fees too, so don’t be surprised. If this happens, the awkward situation is thoroughly your responsibility. Remember that properly planned moves imply having enough money at your disposal to pay for the costs.

A binding estimate is binding for both you and your mover.
Properly planned moves imply having enough money at your disposal to pay for the moving costs.

Do I get a copy of a binding estimate too?

Of course! A binding estimate is always in writing and you should receive it before the moving day. Your movers keep the estimate as well and they attach it to the bill of lading. However, if you don’t get your own copy of it, it may be a sign you are dealing with fraudulent movers.  Then, hiring some other company might be a better choice.

Is the binding estimate binding for both me and my movers?

The answer is yes. Since your movers are obliged to move the listed items as well as to provide you with the stated services, you have to stick to the binding estimate too. Any additional items you want to relocate or any additional services you require will influence and eventually change the price. Understandably, as you want to know how much a moving company costs, movers want to know how much work there is concerning your relocation. If they notice a great difference between what is stated in the binding estimate and the situation on a moving day, they might refuse the service.

What should I do if I realize I will have to move some more items or need additional services?

The right thing to do is to inform the moving company immediately. You will have enough time to agree on the new terms before the moving day comes. Then, the company can prepare a new, revised binding estimate for you. Even though it sounds like an easy thing to do, you should avoid doing this whenever possible.

Alternatives to a binding estimate

A binding estimate isn’t the only type of estimate you can receive from your movers. There are also non-binding estimates and binding not-to-exceed estimates. The explanation on these follows.

Explore alternatives of a binding estimate.
Alternatives to a binding estimate are worth exploring as well.

A non-binding estimate

A non-binding estimate is what you get when you request a moving quote over the internet. You type the most important information concerning your move and the company informs you of the approximate moving price according to these data. Although this service is free of charge, it has an important disadvantage. The final price is determined only when all your items are weighed. So, there is no guarantee that this price won’t be much higher than the one in the non-binding estimate. On the other hand, when the moving day comes to its end, the mover can require you to pay only the price in the estimate plus 10%. You can pay the remaining charges 30 days after the moving day.  

A binding not-to-exceed estimate

This is the most favorable type a moving estimate for all those who are planning relocation. It is based on a binding estimate but has a great advantage. If it turns out on a moving day that your items weigh more than stated in the binding estimate, you pay the quoted price nevertheless. On the other hand, if the weight of your belongings is less than in the written estimate, you pay less based on this new weight. It is very favorable, isn’t it?