Binding vs. Non-Binding Estimate

changed costIn the spirit of the busy moving season I thought it would be a good idea to continue on our vocabulary lesson trend since many of you are dealing with or will soon be dealing with a ton of moving industry lingo. We know how important it is to obtain an estimate before your move and that it’s even more important to make sure that estimate is done in person. Today I thought I would go over the difference between a binding and a non-binding estimate.

The difference is really very simple. A binding estimate will specify the exact cost of your move based on the services requested at the time of your estimate. Binding estimates are valid for the specific time period discussed, up to a total of 60 days. The cost listed on the estimate will not change unless additional services are requested or required during your move.
If extra services, such as packing or an extra stop (at a storage unit for example) are added between the time of the estimate and the time of the move, your movers will add an addendum to include the extra charges. You will have a chance to look over the revisions before signing off.
A non-binding estimate will specify a price, but that price is not guaranteed. The final cost of the move will be based on the exact weight of the household goods plus the services provided at the time of the move. Now, at the time of delivery you should never be asked for more than 10 percent over the original estimate. But you are then obligated to pay the rest of the charges over the original estimate within 30 days after the move is complete.
Both options are fine if you are working with a reputable mover. But you can obtain incredibly low non-binding estimates over the Internet without having a mover actually come to your home. Working with a mover that does this would be a mistake. Most moving scams start out this way. A low estimate reels people in, even though it wasn’t done in person, and then at the time of the move the actual charge sky rockets and the shipment is often “held hostage” until payment. Always, always, always obtain an in person estimate.
Between packing, planning for your new home, dealing with kids on summer vacation, and trying to keep everybody in your family calm and happy during a move the addition of unfamiliar jargon and contractual decisions can make you want to rip your hair out. Understanding what you are looking at will take the edge off and help you gain back control of your move.