When you begin doing research and planning for your upcoming move, one thing you learn is that not all moving estimates are created equal. To make an informed decision you should be aware that there are actually different types of estimates, known as “binding” and “non-binding”. The distinction can be significant and may end up greatly affecting the final bill at the end of your move. We briefly touched on this topic in our previous blog about always reviewing your moving quote, and we're going to do a further comparison here as well. To ensure you get the most cost-friendly estimate possible, you should always request a “binding” or “not-to-exceed” moving quote.
The difference between binding and non-binding estimates is fairly self-explanatory. For a binding estimate, the mover will carry out a walk-through of your home, taking note of everything that is to be moved and estimating the total weight of all of your goods and equipment Once that is complete, the mover will give you a written price estimate based on the assumed weight. Since it is a binding estimate, the mover can only charge you up to that specified amount, regardless of what the actual weight of your move ends up being. It should be noted however, that if the actual weight of your move is lower than the estimate, you are still obligated to pay the previously agreed upon total. There are some exceptions where you may pay more than the binding estimate, such as requesting any additional services from the company such as purchasing packing materials or if you have any goods being moved that require special equipment. The total may also change if you add any items to your move after the initial estimate. A non-binding estimate is essentially the opposite, and the moving company is not bound in any way by the initial dollar amount given. Your final bill will not be given until after your belongings are actually weighed, and you may end up paying more or less than the original estimate. Also, take note that both types of estimates should be given in writing and should clearly detail everything you are being charged for.
The advantages of the binding estimate are obvious, as you know the upper limit of what your move will cost you and the price cannot fluctuate. While the chance of possibly paying less with a non-binding estimate may be attractive, the last thing you would want is for the pendulum to swing the other way and end up having to pay more than you want to. Play it safe and be informed. Always go with a binding estimate when you consider getting a moving quote.