Everything You Need to Know About Moving Estimates

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general General Moving

When it comes time to move, no one wants to see their wallet take a hit.  You want to find trustworthy movers to handle your belongings without having to break the bank.  For many people, finding this balance means taking time to research moving companies and receive estimates.  But your task does not stop there.  It’s important to distinguish the different types of moving quotes you can receive and assess which best fits your needs when moving.

Binding Moving Estimate

The first type of estimate is, well, binding.  Once you agree to a binding quote you are legally obligated to pay the amount listed on the quote upon the completion of your move.  Sounds simple.  There are a few things to consider though.  There are many good aspects to a binding quote, mainly that what you see is what you get.  This type of quote  is mutually agreed to by both you and your moving company, so you can decide whether or not you are willing to accept and pay the offered amount or go with a different mover.  This quote is a legal contract however, so the process of determining the cost of the move is often more time consuming and results in a higher final estimate than the other type of quote.  If you decide to enter into a binding quote, a representative from the moving company will need to come and assess the items being moved in person so they can write up a reasonable estimate.  While you ultimately choose if you are willing to agree to the amount they offer, if you did not provide an accurate representation of what will be moved, the moving company can refuse their service.  One extra box that you honestly forgot will probably go unnoticed, but trying to sneak a piano into the move without notifying the representative during the assessment could leave you without movers on moving day.  Also, because it is the final cost, this type of quote will probably have a higher value than a non-binding quote.  Don’t be fooled by sticker shock. Smaller non-binding estimates can be deceiving, which we’ll talk about next, but if you end up having a much lighter load than initially anticipated, you’ll still have to foot the bill for the higher estimated weight.  There is an exception to this rule with a special type of binding quote.  If you enter into a binding-not-to-exceed estimate, you will  be contractually bound to the estimate, but if your shipment is lighter than estimated, you will see the cost go down!  So while you should anticipate paying the cost for the estimated weight, you might be pleasantly surprised with a lighter load and a smaller bill.

Non-binding Moving Estimate

You guessed it, the second type of quote is not a legally binding contract, but merely an estimated cost that can and very well might change once a move is completed.  This type of quote is commonly used in the industry, particularly for moves of a shorter distance.  One perk to this quote is it can be obtained over the phone or internet.  While you don’t have to take the time walking a representative through your home to see the items you will be moving, your moving company may underestimate the total number of items or weight of your move, resulting in an increased total cost.  Some moving companies also include extra fees, like supply or travel fees that may not be included in the quote and result in the final bill being higher than estimated.  If you are in a hurry or just looking to compare different prices, a non-binding quote is a great option.  There are some caveats when considering accepting a non-binding quote from a moving company.  While it is likely the final cost of a move will exceed the non-binding estimate, some nefarious companies scam customers by intentionally low-balling their bid to draw in unsuspecting consumers who are met with an outrageous bill on moving day.  If you decide to go the non-binding route, make sure to receive multiple bids to compare different companies and spot any outliers that seem artificially low.  This could be a sign of fraudulent movers to steer clear of.  The final cost of a non-binding move is not to exceed 110% of the estimate.  If you find this to be true, be sure to report the moving company to the FMCSA and Better Business Bureau.

So what type of estimate is best for you?  Only you can answer that.  Depending on the distance and the weight of the items you need moved, you may choose to go with one quote or another.  Regardless of which estimate you choose, it will pay to do some research on the companies you are considering hiring before you entrust your valuables with them.

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