Moving can be a tiring and stressful experience. This prompts many people to hire movers who use their expertise to help you make your moving experience less draining. However, with the work that goes into organizing a move and all of the logistics of departing your old residence and setting up your new one, those hiring moving companies are likely to be too busy to pay attention to the details that go into the estimate for the move provided by the moving company.

Likely, you may not know that moving companies offer different types of quotes when providing their moving services. Being aware of the types of quotes they offer can help you make more informed decisions from a financial perspective when you are working with a moving company.

There are two primary types of estimates that movers offer: binding and non-binding. There is a significant difference in what these estimates entail and how much they will cost. By being better informed about their conditions, you can know what type of moving arrangement you are getting into allowing you to be adequately prepared for what to expect.

Non-Binding Estimate

Budgeting your moving costs is something that is a factor in every move. However, people are also looking for great deals when they choose their movers. If a mover offers a non-binding estimate, it means that the cost of your move depends on the weight of the total of your belongings. If you estimate the weight to be a certain amount, the moving company may throw an estimate your way that would be a great deal.

However, if your things end up weighing more than you expected, you will need to pay more for your move than the estimate stated. In other words, the estimate means very little in terms of actually staying at its originally provided amount. At that point, you are rolling the dice on how much that estimate will go up.

This type of strategy is used by some less than professional businesses to jack up the costs after the service has been provided. Essentially your estimate is only formal as long as the moving company doesn’t find any reasons to push the price up. If your things weigh more than you expected, the moving company can charge you more. While legal standings prevent them from not leaving your domicile until you pay the difference between the estimate and the actual cost, they can hold you to the payment within 30 days, and append an additional 10% to your cost for the delay.

For these reasons, a non-binding estimate is typically not recommended for people moving. It leaves too much grey area for overcharging fees and ratcheted up prices all of which find a way to come about after the service has been performed.

Binding Estimate

A binding estimate is the opposite end of the spectrum. When this type of estimate is offered, it permits you to have peace of mind about not having the price increased once the job has been completed. If you estimate your belongings to weigh a certain amount, then that’s what the price will be based on, and if they happen to exceed that binding estimate, the company will not charge you extra after the fact.

While most people would prefer this approach to the non-binding variety, it’s important to be aware of a few important factors. One factor is that while the movers are bound to the estimate, once you agree to it, you are too. For instance, if you severely overestimate the weight of your belongings, your binding estimate will essentially have you overpaying for what you could have paid.

If you think that locking down a price and then adding extra items because the moving company will not charge you extra is a good way to game the binding estimate method, you might want to reconsider. While the estimate is binding, it is not renegotiable. If you need to add more weight to your moving tally on moving day, you will need to discuss the terms with your moving company. This can result in either be that the mover accepts the additional weight as part of the binding agreement, or the agreement will need to be altered to a new binding estimate, or perhaps, even a non-binding one.

Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimate

While there are two primary estimate types, there is technically a subdivision of binding estimates as well. This is arguably the ideal estimate. While the quote is agreed upon ahead of time, based on the estimated weight of your belongings, you will not be overcharged for exceeding the weight, but you will be charged less if the weight comes in under what you estimated. Essentially, this type of binding estimate puts a cap on what the moving company can charge you, but can also work to your advantage if the weight happens to be less than anticipated.

Being Aware

The key takeaway is that when you are booking a moving company, make sure that you make it clear about what type of estimate you are receiving. It should be on any agreement or document you have with them, assuring you that you make appropriate financial preparations for what the move will ultimately end up costing you.

Non-binding agreements are usually too concerning and leave the door open for you to be scammed by a moving company that can leverage technicalities and any extra pounds to jack up the prices. Binding agreements can seem like a good deal, but if you have less weight than you thought for the move, you are still bound to the estimate, unless you have arranged a binding not-to-exceed estimate.

No matter the agreement, it’s important to gather quotes from several moving companies when you are preparing to move, and then compare not only the dollar amounts but also the estimated types so you can know what to expect.