Types of Moving Estimates

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When choosing a moving company to transport your household, you should consider the types of estimates each company will give you. Before picking the type of estimate you want to receive, though, you will want to know the different types and how they will affect the final price of your move.

Non-binding estimates

The first type of moving estimate is a called a non-binding estimate. After evaluating your goods, the mover will provide you with the estimated cost of the move.

Though they will give you the best estimate possible, the mover won't be able to tell you the actual cost of the move until everything is weighed on your moving day. Once your shipment is weighed, your movers will adjust the price. Depending on whether the shipment is more or less than what was estimated, the cost will either increase or decrease.

Here are some of the pros and cons of receiving a non-binding estimate for your move:
  • A non-binding estimate is simply an approximate charge and may change during the move, which often leaves the customer potentially vulnerable to falling victim to one of the more common moving scams that exist in the moving industry today, companies who low-ball their customers and provide intentionally low estimates only to gouge them with an outrageously high price in the end.
  • The non-binding estimate is one of the most commonly used estimates in the moving industry and is very easy for most moving companies to provide free of charge. Their inherently flexible nature means that non-binding estimates can be given out over the phone fairly easily.
  • This makes non-binding estimates ideal for people who are moving with light shipments and also people who are moving on short notice and need quick and easy over-the-phone estimates.

Binding estimates

Non-binding estimates have a level of uncertainty, however if you receive a binding estimate, you will know exactly what you will be paying. With a binding estimate, the mover will assess your goods and give you an estimate for the move. This estimate is concrete and will not change depending on the actual weight of the shipment.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of getting a binding estimate:
  • The cost of your move will not increase, even if the actual weight is above what was estimated. This means that if you underestimated your moving shipment and you're actually moving more items than you initially thought, you won't have to pay any extra at the end of your move.
  • You will know in advance exactly how much you will have to pay for the move, which is extremely helpful when planning your moving budget and tracking your various moving expenses. It will allow you to prepare for the costs that you will face on moving day so that you can have the correct amount of money available for the movers without being surprised by a bill higher than what you anticipated.
  • However, if the weight of your shipment is below the estimate, you still have to pay the agreed-upon price. This means that if you overestimated your moving shipment and actually have less than what you initially thought, you'll still have to pay the aforementioned agreed-upon price at the end of the move.

Binding not-to-exceed

With a binding not-to-exceed estimate, the cost of your move will never go above the estimated price. At the same time, if the total weight of the shipment is actually lower than what is estimated, the price will be lowered.

Since the price will be adjusted only if it is lower, binding not-to-exceed estimates are your best option, so make sure you ask your potential moving company if they can provide it. Here's why binding not-to-exceed estimates are your best bet:
  • Binding not-to-exceed estimates provide a certain amount flexibility that allows for movement and adjustment of the price on the lower side of the initial quote you receive.
  • These estimates allow you some peace of mind in knowing that the total cost of your move will not go above that first estimate you received, and also in knowing that there is a possibility that it may even end up being less, depending on how the move goes and whether or not your shipment is smaller than initially estimated.
  • This kind of estimate allows for more flexibility when trying to budget for your move and it also allows you to have a much clearer picture of how much your total moving bill is going to cost you when it's all said and done.
Now that you know about the three types of moving estimates, remember to ask any potential mover which types they will offer. This way, you can be sure you are getting the best deal possible.

  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on November 18, 2009

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