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Binding vs. Non-Binding Moving Estimates: Which Works for You?

Moving is as stressful as it is exciting. Starting with the right information and tools can make the process easier.

Binding vs. Non-Binding Moving EstimatesABC Quality Moving & Storage is one of the tools that can provide peace of mind while you check off other tasks on your moving list. We are committed to the best customer experience possible. This includes clear communication and transparent pricing. Different types of moving estimates are available, but the two most common are binding and non-binding estimates. A binding estimate offers a fixed rate at the time of the estimate, while a non-binding estimate is an estimate based on the estimated weight of your items that can change during the move. Let’s take a look at the differences between binding and non-binding estimates and which will work best for your unique needs.

The binding estimate is a written agreement between you and the moving company, which guarantees the price that the moving company has quoted for the move. The price is predetermined and, no matter what happens, the company cannot charge more than what the binding estimate specifies. This type of estimate is best for long-distance moves, and you can be confident that you will not be charged more than the agreed amount. Binding estimates are easier to budget, and you are not subject to surprise charges after the move is completed.

Regulations governing binding estimates are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) and must be observed by a moving company when preparing and implementing a binding estimate. These guidelines include:

  • A binding estimate must accurately describe the shipment and all the services the company will provide.
  • A binding estimate must be in writing and a copy given to you before you move.
  • A moving company may charge for providing a binding estimate.
  • If the mover thinks you have additional items not included in the original binding estimate, they have the right to refuse service until a new binding estimate is agreed upon.
  • At the completion of your move, the moving company cannot charge you more than the amount of the binding estimate.
  • Payment of the binding estimate is due at the time of delivery. If you are unable to pay the mover, the moving company will store your belongings until the binding estimate amount is paid in full. The company also has the right to charge for additional storage fees.

Non-binding estimates also project the total cost of your move, but do not guarantee or contract a specific price. These estimates are calculated according to the weight of the move and the number of packing materials, if any, used by the moving company. Movers are unable to provide the final cost until items are weighed on moving day. In this case, the moving truck is weighed before loading and again after items are loaded onto the truck. The difference between these two weights will be what you are billed. Non-binding estimates are best for local moves or when you only have a few items.

Like binding estimates, the FMCSA also provides rules regarding non-binding estimates, including:

  • A moving company must provide a reasonably accurate estimate based on weight and services required.
  • A moving company must explain to you that all charges on shipments are moved under a non-binding estimate.
  • The non-binding estimate should be in writing and without charge.
  • A moving company can only charge you 10% more than the original estimate. If the difference increases more than 10%, you can choose not to pay the extra amount, and your items will be held until you pay the agreed amount.

Moving estimates are helpful in budgeting for your relocation. Make sure you read and understand the terms and the conditions of an estimate before signing a contract, and never sign a blank estimate or one that is only partially completed. ABC Quality Moving & Storage provides comprehensive and competitive pricing for all of our moves. Our moving experts are here to answer your questions about moving estimates, timelines, and more. You deserve the very best moving company. The best mover in St. Louis is as easy as ABC Quality Moving and Storage. Let us show you why our customers keep choosing our services for their local or long distance moves. Call ABC Quality Moving and Storage today at 1-888-983-MOVE (6683).