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The difference between binding and non-binding moving estimate explained

Moving is often very stressful and difficult. For this reason, many people want to hire affordable moving companies NYC. Movers will help you immensely, especially if this is your first time moving. However, moving terminology may pose yet another challenge. Again, unless you have experience with moving, terms like binding or non-binding estimate probably mean nothing to you. Still, you need to get yourself familiar with these terms as movers will offer one of these estimates to you. Therefore, here is the explanation for both and the difference between binding and non-binding moving estimate 

How to find a reliable moving company 

Before you read about the difference between binding and non-binding moving estimate, you should find a reliable moving company. First, ask your friends and family for recommendations if they used moving services recently. If they cannot provide the names, then turn to your old friend, Google. When you search for moving companies, you can find a dozen or so moving quotes NYC. For this reason, you have to make a selection. First, see if a moving company offers a service that you need. Some companies only have local moving services while others offer anything from local moving to international ones. Next, read several moving reviews. Lastly, check their track record by visiting the official website of the BBB or if movers have a license issued by the FMSCA. When you find a moving company that meets all the criteria above, you can call them to schedule an in-house interview.  

people sitting around the table
Ask your friends and family for moving company recommendations

The difference binding and non-binding estimate – Non-binding Estimate 

First, let’s explain the non-binding estimate. This one is more common if you are moving long-distance or nationwide. Moving companies calculate your costs based on the weight of your items when you are moving to a different state. When you are moving locally, moving costs are calculated based on the distance. For this reason, most moving companies offer a non-binding estimate for a long-distance relocation. A non-binding estimate is just an estimation of your price, not the actual price. Your movers are not bound by this estimation. The price will likely change on a moving day. Sometimes, it can change to your advantage. If the price is lower than the original one, you will pay less. However, the same thing applies if the price is higher. This means you will pay more than originally planned. 

More information about the non-binding estimate 

When movers offer a non-binding estimate, they have to clearly describe your shipment and all the services used. Only then, you can sign the order of service or bill of landing. In addition to this, according to the FMSCA, movers should do the following. 

  • Giving a non-binding estimate should be free 
  • Movers should fairly and accurately estimate your shipment 
  • They have to explain to you all the additional fees if there are any 
  • Your movers have to provide a copy of a non-binding estimate for you 
  • If movers detect additional items, they can refuse to service your or negotiate your non-binding estimate 
  • Movers cannot ask more than 110 percent of the estimated amount 
  • Your movers should keep a copy of your estimate for one year 
person holding pen with coffee on table
Gather all the important information about two estimates

How to avoid moving scams 

As you can probably tell, a non-binding estimate is quite risky. Movers are not bound by the estimate, hence the name. For this reason, they can tell you one estimate which is significantly lower than the actual one. Therefore, they have grounds to ask for more money. Some moving companies underprice in order to attract customers. In the worst cases, they will refuse to return your items until you pay the new estimate. That is why you should be very careful when hiring a moving company. There are many fraudulent companies on the market. Do the research described above. Read moving reviews. However, be critical. If you see that one moving company has only positive reviews, be suspicious. There is no company that can satisfy all the customers. In addition to this, if one moving company offers significantly lower moving quotes, do not fall for it.  

The difference binding and non-binding estimate – Binding Estimates 

Just as the name suggests, movers are bound by a binding estimate. A binding estimate is a written agreement where your movers state the total price of your relocation. This original price will not change. This is both good and bad news. You will pay the original cost even if your shipment is heavier than previously estimated. However, you will also pay the original price even if your shipment is lighter. In addition to this, your movers can charge you for offering a binding estimate. In this written estimation, all the services provided must be described as well as the contents of your shipment. You have to receive a copy before your move. If you fail to pay, movers can keep your items in a storage unit and you will pay for storage fees. Since you will know the exact price in advance, you can prepare your moving budget.  

a truck driving through the street
You have to pay for all the moving costs after the delivery

Additional information about a binding estimate  

As with a non-binding estimate, the FMSCA provides guidelines for a binding estimate as well. 

  • Your movers have to attach a copy of the binding estimate to your bill of landing and keep a copy for themselves 
  • Again, if movers notice additional items, they can refuse the service. However, you can make a new binding estimate 
  • Movers can also treat the original binding estimate as a non-binding one if you are not honest about your shipment 
  • If you ask for more moving services after the estimate, movers will collect them after the delivery 

All in all, the difference between binding and non-binding estimates can be seen from their names. A binding estimate is a written agreement that bounds movers. However, it is also not as common as a non-binding estimate. On the other hand, a non-binding estimate is just an agreement that will change.  

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