Cost is a deciding factor when buying a product or a hiring service provider. Companies understand this as well, which is why most provide free quotes, estimates, or consultations to attract more consumers.
When it comes to moving companies, though, take care not to confuse a general quote with an estimate. You can get a moving quote through the phone or online, but proper estimates are always written down and considered legal documents.
Quotes are only ballpark prices that moving companies may change without any consequences. Meanwhile, estimates are generally more accurate thanks to regulations that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implements.
Binding vs. Non-binding Estimates
Binding estimates provide a stronger price guarantee — your mover is required to honor the terms and price listed on your document, whether or not the final cost stays the same. Adding more items to your inventory will likely change your closing costs. You and your mover can agree to make the first estimate non-binding, negotiate a new binding estimate, or simply follow the original document.
Non-binding estimates are like official versions of over-the-phone quotes. The document lists the projected price, which is often accurate or close to the actual price you’ll pay based on your listed inventory. You may still pay less or more than the estimated price.
Factors that Influence Non-binding Estimates
The weight of your items plays a large role in the price estimate you get. Selling or gifting some of your inventoried items helps lower the actual price you need to pay and get you a refund. Movers may also charge more if you live somewhere high or inaccessible to their trucks. You are likely to get higher estimates during the peak moving seasons between May to September, as well.
Don’t worry if the price goes up, though. A non-binding estimate still provides you a measure of protection. You’re not required to pay more than 110% of the original estimate upon delivery of your items, and you have up to 30 days to pay the added charges.
Both binding and non-binding estimates provide equal protection as long as you chose a reputable moving company. The choice comes to a matter of preference in the end.