It is no secret that relocation can be a costly venture. However, with that said, how do you know that you are not paying to much for a certain service? While it is always a smart move to compare moving quotes from numerous companies, and thus get an idea of what relocation costs, there is one more thing you can do to ensure the bill you get does not shock you to the core. You want to get a reliable moving company that offers a binding moving estimate. ‘Why do you need a binding moving estimate’, you might wonder. Well, we will now explain this estimate in detail, and help you further understand all the benefits of it.
In order to portray the main benefits of the binding moving estimate, we first need to explain your options. In the vast majority of cases, when hiring a moving company, you will be presented with two types of moving estimates, and those are:
- binding, and
- non-binding moving estimates.
Let us first define the latter, and then devote our attention to the former.
What is a non-binding moving estimate?
The non-binding moving estimate is the type that provides an approximate number for your relocation expenses. What this means is that you will get a quote that is not set in stone. Or, in other words, it is susceptible to change. As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that you can expect to have additional relocation costs after the relocation is over. But, how does this happen? Well, moving companies calculate the basic price of the moving expenses and leave the possibility to charge you additional fees open. These fees refer to some of the services you need, as well as the changes in the weight of the shipment. So, in a case where you are presented with a non-binding moving estimate, you should make sure to ask about additional charges you may face.
All that said, our honest advice is that you circumvent this situation altogether. We advise this because many fraudulent moving companies use the non-binding estimates as a means of overcharging you big time. Of course, not all companies that use non-binding quotes are untrustworthy or have bad intentions. However, if you do not have the time to run a background check or check with the Better Business Bureau if the company is to be trusted, it would be best that you look for movers that offer binding estimates.
What makes a binding moving estimate the better choice?
A binding estimate means that the price quoted in the estimate is the exact amount you will pay. Even if your shipment ends up weighing more than the estimated amount, you will pay what you were quoted. Following the rules that come from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), the binding estimate must accurately describe the shipment and all the services the company will provide. This means that there will be no hidden fees or unexpected additions to the final bill. If you ask the moving company to provide additional services, they will bill you separately for these charges following your move. It is important that you know that come moving day, the moving company cannot charge you more than the amount of the binding estimate. It has to be in writing and you have to receive a copy of it before you relocate.
A binding moving quote is a great option if you need to move in a hurry, and don’t have a large shipment. It will allow you to know exactly what you will be paying, and the bill will not be that high. You can say that it provides peace of mind, as you will know where you stand at every point.
Understanding the binding estimate
If you agree to a binding estimate, you will have to pay at the time of delivery. However, your mover can agree to receive payment before moving. You can use cash, certified check, money order, or cashier’s check. Some companies will accept a credit card.
If you cannot pay the moving company upon delivery, the movers will place your shipment in a storage unit until you can cover the expenses. Keep in mind, though, that the storage fees are your responsibility, and you will have to pay for them.
Understanding the contract
The moving company must clearly state that the estimate is binding to yourself and your mover. That is to say, both of you have a dept to each other, so to speak. Each binding estimate must, in addition, clearly state that the charges are only for services that are in the estimate.
If the moving company things that you have additional belongings in your household inventory that are not stated in the estimate, they can refuse your service. So, you want to make sure that everything you need to move is in the estimate. If you want to add items, make sure to notify your movers, so that you can work out an arrangement before they start to load your shipment.
When the moving company agrees to move your belongings, they must do one of the following:
- confirm the binding estimate,
- negotiate a revised written binding estimate that will list the additional household goods or services, or
- add an attachment to the contract (in writing) stating that you both will consider the original binding estimate as a non-binding estimate.
What it comes down to
A binding estimate allows you to know the exact price of your move from the very beginning of the process. There will be no changes or additional fees unless you approve them. When the mover loads all of your belongings into the truck, they have agreed to the binding estimate, and no costs can be added. However, that is still something that you are in charge of.