Understanding The Three Different Types Of Moving Estimates

Posted on: 9 February 2015


Different moving companies use different methods to figure out how much your move will cost. Moving a household can become a logistical nightmare, but a professional moving company can handle it for you with no problems. However, you need to understand what the moving company's estimate includes. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying for far more than you originally thought.

The Three Types of Estimates

Basically, if it's not in your estimate then you shouldn't receive a charge for it. However, it doesn't always work out that way. You need to understand what type of estimate the mover offers. There are generally three types.

Binding – Sometimes called a guaranteed price. A binding price covers everything on the estimate. The price will not go up or down if some aspects of the estimations change.

For example, if the weight of your things turns out to be more than the estimate, you will not receive an additional charge. Conversely, if you add services, or if a service not listed on the estimate becomes a requirement, then the binding part of the estimate disappears and the mover will have to charge a new price.

Non-Binding – These types of estimates are not set in stone. The mover will charge you the amount of the estimate. The mover will also charge you for any additional services later. Your estimate is not a guarantee, it's just an estimate.

Movers usually wait until after they weigh your goods before giving you a final price. Because of that, the final price can actually lower if the weight turns out to be less than originally estimated. With a non-binding estimate, the opposite is also true. If the weight is greater, then your price will go up accordingly. You may not even know of the additional cost until the move is complete.

Not-to-Exceed – This is a binding estimate, but as the name states, it will not exceed the estimate price. This type of estimate is usually the best for people. When used in a straightforward manner, it has a lot of benefit.

  • If the final weight goes over the estimated weight, then you won't pay any extra
  • If the final weight is lower than the estimated weight, then your price will go down

Estimate Caveats to Consider

You can probably benefit the most from a not-to-exceed or a binding estimate. No matter what type of estimate you have, you need to make sure you get everything in writing. Also, make sure your estimate accounts for everything.

Sometimes, a driver can challenge an estimate. For example, if the moving company gives you a binding estimate for 2,000-pounds, make sure you also get an itemized list of what's included in the weight estimate. It's possible there are large items not included.

What will happen is that on moving day, the movers will come to gather your belongings, only to find out that you obviously have 2500-pounds worth of items. They may refuse to honor the estimate because of that. So always practice diligence, and always get it in writing. And always deal with a reputable moving service, like Wheaton World Wide Moving.