Binding and Non-Binding Moving Estimate; Their Differences
Moving your property from your current home to another home has not really been a problem lately, because there are numerous moving companies that will make sure your properties are moved to your new location safely. Moving might not necessarily be a problem, but the cost of moving can be somehow expensive, so you don’t just wake up and call the local moving company to come and get your items moved, it is of great importance that before you engage the services of a moving company, you should most importantly have a proper idea of what the entire moving process will cost you, so you can make the necessary financial preparations.
Moving companies can help you get cost quotes, and you can plan financially with the cost quotes. There are basically two types of move the moving companies recognize, and the movement type you make use of will also affect the amount you are to pay, or you will be charged. The two types of moves are the intrastate and the local move.
An interstate move is moving from one state to another or one country to another; this move means the moving company would have to take a long ride to get to your destination. The local move means moving from one location to another in the same state; the moving company does not really spend much time in this, so their charges are relatively low compared to intrastate moves.
When moving there are two ways in which movers estimate your cost, the binding and the non-binding moving estimate. It is very important that you have the knowledge of these two types of estimates or you will end up just accepting any estimate given to you by the moving company. Do not be in a heist to agree to a less expensive estimate, learn the difference between the non-binding moving estimate and the binding moving estimate. This article will expose you to both the binding and the non-binding estimate, how they work, and their differences.
Binding Moving Estimate
The binding estimate is more like stating a particular price or cost for your move before the move day; this estimate provides the general cost of relocating or moving after a survey of the items you intend to move. This estimate is the best in terms of the accuracy of the cost of relocating that you can get from the movers.
For the binding moving estimate, the cost of moving or estimate of moving depends on the weight of the property you are moving, the square feet of an automobile that your items are going to be arranged into, or the two are combined. The binding estimate generally is more expensive than that of the non-binding, since the binding estimate involves signing an agreement that would restrain any further increase in price different from what has been in the original documents.
Let us say the moving company came to your home for estimation, they completed the process and gave you the estimated weight which they got the binding price from, the price given to you is binding, this means whatever the case may be, you are paying that very price.
If the items the moving company estimated weighed more than the one you were charged for, ordinarily you ought to pay more, but because the price is binding, you will pay only the amount quoted, on the second, if the items on the day of the moving weighed less than what was weighed when the survey took place this means you have been charged more since your items weighed lesser; ordinarily, there ought to be a discount in this scenario, but you just have to pay what has been quoted since it is binding.
As much as there is an already fixed cost of moving this doesn’t mean you will leverage on it and play tricks with the measure of goods to be moved. If you intend to do this, just have it in mind that the movers also have a legal right to increase the price of moving in some cases which are if you decide to add extra properties that were not in the agreement or the moving company had to spend money while moving your property on things that were not included in the documents. So the bindings moving estimate is not all that binding since the moving company still has the right to make changes in some given circumstances like the one mentioned above.
Generally, for the majority of binding estimates, it is just the part of transportation( the cost gotten from weighing the property to be moved) that is binding. For example, if you plan with the moving company that you are going to self-pack ( pack and arrange your property yourself) and you failed to do so, leaving the moving company to pack, that's an extra cost, and it’s going to reflect on the final bill as transportation cost
The problem of the binding estimate is that one must know the exact stuff to be moved and that which will not be moved. What happens when the moving company has already estimated the cost of moving the items you selected and on the move day you discover that you really have to move some other important items, and they were not in your inventory, if the moving company is to make room for this item then you have incurred additional cost because you are going to pay for the extra items added.
The easy way of getting through this without having to incur extra cost is to make sure you mark out properly the items you intend to move and those that are not to be moved. When you have properties that are not available visible it can hinder the binding moving estimate (moving cost calculator) process, because the moving company wants the weight of the item and if it can not be gotten wherefore leaving them stranded and uncertain of what to charge for such items, the moving company might end up not being able to get you a binding estimate.
Some of the rules of the binding estimate are;
- The moving company is not permitted to add an extra charge in the process of moving without seeking the consent or the permission of the customer whose items are being moved. The customer can only pay that exact amount that was agreed in the binding estimate as at the delivery time if there were reasons for incurring extra expenses, and the customer is asked to pay an additional amount, that extra amount to be paid by the customer is going to be billed separately from the original binding estimate given to the customer.
- The company that is to move the customers items or property is to make sure they provide a written document to the customer, this written document must be given to the customer before the day of the move, this will give the client enough time to go through the entire document and see if there are any errors of omission or any wrongly entered data so that correction and adjustments can be made before the day of moving.
- There must be proof that the estimate is binding; therefore, the moving company must acknowledge it in their estimate, that the estimate that is given to the customer is binding. The moving company must also attach to the bill of lading a copy of the estimate that is binding. The moving company is to state in their document that the estimate that was given is for the following services which will be listed in the document.
- If there are any additional items that are included in the items without the moving company’s notice and this item was not listed among the items that the estimated binding is to cover, then the moving company has all the right to reject the service and make another binding estimate which is called the revised binding estimate so as to include the extra item and this will give the moving company an opportunity to charge you at a higher rate relative to what you were charged for other goods. It is an emergency service, so do well to avoid cases like this if you don’t want to spend extra cash.
Non-Binding Moving Estimate
I will use the term “casual estimate” to make it simple for you to digest. A Non-Binding Moving Estimate is the value of your moving given to you that is subject to changes based on some factors. This Non-Binding estimate is less accurate relative to the binding estimate because this does not require any surveyor to come to your home and get estimates of what is to be moved, the quote can be given over the telephone or online. It is called Non-Binding because they know that their estimate might not be correct so they cannot bind you to it and they do not want to be binding to it in case there is a need to increase the cost.
In simple terms it is the opinion of the company as to what your final price would be of your move after you discuss the services you want with them, this means that if at the end, your moving estimate increases more than the company’s estimate, you will have to pay more, it’s non-binding, and on the other hand if your cost of moving becomes lower than the estimated company's moving cost, you pay the less amount because it is non-binding.
A non-binding moving estimate leaves the client vulnerable to being scammed because the cost given is approximated. Some moving companies use the non-binding moving estimate to defraud clients by practically giving clients low cost to convince them into taking their offer but in the end, bring out outrageous bills for clients to pay. Clients are easily scammed because the estimates are given free of charge making it one of the most commonly used estimates.
For those that intend to relocate, this non-binding estimate is best to get what your moving cost would look like, not the actual cost though, hence giving you time to make financial arrangements against the estimated amount though not accurate. Generally, the actual cost you will end up paying might be higher than the estimated amount. This estimate is more like a warning estimate that tells you what you should be expecting before the real cost comes. You can call it a preparative estimate. The non-binding moving estimate has a procedure of not letting the mover ask you to pay above the agreed amount.
The general recommendation for the binding moving estimate and the non-binding moving estimate is that they both serve different occasions, so there is no baseline for checking if the non-binding moving estimate is better than the binding estimate or if the binding moving estimate is a better option relative to Non-Binding moving estimate.
Though picking the option of the binding moving estimate might cost you more relatively but you will have a crystal clear picture of what is coming in regards to the cost and this, in turn, will give you a better chance of planning financially over the person that picks the non-binding moving estimate.
Going with the option of the non-binding moving estimate is relatively cheap but not concrete, in that, it is just a stated amount given to you by your mover, and it will definitely change. If you are going to use the non-binding moving estimate, the most effective way to go about it is getting multiple estimates from different moving companies, since you might not really know if the estimate is fair by just using a single moving company, so getting multiple quotes is the best way of knowing whose quotes are fair and whose are not fair.
When getting multiple estimates, what everyone would generally want to opt for is the estimate with the lower cost, but be careful of too low estimates and be alert to scams, since this strategy is used by some companies to get clients and at the end of the move, bring out an outrageous bill for clients to pay.
Additional Requirements of Binding Estimates
The following requirements for non-binding moving estimates are from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s website directly as regards estimating moving charges:
- Your moving company must provide a clear description of binding estimate cargos and the services to be rendered.
- Your moving company must keep a copy of every binding estimate as an attachment to the bill of lading.
- Your moving company must neatly state on the face of every binding estimate that the moving estimate is binding you and your moving company. Every binding estimate must also clearly show the charges indicated in its face are the amount to be charged for the services highlighted in the moving estimate.
- If, before loading your goods, your moving company believes you are bringing up extra household belongings or need extra services not mentioned in the binding estimate, and you and your mover cannot both agree, your moving company may refuse to service the goods. If the company agrees to continue with the shipment, your moving company must perform all these three things:
- Reaffirm the binding moving estimate
- Request for a revised written binding moving estimate listing the extra household belongings or services
- Fix an attachment to the contract paper, in writing, indicating you will both consider the initial binding estimate as a non-binding moving estimate. Try to read more later in this guide/ this may significantly affect the amount you may pay for the whole movie.
- Immediately your moving company loads your belongings, your moving company’s failure to carry out a new binding estimate or to agree with you to treat the initial moving estimate as a non-binding estimate indicates shows the former binding estimate has been reaffirmed. Your moving company may not charge beyond the amount of the initial binding estimate, unless as indicated in the next two paragraphs.
- If you ask for extra services after they have executed the bill of lading, your moving company will collect the charges for these extra services upon delivery of your shipment.
- Failure of your moving company to release possession of belonging even when you offer to pay the binding estimate cost and the cost of any extra services that you asked for after execution of the contract, and the charges for tough services, not to go beyond 15% of every other delivery, give rise to the failure to transport goods with better dispatch and subjects your moving company to shipment delay claims under 49 CFR part 370.
If your moving company must carry out tough operations, as mentioned in its tariff, to complete the delivery of your cargo, your moving company will collect the charges of these additional services when you receive your shipment. However, costs for extra operations collected at delivery must not go beyond 15% of every other due at delivery. Any other additional operations charges must be paid within a month after you get the freight bill from the moving company.
Additional Requirements of Non-Binding Estimates
The following requirements for non-binding moving estimates are gotten from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s website on estimating charges.
- Your moving company must give a moderately accurate non-binding moving estimate depending on the estimated weight of the cargo and services needed.
- Your moving company is not permitted to charge you for providing a non-binding moving estimate.
- Your moving company must properly explain to you that the entire charges on shipments transported under non-binding moving estimates will be those you see on your moving company’s tariff which applies to the shipping. If your moving company gives you a non-binding moving estimate of approximate costs, such an estimate doesn’t bind your moving company.
- Your moving company must give you non-binding moving estimates at no cost and in writing.
- Your moving company must have a copy of every non-binding moving estimate as to the bill of lading’s attachment.
- Your moving company must neatly state on the face of a non-binding estimate that the moving estimate is not binding you and your moving company. Every non-binding estimate must also clearly show the charges indicated in its face are the amount to be charged for the services highlighted in the moving estimate.
- Your moving company must provide a clear description of non-binding estimate cargos and the services to be rendered.
- If, before loading your goods, your moving company believes you are bringing up extra household belongings or need extra services not mentioned in the binding estimate, and you and your moving company cannot both agree, your moving company may refuse to service the goods. If your moving company agrees to continue with the shipment, your moving company must give you one of these two estimates:
- Reaffirm the non-binding moving estimate
- Request for a revised written non-binding moving estimate listing the extra household belongings or services
- Immediately your moving company loads your belongings, your moving company’s failure to carry out a new non-binding estimate indicates the original non-binding estimate has been reaffirmed. Your moving company may not charge beyond 110% of the amount estimated at the destination for the moving services as well as quantities indicated on the moving estimate.
- If you ask for extra services after they have executed the bill of lading, your moving company will collect the charges for these extra services upon delivery of your shipment.
- If your moving company must carry out tough operations, as mentioned in its tariff, to complete the delivery of your cargo, your moving company will collect the charges of these additional services when you receive your shipment. However, costs for extra operations collected at delivery must not go beyond 15% of every service. Other additional operations charges must be paid within a month after you get the freight bill from the moving company.
If your moving company executes a non-binding moving estimate, your moving company must supply the estimated moving charges on the order for service as well as on the bill of lading. Your moving company must hold a record of entire moving estimates of charges for every move carried out for a minimum of one year right from the date your moving company provides an estimate.
How a Mover can Scam you with a Non-Binding Moving Estimate
The popular way a rogue moving company can scam you during an interstate move with a non-binding moving estimate is:
- The movers intentionally reduce the price of your move just to get your job.
- Immediately your moving company loads your shipments, they present a new moving estimate with the exact weight of your belongings that is even higher than the initial estimate.
- The movers hold your shipments hostage unless you pay them the new moving estimate.
Yes, if you read from the top, moving companies are allowed by law to keep your belongings until you pay for your relocation. Ensure you clearly understand more than what they can and cannot do.
How to avoid this Popular Moving Scam
- Get a minimum of three moving quotes from other moving companies and compare moving estimates.
- Consider hiring through a registered broker. With this, your move will be protected.
- Check reputations online – if the moving company appears invisible online, avoid them
- If the company is kind of shady or amateur and tries to win you over with a low moving price, avoid them
- Completely understand the requirements above on non-binding moving estimates
It is so much important when hiring a mover to pick a licensed local moving company with a good reputation for long-distance moves. Ensure when checking online reviews, that the movers indicate strength in performing long-distance moves, in particular.
Ask the Moving Company these Questions during the On-Site Inspection
When the movers get to your home to inspect your goods and give you an on-site moving estimate, be free to ask them all the questions you may have as regards the moving estimate process, the actual moving process, or even concerning their company as a whole.
Below are just some of the vital questions you should discuss with your movers:
- What type of moving estimate will I get? A binding moving estimate, a non-binding moving estimate, or a binding not-to-exceed moving estimate?
- Will the moving estimate be given in writing after they assess my move and my shipments?
- Are there any other fees or charges that I need to know of like additional charges for long carries or stair maneuvering?
- Do you possess a USDOT number?
- Can you confirm your license and insurance?
- How long has your moving company been servicing for?
- How will you take care of my shipment during the travel?
- What kind of safety measures do you take to make sure my shipments are safely transported?
- Do you have proves for filing a claim for any damaged or lost belongings?
- When will my shipments be delivered to me?
Inviting movers to your home and inspect your shipments in person provides them a real insight into what the movement needs and the shipment size, so they can give you the most accurate moving estimate possible.
One other benefit of getting in-home moving estimates is meeting the moving company representatives in person before your move. This is so much useful since it enables you to evaluate specific parts of their company that may not be possible over the phone.
A Professional Mover will tell you the Difference
Finally, if you still doubt these moving estimates, you can ask your moving company agents about them. You can also obtain a free moving estimate from your professional movers. Each professional mover will be able to explain the differences as well as what they mean to you and your move.
However, ensure that you are indeed listening to what they are saying. They must sound professional, confident, and knowledgeable. There is no chance for insecurities and uncertainties. If the moving company is up to the task, they will know exactly what to say to you. In fact, you might also ask them about this, just to access their reaction as well as how they speak to you.