Binding vs. Non-Binding Moving Estimates

In the moving process, an estimate is a document that your movers will provide, that estimates the cost of your move. You may want to get more than one moving estimate NJ for your move, from several moving companies. While the prices will usually be in the same ballpark, so to speak, the more you have the better. However, there are several types of estimates but they all fall into one of two categories. Binding and non-binding. When considering binding vs. non-binding moving estimates, it is important to know that any estimate that is not binding is not “real”, it is only a vague approximation.

While, in some cases, the non-binding estimates can be quite spot-on, usually they are there just to give you an idea of what your move might cost you, in average terms. You may fall under the average or you may not. The binding estimate is what you will be paying.

But let’s go a bit further. Let’s start with:

Binding vs. Non-Binding Moving Estimates – What is the difference?

The things that you need to know about these estimates are:

  • Rules of binding moving estimate
  • Non-binding moving estimate
  • Ask movers questions during a home assessment
  • Reasons for getting an in-house estimate
Be sure to know all the rules of the binding moving estimate.

Rules of binding moving estimate

There are specific rules that all movers, Aceline Moving NJ included, need to follow when it comes to binding estimates:

  • There can be no additional costs without the customer being notified. The moving company cannot, at any point, charge the customer anything that was not initially estimated. The customer will only have to pay the amount indicated on the binding estimate. However, there may be additional services that the customer might need to pay separately.
  • The estimate needs to be in writing. Also, the moving company is obligated to provide it to the customer, before the move. The customer needs to have ample time to consider the estimate and make sure that there are no discrepancies within.
  • The copy of the binding estimate must be attached to the bill of lading. Furthermore, the moving company also needs to indicate that this estimate is for the listed services only.
  • The mover does have the right to refuse service and change the estimate in light of additional moving elements. If the situation changes from the time of the initial assessment, which will inflate the price, the movers are able to amend their estimate, to include the new factors.

Non-binding moving estimate

While the binding estimate is definitely the “better” estimate out of the two, the fact of the matter is that it is not free, the vast majority of the time. That is why there is a non-binding moving estimate, which you can get even over the phone. However, these types of estimates are everything but concrete. There are moving companies that will give you an intentional low non-binding estimate to get you to sign with them. Some of these companies might even be fraudulent moving companies. You also need to know how to protect yourself from moving fraud. However, it is not all that bad. Most of the time, non-binding estimates are given in good faith and with some moving companies can come really close to the binding one.

You can get a non-binding estimate even over the phone!

A lot of it depends on the experience and expertise of the person who is doing a non-binding estimate. And, of course, it mostly depends on the information that you provide to that person. If you want to have the most accurate estimate over the phone, you may want to do some work beforehand. This is the main issue in binding vs. non-binding moving estimates. If you want the non-binding ones to be accurate, you need to do a lot of the work.

Most of your moving costs come from the weight, number, and size of your items. If you have these numbers written down, you will have a pretty accurate estimate at the end of the day.

But the best way to get an accurate assessment is to get a home assessment from your moving company. And, on that note, you will need to:

Ask movers questions during a home assessment

The rule of thumb, when it comes to a home assessment, is that if you are unsure of something, ask! Never be afraid or embarrassed to contact your mover and ask a question that you want to know the answer to. You don’t need to stop at only assessment questions, feel free to ask anything that is related to your moving process as a whole, or even about the moving company itself!

Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

  • After we finish here, will I have a binding or a non-binding estimate?
  • What are the other charges that might be present, such as long carry or stairway transport services?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • If any items get lost or damaged, how do we go about the claim process?
  • What is the estimated time of delivery for my items?

And similar questions like that. Basically, try to get as many answers as you can before your movers leave your premises. You can never have too much information! However, if you want to save some money on your upcoming relocation, you should read this useful guide on how to cut moving expenses!

Contact your professional mover and ask about binding and non-binding moving estimate.

Reasons for getting an in-house estimate

The whole point of an in-house estimate is that, at the end of the process, you will have an almost perfectly accurate estimate. Additionally, you will see who you are dealing with. A lot can be said about the moving company by the type of people that they employ. This is your chance for that small glimpse into that moving company. You can’t get this by talking to a sales representative, those people are trained for personal communication and are not really representative of the company as a whole, however weird that may sound.

The people that will actually be doing the work are the ones that are important, make sure that you are comfortable with them as they will be the ones doing the work.

When it comes to binding vs. non-binding moving estimates, the bottom line is this. You want the binding estimate. Always. Unless you are moving next door or have a small number of items to move, a binding estimate is always a better choice. Consider the non-binding one to be simply informative.