What is a binding estimate?

June 27, 2018
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Looking for long distance moving companies that will help you with your move can be difficult. But, the whole process will be much smoother if you take the time to familiarize yourself in advance with the features of the moving industry and the move terminology in advance. So, when a company arrives at your house to evaluate your items and give you a binding estimate, you will know exactly what to expect.

Binding estimate
Have you ever heard of binding estimate?

For example, did you know that there are two different types of moving estimates that you can get from a moving company? We will briefly describe both of them in this manual. But we are going to go a little more in-depth and focus our attention on each particular type of assessment in order to better prepare you for what to expect.

Let’s first explain what a binding estimate is?

In this guide, we discuss the complexity of the binding estimate. By definition, a binding estimate is an estimate that is fixed on a specific figure. And remains fixed on this figure, regardless of what changes occur during the movement.

For example, suppose that the movers came to your house to give you an assessment. They rated your valuables in three bedrooms and gave an approximate weight that would be shipping. Now, based on this calculated weight, they will come with a total price that you will have to pay. Suppose that this price is $3,000, and they tell you that this is a binding estimate.

Well, due to the fact that the specified price is binding, then you will pay $3,000 at the end, no matter what. If your load ends with more weight than the movers have estimated, do not worry, you will still pay only $3,000. On the other hand, although if your load ends in less weight than expected, you still have to pay this original figure.

Rules of binding estimates

There are several rules and regulations by the FMCSA about binding estimates and how professional moving companies perform them. These rules serve as ways to protect the client during the evaluation. And also as ways to ensure that the evaluations are performed in the most efficient and fair manner.

Rule No. 1

A moving company must precisely describe the shipment, as well as any moving services they provide during the journey. This means that the company cannot ask for additional fees, as the move is progressing without the client’s knowledge. The customer will only be required to pay the binding estimate amount at the time of delivery. And any additional services that arise during the move will be paid separately after the move.

Rule No. 2

A moving company must provide an assessment to the client in writing. And a copy of the estimate must be provided to the client prior to moving to give the client time to review it and discuss any possible differences or inaccuracies in the evaluation.

Rule No. 3

The moving company should indicate in the assessment that the estimate is binding for the client and the mover. Also, the moving company must attach a copy of the binding estimate to the bill of lading. In addition, the mover should also indicate that the assessment is for the listed services and only those services.

Rule No. 4

After the move starts, if the moving company notices any additional items in your shipment that have not been included and described in the initial assessment, the movers have the right to refuse service. They also have the right to create a revised binding estimate with new goods added to your shipment. And that often leads to a higher price charge.

Rules of binding estimates
Be aware of all the rules, so nobody can trick you

The advantages and disadvantages of binding estimates

As with everything else, there are, of course, the advantages and disadvantages of getting a binding estimate. And they are fairly easy to understand. Of course, the advantages of binding estimates are that they will indicate your price long before the move. And it will not change, no matter what the total weight of your cargo is. That means that you will not be surprised after delivery with an account that is much higher than you expected.

However, the unfavorable scenario for this will be a disadvantage. If you end up with a shipment that is smaller than movers estimated, in the end, there will be no discount on your total account.

What is the alternative to the binding estimate?

Well, logically, there is a non-binding moving estimate. And what is that? A non-binding moving estimate gives you a general idea of what the final cost of the move will be. Before your local NJ movers issue such an assessment, they must clearly and explicitly explain to you that the actual costs of moving can exceed the estimated price, and in most cases, it will. And although there is a rule that prohibits interstate movers from collecting more than 110% of the price from their non-binding estimates, the same rule will not apply if the moving company had to perform additional services to complete the move after loading household items.

The advantage of a non-binding estimate is that you get it for free.

Which type of moving estimate should you choose?

The truth is that the moving company will not offer a binding estimate for free. Nevertheless, it is a type of moving assessment that you should always ask from your moving company. Simply because it will give you a much more accurate idea of how much your local or long distance move will cost. That way, you can include moving expenses in your budget plans.

Binding estimate
And it is much better when you know your expenses in advance, right?

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