Understanding Moving Company Estimates

Article posted by on July 08, 2013

By Tyrone Kelley
MovingScam.com Volunteer

Often consumers looking for a moving company don’t realize there are types of moving company estimates available other than what they are receiving from their moving companies. There are actually three types of estimates that are common in the moving industry that every consumer looking for a moving company should be aware of.

A true Binding Not-To-Exceed estimate is the most favorable for consumers. It means that even if your actual weight is more than the original written estimate, you still pay for only the amount of the estimate. But if your actual weight is less than the estimate, then you pay less than the amount of the estimate, according to your actual weight times the agreed upon price per pound. So a binding-not-to-exceed estimate can only get lower, not higher. This is what MovingScam.com recommends that you ask for.

The next best estimate type is a Binding estimate. If I were to give it a name I would call it a “Fixed Price” agreement. This means that you agree to pay the fixed amount of the binding written estimate. The actual weight is irrelevant. This is the most “fair” type of estimate If everyone is honest. The risk to the consumer is that the estimator could highball the estimate to get extra money for pounds that don’t exist. The risk to the moving company is that the consumer could sneak in lots of extra items that were not included on the original estimate. The risk to the mover is much less than the risk to the consumer, because the truck driver has the right to “challenge” the binding estimate on loading day, before actually loading, if he thinks that the estimate is too low.

The last estimate type is a Non-Binding estimate. You basically agree to pay for the actual weight, based on a set price per pound. The final bill could be higher or lower than the original written estimate, depending on the actual weight. If the bill is higher than the estimate, the mover can collect up to ten percent extra on top of the amount specified in the non-binding estimate on the date of delivery. Then he is required by law to make full delivery of your goods. By law you must be given at least 30 days to come up with any balance over the original written estimate (this may change to 15 days in the coming months).

Nonbinding estimate = $1000
Final Bill = $2000
Amount the mover can collect at delivery = $1100 (the original $1000, plus the allowed 10%) at which point the mover must deliver. The mover may bill you for the balance of $900 no less than 30 days after delivery of your property.

One last note; If your move is an interstate move, you should never expect to pay a deposit, and you should never accept an estimate based on cubic feet. Interstate moves should always be based on weight. The exception is that freight companies such as ABF give estimates based on linear feet, which means the number of feet of floor space your goods occupy measuring back from the front of the trailer.

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