Binding Estimate: The Binding Not-to-Exceed Estimate
A binding estimate is an estimate that moving companies will give you that is, for all intents and purposes, binding. There are actually two types of binding estimates; in this one, we’ll deal with the one you should probably go with, and that’s known as a binding not-to-exceed estimate.
These estimates are becoming one of the most popular way to pay for a move because a binding not-to-exceed estimate means that your price should not go up even if the weight of your move exceeds that which was estimated.
The rules are kind of wonky, but according to the FMCSA a binding estimate must “accurately describe the shipment and all the services the company will provide.” This includes things such as long-haul or cross-country services, local shuttle or ferry services and any additional expenses.
Not only that, but a binding estimate must be given to you in writing. If you agree to a binding estimate, you must pay for your moving services upon delivery of your things; if you don’t, the moving company will likely put your belongings into storage, where they’ll sit and accumulate storage fees that you will have to pay for.
Moving companies typically will accept cash, cashier’s check or money order upon delivery – much like auto transporters – though some may take a credit card or other payment method, which they are free to do. Moving companies must take cash, cashier’s check or money order, but that’s not all the payment methods they can take.
One of the biggest problems with binding estimates is the fact that, prior to actually loading your goods, your moving company can cancel the binding estimate if they feel that your belongings were misrepresented. You need to make sure that everything you’re moving is clearly outlined in the binding estimate because of this.
When your moving company agrees to move your goods, they have to either reaffirm the binding estimate or renegotiate a new one, or else convert the old binding estimate into a non-binding estimate. This is not a great thing for you, as a non-binding estimate can lead to problems down the road (including a huge price hike), so try to get a detailed outline of your household goods to your moving company for a binding estimate.