Interstate Moving Companies: Overview of Binding vs. Non-Binding Estimates

Interstate moving companies offer two types of estimates: binding vs. non-binding. The “major” van lines (Allied, United…basically moving companies that have been around since before the Household Goods Transportation Act of 1980) offer non-binding estimates based on what they call “tariffs,” which in this case means a schedule of rates and services. Binding estimates are essentially guaranteed estimates, and since 1980 have really taken the interstate moving industry by storm. Binding estimates are up-front costs that interstate moving companies will give to customers looking for all their information up-front.

Interstate Moving Companies: Advantages of Non-Binding Estimates

Interstate Moving CompaniesInterstate moving companies that give non-binding estimates based on their tariff lists will literally estimate how much your stuff will weigh, but reserve final pricing for when all your stuff is loaded onto the van and actually weighed in full. Non-binding estimates are subject to change, and the advantage here is that you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paying when you finally load your stuff onto the truck. Most interstate moving companies require payment upon delivery, so it’s important to make sure that you have enough to cover all the moving costs. Some interstate moving companies will work with you in terms of paying some up-front and some at delivery, to give you time if you desperately need to move but don’t have all the funds available right away. It’s important to talk to your interstate moving representative about payment methods on non-binding estimates, in case you need to plan how exactly to pay for the move. Interstate moving companies aren’t cheap, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into financially before you sign the paperwork. We do recommend shipping with companies that offer non-binding estimates, as they are typically more reputable than those who “guarantee” their prices.

Interstate Moving Companies: Advantages of Binding Estimates

Binding estimates given by interstate moving companies can be useful if you’re in a rush or just like to have all your ducks in a row before you commit to anything. Binding estimates are more rigid, but they do come with some disadvantages. Moving companies like to give binding estimates in order to undercut their competitors; this is actually more common than you think, and as the interstate moving industry is not regulated very well, binding estimates can actually leave you in a bind. There are many reputable moving companies that give binding estimates, but the problem with binding estimates is that they aren’t always…well…accurate. If your estimate is too low, you’ll probably end up paying more in the long run, because interstate movers have to make a profit on your shipment, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. If your binding estimate is too low, you’ll be asked to pay more upon delivery. Most companies state that if your shipment costs less than 10% more than the original estimate given, you need to pay it immediately. Many interstate moving companies will also cap your additional payment at 110% of the originally quoted price. It’s important to understand how your company operates if they give binding estimates, and if you don’t feel comfortable with the possible price-hikes, we would recommend non-binding estimates.