What You Need to Know About Moving Estimates
Is a moving company required to give you a written estimate? Yes. Not only that, a written estimate for your move must include certain specifics such as all charges for transportation, services, and advance charges. The estimate must also specify the form of payment the moving company will accept. Both you and a representative from the moving company must sign and date each estimate.
Is the estimate, which is sometimes called an order for service, an actual binding contract? No. An estimate is not a contract or a bid. It represents an approximation of the cost based upon the services specified in the estimate. The only contract that you and the moving company sign is called the bill of lading. Either party may cancel the move before signing the bill of lading. The company should let you know that the estimate is not a guaranteed price. The actual charges can be higher or lower than the estimate.
What is a Binding Estimate for Moving?
A binding estimate is an agreement between you and the moving company. It specifies that the total cost of the move will be based on the description of the services and items listed in the binding estimate.
The phrase “binding estimate” does sound a bit misleading. Some people think it means a guaranteed final charge. However, this is not true. A binding estimate can be revised before any work begins on the date of the move – or the date of pick up. A revision is usually for a higher charge based on any additional items or extra services thrown in after the initial estimate.
A binding estimate must be written. It must also state that the estimate is “binding” and have your signature and the motor carrier. In addition, it must clearly describe the shipment and all services provided. A motor carrier has the option to charge you for a binding estimate.
Typically, you will not have a final bill that is higher than the binding estimate. The final charges are due at delivery, but prior to unloading the truck. This is a key reason to be sure that you have not hired scammers who will hold your household goods hostage until you pay more. If you requested additional services that were not listed on the estimate, the mover can ask for full payment at the destination prior to unloading the truck. These extra services could include items like shuttle charges, long carry charges, or extra stair carry charges.
A Revised Written Estimate or a Rescission When Moving
Both a binding or non-binding estimate may be revised at any time before the work begins. If you have more household items or make a change to the initial order, the mover may either (1) do the move with the additional household items. In this case, you would need to pay 10% more than the estimate on a non-binding estimate or 100% of the binding estimate with the balance billed to you after the 30-day deferment; or (2) you and the mover can complete a Revised Written Estimate/Rescission document. This must be done before any work begins.
The Revised Written Estimate given before loading begins becomes the only estimate for which charges will be figured. The Revised Written Estimate essentially cancels the original estimate. Both you and the mover must agree to the changes, and this must occur before the shipment is loaded onto the truck.
Contact Alliance Relocation Services
You have both rights and responsibilities when you hire a moving company. As a third party relocation services provider, Alliance Relocation Services has decades of experience in the moving industry. Tap into that experience by giving us a call at 877-242-0409. If we don’t have the answer to your questions immediately at our fingertips, we are connect to a vast network of vetted moving professionals to get you those answers.