What’s a Binding Estimate?

What’s a Binding Estimate?

When you hire a moving company, you’ll get one of two kinds of quotes (or estimates) when you first start talking about the job – a binding estimate or a non-binding estimate.  Binding estimates also have subgroups, which are important to know before you agree to any terms.

First of all, a binding estimate is one in which the amount you are quoted is the amount that you pay.  This rule applies even if your total shipment weight is above or below the estimation in the quote.  It is important to understand that some moving companies may include a fee for a binding estimate.

Not-to-Exceed Binding Estimate

The best type of any moving estimate is the “not to exceed” estimate.  This binding estimate means that if the total weight of your load actually exceeds the written estimate, you still pay only the quoted amount.  There is a downside to that, however.  If your total shipment happens to be less, you still pay the quoted price.

FMCSA Rules on Estimates

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) has a few rules for moving companies and their binding estimates.  You can find more on their site, but here are the highlights:

  • The movers must provide the estimate in writing prior to your move.
  • The estimate must be included with the final bill of lading.
  • All services and the load must be described accurately in the binding estimate.
  • Prior to your move, if the movers think that you have more than was originally quoted for, they have the right to refuse the shipment.

Lance Grooms