Ask A Mover: Are There Any Risks With A Binding Estimate?

Editor’s Note: Welcome back to “Ask A Mover,” a series of blog posts addressing a specific question or part of the moving process. Today’s topic is, “Are there any risks with a binding estimate?” We invite you to leave any questions you want answered in the comments below, or on Facebook, on Twitter using the hashtag “#AskAMover.”

Home protectionAs you prepare for your move, you should receive three in-home estimates. As the moving representative surveys your home, they will provide you an estimate based on where you are moving to and how much you will be moving. You can receive either a non-binding, not-to-exceed, or binding estimate.

We often hear the question, is there any risk with a binding estimate? You know how much your move is going to cost, so instead of using the estimate to help set a budget, you have a guaranteed price to pay. So is there any risk involved for the consumer with this type of estimate?

The answer is yes. The risk is that this type of estimate is calculated on a specific number of items that are moving, not the entire house. This list of items will be found under the scope of services. This means, if you tell your mover that you’re planning on having a garage sale and not to include certain items in the estimate, they will not be included. If, on the day of the move, you haven’t sold or donated those items, the scope of services has now changed.

The movers can still move your belongings; however the original estimate is no longer valid. And a risk with a binding estimate is that there is simply a flat or total price, and not a breakdown of how much the services cost. As a consumer, you do not have the protection or ability to predict how much an extra hour will cost, because there have been no agreed upon rates.

Binding estimates are legal and legitimate, and consumers should not shy away if they are presented one after an in-home survey. It is worth noting that there is some risk involved with a binding estimate if the scope of work changes. If the scope of work does change, it would behoove the customer to call the moving company ahead of time and ask for a new estimate to avoid moving day issues or unexpected charges. If you have any questions regarding the different types of estimates, please leave a comment below.

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