When you inquire with a moving company, they will give you an estimate on what the approximate cost of your move will be. There are binding estimates and non-binding estimates. The latter is much more common than the former.
A non-binding estimate is one that can change. So, where the binding estimate locks in a price no matter what, a non-binding estimate is an approximation and is subject to change depending on weight, services, and so on.
The FMCSA, or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, has implemented certain rules for providing estimates that all moving companies must follow. You can find out more about these FMCSA rules on the organization’s website or in the handbook “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” but here is a highlight:
- A non-binding estimate must be provided for free.
- The final price must be consistent with your mover’s tariffs.
- A non-binding estimate must be provided in writing.
- The estimate must accurately describe the shipment and all services.
- Consumers should not accept the estimate unless the mover indicates the final price on each form.
- The estimate must be reasonably accurate and based on weight.
- Movers must keep a copy of the estimate and deliver it to you along with the final bill of lading.
- The non-binding estimate must clearly indicate it is an approximation and may not be equal to the final price.
- A mover may refuse service the day of loading if there appears to be more than what was originally considered.
- Movers may not collect over 110% of the estimated amount.
- Movers must inform you of any additional services they believe you need before acting on them.