Kayla Coco-Stotts
November 28, 2023
Article type:
Understanding Documents
Applies to:
Interstate Moving

Understanding Written Estimates: What is a Non-Binding Estimate?

Although like binding estimates, non-binding estimates project the cost of your move and don’t outline a contracted or guaranteed price. Rather, they calculate the estimate according to the weight of the move and the number of packing materials used by the moving company. Essentially, a non-binding estimate is an educated guess made by a moving company about the cost of your move. It's based on the estimated weight of your belongings and the distance of your move. 

However, the final price you pay may be higher or lower than this initial estimate. It's important to note that a non-binding estimate is not a guarantee or a fixed contract price. It simply gives you a ballpark figure to help you budget for your move. This type of estimate is called 'non-binding' because the moving company is not legally bound to the estimated price.

Understanding the concept of a non-binding estimate is essential for budgeting and selecting a moving company. However, because the estimate is not set in stone, it's crucial to be prepared for the final cost to vary. This understanding allows customers to anticipate potential fluctuations and avoid unexpected surprises on moving day. The key advantage of a non-binding estimate is that it provides an opportunity to compare prices between different moving companies, aiding in making an informed decision. Remember, the clarity of understanding a non-binding moving estimate can lead to a smoother, more confident moving experience.

Written Estimates from Full-Service Movers

Full-service movers streamline your moving process by offering comprehensive services, and those services are drawn up and contained within written estimates. These estimates, specifically non-binding moving estimates, provide an initial idea of the expenses associated with your move. 
Following either an in-home or virtual walkthrough of your home with an estimator, they calculate the price of your move using factors such as the weight of your belongings and the distance of the move. It's important to remember that non-binding estimates, unlike binding estimates, are not fixed contract prices. Here, movers can’t tell you the final cost of the move until everything is weighed on moving day. In this case, movers weigh the moving truck before your shipment is loaded and then weigh it again after everything is on the truck. The difference between these two weights is what you'll be billed for.  

Though the price is not guaranteed, the moving company cannot require you to pay more than 110% of the total of your estimate at the time of delivery. Keep in mind the remaining amount will be billed later if you’ve accrued additional charges.  

When Should Customers Expect to Receive a Non-Binding Written Estimate?

As a customer planning a move, obtaining a non-binding written estimate should be one of your first steps. To begin the process, you’ll begin by calling full-service movers in your area and scheduling a walkthrough with a move estimator. This initial consultation with an estimator is designed for two things:

  1. For the estimator to see everything you’re moving. This will help them draw up your written estimate.
  2. For you to ask the representative of your chosen full-service moving provider any questions you have before your move date approaches.

Generally, a non-binding estimate is provided once the movers have a clear understanding of the scope of your move – including the total weight of your belongings and the distance to your new location. It's crucial to request this estimate well in advance of your moving date, allowing ample time for comparison and budgeting.

Demystifying Non-Binding Estimates: What You Need to Know

A non-binding estimate is a forecast of your moving expenses provided by the moving company, based on anticipated factors such as the weight of your belongings and the distance of the relocation. The ultimate cost could be more or less, depending on the actual weight and distance traveled on moving day. Armed with the knowledge of what is a non-binding estimate for moving, you can plan your budget accordingly and navigate your moving journey with confidence and ease.

Here's a list of key points to keep in mind if you receive a non-binding estimate from your mover:

  • A non-binding estimate is not a guaranteed or fixed price. It's a preliminary cost projection based on the estimated weight of your belongings and the distance of your move.
  • The final cost of your move can vary, being either higher or lower than the provided estimate. This fluctuation is due to the actual weight of your items and the actual distance covered on moving day.
  • Request a non-binding estimate as early as possible in your moving process. This estimate will give you a general idea of the potential costs and help you budget accordingly.
  • Non-binding estimates are helpful tools for comparing prices between different full-service moving companies.
  • Though non-binding estimates are not legally binding, most states regulate them to protect consumers from grossly inaccurate quotes. Always verify the rules regarding non-binding estimates in your area.
  • Always ask about potential additional costs that may not be included in the non-binding estimate. These can include packing, materials, extra labor, or additional insurance coverage.
  • Remember that a non-binding estimate is not a contract. Be sure to read and understand your moving agreement's terms and conditions before signing.
  • Non-binding estimates can lead to a smoother and more confident moving experience when fully understood and properly utilized.

Binding vs Non-Binding Estimates: Understanding the Key Differences

While planning a move, you may encounter two types of estimates - binding and non-binding. Understanding the key differences between these can greatly influence your choice of full-service movers and your budgeting strategy. If looking for a more in-depth comparison, we have a blog dedicated entirely to binding vs non-binding estimates.

A binding estimate, unlike a non-binding estimate, is a guaranteed price for the move based on a detailed inventory of your belongings. If you agree to a binding estimate, you'll pay exactly what the estimate states, regardless of whether the actual weight of your items is higher or lower. This provides a fixed cost and eliminates surprises on move day.

On the other hand, a non-binding estimate is merely a best guess of what your move might cost, based on the estimated weight of your belongings and the distance of your move. The final cost can vary, being either higher or lower than the provided non-binding estimate. This variability can make non-binding estimates seem risky. However, with thorough preparation and understanding, they offer flexibility and allow for price comparison between different moving companies.

When considering binding vs non-binding estimates, remember to assess your comfort level with potential cost changes, your budget constraints, and your need for price certainty.


Recap: Key Points on Non-Binding Estimates

Understanding the concept of a non-binding estimate can empower you to navigate through your moving process with more confidence. It's essential to consider all variables, ask the right questions, and thoroughly understand your moving agreement. Keep in mind that when obtaining written estimates from full-service movers, never feel afraid to ask specific pricing questions so you’re 100% in the know come move day.

While this article provides a solid foundation, we invite you to explore more content on our site for a comprehensive understanding of moving processes. We’ve written content from packing tips to understanding every document you’ll receive during your move; we offer a wealth of resources designed to make your relocation as smooth as possible.