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What will it cost? What’s the best way to compare figures on move estimates?
The cost of a relocation is usually based on the weight of your belongings and the distance points from where they are shipped, plus the amount of services such as packing that you require from the moving company.
To help you anticipate the cost of your move, movers will give you a moving estimate of the price. Be sure to get written moving estimates from at least three different companies so that you can compare their prices and services. Help the movers calculate the cost of your move by showing them every single item to be moved. Don’t forget to go into the attic, basement, garage, shed, and closets and under beds. Reach a clear understanding about the amount of packing and other services needed. Anything omitted from the estimate but later included in the shipment will add to the cost.
Most movers offer two types of moving quotes: non-binding and binding moving estimates.
Non-binding moving estimates are not bids or contracts. Instead, a non-binding moving estimate is an approximation of the cost based on the mover’s survey of the items to be moved, with the final cost determined after the shipment is weighed. Since a non-binding moving estimate is based on the actual weight of your shipment (rather than the estimated weight), the price will usually be lower than a binding moving estimate. However, when you receive a non-binding moving estimate there is no guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate.
A binding moving estimates means that you are obligated to pay the price set forth in the binding moving estimate even if the shipment weighs more than or less than the estimated amount.
All binding moving estimates cover only the goods and services listed on the estimate. If you add items or request additional services, the mover may revise the original estimate before your shipment is loaded or, if you request additional services after your shipment is in transit, your mover will bill you for these added services 30 days after your shipment is delivered, if they were not included in your estimate. In addition, all movers reserve the right to charge for services necessary to accomplish delivery, even if those services are not requested by the shipper. For example, additional charges will apply if you are not prepared to accept delivery and the shipment is placed in storage, or if a smaller (shuttle) truck must be used to accomplish delivery because your new home is located on a narrow street. Again, your mover will bill you for these services 30 days after your shipment is delivered, if they were not included in your estimate.
Another type of estimate used by many movers is the Not-To-Exceed Estimate. This type of estimate is called various things by various movers, such as Guaranteed Price or Price Protection, but the end result is the same — an estimate based on a binding moving estimate or on actual cost, whichever is lower. Like a binding moving estimate, a not-to-exceed estimate must be provided to you in writing and is binding on the carrier.
And remember, it’s not just the price; it’s the total value of a professional move.
When you are discussing your moving estimate with your mover, be sure to ask about the arrangements for paying for the move. It is customary for movers to require that charges be paid in cash, by certified check, or by money order. Most movers will not accept personal checks. Some movers will accept payment by credit card. However, do not assume that because you have a nationally recognized charge or credit card that it will be accepted for payment. Ask your mover before your move.
Although the moving companies will have different moving estimate forms, look for this key information: