1. The 3 Essential Moving Estimates
  2. Non-Binding Estimates Offer Flexibility 
  3. Non-Binding Estimates: Communicate!
  4. Binding Price Estimate: A Concrete Cost
  5. Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimate: The Safest One?
  6. Be Informed When Getting Estimates

1. The 3 Essential Moving Estimates

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to take the leap and relocate your home, it is important to look into estimates from any moving companies of your choice. Obtaining multiple estimates is vital to your move, however, what many people don’t know is that there are different ways to receive estimates. Prior to gathering your estimates, you should know what kind of estimates are available in the moving industry and what the different estimates have to offer. This is one of the most fundamental components of your moving process as it set the tone for your budget outline etc. 

2. Non-Binding Estimates Offer Flexibility

A most common type of estimate is called a ‘non-binding’ estimate. In this case, they will assess the and evaluate all of your goods and belongings in order to provide you with an estimated cost of your move. Although the movers will give you their best possible assessment and estimation, the actual cost of your move cannot be determined just yet. Your finalized cost is determined once it has been weighed. At this point, the movers will make the appropriate adjustments to your original estimated price. A factor that makes many customers by surprise is that their original estimated cost may fluctuate, either above or below their quote,  although it is typically higher. This is why it is essential to understand what a non-binding estimate is and how it works.

3. Non-Binding Estimates: Communicate!

We’ve realized throughout the moving industry that communication between carriers and shippers can be rather strenuous. With so much to process at one time, it’s easy for a carrier to skim over these details and, without research, it’s easy for customers to be naive in this area. Both moving companies and customers can become frustrated with each other as a result of their lack of communication. For instance, if you are a moving company and your customer has extra items, you will need to increase the price. However, if you are a customer, you will most likely be angry or upset if there is an increase in your original estimate. Being informed about what kind of estimate you’re acquiring and understanding how to make sure your estimate is accurate are only two ways to avoid any outrageous surprises once you reach your new home.

As with many other components in the moving industry, there are some factors customers find that are advantageous and some that may not be as beneficial in regards to a non-binding estimate such as:

  • Con: Since a non-binding estimate is not an exact cost or set price, it may or may not change throughout your move. This can leave customers in a gray area of sorts to be taken advantage of. When in a vulnerable state such as this, it is easily conceivable that customers are easy targets for rogue movers or moving scams. Cases like these usually find themselves getting a great estimate, it’s low and affordable, however, this is only an attempt to attract customers. Unfortunately, after providing customers with low estimates, these types of moving companies will end up charging the customer an enormous amount of money that is not even close to their original estimate.
  • Pro: As the phrase infers, non-binding estimates are typically used in the moving industry because they are the most flexible and easy to work with. Although they aren’t an exact or fixed estimate, they are the most convenient for both moving companies as well as for their customers. This kind of estimate allows moving companies to provide a reasonable, but not precise, estimate via telephone or via their website. With estimates being so easily accessible, customers find non-binding estimates easy and user-friendly.
  • Pro: With the customer’s interest in mind, obtaining non-binding estimates this way is practical and convenient. For those who have extremely busy lives or people who need to move on a moment’s notice, it’s now become effortless. All that required is a quick phone call to speak with a mover over the phone or a quick web search and in no time at all, you find yourself with an estimate, no matter if it is non-binding or not.

4. Binding Price Estimate: A Concrete Cost

Since non-binding estimates do tend to leave a sense of doubt during the moving process, there is a second option to get an estimate that is much more concrete. When you receive a binding estimate, you can be assured that your price estimated will be the exact price you will pay at the time of delivery. Similar to non-binding, binding estimates will evaluate and appraise your belongings and give you a proper estimate for the move you would like to make. The ultimate difference is that with a binding estimate, your pricing is set in stone. This is even regardless of the weight of your shipment.

Like with non-binding estimates, there are also positive and negative points for binding estimates, including:

  • Pro: You can find some peace of mind in knowing that the cost of your move will not amplify, even despite the weight factor (which holds no ground here). However, another upside to this is that if you didn’t quite communicate each and every detail to the movers or you found yourself with more belongings than previously discussed, you actually won’t have to pay for any increase upon delivery.
  • Pro: Planning in advance is something that our Moving Authority Team constantly tries to encourage, especially to reduce stress. With a binding estimate, advanced planning and advanced planning and budgeting are made available at a very early stage in the moving process. Due to knowing what your exact price is in advance, you can begin creating your budget early, keeping track of your expenses, and will allow you to stay within your financial means so you can afford to pay the moving company on move-in day. As discussed earlier, with a binding estimate you no longer need to be concerned with surprises such as an increase of price upon arrival.
  • Con: So far, a binding estimate sounds as though it can only be beneficial. However, as with many things, that isn’t the case. One problem or situation you might find yourself in is that the weight of your goods is much lighter than anticipated in the estimate. Since a binding estimate does not take weight into consideration, you might find yourself in a tough spot because regardless of what you have, you still must legally pay the movers the full binding estimated price. This is the biggest downfall of this type of estimate because many people don’t generally have as many belongings as they had originally thought, or maybe they had even gotten rid of some items like large furniture to lighten the load. It is best to be overly aware of what you will be bringing on your move and to be sure of what you will be taking with you, this way you can avoid any type of overestimation. Unfortunately, if you’ve overestimated, you still have to pay the agreed price.

5. Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimate: The Safest One?

Accumulating multiple estimates is clearly a fundamental step in the moving process but it is also essential to be informed of the types of estimates you can receive. After reviewing non-binding and binding estimates, there is one last categorical estimate for customers. The point of a binding not-to-exceed estimate is primarily to ensure that estimated price you’ve been given for your move will never surpass that original estimate. Although, if the weight of the goods you are shipping is indeed lower than the estimated cost, your price will actually be lowered.

Binding not-to-exceed estimates are characteristically viewed as the best type of estimate to obtain since the price of a move can and will only be lowered. When contacting professional moving companies, it’s important to ask if they provide this type of estimate as an option. In essence, this estimate will maintain or even save you money on your move, depending on each unique situation.

Binding not-to-exceed estimates transcend the above-stated estimates, being advantageous in more than one way with little to no drawbacks:

  • An estimate of this magnitude shouldn’t be seen as an average or moderate estimate. They provide room for adaptability during your move while also sanctioning any adjustment in regards to cost. Typically, the price will be slight, if not more, lower than the original estimated price.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to have some assurance knowing that you can depend on your initial quoted price? With binding not-to-exceed estimates, you might feel this way. By knowing that your estimate will either be lower, but not go beyond a certain price can be an enormous relief for many people. This is especially true if you need to stick to a strict budget. Simply knowing that your original estimate is the highest cost and that there is potential to lower that cost can provide customers with the stress alleviation they need.
  • As stated above, the ability to base your budget off of this is a great way for customers to stay on track. Once you’ve gone through all of the trouble of researching, finding, getting estimates from moving companies, and deciding on the one you will definitely want to start outlining your budget. A binding not-to-exceed estimate is a perfect opportunity to relax some areas of the moving process while allowing you to focus on other features of your move.

6. Be Informed When Getting Estimates 

With these three different types of estimates, you should now be able to tell which one would be right for you. All three kinds of estimates are available and are used every day, however, by reading this, you are educating and informing yourself of what estimate is best for you. It is incredibly important to understand details such as estimates so that you can plan and perform a successful move for both you and the movers.

At Moving Authority we provide many resources, including lists reputable and licensed companies throughout all 50 United States. We also provide estimates online if you visit our main page! Take advantage of these resources to get in touch with professional moving companies so you can inquire about the different types of estimates they may or may not provide. Ultimately, it will all come down to the customer, their knowledge, and what the moving company has to offer. Remember, at Moving Authority, we’re always here to help both carriers and shippers alike.

**Don't forget to get your auto quotes here!**

There are currently no comments

Add Comment


required (not published)


Did You Know

Question In the United States, the term 'full trailer' is used for a freight trailer supported by front and rear axles and pulled by a drawbar. This term is slightly different in Europe, where a full trailer is known as an A-frame drawbar trail. A full trailer is 96 or 102 in (2.4 or 2.6 m) wide and 35 or 40 ft (11 or 12 m) long.

Question As we've learned the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was crucial in the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Described as an interconnected network of the controlled-access freeway. It also allowed larger trucks to travel at higher speeds through rural and urban areas alike. This act was also the first to allow the first federal largest gross vehicle weight limits for trucks, set at 73,208 pounds (33,207 kg). The very same year, Malcolm McLean pioneered modern containerized intermodal shipping. This allowed for the more efficient transfer of cargo between truck, train, and ships.

Question The decade of the 70s saw the heyday of truck driving, and the dramatic rise in the popularity of "trucker culture". Truck drivers were romanticized as modern-day cowboys and outlaws (and this stereotype persists even today). This was due in part to their use of citizens' band (CB) radio to relay information to each other regarding the locations of police officers and transportation authorities. Plaid shirts, trucker hats, CB radios, and using CB slang were popular not just with drivers but among the general public.

Question With the partial deregulation of the trucking industry in 1980 by the Motor Carrier Act, trucking companies increased. The workforce was drastically de-unionized. As a result, drivers received a lower pay overall. Losing its spotlight in the popular culture, trucking had become less intimate as some unspoken competition broke out. However, the deregulation only increased the competition and productivity with the trucking industry as a whole. This was beneficial to the America consumer by reducing costs. In 1982 the Surface Transportation Assistance Act established a federal minimum truck weight limits. Thus, trucks were finally standardized truck size and weight limits across the country. This was also put in to place so that across country traffic on the Interstate Highways resolved the issue of the 'barrier states'.

Question “ The first original song about truck driving appeared in 1939 when Cliff Bruner and His Boys recorded Ted Daffan's "Truck Driver's Blues," a song explicitly marketed to roadside cafe owners who were installing juke boxes in record numbers to serve truckers and other motorists.” - Shane Hamilton

Question “The association of truckers with cowboys and related myths was perhaps most obvious during the urban-cowboy craze of the late 1970s, a period that saw middle-class urbanites wearing cowboy clothing and patronizing simulated cowboy nightclubs. During this time, at least four truck driver movies appeared, CB radio became popular, and truck drivers were prominently featured in all forms of popular media.” — Lawrence J. Ouellet

Question During the latter part of the 20th century, we saw a decline of the trucking culture. Coinciding with this decline was a decline of the image of truck drivers, as they became negatively stigmatized. As a result of such negativity, it makes sense that truck drivers were frequently portrayed as the "bad guy(s)" in movies.

Question The number one hit on the Billboard chart in 1976 was quite controversial for the trucking industry. "Convoy," is a song about a group of reckless truck drivers bent on evading laws such as toll booths and speed traps. The song went on to inspire the film "Convoy", featuring defiant Kris Kristofferson screaming "piss on your law!" After the film's release, thousands of independent truck drivers went on strike. The participated in violent protests during the 1979 energy crisis. However, similar strikes had occurred during the 1973 energy crisis.

Question Business routes always have the same number as the routes they parallel. For example, U.S. 1 Business is a loop off, and paralleling, U.S. Route 1, and Interstate 40 Business is a loop off, and paralleling, Interstate 40.

Question Signage of business routes varies, depending on the type of route they are derived from. Business routes paralleling U.S. and state highways usually have exactly the same shield shapes and nearly the same overall appearance as the routes they parallel, with a rectangular plate reading "BUSINESS" placed above the shield (either supplementing or replacing the directional plate, depending on the preference of the road agency). In order to better identify and differentiate alternate routes from the routes they parallel, some states such as Maryland are beginning to use green shields for business routes off U.S. highways. In addition, Maryland uses a green shield for business routes off state highways with the word "BUSINESS" in place of "MARYLAND" is used for a state route.

Question The United States Department of Transportation has become a fundamental necessity in the moving industry. It is the pinnacle of the industry, creating and enforcing regulations for the sake of safety for both businesses and consumers alike. However, it is notable to appreciate the history of such a powerful department. The functions currently performed by the DOT were once enforced by the Secretary of Commerce for Transportation. In 1965, Najeeb Halaby, administrator of the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA), had an excellent suggestion. He spoke to the current President Lyndon B. Johnson, advising that transportation be elevated to a cabinet level position. He continued, suggesting that the FAA be folded or merged, if you will, into the DOT. Clearly, the President took to Halaby's fresh ideas regarding transportation, thus putting the DOT into place.


Implemented in 2014, the National Registry, requires all Medical Examiners (ME) who conduct physical examinations and issue medical certifications for interstate CMV drivers to complete training on FMCSA’s physical qualification standards, must pass a certification test. This is to demonstrate competence through periodic training and testing. CMV drivers whose medical certifications expire must use MEs on the National Registry for their examinations.

FMCSA has reached its goal of at least 40,000 certified MEs signing onto the registry. All this means is that drivers or movers can now find certified medical examiners throughout the country who can perform their medical exam. FMCSA is preparing to issue a follow-on “National Registry 2” rule stating new requirements. In this case, MEs are to submit medical certificate information on a daily basis. These daily updates are sent to the FMCSA, which will then be sent to the states electronically. This process will dramatically decrease the chance of drivers falsifying medical cards.

Question The basics of all trucks are not difficult, as they share common construction. They are generally made of chassis, a cab, an area for placing cargo or equipment, axles, suspension, road wheels, and engine and a drive train. Pneumatic, hydraulic, water, and electrical systems may also be present. Many also tow one or more trailers or semi-trailers, which also vary in multiple ways but are similar as well.

Question Relocation, or moving, is the process of vacating a fixed location, such as a residence or business, and settling in a different one. A move might be to a nearby location such as in the same neighborhood or a much farther location in a different city or even a different country. Moving usually includes packing up all belongings, transferring them to the new location, and unpacking them. It will also be necessary to update administrative information. This includes tasks such as notifying the post office, changing registration data, change of insurance, services etc. It is important to remember this step in the relocation process. 


The year of 1977 marked the release of the infamous Smokey and the Bandit. It went on to be the third highest grossing film that year, following tough competitors like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Burt Reynolds plays the protagonist, or "The Bandit", who escorts "The Snowman" in order to deliver bootleg beer. Reynolds once stated he envisioned trucking as a "hedonistic joyride entirely devoid from economic reality"
Another action film in 1977 also focused on truck drivers, as was the trend it seems. Breaker! Breaker! starring infamous Chuck Norris also focused on truck drivers. They were also displaying movie posters with the catch phrase "... he's got a CB radio and a hundred friends who just might get mad!"

Question 1941 was a tough era to live through. Yet, President Roosevelt appointed a special committee to explore the idea of a "national inter-regional highway" system. Unfortunately, the committee's progress came to a halt with the rise of the World War II. After the war was over, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 authorized the designation of what are not termed 'Interstate Highways'. However, he did not include any funding program to build such highways. With limited resources came limited progress until President Dwight D. Eisenhower came along in 1954. He renewed interest in the 1954 plan. Although, this began and long and bitter debate between various interests. Generally, the opposing sides were considering where such funding would come from such as rail, truck, tire, oil, and farm groups. All who would overpay for the new highways and how.

Question In order to load or unload bots and other cargo to and from a trailer, trailer winches are designed for this purpose. They consist of a ratchet mechanism and cable. The handle on the ratchet mechanism is then turned to tighten or loosen the tension on the winch cable. Trailer winches vary, some are manual while others are motorized. Trailer winches are most typically found on the front of the trailer by towing an A-frame.

Question With the ending of World War I, several developments were made to enhance trucks. Such an example would be by putting pneumatic tires replaced the previously common full rubber versions. These advancements continued, including electric starters, power brakes, 4, 6, and 8 cylinder engines. Closed cabs and electric lighting followed. The modern semi-trailer truck also debuted. Additionally, touring car builders such as Ford and Renault entered the heavy truck market.

Question In the United States and Canada, the cost for long-distance moves is generally determined by a few factors. The first is the weight of the items to be moved and the distance it will go. Cost is also based on how quickly the items are to be moved, as well as the time of the year or month which the move occurs. In the United Kingdom and Australia, it's quite different. They base price on the volume of the items as opposed to their weight. Keep in mind some movers may offer flat rate pricing.

Question The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the most common government agency that is devoted to transportation in the United States. The DOT is the largest United States agency with the sole purpose of overseeing interstate travel and issue's USDOT Number filing to new carriers. The U.S., Canadian provinces, and many other local agencies have a similar organization in place. This way they can provide enforcement through DOT officers within their respective jurisdictions.