Most movers offer three types of estimates - Binding, Non-Binding and Not-to-Exceed. Binding estimates are written agreements that guarantee the cost of the move based on the items to be moved and the services required by customer and listed on the estimate.
BINDING ESTIMATE PROCEDURE
Binding Estimate is also known as Flat Rate estimate. The mover will survey customer's residence and take a detailed inventory of the items to be moved and services to be performed. The mover will provide a written binding estimate of the total charge for transportation and other services pertaining to the shipment, subject to the following Notes:
NOTE 1: The binding estimate must be provided in writing by both the customer and the movers.
NOTE 2: Transportation must be within 60 days of the date the binding estimate was signed and dated. After 60 days that estimate becomes void.
NOTE 3: The binding estimate is limited to the origin, destination and additional stops, if any are described in the estimate. It is further limited to the quantities of items, and services specified in estimate.
NOTE 4: The binding estimate may be revised in writing, by mutual agreement between the mover and the shipper any time with in 60 day period of that the estimate is in effect, or any time on or before the shipment is tendered to the mover for transportation.
NOTE 5: Mover may elect, prior to loading, to revise the binding estimate, if any of the services, items or destinations have been revised the the shipper.
NOTE 6: Any services that are not included in the binding estimate, but are either requested by shipper or necessary to accomplish delivery and are performed by the mover at destination, will be assessed by the mover at the tariff level in effect at the time of loading. Estimated weight, as provided in the binding estimate, will be assessed at the tariff level on a cwt. basis. On prepaid shipments or on shipments when prior credits have not been established, the mover will collect at delivery, the applicable tariff charges, which shall be in addition to the binding estimate amount.
NOTE 7: When all or a portion of the shipment is placed in storage-in-transit and not included in the binding estimate, the portion placed in storage will be weighed for the purpose of determining the cost of storage based on its cwt.
Non-binding estimates are not guaranteed. A non-binding estimate is mover's approximation of the cost based on the mover's survey of items to be moved, with the final cost determined at the time the shipment is weighed.
The mover must explain the customer that if shipment weighed more than the non-binding estimated amount. The mover can request a payment of 110% of estimated cost at delivery and bill the customer for the remaining balance within 30 days of delivery. And the customer has 30 days to pay the mover for the balance due.
Some movers offer a third type of estimate called Not-to-exceed estimate. This estimate is offered as a Binding estimate or the Actual cost, whichever is lower. Like a Binding estimate, A Not-to-exceed estimate must be provided to customer in writing and is binding on the mover.
Not-to-exceed estimate differs from a Binding estimate. A Not-to-exceed estimate has a maximum binding amount, however the shipment may be adjusted down in customer's favor, in case the shipment weighs less. Then it will be adjusted at the tariff assigned to the shipment at the time of signing a contract. When the customer accepts a Not-to-exceed estimate, the move is performed as at actual weight based on tariff rate levels, with the binding estimate amount representing the maximum charge that the customer will have to pay.
Your mover must provide an on-site estimate (do a physical survey of your goods), if the mover's headquarters are located with in 50 mile radius of your original location.
In situations when the mover arrives at he customer's residence to load the shipment quantities have changed (more items have been added to shipment), or the customer is requesting additional services (packing boxes, extra stops, storage, shuttle, long walks, hoisting, etc.) that are not included in the estimate, the mover is not required to honor the original estimate. In addition, if an agreement can not be reached as to the price of the added goods or services, the mover is not required to service the shipment. Of course, refusing the shipment does no good to the customer, nor the mover, therefore a negotiated, revised estimate is probably the most prudent approach to resolving this issue.