Difference between binding and non-binding estimate

There are a few different types of moving estimates a moving company can offer. However, the most common ones are binding and non-binding estimates, which you are probably going to run into. So, what is the actual difference between binding and non-binding estimate. Well, in short, a non-binding estimate is what the movers think, roughly, the move is going to cost. This means that this price can change depending on a lot of factors. So while a non-binding estimate is a great way to get a rough idea of how much a move is going to cost – it’s not going to tell you the exact price of the move. A binding estimate is, well, binding and not up to debate.

Difference between binding and non-binding estimate
Moving estimates might sound like rocket science, but we promise it’s as easy as pie.

Difference between binding and non-binding estimate

While what we wrote above is true, the difference between binding and non-binding estimates is a lot more complicated than that. That’s why we will, in this article, delve deeper into the concept of these two estimates. So that you – the consumer, can make an educated choice the next time you have to hire the best interstate movers FL. Not only we will inform you of all your rights, but also we will try to show you the pros and the cons of each type of estimate so you can rightfully pick the one that fits you and your needs.

Binding estimate

Person signing a contract
Make sure you know what you a signing!

When using special services FL you will rarely run into binding estimates. However, if you do, you might as well be prepared.

So, what is a binding estimate? Well, it’s actually a written agreement between you and the moving company, in which the moving company guarantees that the total cost of the move will be exactly as it’s written in the estimate.

Moving companies always triple-check the moving quotes. Because, if something is not covered in the binding estimate it is considered like that item was never a part of your deal. That’s why it’s in nobody’s interest that a moving agreement is haphazardly concluded.

What are the key components of a binding estimate?

Every contract has some key elements that make it valid. This is what a binding estimate must have:

  • The subject of the contract. An agreement must be made between two parties regarding the subject of the contract. In the case of binding estimates, the subject of the contract is the price of the relocation that the movers offer.
  • “Meeting of the minds” is a term that means that the contracting parties intend to create a valid and enforceable agreement.
  • Legal. The subject of the contract must be in-and-of-itself, legal. Any unlawful promise, such as agreeing to commit a crime is an agreement that is considered invalid.
  • The contractors must have legal capacity. Meaning that the agreeing parties must have the ability to sign a contract.

So always make sure these elements are present in your moving contract.

Non-binding estimate

Unlike binding estimates, non-binding estimates are more common. Especially if you are planning on moving long-distance. Why? Well, because moving companies cannot guarantee an exact estimate for such a long trip. The cost of cross-country moving is heavily based on different factors. Weight of your belongings, the cost of gasoline, the price for the movers, etc. As the name suggests, the non-binding estimate is not binding for the moving company. It can change depending on a lot of factors. The cost is calculated by a movers tariff. The movers’ tariff is a legal document that contains all of the information on how an expense for a move is being calculated. This means that the companies rates, chargers, terms, and service for holding the clients’ possession, is all written here.

Why is it even important?

Dishonorable moving companies exist. They are out there, and they will try to scam you. That is if you let them. That’s why understanding how these estimates work is crucial.

a magnifying glass enlarging paper
Stay far away from moving companies and always ask for multiple moving quotes from different moving companies.


This is the strategy that most fraudulent moving companies employ. They first undercut the price of the estimate, giving you false hope that they are extremely affordable. Secondly, when they load all your items for shipping they give you a new estimate that is much higher than the old one. Lastly, they hold your goods for good until you pay up.

Now while this might seem illegal, it’s not. That’s what can happen if you agree to a non-binding estimate. So how do you avoid it? Well, rather simple. You stay clear from sketchy moving companies, and you always ask for multiple moving quotes from different moving companies.

In conclusion

The actual difference between binding and non-binding estimate is rather simple. If you agree to a binding estimate with your moving company, the amount of money they tell you, you will need to pay is the exact amount. Not a penny more. However, if you agree to a non-binding estimate that’s where the presented cost of the relocation might change, depending on multiple factors. That’s how moving companies usually scam people. They give them non-binding estimates that are extremely low and cheap. Then when moving day comes they take hostage of your goods and won’t let them go, until you pay a huge estimate. So be smart, and always ask for multiple moving quotes, from multiple moving companies!

Bonus tip: binding not-to-exceed estimate

So what is better, binding or non-binding estimates? Well, neither, actually. The best option for you is the binding not-to-exceed estimate. It means that your quite is set in stone, much like the binding estimate. However, the difference is that if you have less weight that the movers expected, you will not pay the same amount as the quote. You will pay less. And if you have more weight, you will still pay for the amount that was written in the quote.