Getting a Moving Bid

We've talked about getting bids from moving services. Let's now get more specific. First, one bid by itself isn't competitive. You don't really know if the bid is high, low, unreasonable, or a bargain without comparing companies, so get more than one bid on your moving services. But remember to provide the same moving information to each moving counselor so you're comparing costs for the same services. Compare apples with apples.

So-called bids are really estimates. There are two kinds of estimates of moving costs: binding and nonbinding. A binding estimate holds the shipper to the figure given to you, the consumer. You cannot be required to pay more than the amount of the estimate. A mover may charge you for giving a binding estimate, which describes the goods to be shipped and the services to be provided.

A binding estimate must be in writing and you must have a copy before you move. If you receive a binding estimate, you must pay by cash, certified check, or money order at the time of delivery unless the shipper agrees to other arrangements. If the charges are not paid at the time of delivery, the mover may hold your goods, with storage charges, until the bill is paid in full. Got that?

Moving Words

A binding estimate is a written, guaranteed price based on an itemized list of items to be moved, the distance to be traveled, and services to be performed.

A nonbinding estimate does not bind the fees and services. When you receive a nonbinding estimate, you have no guarantee that the final cost will not exceed the estimate. The mover is not permitted to charge for nonbinding estimates. However, these also must be in writing and describe the shipment and all services provided. The estimate must be entered on the order for service and bill of lading relating to your shipment.

Moving Words

A non-binding estimate is a price given to you before the move that does not guarantee the final bill. The final bill will be calculated on the weight of the shipment, the distance to be traveled, and the services to be performed. The bill of lading is the contract between you and the moving company. It also serves as your receipt for your belongings.

If you accept a nonbinding estimate, the mover cannot charge more than the amount of the original estimate plus ten percent at the time of delivery. You will then have at least 30 days after delivery to pay any remaining charges.


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