The difference between binding and non-binding moving estimate

September 28, 2018
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Moving estimate is the price that your movers will give you in order to move you. Now, there are different types of moving estimates and there are ways in which you can reduce them. Some are fixed and some are not. But, have no worries. We are here to give you all the necessary information regarding binding and non-binding moving estimate and how to approach making your estimate more agreeable.

What is a binding and non-binding moving estimate

There are essentially two, distinctively different ways in which movers will give you their price. A binding and non-binding moving estimate. You never pay for your move upfront. Since many different, unpredictable things can happen during your move, your movers want to wait until the end of the relocation to charge you. But, they will give you an estimate on how much your move will end up costing. A binding moving estimate implies that the price you agree upon when the estimate is done is the price that the movers will charge you at the end of the move. A non-binding one says that the mover is in no obligation to pay you the agreed price.

Calculating binding and non-binding moving estimate
Both binding and non-binding moving estimate doesn’t have to be the exact final bill.

Which is better

Well, technically, there is no better one. They are just different. A binding moving estimate tends to be more expensive, but it will give you a clearer picture of what your bill will be. Meanwhile, a non-binding estimate is cheaper but can be unrealistic. They are not really clear-cut, as you might think. An estimate is just a number that your movers say your bill will be. Much more important is the contract you sign. In it, you can find outlines about “unforeseen circumstances” that can change even a binding estimate. But even so, a binding estimate will be much closer to the real figure. The best way to consider a non-binding estimate is that it is a rough figure. An eyeball estimate of how much your move will cost. It can be true, but it also can be quite wrong.

What happens if they change

Again, it depends. If a non-binding estimate is different from the final bill, nothing happens. You’ll just have to pay for the final bill. There is no legal bind (hence the name non-binding) that will force the movers to charge you the price they said in the estimate. Usually, the final price for moving services NJ has to be plus or minus 10% of the original estimate. But, with a non-binding estimate, even that is usually not the case. That is why every online estimate is non-binding. Meanwhile, there are certain legal requirements for binding estimates. They have less wiggle room for a price increase. But, movers know this, and they will charge you a bit more just to be sure. Therefore a binding estimate will be more expensive but more reliable than a non-binding one.

Whatever the estimate is, you will have to pay for the final price.

How to lower your estimate

The moment you hear your estimate, you’ll think to yourself that it is expensive. But, if you are clever there are ways in which you can lower it whether is it a binding or non-binding moving estimate.

Getting multiple estimates

This is the first and most important thing to do. You need to get yourself multiple estimates. You’ll never be sure what is fair for a mover to charge you for moving services if you do not have the necessary information. And the only way to get the information is to get as many moving quotes NJ as you can. Average them out and see what to expect and what is fair. If a company offers you an estimate that is considerably lower than others, be warned. Moving scams are known to happen to people who jump at opportunities to seemingly save a bunch of money. The scam is that the moving company takes your possession and changes the estimate drastically. If you don’t pay you don’t get your stuff back. Rember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Save money while moving
The more estimates you have, the better you will know how to save money on moving.

Sorting and packing

Your moving estimate will depend on the weight of your items and the room they take. Therefore a good way to save money is to not relocate unnecessary items. Carefully sort through your possessions and put aside anything that you don’t need. You can donate your possessions and get a tax deduction. Or, you can organize a garage sale and make some cash. Either way, don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary clutter. Once you have figured out what you want to move, pack it densely. The denser it is the less room it will take. And the less room it takes, the cheaper your move will be. Get properly sized boxes and pack them to the brim. Use thick clothes and blankets as padding for your fragile items. That way you’ll be saving money on packing supplies and reducing the total weight of your possessions.


The timing of your move will have a great impact on its cost. Whether it is a binding or non-binding estimate you need to talk with your movers and figure out when it is the cheapest time to move. Usually, it is outside moving seasons which lasts from the begging of summer until the end of fall. And, you also want to move on weekdays. People usually like to move during the weekend, or if they have to a day off they will move either on Monday or Friday. The bigger the demand the bigger the price, and if you avoid Monday, Friday and weekend, your price will definitely be lower.

Final advice

Just know what you are doing. Your mover can either be a good honest guy that wants to move you for the lowest price possible, or he can be a dishonest crook, who wants to bleed you dry. Whatever it may be, don’t risk it. Check the moving company’s background and get both the binding and non-binding moving estimate.

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