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Moving house can often be scary to many people. Especially for the first timers, this is an experience that will greet you with a lot of confusing terms, paperwork to consider and so much stuff to do! However, preparing for it before the moving process even begins can be a lifesaver. Not only will you be able to grasp with the endless sea of new terms, but you will know exactly how to come on top of them. Getting some local movers Manhattan can also be helpful throughout the process – but you need to make a good choice. And in order to do that, you need to get an estimate. Today, we talk about estimates – and more specifically we answer the question: What is a binding estimate?

The importance of estimates

NYC moving estimates are pretty important in the moving business. They can not only tell you how much your move will cost, but also give you a lot of information about a moving company. These are also great chances to talk to the moving company representatives and ask a lot of questions. Finally, they will be one of the deciding factors when thinking about which moving company to choose.

A calculator, pen and a ruler.
The estimate will tell you a lot about your move.

But what actually is an estimate, and how do you get it? Well, when you do your research on a moving company and decide to call one, you will want to request an estimate. At this time, remember to ask them whether it is a non-binding or a binding estimate (we will talk about the differences later). One of the best red flags in the moving industry is whether or not the moving company will have an estimator come over. Think about it – can someone really figure out how much stuff you have by just talking with you on the phone. If that’s the case, you are probably working with movers you can’t trust!

How estimator behaves

Another great thing that can tell you just how professional a moving company is is the way the estimator will behave. Watch them closely when they arrive at your home. Will they just go over your items superficially or dive deep into your stuff? Are they asking you a lot of questions about your moving preferences, or just trying to rush it as fast as they can. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with an estimator, you should probably look for a different moving company.

However, don’t be shocked if the estimator asks to look at your garage or attic. They just want to get a really good feeling about the size of your move. Even it might be silly or weird to you, they might even want to look into your dressers and cupboards. This is why you should know exactly what things you will be taking with you, and what you will use up or donate before the move. The estimator can also help you decide whether to pack yourself or call professional packers to help.

A detective.
Be a detective and watch the estimator.

Finally, after the estimator leaves, you should have some information about the company that you got from them. One of the most important things is a US DOT number, which serves as an ID number for moving companies. You also need some basic information about the company – their address, contact phones, etc. Also try to get references from an estimator (or in the company), which you can later call and talk about their moving experience.

What actually is a binding estimate

This is all fair and good, but you might be curious what about what a binding estimate actually is. Is that a number the estimator will tell you, or an official document that everyone needs to sign? This is where the difference between binding and non-binding estimates comes into play. A binding estimate is a contract and is considered a legal document. If you don’t follow something in it, then the movers will be able to charge you more for the move. Conversely, once you have a binding estimate, the mover can’t charge you more than what it says on the contract – if you respect everything on it.

So, when you get a contract from a moving company like Divine Moving and Storage NYC, then you need to first see what type of estimate you have. This is the document that comes with the Bill of Lading contract and it should be attached to it. It needs to have:

  • the information about your moving company, including their name and address,
  • the tariff costs that they are using to calculate the binding estimate,
  • miles they will need to travel,
  • the estimated weight of your items,
  • any discount or extra fees – like packing services, storage, etc.

Everything needs to be clear when you read the document. If something is puzzling to you, then get your lawyer to go over it first. Remember, this is a legal document, and signing it means you agree with even the fine print!

The advantages of a binding estimate

We already talked a little about the advantages of a binding estimate, but let’s take a quick look at what those really are. When giving a binding estimate, the moving company estimates the weight of your items and then gives you a cost of the move based on that. If you agree on it, then that’s what the company will charge. This is good because it stops any hidden fees from happening. However, you might need to pay for the estimator’s time during the forming of a binding estimate.

A person signing their binding estimate.
Remember that the estimate is a legal document.

Another advantage is that, if your items are heavier than the estimator thought, you won’t have to pay more. However, the movers can still run through your items to check what’s in the document if they suspect foul play on your side. Similarly, if your items are lighter than the estimator, you will be paying more than you needed to. As you can see, a binding estimate has both its pros and cons, but it’s still a highly useful thing. This is why you should contact us and get yours today.

About Author

John has been with Divine Moving and Storage in New York for nearly two decades. Starting as a young helper and climbing up the ranks to be a staple in our organization. John has the knowledge and experience to assist our clients with any move or storage related needs. You can reach John or any of our associates in NYC at 212-244-4011