When you are planning a move, it’s normal to ask moving companies in your area for a moving estimate. The confusing part comes when you start looking at the different types. What is a binding or not binding estimate? And which one is best for you?

Understanding the different types of estimates will improve your moving experience. The average moving company will offer you three types of moving estimates. In this post, we’ll explain each type and tell you how to decide which one is best for you.


What are the Three Types of Moving Estimates?

When getting a moving quote from a professional moving company, there are three types of moving estimates that they can give you for your upcoming move.

  1. Binding Estimate

    A moving company estimate that is binding holds the company to their original quote. That means that whatever they quoted you in the beginning for the amount of things you had or the estimated weight of your belongings is the price that you pay.

    A binding estimate is a great option if you’re worried about a mover hiking up the price of your move at the last minute. But, it’s also not so great if your belongings end up weighing less than they were originally quoted for. In that case, you would be overpaying.

  2. Non-Binding Estimate

    A non-binding estimate does not hold professional movers to the original price that they quote you. Instead, you pay the cost of the actual weight of your belongings on moving day.

    Initially, a non-binding estimate can seem really appealing. But, you need to be cautious of a company that only offers non-binding estimates or one that gives you an incredibly low quote. This could be a sign that they’ll raise the price drastically when the actual moving day comes.

    Of course, there are lots of reputable companies that offer non-binding agreements who are professional about the process. You just need to keep a good head on your shoulders and be realistic about what’s too good to be true.

    If your shipment does end up weighing more than the original quote, you need to pay the cost of the quote plus 10% of the actual, total cost. The rest of the total cost and the additional service fee will be charged to you after 30 days.

  3. Binding Not to Exceed Estimate

    A binding not to exceed estimate is most likely the best option for customers. It’s certainly the recommended option if you’re doing a long distance move or an interstate move because it can help save money.

    In this type of estimate, the mover agrees to an original price in accordance with the estimated weight of your belongings. If the actual weight exceeds that estimate, you won’t get charged more. In addition, if the weight ends up being less than the quote you were originally given, you’ll pay for that weight.

    A binding not to exceed agreement is the best way to assure that you are paying the exact cost of your move.


What is the Average Cost of a Move?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, a local move, on average, costs $2,300 and an interstate or long distance move costs $4,300. Of course, your estimated moving expenses can change depending on the amount of things you have, how much they weigh, and what moving and packing services you decide to purchase.
Another important piece to the cost of moving is moving insurance, which can also be confusing. If you don’t understand the difference between full value protection, released value protection, and relocation insurance, take a look at our post on moving insurance and why it’s important.


Which Moving Estimate is Best for Me?

Deciding which moving estimate is best for you depends entirely on your situation and the weight of your belongings. You need to compare the costs and benefits of each type. There are also other things you can do to ensure that your move goes smoothly.

  • Do Your Research

    The best option would be to talk to several movers in your area and have them give you an in home value estimate. Talk to them about the different estimates they offer, and do your research on each moving company to make sure they are a reputable business who doesn’t scam their customers.

  • Do It Yourself

    Maybe dealing with a moving company isn’t something that you want to do. A DIY move is a definite possibility and it can really help you save on the cost of moving services.

    To move yourself, you need to start by renting a moving truck from a local company. You’ll want to do so ahead of time to ensure your move dates are available.


Once you have your truck rental and it’s moving day, you’ve got to load everything into it and make the move. Think about getting some friends or family to help you. Also, if you’re stuck on how to get started packing, check out our post on how to pack for a move.