trusted formDifference Between Binding and Non-Binding Estimates |
Binding Vs Non Binding Estimates
Get a Quote

Difference Between Binding and Non-Binding Estimates

Difference Between Binding and Non-Binding EstimatesDifference Between Binding and Non-Binding Estimates


Moving companies have become a popular choice among many when moving to a new location; whether it’s a residential move or a business relocation, moving companies can facilitate the whole process with ease of mind.

If you are a little familiar with moving companies and the estimates they provide you, you probably have encountered the two terms binding estimates and non-binding estimates. Binding estimates are more common for small or local moves, while non-binding estimates are mainly given for long-distance moves.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two and inform you of the rules associated with each. Later, we will present you with our top moving company recommendations that provide the most accurate estimates for any kind of move.

Difference Between Binding and Non-Binding Estimates

What is a Binding Estimate?

A binding estimate is a quote or price you get from a moving company after detailing your move locations, dates, and inventory weight. This price is the price you will pay, regardless of other unforeseen extra costs that show up.

What is a Non-binding Estimate?

A non-binding estimate, on the other hand, is in an approximate price or quote. You will probably end up paying an amount that is different from what your moving company tells you.

Binding Estimate Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) enforces some rules that your moving company must abide by when preparing and implementing your binding estimate. These rules are:

Description of Shipment and Services

The binding estimate must accurately state and describe all the services and shipments the moving company will provide you. For example, if you asked for additional services such as shuttle service or flight charges, your mover must bill you separately for these services following your move.

You should have a copy of your binding estimate in writing before you move, and at the time of delivery on your moving day, your moving company must not charge you more than the stated amount on the binding estimate.


Payment is always due at the time of delivery. As you agree to a binding estimate, you must pay the amount either in cash, credit card, money order, or a certified check at the time of delivery. Depending on your moving company, it may agree to accept payment before your moving day.

If you cannot make your payment upon delivery, the company will hold your belongings in storage until you pay your binding estimate. You could also be charged for this extra storage.

Record Keeping

Your moving company must keep a copy of your binding estimate and attach it to your bill of lading.

Clarity of the Contract

Your contract must clearly state that the estimate is binding to you and your mover. And as we mentioned earlier, the binding estimate should clearly state that the charges are only for the services you require and are outlined in the estimate.

Right to Refuse

You need to make sure you enlist all your belongings in the estimate because if the moving company believes you are loading items that are not listed in the estimate, they have the right to refuse your service.

If you need to add more items, you must tell your mover beforehand so you can work out an arrangement and avoid being refused service.

Accepting the Contract

As the moving company agrees to transport your possessions, they must either confirm the binding estimate or negotiate a revised written binding estimate that lists any additional items or services in writing and states that you both will consider the original binding estimate as a non-binding estimate.

Additional Charges

When your moving company loads all your items and possessions, they have agreed to the binding estimate and cannot charge you any additional costs except the ones that are clearly stated for any extra services you asked for.

Non-Binding Estimate Rules

Similarly, the FMCSA also states some rules for non-binding estimates on its website that moving companies must abide by as well. Some of these rules are as follows:

  1. Your moving company must not charge you for a non-binding estimate
  2. Your non-binding estimate should be reasonably accurate according to the services you require and the estimated weight of your belongings.
  3. Your mover is not bound by the estimate they give you in a non-binding estimate.
  4. Your mover must attach a copy of each non-binding estimate in your bill of lading.
  5. The non-binding estimate must be clearly stated as so and that the charges shown are approximate and to be further assessed for the services identified in the estimate.
  6. All your services and shipment must be clearly stated on the face of your non-binding estimate.
  7. The mover has the right to refuse service if they believe you are loading more items than your non-binding estimate states.
  8. As the mover loads your shipment, it agrees to the non-binding estimate, and it may not collect more than 110% of the amount stated upon delivery.
  9. If you request additional services after your bill of lading has been executed, your mover should collect these charges when your shipment is delivered.

Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimates

Furthermore, you still have a great option beyond binding and non-binding estimates, which is the not-to-exceed estimate. If you request a binding not-to-exceed estimate, you will pay the exact quoted amount, even if your shipment’s weight turns out to be more than it is stated in the estimate. On the other hand, if your shipment’s weight turns out to be lower, you pay a lesser amount.

Best Moving Company Recommendations

Now that you are familiar with binding and non-binding estimates and their differences allow us to present you with our top three moving company recommendations.

1. Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines is the country’s leading and second-largest moving company. It works with over 1,500 global partners in 17 countries and with over 430 local independent movers. Atlas offers special discounts for AAA members and a mobile application and customer portal that allows you to track your shipment at all times.

Atlas supports the following move types:

  • Corporate Relocation
  • Military Moves
  • Government Moves
  • International Moves
  • Long Distance Moves
  • Residential Moves

To get your quote from Atlas, reach out to its team by phone at 1-800-638-9797 or by clicking on “Request Quote” on its website and filling out the interactive form.

Read our full Atlas Van Lines review to know more about its services in detail.

2. Mayflower Transit

Our second moving company recommendation goes for Mayflower Transit. This company has nearly a century’s worth of experience in the moving industry and simply offers the most comprehensive and trustworthy services. Mayflower offers special real estate cashback rewards upon selling your old home or purchasing your new one.

Its moving services include:

  • Corporate Relocation
  • Small Moves
  • Long Distance Moves
  • Military Moves
  • Car Transportation Services

You can reach out to Mayflower to request a quote by phone at 877-720-4066 or online on its website.

Read our full Mayflower Transit review to know more about its moving services.

3. JK Moving Services

JK Moving is our last recommendation for one of the best moving companies. It is a world-leading moving company that offers unique services for commercial moves for any industry like:

  • Laboratories and Medical
  • Industrial Movers
  • Government
  • Hospitality
  • Law Firms
  • Construction
  • Museums
  • Universities and Schools

As for its move types and services, JK Moving supports the following:

  • Local moves
  • Long-distance moves
  • International moves
  • Employee relocation
  • Government moves
  • Office moves
  • Facility management
  • Data centers
  • Archive services
Read our full JK Moving Services review to know how to get a quote and more details about its moving services.

Related Topics

Recent Posts