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How to Understand Moving Company Quotes

How to Understand Moving Company Quotes
February 20, 2020

Hiring a professional mover for your moving needs can cost between a few hundred and several thousand dollars. Knowing the real cost of your relocation is crucial. This will make it possible for you to budget and plan accordingly. To avoid any unexpected charges, individuals are often advised to get quotes from different moving companies. However, unless you are a moving expert or someone with adequate knowledge of the moving industry’s terms, you may not understand moving company quotes.

Furthermore, these moving company quotes will give you a rough estimate of the overall cost of your move. Moving costs usually depend on various factors, including the distance of your moving, your preferred moving date or period, pick-up, and delivery location, and many more. The moving company can give you the moving quotes online, over the phone, or on-site. On-site inspections usually yield the most accurate moving quotes. In this post, we will be taking a look at the different ways that moving companies determine their quotes for their customers.

Types of Moving Company Estimate

Basically, there are three common types of moving quotes. These include:

  • Non-binding moving estimate
  • Binding moving estimate
  • Binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate

Non-Binding Moving Estimate

A non-binding moving estimate is a calculated guess of the moving cost. The moving quote is usually based on the weight of the items and belongings that need to be moved and additional services provided. Since it is non-binding, the estimate does not hold the mover. The final moving cost may be lower or higher than the given estimate.

Accepting a non-binding moving estimate isn’t ideal. These moving companies often hike the moving cost with additional hidden charges. Additional charges may include packing supplies, long carry fees, labor, moving insurance, and so forth. At the end of the day, you could end up paying more for your move. Hence, be wary of deceitful movers that entice you with a non-binding moving estimate. They are often too good to be true.


  • If you are lucky, the final moving cost may be lower. Although the chances are often rare.


  • There are usually additional hidden charges. Hence, the final cost may be higher.
  • Too good to be true. There are red flags.
  • The moving company can increase the price.

Binding Moving Estimate

A binding moving estimate is a moving quote that holds the moving company to the quoted estimate. In the binding estimate, the moving company will guarantee a fixed cost. This usually depends on the approximate weight of the belongings you want to move. Unless anything changes, the moving company will be required to honor the quote provided.

Customers that agree to a binding moving estimate will pay exactly the quotes amount. Even if your belongings weigh less than the estimated weight, you will still be required to pay the fixed amount. However, sneaking additional items onto the moving truck isn’t allowed. You will have to renegotiate with the mover again. Nonetheless, you can budget accordingly for your relocation with a binding moving estimate.


  • A fixed cost is guaranteed.
  • The moving company cannot ratchet up the price or overcharge you at the last minute.
  • You don’t need to worry about paying high prices.
  • You can budget and plan for your move accordingly.


  • You have to pay the fixed cost, even if your belongings weigh less than the original estimated weight.

Binding-Not-To-Exceed Moving Estimate

The binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate is the most popular among customers moving across the country or over a long distance. This moving estimate is consumer-friendly and easy to explain. Binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate is quite similar to a binding moving estimate. However, customers won’t need to pay any overcharges, even if the weight exceeds the original estimated weight.

Also, you will only have to pay for the cost of the actual weight shipment, even if the shipment weight is less than originally quoted. Thus, it is possible that you pay less than what was quoted for you originally.


  • This moving estimate is consumer-friendly and easy to explain.
  • You won’t pay any overcharges.
  • You may pay less than what was originally quoted.

Moving Fees and Other Additional Moving Costs

In addition, some moving companies usually include costs for other additional moving services in the moving company quotes. These include:

Shuttle Service: Shuttle service usually depends on the pick-up and delivery location. This arises if the moving truck cannot park close to the pick-up or delivery location. Thus, a small van will be used to transfer your household items and belongings from your house to the truck.

Long Haul or Long Carry Service: You will pay a long carry fee if the distance between your front door and where the moving truck is packed is faraway. The moving crew will need to carry moving boxes, furniture pieces, large appliances, and other household items a long distance to the moving truck. The maximum distance before the long haul or long carry fees applies is usually specified in the moving company estimate.

Packing Supplies and Labor: The majority of moving companies offer packing services with their premium package or full-service moves. Fees for packing services, labor, and packing supplies will be stated in the moving quote. If you want to save yourself the stress of packing and boxing your belongings, you can consider paying extra for packing.

Stairs: Also, you will have to pay an extra fee if movers have to carry belongings and boxes up or down the stairs. If the pick-up or delivery location has stairs, ask the mover for the stair fee estimate.

Bulky or Large Items: In addition, you will be required to pay additional fees for moving large items like safe boxes, pianos, pool tables, and other specialty items. These items are delicate, bulky, and require adequate handling. Not every moving company has the resources to move them. The moving company helping out will charge an additional fee.

Tip: In case you were impressed with how efficient and promptly your move was handled, you can tip the moving crew. A standard tip is from $20 to $40 per mover. This will depend on the quality of service offered.

Others: Other additional moving fees are:

  • Elevator fees,
  • Moving insurance,
  • Move cancellation fee,
  • Disassemble or reassemble furniture,
  • Express delivery,
  • Storage fee,
  • Hoisting fee, and so forth.

Tips for Getting Moving Quotes

Here are a few tips for getting the best moving estimates:

  • Do not accept a blank or incomplete estimates. This is a red flag. Also, do not use a mover that asks you to sign an incomplete estimate.
  • Choose moving companies that charge based on the weight of your shipment.
  • Get an estimate from an on-site inspection. On-site estimates are more accurate.
  • Ensure that the inventory list is accurate. Request for a copy and crosscheck for accuracy.
  • Be flexible with your moving date.

Once you have received different estimates from various moving companies, go through the moving company quotes thoroughly. Ask questions about the reason for any additional charges. Everything should be well-detailed and accurate. With this, you can avoid additional hidden charges.

At Colonial Van Lines, we offer well-detailed, reliable, and highly professional services. Contact us today to get an accurate, free quote for your move. We guarantee you quality and excellent services that give complete client satisfaction.


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