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Understanding Estimates

Understanding Estimates

June 1, 2020 By King Relocation

Understanding Estimates

Understanding Estimates When Relocating a Household


One of the most important aspects of planning a household relocation is pricing out your move to ensure it fits within your budget. Regardless of whether you are paying for the move yourself, or it is being subsidized by your company, one of the ways to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible is to understand how the costs of your move are being estimated.


Many factors will contribute to the overall price of the move, including when you are moving (peak season moves during summer and holidays can cost more); the relocation firm’s capacity for your move; the weight of your shipment; the distance of the relocation; and, whether any premium services are required such as packing, storage, or special handling of valuables. We recommend getting several estimates to determine the best solution based on your budget and unique requirements.


For long distance, or interstate moves, you will likely receive one of the following three types of estimates:


  • Binding Estimate. With this type of estimate, the mover will guarantee a fixed cost based on the approximate weight of the shipment. If the customer agrees to a binding estimate, then they will pay exactly what they were originally quoted. The mover will not be allowed increase the cost of the move. However, agreeing to a binding estimate also means that the customer won’t pay any less either. If their belongings end up weighing less than was originally estimated, they will still have to pay the fixed cost. An advantage of a binding estimate is not having to worry about overages if your shipment ends up exceeding the estimated weight; but on the same token, you won’t be allowed to add items on the moving day. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if you decide to add items to your shipment then you and your mover must either: agree to abide by the original binding estimate, negotiate a new binding estimate or convert the binding estimate into a non-binding estimate.
  • Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimate. Of all of the different types of estimates, the binding not-to-exceed (sometimes called a “guaranteed not-to-exceed”) estimate tends to be the most popular with customers making an interstate, or a long distance move. One of the reasons that it is the easiest to understand. With this type of estimate, even if the weight of the shipment exceeds the original estimate, the customer won’t be charged extra. Instead, they will pay what they were originally quoted. However, if the shipment weighs less than originally estimated, they will only have to pay for the cost of shipping the actual weight. This means that you could end up paying less than originally agreed upon; which, similar the binding estimate can be appealing if you want to avoid last minute overage charges.
  • Non-Binding Estimate. Buyer beware – this type of estimate is a quote based on the weight of the shipment. However, because it is “non-binding,” this estimate is not set in stone and will most likely change depending on the actual weight of the move. This type of estimate is often used when a visual survey is not possible because access to the items being moved is not available until the actual moving day. And, unlike the aforementioned binding and not-to-exceed estimates, you can add items to the truck on moving day. However, if the moving costs were underestimated and your shipment ends up weighing more than expected, you will pay the original amount estimated, plus 10% on of that at the time of delivery. According to the FMCSA, the carrier will give you up to 30 days to pay the difference.


Local, or intrastate, moves within the State of California are regulated by the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS). Here are some things they recommend you expect in terms of estimating when planning a local move:




  • Moving companies hired three or more days in advance must provide you with a copy of their moving services agreement, and also an Important Notice About Your Move document, and the Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California) booklet. The booklet provides rules and regulations that a moving company must follow and information about your rights.
  • A moving company may provide you with an estimate in writing only after they conduct a visual inspection of the items you need moved.
  • Verbal estimates or estimates given over the Internet are illegal and may not be enforceable.
  • A moving company must provide a “Not to Exceed” price for all household moves. This is the maximum amount you can be charged unless you request additional services and those changes are then detailed in a “Change Order for Moving Services.” A Change Order cannot be used simply because a mover underestimated costs. Pay close attention to these documents because if a fee dispute arises, the moving company may demand that you pay the cost quoted on these documents before releasing your goods.
  • You may choose to purchase additional protection and set the value of your belongings for an amount that makes you comfortable. The Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California) booklet has more details on options.
  • Verify that a moving company is authorized to operate by visiting

Any move, whether it is a residential or office move, requires planning and preparation. If you are looking for assistance in planning your next move, let King Companies help you make it your best move yet. Call us today at 800-854-3679.

About King Companies
As an agent of United Van Lines, King Companies has the resources and expertise to be your “go-to” resource for all relocation needs. Whether you are relocating your household, moving an office, or are in need of logistics services, we strive to ensure that your next move will be the best you will ever make. Call us today at 800-854-3679 to learn more.

We hope that you will consider King Companies for your future relocation needs. To learn more about our services, visit is at And, don’t forget to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for our latest news and updates!

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