How to understand your moving contract
Date Published: Oct 22 2013
by Sabrina Jones of Movher, LLC
Did you know that moving companies are required to provide potential customers with written estimates, regardless of the size of the move? Did you also know that there are essentially only two different types of estimates: binding and non-binding?
It might sound a bit confusing, but it’s simpler than you think and it is definitely worth your time to know the difference between the two.
A binding estimate is a flat rate. In other words, if the moving company says they will charge you 500 dollars for your move, you know that is exactly what you will pay, no matter how long your move takes or how many movers work on your job. That is a binding estimate.
The majority of moving estimates, however, are typically non-binding. A non-binding estimate is the moving company’s “best guess” for how long your move will take (if it is a local move) or how much it will weigh (with a long-distance or interstate move).
The most important aspect to know with a non-binding estimate is that there is always a limit to how much more a moving company can charge you in addition to that non-binding estimate. In the state of Washington, the most a moving company can charge is an additional 25 percent on top of their estimate.
So let’s say that you are planning a move within a 10-mile radius. A moving estimator comes to your home and gives you an estimate of four hours with a crew of two movers. Using that 25 percent cap, the most you, as a customer, could be charged, would be one additional hour.
It is important that you are as thorough as you can be with the moving estimator at the time of the estimate. If the “scope of the job” changes from the time of the estimate to the day of your move, then your estimate could be voided and the mover would have the right to charge you for the actual time it takes to complete your job.
As an example, if you forgot to show the moving estimator the items in your garage, then the moving company has a right to charge you for the additional time it takes to move the items in the garage.
When you know you have a move in your future, one of the best things you can do is to start planning early. Contact two or three moving companies, invite them over to provide you with a written estimate, be up-front and thorough when giving them a tour of your home and the items that will be included in your move and then choose the company that you feel the most comfortable with and have the most trust in.
Finally, check references, license numbers and, of course, Angie’s List!
About the Author
About this Angie’s List Expert: Sabrina Jones is the owner of Movher, LLC, providing moving services in Spokane, Wash. Since 2010, Movher has specialized in moving, packing, cleaning, storage and moving supplies. They are a recipient of the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @Movher.