When planning to move using services of a full service moving company you should interview and get estimates from at least three reputable moving companies.

Licensed moving companies are required to provide shippers with written estimates for every move. In case that your mover is located with in 50 mile radius of your original residence, the estimate that your mover provides to you must be based on the physical survey of your goods. If your mover is located over 50 miles from your residence then the estimate must be written on the morning of the move, prior to loading the truck. This allows customer time to review estimate of costs, understand all charges and fees associated with relocation. If there is no price agreement between the shipper and the mover, mover can refuse to perform the job. This may inconvenience the customers as they need to find a new moving company. That is why we strongly recommend to get at least 3 written estimates days before the move day. You can waive the right to receive a written estimate, buy your waiver will have to be in writing.

Keep in mind that getting a verbal quote of mover's tariff prices is not considered to be an official binding estimate.

The estimate must be written on movers official form, it must have moving company's name, address, phone numbers and the date of the estimate.

The estimate must describe pick up and delivery addresses, services required to be performed by mover, any special services, (such as, storage in transit, shuttle, long carry, hoisting, etc.), and it must provide mover's tariff and final cost for moving services.

The estimate must specify the form of payment the mover will honor upon delivery. Payment methods may include, but not limited to:

  • COD - Cash on Delivery;
  • Major Credit Cards - Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express;
  • Money Orders, Certified Checks, Traveler's checks.
  • Most moving companies do not accept personal checks.


Before loading and upon mutual agreement between you and the mover, your mover can amend the estimate of charges. Your mover may not amend estimate after the loading has began, unless there are special circumstances. Such as, due to the road conditions the mover's truck can not be park near your delivery location and the mover must perform shuttle service. As this is an unforeseen situation the amendment may be made in this case.

There are three type of estimates provided by moving companies.

  1. Binding Estimate,
  2. Non-binding Estimate,
  3. Not to Exceed Estimate.

-  Binding Estimate is a written agreement made in advance with your mover, indicating that you and the mover are bound by the charges. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on your mover's estimate.

Your mover may charge for providing you with a binding estimate. A binding estimate must be in writing and you must receive a copy of it.

-  Non-Binding Estimate is what your mover believes the total cost of the move will be, based on the estimated weight of your shipment (long distance moves), hours of service (local moves) and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on your mover. The estimate will indicate that the final charges will depend on the actual weight of the shipment or hours of service and the mover's tariff provisions in effect. You should be prepared (if necessary) to pay 10% over the estimate at delivery.

You should also be prepared to pay for any additional services that were performed and requested after the contract was executed that were not on the original estimate.

-  Not-to-Exceed Estimate is provided after physical inspection of your goods. It is provided in writing. Just like the binding estimate it guarantees the cost of the move, and like the non-binding estimate it may be based on the actual weight of the shipment or the actual service hours, which ever is lesser. Not-to-exceed estimate is beneficial to the customer as if the estimator made an error of over stating the weight of the shipment, the actual weight will be applied, however if estimator understated the weight of shipment or time of service, the customer will not be responsible for it, and will pay the guaranteed amount of the estimate.

When scheduling a time for the mover to provide you with an on-site estimate, depending on the size of your residence allot anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The estimator will take a very detailed inventory of your goods and additional services you may require. This information will then be used to determine the size of your shipment and the total cost of the move.