This is an important subject that I would like all of my customers to be aware of concerning estimates. The difference between a binding price estimate, and a probable cost of services is like night, and day. The binding price estimate, the photogragh on top should include the term binding price, that is the legal terminology utilized by the New York State Department of Transportation. (They are in charge of oversight of moving companies who do work inside of New York State) It is very important that this language is on your order for service/contract/estimate, this particular paperwork fulfills three functions. It acts as the order for service, the estimate, and the actual bill of lading. Its the old adage better get it in writing. The photograph below is a probable cost of services. This paperwork is an estimate of the time it will take to do the job plus the material required. Unfortunately, this estimate is an open ended service contract. If you closely read the language it states that the mover, ie. carrier, must relinquish goods only when the probable cost plus 25% of the bill is paid. However, anything in excess of that must be paid in 15 days. Imagine getting a probable cost estimate for $1,000.00, and the actual cost of the job is $2,000.00. You would have to pay $1,250.00 in order for the truck to be unloaded, and you would have to cut a check to the moving company for $750.00 within 15 days. As a customer that is a real slap in the face.
If you are going to have an estimator come to your home, insist upon a binding price estimate. There is no good reason to put yourself in the position of entering an open ended service contract with a moving company. When recieving a guaranteed price/binding price estimate then you can truly compare one moving company's estimate to another. Then you can factor in all the other reasons for hiring a particular company, and come to an informed decision.
The binding price estimate is not written in stone. It is for a certain inventory of goods, and particular services. A customer can not forget to show the estimator certain rooms, or not make the moving company aware that they require packing services. All of these factors must be taken into account, and the price is based upon an inventory, and the particular services the customer request. However, the price will not change if there is less than a 10% fluctuation in the binding price inventory. So an extra couch, on a almost full 26 foot moving van will not change the price. When dealing with a mover it is important to know that you don't have to pay extra if it is less than a 10% increase to the binding price inventory. The flip side is you won't be credited for not taking the couch if it less than 10% of the inventory. This 10% feature is built into the binding price contract to mitigate changing what is a guaranteed price. Customers want the peace of mind that the price they have been quoted is the price that they will pay in the end.