Your mover should come to your home to perform a survey of the articles you want to move and provide you with a written estimate. Be especially careful if your mover tells you that he can provide you with an estimate without an on-site visit to your home, and that all he needs is a telephone survey or an inventory of your goods that you will provide to him over the Internet. If a mover you are considering isn’t interested enough to come to your home to perform a survey, then you shouldn’t be interested in using that mover. Ask your mover for a written estimate of the charges that will apply. Be sure to comparison shop and get estimates from at least three different movers. Most movers offer two different types of estimates - binding and non-binding. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to understand which type of estimate you have received from your mover: Binding estimates are written agreements that guarantee the cost of your move based on the estimated weight of your shipment. Non-binding estimates are not guaranteed, and the final cost will be based on the actual weight of your shipment (rather than the estimated weight). The charge quoted to you in a non-binding estimate may be lower than that provided in a binding estimate, but there is no guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the original (non-binding) estimate. Another type of estimate used by many movers is the not-to-exceed estimate. These types of estimates are called various things by various movers, such as “guaranteed price” or “price protection,” but the end result is the same --- an estimate based on a binding estimate or on actual cost whichever is lower. Like a binding estimate, a not-to-exceed estimate must be provided to you in writing and is binding on the carrier. Not-to-Exceed estimates differ though in that the binding estimate amount becomes the maximum amount that you will be obligated to pay for the services outlined on the estimate. This maximum amount alternates with the charges applicable based on the actual weight of the shipment, with the customer paying the lesser of the two amounts. When you accept a not-to-exceed estimate, the move is performed at actual weight, based on the tariff rate levels, with the binding estimate representing the maximum charge that you will have to pay.
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