Getting the estimate: They're not all equal
Before you sign on the dotted line, consider estimates from at least three moving companies and understand how different types of estimates may impact your wallet.
Under binding estimates, you'll pay a stated price. If goods or additional services are added to your shipment, the estimate will be increased before loading and shipping to protect against unforeseen price changes. Extra costs won't be due until 30 days after delivery.
Nonbinding estimates set the final cost after your goods are weighed and your final move distance is computed. If your shipment's lighter than first estimated, you'll pay less. But if your goods weigh more, the tab climbs. Depending on the extra services you get, you may have to pay additional fees at delivery rather than 30 days after.
Not-to-exceed estimates let you pay whichever is cheapest: a binding estimate or actual cost.
Extras include shuttle service fees, which kick in whenever shipments are transferred to smaller trucks because full-sized vans can't operate on certain roads. There may be charges for dismantling large pieces or delivering certain items to different locations.
Avoid being blindsided by additional costs by looking at a mover's tariff. That's a menu of services and prices. Reputable movers will help identify extras for you by conducting in-home estimates so they know what you have.