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Moving Glossary

Fees that are charged for sorting, packing, additional pick-ups, elevator carrying, long carrying, shuttle services, unpacking and additional non-shipment activities. Charges incurred are in addition to transportation rates and fees. May also include waiting time, fuel surcharges and other resource-dependent fees. Determined by individual carriers.

Regionally-adjusted charge that compensates the moving company for services rendered in areas where labor payment rates are higher than the national average used in calculations. Also accounts for additional costs due to traffic congestion and extended travel time. 

A local moving company that is authorized to conduct business on behalf of a larger, usually national motor carrier company. Handles all customer-company interactions. May act simultaneously as the origin agent, booking agent, hauling agent and destination agent. Descriptions of the four types of agents follow:

Works on the originating end of the move. Provides information regarding to individual moves. Prepares the shipment prior to movement. Acts as the booking agent for private COD moves.

Registers details of the customer’s move and constructs the business transaction. Registers the order with the van line.May also act as origin or destination agent.

Responsible for the vehicles (including the moving truck) that transport all possessions. Generally owns the van assigned to transporting the customer’s  belongings. May be subcontracted by the moving company. 

Works on the receiving end of the move. Assists or provides information to customers after the arrival of the shipment. Coordinates between the customer and the van operator.

Services offered by moving companies to ensure the safe disconnection, hauling and subsequent reconnection of large electrical devices such as refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers. Associated fees are separate from other transportation costs and are delineated in a separate manner on the bill.

Wheeled device that assists in moving refrigerators, freezers and other heavy appliances or furniture. Allows single person to transport extremely heavy objects with minimal strain. Able to stand vertically, horizontally or at an angle. Also able to slide up or down stairs as needed.

The percentage of money paid per $1000 of current assessed value of belongings to cover these items with insurance. If applicable, deductibles are stated next to the cost-per-$1000 figure. Most policies require coverage of the entire load and the assignment of cash value to all items. 

Certification for a moving company to transport a shipment within certain designated geographical areas. May be limited to specific states. Approved by either state or federal regulators.

The binding contract between the customer and moving company. Indicates the vehicle or vessel on which the freight is to be shipped, its intended destination and all other terms for transporting the freight. Must be carefully examined and scrutinized prior to signing and formally approving.

Large, heavy items including automobiles and trailers that carry additional charges to compensate for their difficult loading and shipping procedures as well as the large amount of space they consume in transit. Additional weight additive charges may also apply.

The moving company hired to haul items. Provides transportation based on company’s interstate and intrastate operating authorities. Liable for loss and damage pursuant to claims process and insurance.

The responsibility that the mover assumes for the customer’s shipment. Amount of liability varies from carrier to carrier. Different than insurance, which protects shipment from a wider array of possible problems.

Term used to describe articles packed into boxes, mobile storage units or cartons by the moving company, not the customer. Incurs additional costs.

Method of payment where the customer pays the moving company with cash immediately after the belongings arrive. Generally, cash, traveler’s checks, money orders and cashier’s checks are acceptable forms of payment. Some companies also accept credit card payments with prior approval.

Statement of loss, damage or abuse to any article in a shipment during the loading, transportation, storage or unloading process. Accounts for any discrepancies that occur while a mover has care of the objects. Generally accompanied by a written claim form.

Additional details regarding the list of moving companies provided by free quote services such as Movers.com.

Person who receives the shipment at the destination. May be the same as the consignor.

Person who sends the shipment from the origin. May be the same as the consignee.

International regulations and procedures followed when bringing shipments across international borders. Requires specific documentation based on the individual origin and destination countries and specialty advice from moving experts.

The number of miles traveled by an unloaded truck in order to move to the origin. Included in the cost paid by the customer.

Charge that compensates the mover for additional labor required to move a shipment

TA predicted quote for how much a freight shipment will cost. Based on calculations, measurements of goods, equipment availabilities and additional requested services compared against current rates. May be binding or non-binding. There are three standard types of estimates:
  • Binding – A flat price quote provided by a moving company after performing a thorough onsite estimate. Contractual and not subject to fluctuations. Not dependent on how long the job takes.
  • Binding Not-To-Exceed – A maximum price quote is provided by a moving company after performing a thorough estimate. If the freight weight exceeds the estimate, the fee does not change. If the freight weight is below the estimate, the customer pays only for the weight that is moved. Widely regarded as the most-preferred estimation by customers and relocation experts.
  • Non-Binding – Initial quote given to a customer based on the moving company’s prior experience. Not usually accompanied by a thorough estimate. Subject to fluctuations, and final price determined at completion of move. May change based on circumstances surrounding the move.

Charge assessed if a mover must made an additional stop on behalf of the shipper other than the origin and destination. Fee determined by the current tariff.

Additional charges levied by the mover for carrying furniture, boxes and other belongings up or down flights of stairs. Can be imposed at both the origin and destination. Customers with elevators large enough to transport belongings should be exempt from the charge. Determined from the entry point at which movers enter or exit the building.

Any tiered corridor which connects two levels of a house, apartment building or other structure. Must be noted when seeking estimates from moving companies for accurate appraisals. Creates additional charges unless an adequately-sized elevator is also available for movers’ use.

An economical moving service in which goods are only transported from the origin location to the destination. Packing, reassembling and placement options are the customer’s responsibility and are not covered by the moving company. Items must be packed in advance of the arrival. Safety measures such as furniture wrapping are not performed by the moving company.

A valuation program that does not factor depreciation into claim settlement caused by loss or damage. Amount reflects money required to purchase a replacement product, regardless of the item’s age. Generally applies to entire shipment. Deduction values are declared next to the cost-per-$1000 figure.

Moving companies that, for a fee, provide professional packing services at the origin, expedient transportation of the packed items to the destination and subsequent unpacking after delivery. Most common type of moving company. Services can be further extended to include the packing and set-up of large appliances for an additional charge.

Rates that are quoted based on the number of hours per mover per truck. Generally apply to shorter intrastate moves. May include a minimum hour amount and/or a charge to cover the cost of sending moving staff to your pick-up origin.

A measurement of the cost rate per designated weight. Typically 100 pounds in the United States. Typically 112 pounds (8 stone) in the United Kingdom.

Carrier-submitted document that catalogues a detailed description of all received items. Usually in the form of an itemized list with accompanying condition states. Must be verified by the customer prior to signing.

Any relocation that occurs across an international boundary regardless of distance traveled. Must verify documentation, import fees and customs duties with moving company or moving expert. Need to also consider cultural, linguistic, monetary, time zone and other differences that may affect the details of the move.

The basic tariff fees for long-distance moves. Determined by the mileage traveled and weight of the shipment. Usually combined with additional charges.

An inclined plane that connects the interior of a moving truck with the ground to facilitate the loading of large, heavy or bulky items into the vehicle. May be attached to the truck or may be a separate piece of equipment.

A relocation of less than 100 miles (50 miles according to some carriers). Customer charged on hourly basis. Regulated by individual states’ Departments of Transportation or Public Utilities Conferences.

An additional charge levied when the mover must carry belongings from the moving vehicle to the destination (or from the origin to the vehicle). Threshold distance varies between carriers but is usually approximately 100 feet.

A move that is over 100 miles (50 miles according to some carriers). There are two types of long-distance moves:
  • Intrastate – The move occurs within the same state but requires travel of more than 100 miles.
  • Interstate – The move occurs across state lines. There is no distance limitation in regards to classification. Charges are based on the move’s weight and the total distance traveled.

A strangely low predicted moving cost given by an unprofessional mover in an attempt to secure business from a customer. If suspected, the customer should investigate the company with additional scrutiny and consider other options.

Carries out the entire process of planning, implementing and managing a safe, secure and efficient relocation. Contracts with third parties and hauling companies as needed to complete the move.

The cost of transportation associated with a move. Excludes insurance and any additional service charges. Estimations are based on information collected during previous interviews.

Easy-to-use package that contains all essential packing and relocation supplies. Designated based on the size of the relocation. Generally contains various sizes of boxes, bubble wrap, markers, tape and other materials required for a smooth, organized move. Can be purchased from various home improvement stores as well as websites such as PackingMaterials.com.

The unique number assigned to the bill of lading for identification. Also used to track the shipment.

Belongings that do not fit on the original van due to insufficient space. Must be left behind, discarded or shipped on a second van. Incurs additional fees if shipped separately.

Term used to describe articles packed into boxes, mobile storage units or cartons by the shipper, not the moving company. Economical option.

Contains all supplies needed to pack one specific room. Box sizes depend on the contents usually found in a specific room. Can be purchased from various home improvement stores as well as websites such as PackingMaterials.com.

Service provided by full-service mover in which the entire packing and unpacking processes are completed by the moving company’s staff.

Cartons, cushioning materials, heavy-duty tape and other equipment used to aggregate, hold and protect belongings. Recent innovations include anti-static bubble wrap, biodegradable packing peanuts and reusable heavy-duty plastic packing boxes.

Higher moving charges that are applicable during the summer, the most popular moving season. Increases revenues at moving companies through sheer volume.

Extra charges are applied for 42-inch pianos and other special items. Pianos must be oriented in a proper manner to ensure that the inner workings of the instrument are not damaged or disturbed. Specialized piano movers may be contracted by the moving company.

Service where the moving company is expected to pick up belongings at the origin and deliver them to the destination on-time. Delays must be compensated for by the company.

Extra charges for moving shipment between a storehouse and the origin of the move. Occurs in-transit, generally during longer moves.

Cost incurred in moving belongings. Excludes insurance. Factors that affect the final price include: flights of stairs, pick up and delivery charges, long distance fees and accessorial charges incurred by the customer’s request.

An additional weighing of the entire shipment at the destination. Performed at the request of either the shipper or the mover. May cause a fluctuation in the cost of the move.

Service in which a moving company is used only to transport belongings. All packing, unpacking and preparation is handled directly by the customer. Economical option for customers.

An approval for the mover to transport a shipment. Not legal and binding. Can be canceled or changed per the customer’s demands.

The individual or entity whose freight is being transported from the origin to the destination. Must initiate move-related business transactions and approve all accessorial charges that a moving company may suggest. Incurs all costs associated with relocation.

Move that occurs under 450 miles. Often make use of straight trucks instead of tractor-trailers except in cases of large moves.

Service provided by the moving company in which a smaller vehicle is used to transport the shipment from the main mode of transportation (such as a tractor trailer) to the destination. Occurs when there are narrow streets or other obstacles blocking the path from an accessible road to the destination. Usually incurs an additional charge.

Service provided by the moving company for accelerated transportation on a pre-determined date. In exchange, customer pays a higher rate to have a set date for the arrival of the shipment. If set date is not met, the fee is nullified and only standard charges apply.

Free coverage provided by law to customers for damaged goods paid by pound of damaged goods. Based on pre-determined formulas. Bare-minimum coverage that customers should not rely in case of major damage. Typically around $0.60 per pound regardless of contents.

Additional insurance that may be purchased if belongings are put into storage for a longer duration than initially predicted. Can be purchased separately or extended from existing coverage in certain cases.

Service in which a storehouse is used to hold shipment items for a temporary duration. Used when the destination is not yet ready to be occupied (either due to delay in the availability of the destination or if the shipment arrives ahead of schedule). If unavailability of the destination is the cause, the mover will levy an additional charge for the service. Must be requested by the customer. Amount of time in storage may be limited by individual carrier.

Smaller truck that is generally half the size of a tractor-trailer. Truck cab and body are permanently attached. Half the capacity of a tractor-trailer but easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

Visual inspection of the shipment performed by the origin/booking agent in order to accurately render an estimate. Can be inaccurate depending on unpredictable weights and fluctuations in valuation.

Table containing the rates, regulations, classifications, rules and other provisions laid out by the individual carrier. Creates a secure, reliable moving experience through standardization and regulation.

Primary and most immediate way to contact a moving company. Many companies now also rely on e-mail, websites and other forms of communication when working with new customers.

Insurance for shipment based on the complete loss or destruction of belongings due to a catastrophe such as fire, flood, accident, theft or other such event. Only covers shipment if it is 100% damaged and does not apply to individual items. Low-cost alternative generally sold to those who are not using a full-service moving company.

A long-haul vehicle used for both extremely large local shipments and most long-distance shipments over 450 miles.

Liability coverage that protects the shipment during the transportation between the origin and the destination. Coverage varies depending on carriers and individual relocation information.

Various types of vehicles or mobile storage units that a customer may use to hold and transport goods during relocation. Three popular types are:
  • Truck – A large vehicle used to transport goods from the origin to the destination. Encloses the shipment in a secure space. May be rented and driven by the shipper or piloted by a moving company. Available in a variety of sizes for moves of different sizes.
  • Trailer – A vehicle attachment that cannot be driven by itself. May be hitched to an appropriate truck, van or other vehicle and hauled to the destination. Generally enclosed.
  • Mobile container – A large, reinforced storage box that is rented for a duration of time. Shipper may pack the container with any desired belongings, have it shipped to the destination and then unpack over time. Delivered to home and remain there until loaded with belongings. Pick-up must be requested from mover.
Under full value protection, items that cost more than $100 per pound. Must be disclosed by the customer at the time of the move to ensure that they are packed appropriately by the movers. If an unlisted article is lost or damaged during move, the movers may limit their liability.

The worth of the shipment as declared by the shipper. Establishes the carrier’s liability for loss or damage except in cases of civil unrest, riots, strikes or extreme climatic conditions such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. For shipments without a declared value, the liability defers to the tariff under which the shipment was relocated.

The excess charges that apply every time that storage-in-transit (S.I.T.) services are utilized. Compensate the moving company for the physical placement and removal of shipment items within the warehouse.

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