Learn the vocabulary of the moving industry
The moving industry has its own terminology to describe its services, charges and fees. Knowing and understanding this terminology is valuable throughout the process of you move. During each phase of the move you will be presented with yet another term you may not be familiar with.
We have prepared a thorough list of terms commonly used, and their meanings. It is important that prior to embarking on a move, you understand the terminology; this will ensure that you are receiving and paying for the services you require and have agreed upon.
Accessorial (Additional) Services - Services such as packing, unpacking, appliance servicing, extra stop, shuttle, piano stair/long carry that you request to be performed (or are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services are in addition to the transportation charges.
Additional Transportation Charge (ATC) - This regionally adjusted charge compensates the carrier for services performed in areas where the labor rates are higher than the national average. It also compensates the carrier for additional costs incurred due to traffic congestion and added time traveling to remote areas for pickup or delivery.
Advanced Charges - Charges for services not performed by the mover, but instead by another professional, craftsman or other third party at your request. The charges for these services are paid for by the mover and added to your bill of lading charges.
Agent - An affiliated moving company representing a national van line. May serve as booking, origin, destination and/ or hauling agent.
AMSA Certified Mover - An interstate carrier that transports your household goods shipment under its own operating authority, granted by the Federal Highway Administration. AMSA Certified movers subscribe to the AMSA Code of Conduct and have pledged to conduct their business in the most efficient and professional manner possible.
AMSA Certified Van Line An interstate carrier that transports your household goods shipment under its own authority, granted by the Federal Highway Administration, on a national basis. Van Lines use a network of agents throughout the country to provide the origin, destination and hauling services needed to accomplish your move. Like certified movers, AMSA Certified Van Lines subscribe to the AMSA Code of Conduct. They have pledged to conduct their business in the most efficient and professional manner possible and are responsible for the acts of their agents.
Appliance Service - Preparation of major electrical appliances, ensuring they are safe for shipment.
Auto Inventory - If you are having a moving company transport an automobile, motorcycle or a boat, you should get an auto inventory, which lists the item(s) being moved, the condition and how many miles were recorded at the time of shipping.
Auxiliary Service (Shuttle) - If the assigned over-the-road van is unable to make a normal pickup/delivery because of physical constraints and a second, smaller vehicle is needed, this is considered Auxiliary Service (a shuttle). Examples of such physical constraints include situations such as a road or driveway that is too narrow, a bridge unable to support the weight of the van, and the inability to park the moving van within a reasonable distance of the pickup or the delivery residence. Charges for the second, smaller vehicle are assessed on an hourly basis, in addition to charges for the extra labor involved in making the pickup with the shuttle truck.
Bill Of Lading - Customer’s receipt and contract for transportation of their goods. It is your responsibility to understand the bill of lading before it is signed. Do not sign if you do not understand or agree with something. This document is very important, always keep a copy with you.
Binding/Non-Binding Estimate - A binding estimate is an agreement made in advance between the customer and the mover that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantity and services shown on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is the carrier's approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect, once loaded.
Booking Agent - Agent or person who receives the order and registers a customer’s move. The booking agent does not have to be located at or near the origin or destination.
Bulky Article - Some items such as: big-screen TVs, grandfather clocks, hot tubs etc., may require extra handing and be billable as an extra charge.
Carrier - The moving company providing transportation of your household goods.
Carrier’s Liability For Loss Or Damage - The liability that the carrier assumes for your possessions. This amount ranges from a low of $0.30 per pound per article (for moves within a State) or $0.60 per pound per article (for Interstate moves) to “Full Replacement Value” with no deductible. There are several different liability options available to you so be sure to ask the Carrier’s Representative to explain each option, its ramifications and its cost. Carrier’s Liability For Loss or Damage is often incorrectly referred to as “insurance”. It’s good to know the difference between Carrier’s Liability For Loss or Damage and insurance, so ask your van line representative to explain the difference to you.
Claim - If something has been damaged, lost or delayed during the move, a claim will need to be filed with the moving company, for reimbursement for repairing or replacing the item.
Change Order - A form used to amend the amount indicated on the original estimate due to the addition or deletion of items to be shipped or services requested by the customer.
C.O.D. (Cash on Delivery) - Shipment where customer pays the moving charges at the time of delivery, once van arrives at destination.
Consignee - A person to whom the shipment will be delivered. Consignor, A person from whom the shipment will be picked up from.
CP (Carrier Packed) - Articles packed into cartons or crates by the carrier, not the shipper.
Declared Valuation - The Shipper’s indication of the value declared for the possessions being shipped, thereby establishing the carrier’s maximum liability for loss or damage to the shipment. If no value is declared, the liability is then controlled by the tariff under which the shipment is moved.
Department Of Transportation (DOT) - The federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), governs the interstate transportation industry including movers of household goods.
Destination Agent - The agent designated at the destination to provide necessary services and information to you or the van operator.
Diversion - When a customer changes the destination of their shipment after it is in transit.
Elevator Carry - A charge to compensate the carrier for the additional labor required to move a shipment by way of an elevator.
Estimate - A general calculation of the transportation charges, as well as costs for additional services requested by the customer. Includes an estimation of shipment weight.
Expedited Services - An agreement, for an additional charge, that delivery can take place on a requested date.
Extra Labor - Hourly labor charge for performing any requested services for which specific fees are not presented, such as packing or unpacking owners furnished boxes and containers.
Extra Pickup or Delivery - If an additional stop is required at either origin or destination, additional charges will be applied for each extra stop.
Flight Charge - An extra charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs.
Foreman - A foreman supervises the moving crew and is the person in charge of the move.
Fuel Surcharge - An additional charge that may be added to the cost of moving your household goods.
Full-Service Packing And Unpacking - Movers can pack and unpack your household goods, if you opt for full-service packing and unpacking. There will be an additional charge for this service to cover labor and the cost moving supplies.
Guaranteed Pick Up And Delivery Service - An additional level of service whereby dates of service are guaranteed. This premium service is often subject to minimum weight requirements.
Hauling Agent - Agent who owns the van assigned by the van line to transport your possessions.
High Value Article - Items valued at more than $100 will need to be listed on a High Value Inventory Form to ensure their security.
Inventory - A detailed description of items and their condition.
Line Haul Charges - Vehicle transportation charges when moving from origin to destination.
Long Carry - An additional fee if the shipment is to be carried more than 75 feet from the rear of the truck to the entrance of your residence.
Non-Allowable List - Non-allowable, are items that a moving company is not permitted to move. These include: Hazardous items, perishables, firearms, plants and pets, and personal items such as: cash, credit cards, and documents.
Order For Service - A document authorizing the moving company to transport your household goods.
Order Number - The number that is used to identify the shipment.
Origin Agent - The agent designated at origin to provide necessary services and information, and be available for preliminary readying of the shipment.
Overflow - Articles that are left behind due to insufficient space on a van, to be loaded on a second van for transportation and delivery.
PBO (Packed by Owner) - Articles are packed by customer.
Peak Season Rates - Higher line-haul charges that apply during the summer months.
Pickup And Delivery Charges - A separate transportation fee applied when transporting your shipment between the SIT warehouse and the place of delivery.
Reweigh - Prior to the unloading of your shipment, you are authorized to request a reweigh. If the reweigh is performed, actual charges will be based on the reweigh weight.
Registration Number - A number assigned to identify your shipment. The number is located on the upper right hand corner of the Order of Service and the Bill of Lading.
Relocation Consultant - The agent/representative responsible for providing an estimate for the move, as well as for answering any and all questions the customer might have in regard to the moving process.
Shuttle Service - The use of a smaller vehicle to provide pickup or delivery service to residences that are not accessible to the mover's normal line haul equipment. Additional fees will be applicable.
Storage-In- Transit (SIT) - Temporary storage of your shipment at the warehouse of the carrier, awaiting additional transportation. SIT must be requested and fees will be added along with warehouse handling and final delivery charges.
Survey - A company representative will assess the customer’s belongings to provide an estimate of charges.
Tariff - A publication that includes the carrier’s rates, for services performed during the move.
Third Party Services - Services performed by someone other than the carrier. Either at the request of the customer or required by federal, state or local law.
Unpacking - Unload items from containers and crates, as well as dispose of these containers and packing materials.
Valuation - The shippers declared value of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than that provided for in the base transportation charges. This is also known as Extra Care Protection.
Van Foreman - Also Van Operator, is the driver of the van and overseas and is responsible for the loading, hauling and unloading of the shipment.
Warehouse Handling - An added charge every time SIT services are provided. This fee compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the warehouse.
Now that you are knowledgeable with the terminology of the moving industry, you are prepared and equipped to confidently take on every aspect of the move!