Moving related terms and terminology - Glossary of moving terms

The following terms frequently appear in moving company contracts or are terms used by suppliers and vendors within the moving industry. Anyone planning a move should be familiar with most of them, especially when working with a moving company to develop a contract or estimate.

Accessorial Service Charges - Any extra fees or charges made to a customer for services that include packing, unpacking, extra pick-ups (such as those made to storage units and facilities), or long carrying. Such charges are always in addition to set transportation rates and fees. Many moving companies also add fees when elevator carrying is required.

Advanced Moving Charges - Any extra fees or charges made to a customer for professional services provided by an individual or an agency other than the mover.

Moving Company Agent - A local moving company with the authority to conduct business for a larger or national moving company. An agent can serve in several capacities; including booking, destination, and hauling agent (see definitions below).

Appliance service – Moving companies must adequately prepare large household appliances such as washers, driers, refrigerators and other large electrical appliances for transportation. Such services will have a separate fee on the final invoice.

Assessed Value – The figure used to insure the household goods involved in a professional move. The owner will pay an amount of money per one thousand dollars in assessed value. For example, a moving company and the owner determine that there is approximately one hundred thousand dollars worth of goods in the move; the owner will then pay a set price per thousand dollars worth of goods to insure them against damage or loss.

Auxiliary Moving Service – Many moving companies allow for additional charges to be applied to a final invoice when the moving day is delayed or disrupted because of an issue at either move location. Usually the problems are the result of inadequate parking space and a different moving van or truck is required. It is simple to avoid such issues by asking the moving company to check both locations before moving day arrives.

Booking Agent for moving services - The moving company representative who schedules the entire job, also referred to as a writing agent.

Carrier – This term applies to the mover contracted to perform the transportation of the household goods and possessions.

Cost of Move – Also referred to as Moving Cost is the total amount of the moving operation without the additional fees associated with insurances or any additional fees.

CWT – This is a quote, or estimate, made by a moving company based on the weight of the cargo. Generally, the CWT is for a set price per every hundred pounds of cargo.

Destination agent - The moving company representative in charge of the arrival of the household goods, and who is in frequent communication with the movers or driver of the vehicle. Also referred to simply as the “agent” (see definition above).

Dolly – This is the term used to describe various pieces of equipment used by professional and self-service movers to relocate large or heavy objects. There are appliance dollies as well as standard dollies that operate like a handcart or truck.

Moving Estimate – Moving companies provide two kinds of estimates for their work, binding or non-binding. Binding estimates are created by the agent for the moving company after a full inspection of the proposed job is completed. The binding estimate locks both the owner and the moving company into a fixed total amount for the job. Non-binding estimates are more flexible and allow the moving company to add or subtract fees for the total cost of the job depending upon the amount of time it takes or any changes in the weight of the total cargo.

Expedited Service – This requires a significantly higher rate, but allows the home or business owner to set the schedule for packing, loading, transporting and final delivery of the cargo. Not all moving companies can accommodate expedited service requests.

Flight Charge – Most moving companies attach extra fees for moves that require the carrying of goods and furnishings up or down flights of stairs.

Freight Service – This is considered a very economical method of using professional services during a move or relocation, and has a moving service deliver goods, which the owner has packed, to the new location.

Full Replacement Value Coverage – This is a form of insurance that costs a bit more, but presents the owner with the opportunity to receive the full replacement amount on their damaged or lost goods. Usually this coverage requires a set premium for every one thousand dollars of value.

Full Service Moving – This is the most commonly used method of relocating from one home to another. The full service mover will inventory, pack, load, transport, unload and may unpack all of the household goods and possessions for a contracted fee and schedule. Additional fees will apply for various activities or needs, such as appliance preparation or flight charges.

Hauling Agent - This is the individual responsible for the vehicle(s) that provide the transportation of all the household goods and possessions. A hauling agent may be subcontracted by a moving company, or they may be the agent for the entire moving operation.

Inventory List for Moving – A moving company will catalog the entire contents of a home prior to any packing or moving. The owner must review this document and sign it in order to begin the move, assign a value to the household goods and establish the final costs for the job.

Lading Bill – (Bill of Lading) This is the official name for any documents that serve as an agreement between the owner and the moving company about the freight that is being transported. This is a key document for those intending to use their moving expenses as a tax deduction because it will detail distance, costs and all final information about the move.

Line Haul Charges – Long-distance movers (see definition below) may add charges for their services, and line haul charges are determined by the mileage and total weight of the shipment.

Local Mover – A “local” move is considered to be less than one hundred miles from the original location. Local movers must adhere to the state’s Department of Transportation guidelines for hourly pricing. Some states may use another standard, but generally local movers must only charge for their services by a set hourly rate.

Refinance Loans – This is a transaction being used by home or land owners for any added expense that involves the home or property. Projects such as home improvement, home renovation and remodeling, and moving to other homes are covered in this kind of loan.

Long-distance Mover – Long-distance movers may operate in a single state, or they may travel between states to complete their work. Long-distance “intra-state” jobs must be more than one hundred miles in travel between the origin and final destination, and “inter-state” jobs are moves between states. The fees and rates for such work are usually based on distance and total weight as well as any other fees associated with the work, i.e. packing, loading, etc.

Long Carry – Many movers will add fees for jobs that require the moving team to carry household goods and furnishings a significant distance from the truck to the final destination.

Mobile Container – Some moving companies can deliver storage containers to a client’s location which can then be filled with household goods or possessions. The container can then be loaded and transported to the new location during the moving process.

Operating Authority – Also referred to as “authentication” this gives the moving company its official certification from the state or federal agency which permits it to serve as a mover of goods between firmly established geographical areas or regions.

Packing Charges – Some moving companies itemize their bills or invoices by the individual services provided, and packing charges will be the total sum for the hourly labor, materials and fees associated with packing the household goods safely for transportation. This can also be referred to as “Carrier Packing”.

Self-Service Mover – Many people save a great deal of money by performing the packing, loading and unloading of their household goods and possessions, and hire a professional moving company to provide the transport vehicle and the driver. Self-service movers will usually rent dollies and furniture blankets as well as other moving supplies from a moving company in addition to their vehicle and driving service.

Short Haul – Generally moves of four hundred and fifty miles or less are deemed “short haul” moves, and while most long-distance movers will still charge their full rates, some allow a discount on the “short haul”. It is best to inquire with the agent about short haul fees or services.

Shuttle Service – This refers to the use of smaller vehicles or moving vans to transport household goods and possessions to a final destination that is inaccessible via the larger moving truck. This service adds fees to the total cost of the moving job, and can fall under “Auxiliary Service” fees (see definition above).

Standard Coverage – State and federal laws oblige moving companies to provide a minimal amount of coverage to their clients. This delivers a free amount of insurance against the damage or loss of household goods at the hands of the moving company. Additional coverage can be purchased, and is always recommended.

Storage in Transit (SIT) – Occasionally a homeowner is unable to move into their new home immediately, or the moving company may arrive at the destination much sooner than anticipated. At such times the moving company will utilize a storage facility for the vehicle or goods until the time when they can be delivered. If the delay is due to the homeowner’s scheduling, there will extra fees attached to the cost of the move, but if the moving company is at fault they will pay for the extra storage costs. All costs associated with SIT are usually labeled “Warehouse Handling” on a final invoice.

Tariff – This applies to the specific terms, descriptions, rates and other information as defined by the moving company. Tariffs will exist around every activity performed by the mover, including basic rules and regulations that must be followed by both the owner and the moving company staff.

Total Loss – This term will appear in many forms of “coverage” and is the phrase used to describe any household goods or cargo that are irredeemably damaged during transportation of moving. A “total loss” will allow for the maximum amount of coverage to be paid to the owner or the moving company depending upon the policy in place.

Transit Time – This will be the designated amount of time between the point when all of the household goods and possessions have been loaded into a moving van or truck and the date when they are scheduled to be delivered to the new location. Variations in time, including delays or expedited services (see definition above) may change final costs for the moving operation.

Transport Vehicle – This generally refers to the vehicle rented by a self-service mover in order to have their possessions delivered to the final destination. Transport vehicles can range from mobile containers (see definition above) to full size moving trucks or trailers. The costs vary widely and many additional fees apply, especially where mileage and fuel consumption are involved.

Third Party Services – Many moving companies can prepare appliances for relocation, and they will also usually be able to arrange for their proper installation through “third party” service providers such as plumbers and electricians. This will require additional charges, but can make moving day a seamless transition into the new home.

Transit Insurance – This is a supplementary policy to any standard and additional coverage, and allows for compensation should household goods or possessions be damaged or destroyed while being transported from their original location to their final destination.

Valuation – This term provides protection to the moving company in case coverage under the Assessed Value, Full Replacement Value and Standard Coverage values do not adequately compensate for the actual value of the cargo. Valuation only covers goods damaged by the fault of the moving company however and will not apply to such events as high winds or vandalism. This is the reason that all possible coverage should be explored before moving an entire household.