Glossary of Moving Terms

While most people do not move often enough to become familiar with the language of moving, knowing some basic terms will make it easier to work with your moving company to set up a move that is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here are a few terms that will help you to better work with your mover:

  • Accessorial Services include services other than the transport of your goods. Services including packing, unpacking, and extra pickup are performed by the carrier at your request. Charges for these services are in addition to the transportation costs.
  • An Agent is an affiliated moving company authorized to act on behalf of the van line. The agent may handle the booking, origin, hauling, and/or destination services.
  • An Auxiliary Service (shuttle) is used if the assigned over-the-road van is unable to make a normal pickup or delivery because of physical constraints (extremely narrow road, inadequate parking area for the truck, weak bridge, etc.). An auxiliary service is the use of a secondary, smaller vehicle to complete the pickup and delivery. Charges for this service are based on the vehicle used and additional labor involved.
  • The Bill of Lading is your receipt for your goods and a contract for their transportation. Your signature acknowledges that your household goods can be loaded on the van and "released to the carrier."
  • The Booking Agent accepts the order for your move and registers it with the van line. The booking agent may or may not be your origin or destination agent.
  • Bulky Articles include such items as boats, snowmobiles, golf carts, and campers. These "bulky" items usually carry an extra charge to compensate the hauler for the difficulty of loading and unloading, as well as for their unusual bulk or low-weight density.
  • A Carrier is the moving company providing transportation for your household goods under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.
  • A Claim is a statement of loss or damage to any of your household goods while in the charge of the carrier or its affiliated agent.
  • C.O.D. (Cash On Delivery) shipments are those where the customer pays the moving charges at the time of delivery. For C.O.D. shipments, payment is required in cash or by traveler's check, money order, cashier's check, or credit card. If you use a credit card, you must arrange this with your origin agent because authorization is required before loading commences.
  • Declared Valuation is 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 being handled.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board within the DOT, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.
  • A Destination Agent is the agent designated in the destination area to be available to assist or provide information to you or the van operator regarding your shipment.
  • An Estimate is an approximation of the probable cost of your move, based on factors such as the van space required and the weight of your household goods. The two basic types of estimates are binding and non-binding:
    • With a Binding Estimate, you will know in advance what your move will cost, regardless of variances in the actual weight (as long as the inventory of the items moved is the same as the estimate inventory and additional services are not requested).
    • A Non-Binding Estimate is based on an inventory of the customer's merchandise and provides the customer with a pricing guideline. There is no contractual commitment to this estimate, and the final charges the customer must pay could be higher or lower than the estimated cost, depending on the actual weight of the shipment.
  • Gross Weight is that of the van and its contents after your goods are loaded.
  • High-Value Inventory is used for items of "extraordinary value" such as antiques, coin collections, and jewelry included in the shipment. Items worth more than $100 per pound are considered articles of extraordinary value.
  • Inventory is a detailed list of the items in your shipment and their condition before the van is loaded. The van operator will present the inventory to you after the van is loaded and again when the shipment reaches your new home. Your signature on the inventory acknowledges that your goods have been delivered in the same condition as received by the mover for transportation.
  • Net Weight is the gross weight minus the tare weight.
  • Non-Allowables are items that should not be included in your household goods shipment, including hazardous materials such as poisons, corrosives, explosives, and flammables. Unless special arrangements are made, perishables such as refrigerated and frozen foods are not allowed. All non-allowables are prohibited by law.
  • An Order for Service is a document authorizing the moving company to transport your household goods.
  • An Order Number is used to identify your shipment and appears on the upper right corner of the Order for Service and Bill of Lading. This number should be used whenever you contact the carrier.
  • The Origin Agent is the agent designated in the origin area to be available for preliminary readying of the shipment before movement or to provide information to you regarding your move.
  • Overflow happens when articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary van. A second van is then utilized for transportation and delivery.
  • PBO (Packed By Owner) occurs when articles are packed by you, the shipper, for moving.
  • The Shipper is the person (customer) whose household goods are being moved.
  • Storage-In-Transit is the temporary storage of your household goods in the warehouse of the carrier's agent, pending further transportation at a later date.
  • A Survey is a task performed by the booking agent to examine your goods in order to develop an estimate of move charges.
  • Tare Weight is that of the van (truck and trailer) and its contents before your goods are loaded.
  • A Tariff is the carrier's provisions, including rates, for services performed, applicable to your move.
  • Third-Party Services are performed by someone other than the carrier at your request or required by federal, state, or local law (e.g. appliance servicing).
  • A Van Operator is the person who oversees the loading, hauling, and unloading of your possessions.
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