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Moving Terms Glossary


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

Accessorial services
Accessorial services include any moving services other than the actual transportation of the customer’s goods. They include packing, unpacking and extra pickup, and are performed by the carrier at the customer’s request. Additional charges apply for these services.

Agent
An agent is an affiliated moving company authorized to act on behalf of a van line. The agent may handle the booking, the hauling, as well as the origin and/or destination services.

Auxiliary service
An auxiliary service (shuttle) is used if the assigned over-the-road van is unable to make a normal pickup or delivery due to 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 or delivery. Charges for this service are based on the weight of the shipment and the area where the service is performed.

Bill of Lading
The Bill of Lading is a list of the goods to be moved in the form of a receipt. It is also a contract that authorizes the transportation: the customer’s signature acknowledges that the household goods can be loaded onto the van and “released to the carrier.”

Booking Agent
The booking agent accepts the order for the customer’s move and registers it with the van line. The booking agent may or may not be the origin or destination agent.

Bulky Articles
Bulky articles include large and heavy items such as boats, snowmobiles, golf carts and campers. An extra charge is usually associated with these items in order to compensate the hauler for the difficulty of loading and unloading them, as well as for their unusual weight and size.

Carrier
The carrier is the moving company providing transportation for the household goods, under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.

Claim
A claim is a statement of loss or damage of any household goods while in the care, custody or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.

C. O. D. (cash on delivery)
C. O. D. (cash on delivery) shipments are those where the customer pays the moving charges at the time of the delivery. For C. O. D. shipments, payment is required in cash or by traveler’s check, money order or cashier’s check. If a credit card is used, an arrangement must be made ahead of time with the booking agent, as authorization is required prior to loading.

Consignee
The consignee is the person to whom the shipment is to be delivered.

Customer
The customer is the person whose household goods are being moved.

Department of Transportation (DOT)
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the federal agency which, through its Surface Transportation Board, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.

Destination Agent
The destination agent is the agent designated in the destination area to be available to assist or provide information to the customer or the van operator regarding the shipment.

Estimate
An estimate is an approximation of the probable cost of the move based on factors such as the van space required, the weight of the household goods and the origin and destination of the shipment. There are two basic types of estimates: binding and non-binding.


  • With a binding estimate, the customer knows in advance what the move will cost (excluding required destination services) regardless of variances in the actual weight (as long as the inventory of the items actually 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 household goods 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 costs, depending on the actual weight of the shipment, the actual services provided and the origin and destination of the shipment.

Gross Weight
The gross weight is the weight of the van and all of its contents after the goods are loaded.

High-Value Inventory
A high-value inventory is used for items of “extraordinary value”, such as antiques, coin collections and jewelry, included in the shipment. Items worth over $100 per pound per article are considered to be of extraordinary value.

Inventory
The inventory is a detailed list of the items in the shipment and their condition before the van is loaded. The van operator will present the inventory to the customer after the van is loaded and again when the shipment reaches the customer’s new home. The customer’s signature on the inventory acknowledges that the goods have been delivered in the same condition as when received by the mover for transportation.

Net Weight
Net weight is the gross weight minus the tare weight (weight of the empty vehicle).

Non-Allowables
Non-allowables are items that should not be included in the household goods shipment, including hazardous materials such as poisons, corrosives and flammables. Unless special arrangements are made, perishables such as refrigerated and frozen foods are not allowed either. The moving of all non-allowables is prohibited by law.

Order for Service
The Order for Service is a document authorizing the moving company to transport the customer’s household goods.

Order Number
An order number is used to identify the customer’s shipment and appears on the upper right corner of the Order for Service and the Bill of Lading. This number should be used whenever the carrier is contacted.

Origin Agent
An origin agent is the agent designated in the origin area to be available for the preliminary readying of the shipment before the move, or to provide information regarding the move to the customer.

Origin and Destination Service Charge
The Origin and Destination Service Charge is a hundredweight rate that applies based on the weight of the shipment and the locations where the shipment is picked up and delivered; it compensates the carrier for the basic handling and servicing of the shipment.

Overflow
Overflow happens when articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space in the primary van. A second van is then utilized for their transportation and delivery.

PBO (Packed By Owner)
PBO (packed by owner) means that the articles are packed for moving by the customer rather than by the moving company.

Storage-In-Transit
A storage-in-transit is a temporary storage of the customer’s household goods in the warehouse of the carrier’s agent, pending further transportation at a later date.

Survey
A survey is performed by an agent and consists in an examination of the customer’s goods to be transported. The objective of the survey is to develop an estimate of move charges.

Tare weight
Refers to the weight of the van and its contents before the customer’s goods are loaded.

Tariff
A tariff is the carrier’s provisions (including rates) for services performed, applicable to the customer’s move.

Third-Party Services
Third-party services are performed by someone other than the carrier at the customer’s request or as required by federal, state or local law (e.g., appliance servicing).

Unpacking
“Unpacking” consists in removing the customer’s goods from their containers and placing them on a flat surface, as well as disposing of said containers and other packing materials. If ordered, unpacking service must be performed at the time of the delivery unless requested otherwise.

Valuation
Valuation is NOT insurance. It is a tariff-based coverage for a customer’s household goods while they are in the care, custody and control of the carrier.