Whether you’re moving yourself or using home movers, this is a good tool to use for all of your moving needs when it comes to terminology.


ACCESORIAL ADDITIONAL CHARGES:  Additional services added to your bill that may include packing, unpacking, stair charges, elevator charges, shuttles, piano charges, etc, also can relate to building or landlord regulations that may result in an additional charge on your bill.

ADVANCED CHARGES:  Third party services that are performed by a professional other than the mover at the customer’s request and paid by the mover and the charges are added on to the Bill of Lading for the customer to pay at the end of the move.

AGENT:  A local mover/moving company that is representing a national company.

AMSA CERTIFIED MOVER: is a program that movers can join, that commits them to providing customers with reliable household goods services.  The mover will obey the Code of Conduct by the AMSA and provide the customers with written estimates, efficient and timely practice and resolutions to claims in a timely manner.

APPLIANCE SERVICE: Ensuring the safe transport of major appliances.  Appliances are also reconnected and disconnected at origin and destination.  If the mover does not provide these services then the bill of lading is marked N/A.

APPLIANCE DOLLIES: Used by the moving company to move around, assist with load and unloading appliances, and large furniture.

ASSESSES VALUE OR DEPRECIATED VALUE   Most coverages will want you to cover the entire shipment and not an itemized list; some movers will allow itemized lists however.  This is the amount of money you will pay per $1000.00 of depreciated or assessed value to your house hold good.  You must assign a cash value to the shipment.

AUTO SHIPPER:  Specialized carrier for shipping automobiles usually on a specific Car carrier, trailer, open air steel trailer or enclosed moving van.


BILL OF LADING:  The contract between the shipper and moving company.  Make sure you understand all information on this form.  This is your receipt, it is important that you have this paperwork with you as you may have to use this to track your shipment, or as a receipt or tax purposes.

BINDING/NON BINDING ESTIMATE:  Binding estimate is where the price is guaranteed by the moving company as long as the work being done does not change.  Nonbinding is the approximate cost for the move whether it is hourly or priced by weight and distance and may vary if the weight or distance changes or the job changes.  Remember the more information and details provided to the moving company, the more accurate the quote.

BOOKING AGENT/BOOKER:  An agent or company that will provide you pricing, sales, and signing up with your nation company.

BROKERING AGENT:  Somebody that has control over which carrier gets a moving job.

BOX TRUCK:  A non combination vehicle where the cab and box are connected, also called a straight truck.

BULKY ITEMS/ARTICLES:  An oversized item like golf carts, campers, boats, trailers, large articles.  Some companies will charge an extra charge to move these items.


CARRIER:  A moving company that is designated to transport your household goods usually hired by you or your company.

CERTIFIED SCALE:  A scale used to check the weight of tractors, straight trucks, trailers, motor vehicles, verified accurate by a certifying agent.

CHANGE ORDER:  a document to alter or adjust the original quote due to a change in the size of shipment or services provided.

CHECK OFF SHEET:  Document used at your origin and destination for items being loaded onto and off your truck to ensure everything has been received, items are tagged with #’s and are checked off the truck.

COD:  Payment is due at the time of delivery of your move.  Depending on the company, cash or certified check, credit cards are accepted by some movers, and some movers will not take personal checks, some may take them.

CORPORATE MOVER: A mover that has a contract with a corporation in order to provide moving services for its designated employees.

COMPANY/CARRIER PACKED (CP):  This term is when your home mover, or moving company professionally packs your items into cartons/containers.

CUSTOMER PACKED (PBO):  This is when a customer packs their own accessories, dishes, personal items, clothing, etc into containers/cartons.

CRATING:  Act of placing a fragile item in a wooden box or frame for protection.

CONTRACT #:  A number that is designated for your move and is usually at the top of your bill of lading.

CLAIM:  Demand of compensation by the customer due to an item being lost or damaged by the moving company during your move.  Customer should note any damage or losses on the bill of lading prior to the company leaving and before signing off that everything has been received in good condition.  The Claim must be filed within 90  days with a company if the move is local, and 9 months if interstate, and you have up to 2 years to file with the FMCSA .

CONSIGNEE:  The receiver of the shipment.

CONSIGNER:  the person who sends the shipment or the shipment is picked up from.

COST OF MOVE:  The total you will have to pay without charges such as storage, insurance, materials, etc.  The final charges can change if there is additional waiting time, shuttle, elevator, stairs, long carries, etc, more items to be moved.


DOOR TO PORT SERVICE:  A shipment that is going from the origin to a dock or a moving company.

DOOR TO DOOR SERVICE:  A shipment that is going from origin to destination, house to house or apartment.

DECLARED VALUE:  The maximum liability of damage or loss to items or goods.  The customer is the one to declare value otherwise, if no value is declared it is often defaulted to release value.

DESTINATION AGENT:  Person that is close to your destination who will provide you with information and moving services at the final part of the move.

DEPRECIEATED VALUE:  Also known as assessed value coverage.

DIVIDER:  Installed between shipments to keep them separate and safe while in transit.  Shipments may be combined especially when traveling across country.

DAY LABOR:  Not employed by the moving company, usually only temporary labor.

DISPATCHER:  Employee of the moving company that is responsible for interacting with and directing drivers and crews of movers and being responsible for the crews from start to finish of their days/jobs, etc.

DOT (DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION):  The government agency which the Surface Transportation Board controls all the transportation industry including household goods movers.

DELIVERY SPREAD:  A range of dates that the household mover has committed to getting your shipment to its destination by.


EXPEDITED SERVICE:  Usually additional fees are required to ensure a delivery is received by a certain date.

ESTIMATE:  General calculations or quote for moving services, transportation charges and other services offered by the mover.  It is the mover’s responsibility to provide the customer with a written estimate.  If the mover is within the same state and within 50 miles of the customer, the mover is obligated to provide the customer with an onsite survey.

ELEVATOR CHARGE:  Usually a term referred to the customer having to pay additional charges for the transport of their items via an elevator.

EXTRA STOP/PICKUP:  An additional stop other than origin and destination to pickup or drop off items.  May incur additional time or fee on the bill.

EXCEPTION SHEET:  Additional damages or anomalies that exist above and beyond the existing inventory.   This is made out by the hauler not the pickup agent, when picking up a shipment from a dock.


FLIGHT CHARGE:  An additional charge determined by how many flights at origin/destination charged to you.

FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE:   A term used to relate to the highest level of protection you can get when replacement of the lost or damaged item is an option.  With this coverage, the mover will repair, replace, or offer a cash replacement value of an item that is damaged or lost.  Sometimes there is a deductible, $250, $500 or $0 depending on the mover.

FREIGHT FORWARDER:  A company that is responsible for shipments to be transferred from origin to destination usually with the help of other carriers.

FULL SERVICE MOVER:  A company that will provide wrapping, disassemble, reassemble, and set up, packing, unpacking services for your moving needs.  Most common type of mover.

FORCE MAJEURE:  “Act of God”, “Greater Force”, Unforeseen circumstances that will stop the mover from performing its duty under contract (natural disasters, war, or failure of third parties)/.  This clause is to exclude the party from liability, only if the act could not be avoid by due care.

FMCA:   Federal Motors Carrier Association –regulates interstate household goods moving.


GROSS WEIGHT:  The total weight of the shipment including the truck and the contents loaded onto it.

GUARRANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY SERVICE:  Date of exact pickup and delivery dates where if not met the mover reimburses the customer.  Minimum weight requirements may apply.


HIGH VALUE ARTICLE:  Items that are valued at more than $100 a pound and should be itemized if covered by insurance.

HIGH VALUE INVENTORY:  An inventory used for high priced articles such as jewelry, antiques, collectibles, etc that are included with the shipment.

HAULING AGENT:  An agent the van line or national company assigns to transport your items and owns the vehicle.


HAULER:  Moving Company or agent designated to take the shipment to the destination.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY:  Insurance policy that you already have on your home that may cover your move whether local or interstate, each policy is different, so it is a good idea to check with your agent or policy.

HAZARDOUS ITEMS:  Many items in your home are considered hazardous materials.  These include explosives, flammables, poison, radioactive, ammunition, paints, also certain items like bleach, gasoline, propane, etc.


INDIVIDUAL SHIPPER:  The person or company being moved and paying the bill.

IMPRACTIBLE OPERATOR:  A condition outside a movers control where a mover may have to use additional labor or vehicles to complete the move, such as a shuttle, may require additional fees even if not on the original quote on the front side.

INTERNATIONAL MOVE:  Any shipment that crosses the U.S state borders.

INVENTORY:  Itemized description of household goods that is given inventory #, tagged, and the condition of each piece is noted with different letters depending on condition of the piece.

INVENTORY SHEET:  A multi, carbon sheet that’s lists, boxes, furniture, misc items and its coinciding #, identifying the condition and everything the mover picks up.

INTERSTATE MOVE:  Move that crosses a states border no matter how far the distance.

INTRASTATE MOVE:  Typically a move within the same state that is over 40 miles can vary state to state.


LICENSED MOVER:   A mover that has completed the requirements to obtain moving authority for a type of move (intrastate, interstate, etc).

LINEHAUL CHARGES:  The transportation charges of your move.  Usually long distances.  Other charges are in addition and will be itemized.  Most long distance moves are priced by weight and distance depending on the mover’s tariff.

LINEITEMS:  Individual charge spelled out specifically for instance : shuttle, piano charge, stair carry, elevator charge, packing service, long carry, etc.


LOCAL MOVE:  A move within a state that is usually less than 40 miles.  Some states vary on regulations of local moves, and majority of states will charge an hourly charge depending on the mover’s tariff and state laws.

LONG DISTANCE MOVES: AKA interstate move, or crossing the state border.

LONG CARRY:  An additional fee your mover will charge due to items being carried an excessive distance if hourly will add time to move (make sure to mention) usually there is a certain amount of fee and if it exceeds a certain distance, additional fees are added.

LOGISTIC STRAPS:  A strap for securing a load within a trailer on a straight truck box.

LIFT GATE:   Hydraulic lift secured to the back of the vehicle to raise items up into the truck.


MCU (MECHANICAL CONDITION UNKNOWN)  Mover terminology that is a waiver of liability by the mover related to the working condition of electronic or mechanical items, since that most companies do not test the items in question to see if they perform their task correctly.  For instance since movers do not test a TV, and the outside casing is intact, the TV is not covered.

MOVER:  This can be the company contracted to do the move or the actual person moving the furniture himself/herself.

MOTOR CARRIER:  An agent or company that does truck transportation.  Two types of motor carriers:  For Hire or Private Carrier

MOBILE CONTAINERS:  A portable storage unit that is delivered to your house and picked up by the company once you are finished loading, unloading it or call the company.

MOVING COMPANY:  A company that is specialized in transporting household or businesses.  Companies will offer different services, local, interstate, commercial, household, etc. depending on the type of company.  Could be called a home mover.

MOVING COORDINATOR:  A person who will handle all the plans of your move from start to finish.  This should be your key contact person until delivery day.

MOTOR CARRIER #:  The license or identification # given to a carrier that is licensed by the FMCA or DOT.

MOVING KIT:  Kit designed for moving needs available in different sizes.  Most kits will container boxes, tape, markers, shrink wrap, bubble wrap, etc.

MOVING TRUCK:  Also known as a straight truck moving van, comes in many sizes, and used to transport your household goods, or office items.


NEWSPRINT:  Sheets of newsprint cut to same measure and stacked used for packing breakables, usually without the ink.

110% RULE:  Mover must release a shipment if compensated 10% more than the original estimate.  If the total cost of the move exceeds the amount of the estimate, the shipper is responsible to pay 100%, plus 10% upon delivery.  If the amount exceeds this, the customer has 30 days to pay the balance.

NONALLOWABLES:  Items that cannot be shipped by a household goods mover.


OVERFLOW:  When a shipment doesn’t fit on one vehicle, and has to be split up on multiple vehicles.

ORDER FOR SERVICE:  A document that gives the authorization to your mover to transport your household goods and has all services requested on it.

ORDER #:  BILL OF LADING #:  AKA contract #, used to identify or locate your shipment.

OFF PEAK:  The lower rates for movers usually in the winter season. and preparing documents for your services.

ORIGIN AGENT:  Moving agent that is at the move out location responsible for loading, packing, onsite estimates

OPERATING AUTHORITY:  An authorization by the stateor federal government that the company can transport goods between certain geographical areas.


PAPERPADS:  Multiply brown paper designed for wrapping items coming into storage, shipping international or anytime shipments will not be unwrapped for a period of time.

PBO (PACKED BY OWNER):  Customer packs their contents into their own containers/boxes.

PODS:  Portable storage container that you must load and unload yourself, or can hire movers to pack it for you.

PACKING SERVICES:  A service the moving company offers to pack, wrap, protect items and place into a container prior to the move.  (If a small shipment, sometimes this can be done in one day, if larger shipment then packing services may be provided on another day).

PIANO CHARGE:  An accessorial charge for moving a piano, depending on the type of piano, different charges may be added.  Usually a baby grand is the most expensive.

PIANO MOVER:   A mover or specializes in moving a piano (spinet, upright, baby grand, grand, concert grand, organ, player, etc)  Information to let your mover know, if there are flights of stairs/elevators to be maneuvered or elevators or long carries, etc when it comes to doing your move.

PIANO BOARD:  Apx 6 foot long board padded on top with 4 handles designed to secure a baby grand for shipping.

PICKUP AND DELIVERY CHARGES:  Transportation charges charged for transporting from pickup location to the warehouse and the warehouse to the destination.

PRIVATE CARRIER:  A company that provides its own transportation of its own cargo usually dealing with the cargo it produces, selling or buying, etc.

PERMANENT STORAGE: Items that are placed in a storage unit for permanent stay, that you will not need access to immediately.  A quote will given by the mover if not indicated S.I.T.


PEAK SEASONS: Premium service rates, usually summer time when movers are busier.  Some companies have peak rates for this, holidays, weekends, etc.


RELEASED VALUE:  The cheaper option of valuation.  Cost is $0 and the protection offered is usually minimal under this option.  For interstate moves, the mover assumes responsibility of no more than $.60 cents per lb.  You need to sign the bill of lading and either declares a value, or released value.  Remember this is not an insurance policy.  For instance, if you have a 10lb piece of article and it is a complete loss; with this amount all you are recovering is $6.00.(If your shipment is 30 cents per lb, it works the same way).

REASONABLE DISPATCH:  Completing transportation during the delivery sprad agreed upon in the estimate/order for service/bill of lading, for example if your mover denies delivery after the amount of the binding estimate or 110 % of the nonbinding estimate is paid, the mover is not acting within the bounds of “REASONABLE DISPATCH”.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITY GUIDE: A Guide FHWA (FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION) that indicates your rights and responsibilities when you are moving.



SEALING TAPE:  Tape used to close up and secure a moving container/box.

SELF SERVICE MOVERS:   A mover that only provides a trailer at the origin, moves it to destination, you are responsible for loading, and unloading it yourself.

SHUTTLE SERVICE:  The need for a smaller vehicle because a larger vehicle is not able to be accessible to pickup or drop off load.


STANDARD COVERAGE:  See Released Coverage

STORAGE IN TRANSIT (S-I-T) need of storage before delivery to a new location usually occurs if the person hasn’t found a home or if the new home is not ready.  You will need to specify if this is needed and will incur additional charges if the storage date exceeds # of days determined by your moving company, may vary according to state.

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD:  Economic agency the U.S. Congress appointed to resolve disputes among the railroad mergers and has jurisdiction over certain shippers.

STORAGE CONTAINERS:  AKA vaults or crates, holds household goods while in storage usually 7’x7’x5’deep and stacked multiple levels high in a warehouse.

SPEEDPACK:  A large collapsible, open top box/corrugated container that is used as a “catchall” bin used for carrying large items that don’t pack well. (Sporting goods, toys, pictures, lamps, etc) in some moves.

SHIPPER:  Customer, whose items are being relocated to another location, or the person being moved.

SURVEY:   AKA estimate to provide estimated cost for moving.
The more information given to the moving company the more accurate the quote.

STAIR CARRY:  Charge for carrying items up and down stairs, usually determined by the number of flights.

STRAIGHT TRUCK:  AKA BOX TRUCK A vehicle that has the cab and box attached instead of a combination like a tractor trailer.


TARE WEIGHT:  Trucks weight before items are loaded onto it. Empty weight.

TARIFF:  A mover’s rates, charges, rules and regulations of their performance as an operating authority for local, interstate, and intrastate moves.

TRIP TRANSIT INSURANCE:  Insurance policy designated to cover a specific shipment and to cover any and all shipments on the policy during the term wile in storage or in transit.


TRUCK:  Company delivers only a truck to your home that remains at your home until you are finished loading/unloading and call the company to pick it up.

TRAILER:  Company delivers only the trailer portion of the truck to your home, and picks it up once you are finished loading, unloading or once you call them.

TRUCK AND TRAILER:  The truck and trailer are delivered to your home and picked up by the company once you are finished loading, unloading, or call the company to do so.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES:  Charges for services that are not performed by the moving company.   These charges are generally paid by the mover and added to the bill of lading, like rent a crates, pool table services, etc.


UNPACKING SERVICES:  The removal of items from a container, does not include (maid service, putting items away), usually includes hauling away debris, containers, paper, etc.


VALUATION: The level of “worth” of a shipment in which the mover assumes more liability than the basic limit.  This usually has addition charge.  Most movers will offer 2 levels of protection.  Basic value is also called released value.
Basic or Released is lower than higher level of liability which carries and additional charge.

VAN OPERATOR:  The driver of the van that is responsible for the loading, unloading, and transport of the customer’s shipment.

VAN FOREMAN:  the individual for running the job and collecting payment, most often the driver.

VANLINE:  A national company whose affiliations transport interstate shipments, and will dispatch, monitor, and process the job and all paperwork including claims that are handled by its agents.

VAULT:  A storage crate storing household goods, usually approximately 7’x7’x5’deep

VAN:  Term in the moving industry to describe any type of moving vehicle, truck.  A van ranges from 15 foot straight truck to 80foot trailer.


WAREHOUSE HANDLING:  a term used to offload truck into a warehouse and reload the items onto the truck before redelivery.

WALKBOARK:   A ramp going from the truck to the ground for the movers to transfer from the box of the truck.

WEATHER CONTINGENCY:  Term by movers that may indicate the mover is unable le to perform duties if severe weather is present.  Ma postpone move if save conditions for loading and unloading don’t permit.

WRAPPING SERVICE:  Most companies will offer blanker/pad wrapping at) charge but may charge additional for shrink wrap, other special materials.  Long distance movers may charge additional fees for this service also.

WHITE GLOVE SERVICE:  A special service used by movers when it comes to taking care of certain items that need to be handled specially, art work, antiques, etc, and cannot be touched or the item will lose its value.

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