A to Z Index of Home Relocation Terms


Accessorial Charges

Additional fees added to a freight bill that exceed the basic transportation of cargo.

Accessorial (Additional) Services

Additional services added to the freight bill that exceed the basic transportation of cargo. These services are needed either due to customer request, building regulations, or other special circumstances. Examples
include white glove service, packing, appliance servicing, handling of specialty items, and stair carries. These and related services are subject to additional

Actual Charges

The complete cost of the move from beginning to end, including all transportation and accessorial charges.

Additional Transportation Charge

Extra charges incurred when transporting cargo to a specific geographic or regional area.


Also called a claims adjuster.  A representative who settles claims against a moving company for damages to cargo or property incurred during the moving process. The adjuster will also settle claims of lost cargo. The adjuster will arrange for a third-party company to inspect and evaluate damaged items for repair and possible replacement.

Advanced Charges

Charges for moving services performed by a third party at the customer’s request. These charges are paid for by the moving company and are then added to the customer’s Bill of Lading.


A person that handles the logistics of a move and serves as a liaison between the customer and the moving company. An agent can also be a local company permitted to serve as the spokesperson for a national van line in servicing interstate

Agreed Delivery Date

A specific timeframe for delivery of a cargo shipment. This timeframe must be mutually agreed upon by the agent and the customer.

Air Ride Suspension

A style of vehicle suspension that uses pressurized air to raise the chassis of the vehicle from the axel on trailers and tractors. Vehicles with air ride suspension provide a safer, more comfortable ride than vehicles using a conventional spring
suspension system.

Air Waybill

A contract between a customer and an air carrier for the transportation of goods. This contract also serves as a receipt.

American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA)

The national trade organization of the moving industry.

AMSA Certified Mover

An interstate carrier authorized by the Federal Highway Administration to ship household goods across state lines. AMSA certified movers adhere to the AMSA Code of Conduct to operate their business and promote professional practices in the moving

AMSA Certified Van Line

An interstate carrier authorized by the Federal Highway Administration to ship household goods across state lines, using a network of agents to provide origin, destination, and hauling services. These van lines adhere to the AMSA Code of Conduct to
operate their business and monitor the actions of their agents.

Appliance Service

The process of disconnecting an appliance at the originating residence and reconnecting it at the new address. Appliances covered in this service often include washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Some movers will charge a set fee for
this service while others will bill hourly for the time needed to complete the work. Some movers may not perform this service at all or will hire a third party to complete it.

Appliance Dolly

A cart with two wheels and long handles used to transport large items like appliances and oversized furniture.

Arrival Notice

A document sent by a carrier informing the agent of the approximate arrival date of a cargo shipment.


The process of dismantling household items (furniture, wall units, etc.) for transport and then re-constructing them upon arrival at the new address.

Assessed Value Coverage

One type of moving insurance available for purchase to protect cargo during a move. This type of insurance details how much money per $1,000 of assessed value the customer must pay to cover goods to their total assessed value. Most policies of this
type require a cash value to be assigned to all items in the shipment, not just select pieces. Terms vary by carrier.

Automobile Handling Charge

An additional fee for the transportation of an automobile.

Average Transit Time

The average time needed for cargo to be shipped from one place to another.


Bill of Lading

The contract between the moving company and the customer. It establishes the terms and conditions of the move and can also act as a receipt that can be used to track the customer’s shipment.

Binding/Non-Binding Estimate

Binding – The contract between the customer and the moving company made before the move that guarantees the final price of a move. This type of estimate can only be granted after an onsite estimate of total inventory and cannot be
amended after loading the shipment.

Non-Binding – An estimate that the mover believes will be the total cost based upon the mover’s previous experience. These estimates are subject to change and are influenced by the final weight of the shipment and the accessorial
services provided.

Billable Charges

Any act or service that the customer must pay for during a move. All billable charges will be itemized on the invoice.

Billing Weight

The charges for total cargo weight.

Bona Fide

Meaning made in good faith, acting without deception. In a legal sense, a bona fide agreement is one in which all parties entering into a contract are acting in good faith.

Booker or Booking Agent

The agent who processes the customer’s order and registers it with the moving company.

Breach of Contract

The act of breaking or defaulting on the terms established in a contract.

Bulky Article Charge

Additional charges that may apply when transporting select large items such as pool tables or hot tubs.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

A federal law enforcement agency that regulates and enforces the federal laws pertaining to alcohol, tobacco products, firearms and munitions. This agency also regulates laws pertaining to transportation of these items as part of a cargo shipment.


Cancellation Document

A document that signals the termination of a previous contract.


Goods transported via motor vehicle, aircraft, or ship.

Cargo Claim (freight claim)

A legal demand for financial reimbursement due to loss or damage of a particular shipment.


The transportation of cargo by a carrier from one location to another.


A moving company that owns their own fleet of moving vans and organizes and facilitates moves themselves.

Carrier Liability

The extent to which the carrier is financially responsibility for cargo that may have been lost or damaged during a move based upon the assessed value of the shipment.

Carrier Packed

All inventory packed by movers that is not packed by the customer.


The act of moving cargo from one place to another, usually by land.

Cash Settlement

A payment in cash to settle a claim of cargo lost or damaged during a move.

Catastrophic Coverage

A type of insurance that covers low-probability, high-cost events, such as fires, tornadoes, and floods.

Certificate of Origin

An international trade document that certifies goods as originating from a particular place. This certificate also contains information regarding cargo destination.

Certificate of Title

A document issued by a state government legitimizing ownership of a vehicle as well as recognizing any liens placed against the vehicle.

Certificate of Weight

A document issued by a weigh master stating the weight of cargo.

Certified Scale

A scale licensed to weigh motor vehicles, trailers, or semi-trailers not attached to a tractor.

C.O.D. – Cash on delivery

Cash payment required at the time of delivery for a shipment. Payments can be made with cash, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, or certified check.

Change Order

A document that revises the original estimate due to an increase or decrease in cargo to be shipped or services requested.

Check Off Sheet (Also Called A Bingo Sheet)

A grid form used to verify delivery of inventoried goods at the final destination. Items will be marked as delivered as they are loaded off the truck, either by a mover or by the customer.


A report filed by a customer with the moving company to seek payment for cargo lost or damaged during a move.

Claim File

A collection of all of the paperwork required to submit a claim for review.

Clean Receipt/Clean Bill of Lading

A receipt for cargo received completely in-tact with no damaged or missing items.


Any additional information not requested on a document but perhaps relevant.

Commercial Shipment

Cargo consisting of products intended to be sold for the purpose of making a profit; non-household goods.

Commercial Shipper

A company that ships products intended to be sold for the purpose of making a profit; non-household goods.


A percentage of the net total of a moving bill that is paid to the agents or carriers responsible for the business.


Obeying the orders, laws, and regulations mandated by the government.

Concealed Damage

Damage to items within a package that may have occurred during transit but is not recognized on the Proof of Delivery (POD); often, damage is not apparent until after the shipment is opened.


An item of value offered to encourage a person towards a particular action, like signing a contract or to discourage a person from taking a particular action, like filing a lawsuit.


The person appointed to receive cargo at the final destination.


The person who orders transportation for cargo at origin.


The combining of small shipments into one larger shipment for transport, usually for a lower price than what would have been assigned for each individual shipment.


The use of specified shipping containers to transport cargo.


A written agreement between a customer and an agent or carrier that is enforceable by law.

Contract of Carriage

The written contract between a carrier of goods and the user. This document defines the liabilities, duties, and rights of each party regarding the transportation of cargo.


The process of transporting cargo from one location to another.


The point of contact person; the person who organizes and manages shipments between the customer and various carriers and agents.

Corrective Billing

A second invoice that revises the prices listed on the original invoice due to changes in weight or services.


An individual who signs a legal document alongside a primary signer. Together with the primary signer, the cosigner assumes responsibility for fulfilling the terms of the contract under the law.

Cost of Living Allowance

Money provided to an employee from an employer during a corporate relocation to negate costs associated with the move.

Cost of Move

An estimate for the price of a move calculated from information gathered during the customer’s initial consultation with the booking agent. This estimate does not include insurance or accessorial services that may be added at a later time.

Country of Origin

The place where goods or services are deemed to have originated from.


Building and packing wooden containers specifically constructed to protect delicate cargo while in transit.


A unit of measurement indicating the volume of space (cubic space) available for storage inside a container or truck.

Cube Sheet

A document that records the cubic measurement of cargo for transport. The cube sheet indicates the amount of moving equipment and labor needed to execute the move.


(1) – The U.S. Customs Service, the federal organization that administers and collects taxes imposed by the U.S. government on imported and exported goods. (2) – A fee levied on imported and exported goods that is collected by the U.S. Customs
Service, (3) – The place where imported and exported goods are examined for the purpose of collecting taxes on said items.


Delay Claim

A claim filed for costs resulting from a pick up or delivery date outside the date listed on the Bill of Lading.

Delivery Date

The date that cargo arrives at the destination.

Delivery Report

A document signed by the customer or consignee that verifies the delivery of cargo at the final destination.

Delivery Window

A specific time period that a moving company is scheduled to deliver a shipment to its final destination. The delivery window can depend upon several variables, including distance of the move.


A fee for keeping shipments or vehicles in a terminal beyond the allotted time.


The mass of a substance per unit volume. In a moving context, freight density is the amount of space an item occupies in relation to its weight.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The federal agency that oversees all aspects of the transportation industry, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates commercial motor vehicles in the United States.


The down payment to secure a contract.

Depreciated Cost

The calculated cost to replace or repair an appraised item. Appraised items may lose value over time; the depreciated cost reflects the real time value of the assessed item.

Depreciation Guide

A handbook listing typical household goods and their estimated yearly depreciation. Many movers use the guide provided by the American Moving and Storage Association.


The address that marks the final point of delivery as detailed on the Bill of Lading.

Destination Agent

The agent located at or near the final destination who coordinates and executes services needed at the final destination. The destination agent also acts as the authorized receiving agent for cargo entering storage.

Destination Services

Services provided to assist the customer at the final destination. Examples include storage, warehousing, unpacking and corporate relocation services.


The charge for extended use of a shipping container past a pre-determined time.

Disassembled by Owner

Items that are taken apart by the customer rather than by the moving agent. Items disassembled by the customer must then be reassembled by the customer as well.


The department within a moving company responsible for the process of transporting cargo from origin to destination.


The person who organizes and expedites the route of a cargo shipment.


A change to a shipment’s final destination after it has been shipped but before it has reached its final destination.


Removable panels in a moving truck used to organize and separate cargo for transport.

Divider Installation

The fee a moving company charges to install dividers in a moving truck.


A raised platform section of a building created to be level with the trailer of a truck for the purposes of loading and unloading cargo.

Dolly (Appliance Dolly)

A cart with two wheels and long handles used to load, move, and unload large items like appliances and oversized furniture.

Domestic Shipment

Cargo shipped within the continental United States.

Door-to-Door Service

Direct delivery, straight from the origin address to the final destination, without storage and warehousing. This could be for home moving as well as an office relocation. Services can also include packers and unpackers as well as the transport of home goods.


The process of transporting goods a short distance by ground transport. Also, the charges assessed for such a transport.


The person who moves cargo via ground transport.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

The federal agency that monitors entry and use of illegal drugs and substances within the United States. This agency frequently acts in conjunction with foreign governments.


Materials used to pack and safely transport shipped cargo. Examples include solid plastic, bubble wrap, foam, and similar products designed to insulate items within packing containers.


Elevator Carry Charge

An extra charge assessed if an elevator is needed to move select items from the origin address to the moving truck.

En Route

A delivery term meaning that a cargo shipment is in transit, or on its way, to the final destination

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

A federal agency which monitors and regulates vehicles for entry into the United States to ensure adherence to federal emission control standards.

Essentials Box

A box of important items that individuals may wish to keep on their person rather than pack for shipment onto the moving truck. Items within this box are typically essential, frequently used items that must be easily accessible to the individual, like personal documents or medication.

Estimate (Binding)

The contract between the customer and the moving company made before the move that guarantees the final price of a move. This type of estimate can only be granted after an onsite estimate of total inventory and cannot be amended after loading the shipment

Estimate (Non-Binding)

An estimate that the mover believes will be the total cost based upon the mover’s previous experience. These estimates are subject to change and are influenced by the final weight of the shipment and the accessorial services provided.

Estimated Cost of Service

A document used as a initial inventory of a shipment to asses approximate charges for all moving costs.

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)

The approximate date and time cargo is scheduled to arrive at its destination.

Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)

The approximate date and time cargo is scheduled to leave the origin location.

Estimated Weight

The approximate weight of a customer’s total inventory.

Exception Report

A document that itemizes revisions to the initial inventory.

Excise Tax

Any tax levied on the consumption, manufacture, or sale of goods.

Exclusive Use

A special order requesting that cargo travel alone on a truck. The cost for these shipments is determined by calculating the weight of the shipment and is subject to specific minimum weights. In certain special circumstances smaller deliveries may
require this like for interstate small shipments of high value or with exceptional requirements or needs.

Exempt Commodities

Any goods that are excused from the regulations imposed on carriers by the government.


A source or amount of money free from government taxation granted to eligible parties.

Expedited Service

An agreement to pay a higher price to move items in an expedited shipment in exchange for guaranteeing the arrival of said items by a specific date. This can often be a
necessary service for corporate or military moves where employees relocate with short notice or people in the armed service need to move at a moment’s notice.

Extended Liability

A continuation of the amount of liability a carrier will accept on items lost or damaged in transit.

Extra Delivery

An additional place, other than the final destination address listed on the Bill of Lading, where part of a cargo delivery is unloaded.

Extra Pickup (Extra Stop)

An additional place, other than the origin address listed on the Bill of Lading, where a part of a cargo delivery is loaded.


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

A federal agency within the Department of Transportation that regulates safety in motor carrier operations. This agency monitors the operational and safety requirements for all federally licensed motor companies.

First Proviso

An outdated term used to classify household goods within a shipment.

Flat Floor

The level floor of a trailer truck measured from the nose of the trailer to its back door.

Flatbed Carrier

A carrier that uses flatbed trailers to transport cargo under the authority and terms of a household goods carrier.

Flight Charge

The additional cost to move cargo up or down flight of stairs either at the point

of origin or the final destination. Access to a working elevator may negate these charges.


Losing property, rights, or money due to the breach of a contract.

Free Time

A carrier-specified amount of time during which no fee will be charged for holding cargo at a select location. Also, a carrier-specified amount of time during which no fee will be charged for allowing a transport container to be held by a customer
for the purposes of loading or unloading


Cargo that is shipped or transported.

Freight All Kinds

A flat fee charged regardless of the commodities being transported. These fees are assessed only when there is no specific commodity rate available.

Freight Bill

A document that details a shipment’s weight, fees, taxes, and method of payment collection.

Freight Charges

The fees charged for transporting cargo from origin to destination.

Freight Forwarder

A business authorized to pack and dispatch shipments for others. A freight forwarder manages the details associated with such shipments.

Freight Service

A cheaper alternative to a full-service move that requires the customer to pack all cargo prior to pick up. Packed cargo is then transported from the point of origin and deposited on the doorstep of the final destination.

Fuel Surcharge

A flat rate charge that incorporates the cost of fuel into shipping rates in order to provide an equitable fuel rate for carriers in the face of fluctuating fuel costs.

Full (Replacement) Value Protection

The most complete insurance plan available for the protection of cargo. Under this plan, cargo will be covered under the mover’s full (replacement) value of liability. If any item is lost or damaged while in the mover’s possession, the mover will

  • repair the item or pay for the cost of the repair to the item to restore it to the condition it was in when it was received by the movers; OR
  • replace, or pay to replace, the item with one similar in quality

Full-Service Mover

A type of mover that transports all household goods from the point of origin to the final destination. With this type of move, all items will be collected from each room at the point of origin and re-distributed to determined rooms within the new
location. Full-service movers can also provide accessorial services, such as packing and unpacking services, at an additional cost.


The process of disinfecting cargo exposed to insects or bacteria. This service is either requested by the customer or mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Furniture Blankets 

Soft, cushioned material used to protect household appliances, furniture, banisters, doorways, and walls during a move.

Furniture Pads

Blanket-like, cushioned materials that assist in moving heavy pieces of furniture and appliances without causing damage to flooring.


General Commodities

Commonplace cargo, excluding Class A and B explosives, bulk commodities, and select household items.

General Commodity Rate

A rate used to price items by bulk unit. A general commodity rate is applied to price units when a specified commodity rate is unavailable.

Geographic Management

A third-party that assists customers relocating to a specific geographic area.

Gross Chargeable Weight

The measurement system used by the airfreight industry to evaluate the costof a freight shipment. Gross chargeable weight may be calculated either by volumetric weight or by gross weight.

Gross Weight

The total weight of a moving truck, including the loaded shipment. To determine gross weight, trucks will be weighed using a certified scale at either origin or destination

Group Move

The relocation of a large number of employees in one organized, concentrated effort.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service

A service that guarantees specific dates for pick up and/or delivery with the mover issuing reimbursement for delays. This service is frequently subject to minimum cargo weight requirements.


Handling Charge

A fee assessed for the handling of a shipment, at both the port of departure and port of arrival.


The agent or van operator who physically moves the cargo.

Hauling Agent

Owner of the vehicle assigned to move cargo.

Hazard Insurance

Insurance that protects a property owner from damage caused by natural disasters such as storms, fires, or floods.


An individual hired by a carrier who assists with loading and unloading cargo

High Value Article

Select pieces in a shipment that have an assessed value over $100 per pound.

Home Location Housing Cost

The cost to live in a certain area, as relative to income and family size.

Hours of Service

The total number of hours a van operator may legally drive or work.

Household Goods

The personal effects, equipment, or supplies of a household. Note: This can also include goods moved from a factory or store for intended use in a household. These items will be moved at the customer’s request and additional fees may be assessed.

Household Goods Motor Carrier

A motor carrier that transports household goods and may offer some or all of the following extra services: binding and non-binding estimates, inventory, packing and unpacking of specific items at customer request, loading and unloading at origin and
destination, and even above and beyond white glove services.

Note: This term does not apply to transportation of household goods in containers or trailers that are entirely loaded and unloaded by a third party.

Household Goods Transportation Act

A federal law that regulates the relationship between carriers of household goods and their agents.

Housing Differential

A sum of money paid to cover the difference in housing costs between home and host countries.


Impracticable Operations

Services required when operating conditions make it physically impossible for the carrier to perform pickup or delivery with its normally assigned equipment; requires the use of specialty equipment and/or additional labor to complete services. These services may be made at the request of the mover as defined in the mover’s tariff and may require additional charges.


Expenses incurred during a relocation.

Incline Dolly

A long handled, two-wheeled cart used to move goods on or off stairs that is often used in tandem with a stair mobile.


Compensation for damage or loss of goods.

Individual Shipper

The shipper, consignor, or consignee of a household goods shipment as identified on the Bill of Lading. This individual owns the cargo being transported and is responsible for all transportation charges.

Inherent Vice

An inherent flaw in a specific item within a shipment that may cause damage to that item during transport.

Inland Bill of Lading

A contract between the customer and the carrier that details the transportation of cargo between two points, usually between an inland point in the U.S. and a port or airport. This document is often the first document issued for an international
shipment when handling any global mobility solutions or international


A written document like a contract, deed, bond, or will, that records the terms of legally enforceable agreements.


The transport of one carrier’s equipment and/or vehicles by another moving company.

Interchange Agreement

An agreement between two carriers that permits the sharing of equipment and vehicles to complete a shipment.


The transfer of a shipment between two or more carriers to deliver cargo to a final destination.


A cargo shipment that utilizes two or more different modes of transportation to deliver goods.

Internal Packaging

Protective packing of cargo within a container to guard against damage.

International Move

Any move of household or commercial goods that crosses an international border.

Interstate Move

Any cargo shipment that crosses a state line, regardless of distance between borders. An interstate relocation can also include all additional moving and relocation services, including movers and packers, warehouse and storage services, and even white glove services. Unless special services are required, like with interstate expedited shipments, moving across state lines does not necessarily cost more. However, you will want to hire an interstate moving company with expertise in handling and interstate commerce and regulations involved in your shipment.

Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)

A federal agency that used to regulate interstate transportation, including the moving industry. This agency was abolished in 1995. Today, the National Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) work to monitor and regulate the moving industry, under the aegis of the US Department of Transportation.

Intrastate Move

A cargo shipment that does not cross state lines but is distinguished by a local move by the distance of the move (usually over 40 miles).


An itemized list of household goods detailing the quality and quantity of each item.


An itemized list of charges that records a transaction between a buyer and a seller.

Irregular Route Carrier

Any carrier that operates irregular routes within a specific area.

Irrevocable Consent

A contract between two parties that cannot be revised or revoked.



An individual employed by the van operator or agent to help load and unload cargo.

Land Bridge, Full

Transporting cargo from one foreign port to another or transporting cargo across the U.S. by rail or road.

Land Bridge, Micro

Transporting cargo from an inland point in the US by rail or road to a foreign port.

Land Bridge, Mini

Transporting cargo between a U.S. port and a foreign port via a different U.S. port. (i.e. Los Angeles to New York via rail, then boat transport to London.)

Landed Value

The assessed value of goods upon arrival at the final destination, including the value of the goods themselves, plus extra costs required for transporting items, including freight and transportation charges, insurance, and packing and handling

Last Receiving

A designated date and time by which cargo must be received at a specific location so that it can be boarded on a particular vehicle for transport.

Late Delivery

When a shipment is delivered to the destination after the contracted delivery date.

Less-Than-Containerload (LCL)

A shipping term used to describe containers which are filled with multiple orders. Also, cargo that is placed loose (not within a container) into the hold of a specific vessel.

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

A shipping term used to identify when a customer’s order shares trailer space with another customer’s shipment.

Letter of Authority

A document permitting a third party to correspond with agents on behalf of the customer or the customer’s employer.

Liability Insurance

A type of Insurance coverage that provides protection against claims of property damage or bodily injury.


Legal certifications needed to transport household goods within or across state lines. License numbers identify the status of the mover’s operating authority and insurance coverage. Different types of moves may require additional licensing
information. Requirements vary by state.

Limited Partnership

An agreement between two parties where one party is fully liable and the other is responsible only for the amount of their investment.

Linehaul Charges

A standard method of billing for long distance delivery service. These charges are calculated by mileage and the weight of cargo and may or may not include fees for charges listed in Additional Charges. Long distance expedited shipments may also include charges for faster delivery service.

Load Date

The actual date when cargo is picked up by the carrier or agent from the customer.

Load Spread

A range of dates the agent provides to the customer during which the moving truck may arrive at the point of origin to be loaded.

Loading Ramp

An aluminum ramp, usually installed within the moving truck itself, that helps in loading and unloading cargo onto a trailer.

Local Move

A move within a state to a nearby area. Distinguished from an Interstate Move by the distance of the actual move, usually 40 miles or less. These moves are often priced hourly and are regulated by the particular state’s Department of Transportation.

Local Rates

Specific rates charged by a carrier relative to the local area.

Log Book

A daily document that records hours worked and the route(s) traveled.

Long Carry Charge

An additional charge assessed when cargo must be carried long distances between location and truck or vice versa. Movers typically have a set distance they will carry cargo without charging this fee.

Long Distance

A shipment that cannot be delivered in one day due to excessive distance. Long distance moves can include interstate moves, nationwide
moves, and even international moving.

Long-Term Storage

Storage of household items in a warehouse for an extended period of time, typically one month or longer.

Lumper (Also Called Laborer)

An individual employed by the van operator or agent to help load and unload.


Mechanical Damage

Damage to cargo caused by equipment (mechanical) malfunctions rather than by personal mishandling.

Mileage Guide

An industry-specific book used by carriers to determine mileage from one city to another, regardless of the route taken.

Minimum Charge

The lowest fee for which cargo may be legally handled.

Minimum Weight

The specified weight level designated to asses a particular price. Usually, weights under this minimum require a higher rate and weights above the minimum require a lower rate

Mobile Container

Large storage containers delivered by the moving company that will remain at a customer’s residence until scheduled pickup by the moving company.

Motor Vehicle Inventory

A form used when transporting any motor vehicle during vehicle hauling that records the vehicle’s mileage and overall condition at both origin and destination.

Moving Company 

A business that plans and executes the move of cargo from point of origin to final destination.

Moving Cost 

The price for a moving company to transport a shipment to its final destination. This price does not include any accessorial services or insurance fees.

Moving Process  

All moving related actions from origin location to final destination. The many parts of the process can include signing a contract, moving day procedures, and post-relocation services.


Net Weight

The pure weight of a cargo shipment. This number is calculated by subtracting the tare weight (the weight of the moving truck) from the gross wight (the weight of the fully-packed moving truck).

Non-Allowable List (Prohibited Items)

A list of items that professional movers will not pack or transport because of the potential for personal danger or property damage. Examples include handguns, fireworks, propane tanks, and oversized furniture.

Notification of Delay

An official communication to a customer that a shipment will be delayed. This notification must include the reason for the delay, the last known location of the delivery truck, and a new delivery date.


Operating Authority

A legal document that outlines and permits the scope of a carrier’s business and authority.

Oral Contract

A spoken agreement between two parties.

Order for Service

A document that authorizes movers to transport cargo.

Order Number (Also called Bill of Lading)

An identification number used to monitor cargo.


The place from which a shipment begins transport.

Origin Agent

The individual who schedules and executes a cargo shipment at point of origin.

Origin Dispatch

The office that services the region from where a shipment originates.

Origin Service

A specific service performed at the shipment place of origin, such as packing or appliance servicing.


Accidental delivery of a shipment to the incorrect customer or address.

Overcharge Claim

A claim filed by a customer to dispute specific charges, excluding property damage.


The part of a shipment that cannot be loaded onto a truck because of available space.


An individual who is the legal owner of a moving truck and/or moving business.


Packed by Carrier (PBC)

Cargo that is packed by the agent at the point of origin.

Packed by Owner (PBO)

Cargo that is packed by the customer at the point of origin.

An industry term used to indicate that select items have been packed by the owner of the items and not by the moving company.


The material used to prepare cargo for safe transport; also the services used to prepare cargo for safe transport.

Packing Date

A scheduled date for a moving company to send hired packing services to a residence, usually one day prior to the planned moving date.

Packing List

An inventory of all packed items.

Packing Service

An accessorial service provided by many full-service movers that involves movers packing all household goods in a residence for transport and later unpacking and arranging all items at the final destination.

Packing Service Report

A record of select accessorial services performed during a move, including packing and appliance servicing. This is often typical for bigger moves with long distance packers and


Blanket-like, padded material used to insulate and protect furniture during transport.

Pallet (Also Called Skid)

A portable platform used to load and organize shipments more efficiently for storage and transport. This if often used for long distance storage and warehousing where
shipments may be moved from one truck to another during a longer move or transported to a facility before reaching a destination.


When shipment containers are stacked on pallets.


An item or container wrapped or packed for transport.

Peak Season Rates

A premium rate that is charged at particular times of the year when it is the most expensive to move.

Per Diem

(1) – Fees paid by one carrier to another for use of select vehicles or containers needed for transport (2) – The daily allowance paid to a transferred employee to cover temporary living costs.

Performance Report

A document detailing accessorial services provided at either origin or destination.

Perishable Articles

Any items, including food, that have the potential to spoil and therefore cannot be transported, according to Department of Transportation regulations.

Permanent Storage

The indefinite storage of cargo in a warehouse.


A legal document that authorizes a van operator to use a commercial vehicle.


The registered phone number for the sales department of a moving agent.

Physical Damage Insurance

Insurance to protect cargo in the event of physical damage to a moving vehicle resulting from collision, fire, or theft.


An additional fee to transport a single 42-inch piano as part of a larger household move.

Piano Board

A piece of equipment in specialty moves used to transport a piano up or down stairs.

Pickup and Delivery Charges

An additional fee assessed for pickup and delivery of transporting cargo between a Storage in Transit warehouse and the final destination.

Pre-Existing Damage

Damage to an item that was already assessed prior to shipment.

Preferred Arrival Date (PAD)

The customer’s date of choice for delivery of a shipment. The date requested by the customer as the most favorable date for the delivery of a shipment.

Prepaid Shipment

A shipment that is paid for in part or in full before arriving at the final destination.

Principal Agent

A mover who consistently performs a variety of services, including booking, packing, and transporting cargo in the name of a household goods carrier.

ProMover (AMSA)

A certification given by the American Moving and Storage Association that designates select moving companies as qualified, professional businesses that adhere to federal moving rules and regulations.

Pro Number

An identification number connected to a particular Bill of Lading or freight bill

Property Damage Claim

A claim filed for damage to a home or other personal property caused in an accident that is the fault of the mover.

Property Damage Insurance

A type of standard insurance that covers damage done to the customer’s property.


An outdated term used to classify items within a shipment.

Purchase Order 

A document issued by a buyer to place an order that outlines the agreed upon prices and terms of service.



The estimated price of a moving company’s services. The quote is calculated from both an onsite inventory as well as any customer requests for accessorial services.



A portable bridge used to transport goods over an incline.


Fees for services rendered on an order, including charges for packing and other accessorial services.


Returning property to the original owner from the buyer.


A refrigerated trailer with an active cooling system designed to transport perishable items


To pay back a sum of money to the customer. Also, the sum of money returned to the customer.


To provide the van line with the requisite details to arrange for the execution and delivery of a shipment from origin to destination.

Registration Number

An identification number assigned by the van line to a particular shipment. This number appears on all documentation and correspondence for the assigned shipment.

Registration Year

The twelve-month period during which a registration is issued.

Reimbursement Plan

A type of relocation policy that provides financial reimbursement for costs incurred throughout the relocation process. Employers monitor and valuate the requests for financial reimbursement. This is different from a lump sum relocation benefit where the employee receives a moving bonus to apply toward their move.

Released Value

The appraised value that determines the extent to which the carrier is liabile for loss or damage of cargo.

Released Value Insurance

A standard moving insurance policy required by federal law and offered at no additional cost to the customer. This type of policy insures an entire shipment at a flat rate of 60 cents per pound regardless of value.

Relocation Assistance

A service provided by an employer to help a transferred employee move to a new location.

Relocation Center

A facility that provides employees with support during an international and/or domestic move resulting from a work relocation.

Relocation Consultant

A designated point of contact that guides the employee throughout the relocation process. The consultant is either an internal employee or is provided by a third party moving company or relocation management company and are responsible for
implementing a corporate relocation strategy. They guide employees through the relocation process while helping to troubleshoot any problems that may arise
during the transfer.

Relocation Expenses

Any fees incurred resulting from a relocation.

Relocation Kit

Information sent by the employer to the transferred employee containing essential information about the new location.

Relocation Management Company (RMC)

A third-party business, typically specializing in buying and selling real estate, that manages a company’s relocation services.

Relocation Management Software (RMS)

Technology that monitors relocation benefits in order to allow employees to predict and monitor relocation expenses.

Relocation Package

Information from the relocation management company that provides important details about the relocation destination. Packages vary by company, but may include specific information on the following subjects: child care, elder care, auto transfers,
real estate services, spousal support, storage, and temporary lodging.

Relocation Policy

Detailed services provided by an employer to assist an employee during the relocation process.


A solution-financial or otherwise-to compensate for a problem.


To fix or mend an item damaged during a move.

Repayment Agreement

A contract that a transferred employee signs which states they will be financially responsible for reimbursing the company for select relocation fees/benefits received if they do not remain in their contracted position for a specifically
predetermined amount of time. Terms vary by company.

Replacement Cost

The price to replace lost, damaged, or stolen property.

Replacement Value Protection

A specific insurance plan that replaces items lost or damaged in a move. Valuation and terms of this policy vary by carrier.


A contract between two parties that can be revised or revoked.


Weighing a shipment again at destination at the request of the customer. Fees will be re-assessed based on the new weight.

Route Card

A document that lists the control number or pro number as assigned to specific shipments on a Bill of Lading.


The route chosen by a customer when multiple routes between origin and destination exist due to interchanging or interlining between carriers. The selected route is typically approved by carriers if the costs do not change as a result of the newly
selected route.



The process of retrieving damaged items from a customer that the moving company paid full value for in a settlement.

Scale Ticket

A document that shows the weigh scale number for tare and/or gross weight of a van.


A unique metal lock fastened on the doors of a moving truck to prevent theft or damage of goods; this type of lock must be broken in order to be opened.

Second Proviso

An outdated term for a shipment that contains furniture, equipment, or other related goods from stores, offices, and other types of commercial or warehouse properties.


When the booking agent chooses to organize and execute the transportation of a shipment using its own employees and equipment.


A multi-axle trailer that connects at the front end to the back of a truck tractor.


The short-term holding of a shipment after departure and before delivery.


An accessorial service available for an extra fee that includes the full assembly of a piece of furniture or property at the final destination.


Cargo and/or property that a customer prepares for transport via a moving agent.


The person paying for the move. Also, the person moving, if the move is being paid for by a third party.

Shipper Load & Count

When the customer rather than the moving agent is responsible for counting, packing, loading, and unloading the shipment.

Shipping Order

Directions given to the moving agent from the customer concerning the way a shipment should be transported.

Short Haul

Cargo transported fewer than 400 miles.

Short-Term Contract

An agreement between a customer and agent for a select amount of time.

Short-Term Housing

Fully furnished housing typically utilized by employees or interns who need a temporary housing solution.


A smaller van used to load cargo when a standard-sized moving vehicle won’t fit at the origin location. The necessity of a shuttle typically results in additional fees.

Shuttle Service

Use of a shuttle to provide moving services to areas inaccessible to standard-sized moving vehicles.

Single Factor

A type of contract that provides an all-inclusive shipment rate for standard tariff fees.


Lightweight paper padding used to protect cargo in transit.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

A national association that supports and certifies human resource departments across the country.

Special Products

Items that require unique handling or packing, like medical or computer equipment.

Specific Commodity Rate

Economy shipping rates calculated by the quality and quantity of select items.

Spot Load

Cargo that is loaded on a commercial trailer

Spread Date (Also Called a Delivery Spread)

A range of dates the agent provides to the customer during which the shipment may arrive at the final destination

Stair Carry

The act of moving a shipment up or down a flight of stairs. Additional fees may apply.

Stair Mobile

Specialty equipment used in to transport a shipment up or down stairs.

Stopover Allowance

Financial compensation to an employee for expenses incurred if a route is particularly long


Safekeeping of cargo in a dedicated facility or warehouse.

Storage in Transit (SIT)

Short-term storage provided by the carrier pending additional future transport. If storage exceeds 180 calendar days, the carrier may no longer be responsible for the goods. Storage terms vary by carrier.


How cargo is packed and/or positioned within the moving truck.

Straight Bill of Lading/Straight Consignment

An irrevocable Bill of Lading that only identifies the name of the person receiving the shipment and the terms of the contract.


A piece of moving equipment usually made of heavy nylon that is used to secure stacked crates or tiers of a shipment within the moving truck.

Stretch Wrap

A highly flexible plastic film used to secure containers together on a pallet. Stretch wrap can also be used to protect certain types of overstuffed furniture during transport.

Substituted Service

Using a different mode of transportation to meet a contractual obligation.

Supplemental Billing

An invoice containing extra fees not stated on the original bill.


A fee that exceeds the standard freight fees.

Surface Transportation Board

The federal agency that regulates railroad rates and service issues.


An estimate of moving fees assessed by an agent. This estimate is typically calculated through a visual inventory at the site of origin.

Survey of a Shipment

A complete inspection of a shipment to assess its approximate weight

Swamper (Laborer or Lumper)

An individual hired by the van operator or agent to help load or unload a shipment.


Tare Weight

The weight of a moving truck including all equipment and packing materials needed to load and unload a shipment. This weight is calculated prior to the shipment itself being loaded onto the truck.


A document provided to the customer from the carrier that outlines the carrier’s rates and terms of service.

Tariff Item

Individual sections within the tariff that detail specific services as well as charges for these services.

Third Proviso

An outdated term for high value or specialty products.

Third-Party Service

Any service performed at the customer’s request by someone other than the carrier. These services can also be mandated due to a state, federal, or local law.

Thru-Bill of Lading

A special Bill of Lading assigning liability to one specific carrier while handling, transport, or carriage may be performed by different carriers and methods of transport.


One rate applied by a single carrier from pick up to final delivery, even though additional services required may include interlining, transloading, or transshipping.


When a shipment is loaded and unloaded from the same van without interruption or interference from another carrier or another mode of transportation. This is especially the case for local small shipments, but not necessarily long distance small shipments where small moves might need to be consolidated into a larger trip for a cross-country or interstate move.


A row of household goods stacked across the trailer of a moving truck.

Time Test

A policy that many companies enforce to monitor a transferred employee’s work schedule for tax purposes. This policy requires transferred workers be employed full-time in their new location for a minimum of 39 weeks of the first 12 months of their
relocation. Mandated weeks do not have to be consecutive. Requirements may vary by employer.


A request to locate, identify, and/or expedite a specific a shipment.

Tracer Letter

A document sent to all customers whose shipments were on the same truck that lists missing items in an attempt to retrieve said missing items for the customer(s).


A shipment that is transferred from one vehicle to another using the equipment of one carrier.

Transportation Charge

A pre-determined cost per 100 pounds of cargo weight to load, transport, and unload a single shipment a measured distance.


A packing material made from corrugated cardboard frequently used to safely transport cargo via air transport.



An accessorial service performed upon delivery of a shipment at the customer’s request. This additional service includes carrier employees removing items from packed containers, placing items on a flat surface, and disposing of all packing materials.
This can also be a part of a put-away service.

Updater Certified Moving Company

A certification that indicates a top performer in the moving industry. This certification recognizes licensed, insured moving companies that adhere to all federal and state safety regulations. In addition, this certification requires that companies maintain good ratings on well-known review sites and offer accessorial services to their customers. Most companies that achieve this designation are also ProMover Certified.

USDOT Number

The registration number for any vehicle, including moving trucks, that transports a shipment across state lines. This number is assigned and monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the US Department of Transportation.


Charging an interest rate beyond what is legally permitted.


Valuation (Extra Care Protection)

The approximate value of a shipment used to reimburse the moving agent when assuming liability on high value shipments.

Valuation Coverage

A type of insurance protection for household goods carriers operating in interstate commerce. This type of liability insurance is determined by the customer’s declaration of cargo value made prior to shipment.


The moving truck that transports household goods.

Van Forman

The van driver. Also, the person responsible for the loading, transportation, and unloading of a shipment.

Van Line

A moving company that provides services nationwide through affiliated agents authorized to act on its behalf.


A shipment that is transferred from one van to another while en route.

Verbal Commitment

The oral acceptance of a contract by a third party.


Waiting Time

When the van operator stays outside of a destination address for a period of time waiting for someone to accept and sign for the delivery of a shipment. Waiting time charges may be applied.


A portion of a contract intentionally included to relinquish or abandon a known right.

Walk Board

A ramp used to assist in transporting heavy objects from ground level into the moving truck.


A building dedicated to the safe storage and warehousing of equipment, vehicles, and other cargo.

Warehouse Handling Charge

An extra fee to compensate the carrier for storage-in-transit services provided for a shipment.

Weighing Procedure

The process that determines the weight of cargo as measured by a certified scale.

Weight Additives

A weight added to the net weight to compensate for the use of unused space in the moving truck.

Weight Break

A discount applied when a shipment exceeds a certain weight threshold thereby creating more effective use of space in the moving truck.

Weight Guide

A handbook that lists typical weights for common household goods. This handbook is often referenced in shipment liability claims.

Weight Ticket

The document that details both the van weight while empty as well as the van weight following shipment loading. This document helps determine the total cost of the freight bill.

Will Advise

The term used when a shipment is en route but dates for pickup or delivery are not yet established.


A practice where the employer calculates the amount of taxes owed on a benefit and then keeps that amount of money on behalf of the employer. For example, if an employee receive a $10,000 benefit, the employer will determine the taxes owed on the
benefit, an estimated $2,000. The employer would then withhold that estimated tax amount on the benefit, and would provide the employee with the remaining sum, in this sample case, $8,000.

Worldwide ERC (Employee Relocation Council)

A relocation services trade group that discusses best practices and issues within the industry. This organization works to help employers as they relocate their employees domestically and internationally.


Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move (OCE-100)

A publication that the federal government mandates be given to all COD customers by the moving agent.