I realized while writing this blog that there are a number of terms used in our industry that people do not understand. In fact, some would even go as far as to say that moving companies have their own language. I used to laugh when I heard that until I started this blog. In all I believe that everyone just might be right. So in order to help you understand what you mover might be referring to when they are talking to you I have included the following definitions of terms used:
1. Accessorial (Additional) Services – services such as packing, unpacking, extra stop, or shuttle that you request to be performed (or are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services are in addition to the transportation costs.
2. Addendum – a form filled out should you make any changes to your move after receiving a written estimate/survey.
3. Advanced Charges – charges for services not performed by the mover but instead by a professional, craftsman or other third party at your request. The charges for these services are paid for by the mover and added to your bill of lading charges.
4. Agent – 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.
5. Bill of Lading – customer’s receipt for goods and contract for transportation. The customer’s signature acknowledges that the household goods can be loaded on the van and “released to the carrier.”
6. Binding/Non-Binding Estimate – a binding estimate is an agreement made in advance between the customer and the mover that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is the carrier’s approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect on the day of the load.
7. 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.
8. Bulky Article – to ensure safe transportation, some articles included in a shipment (i.e., big screen TVs, motorcycles, hot tubs, etc.) require extra handling and/or blocking. Our tariff provides a schedule of extra charges for such articles.
9. Carrier – the moving company providing interstate transportation of household goods under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.
10. Claim – statement of loss, damage, or delay to a household good shipment while in the care, custody or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.
11. COD (cash on delivery) – shipments where the customer pays the moving charges at the time of delivery. For COD shipments, payment is required in cash or by traveler’s check, money order or cashier’s check. If a credit card is used, it must be arranged with the booking agent because authorization is required prior to loading. Personal checks are not accepted.
12. Department of Transportation (DOT) – the federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) within the DOT, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.
13. Destination Agent – the agent designated in the destination area to be available to assist or provide information regarding the shipment to the customer or the van operator.
14. Diversion – when a customer changes the destination of their shipment after it is en route, transportation charges shall be calculated from the point of origin, to the point at which the carrier is able to effect the diversion, plus the transportation charge from the diversion point to the new destination point.
15. Driver (also referred to as a Van Operator) – oversees the loading, hauling and unloading of your possessions.
16. Estimate (also referred to as a survey) – performed by an agent to examine the customer’s belongings in order to develop an estimate of move charges.
17. Exclusive Use of Vehicle – upon request and subject to availability, the customer may request and the carrier may provide an exclusive unit for a shipment. Transportation charges are based on actual weight subject to specific minimum weights.
18. Extra Labor – hourly labor charge (15 minute minimum) for performing any requested services for which specific fees are not published. This generally covers activities such as removing/placing items in attics/crawlspaces, packing/unpacking owner’s furnished containers, etc.
19. Extra Pickup or Delivery – line haul/transportation charge includes pickup from a single address and delivery to a single address. Additional charges are assessed for each stop or call requiring an additional pickup or delivery.
20. Fuel Surcharge – the carrier’s tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in the recovery of the increased cost of fuel. The surcharge, which can change monthly, is based upon the national average cost of diesel as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
21. Full-Service Packing & Unpacking – hundredweight rates that apply based on the weight of the shipment when the carrier is requested by shipper to pack or unpack the complete shipment. The full-service packing rates include cartons and packing labor. The full-service unpacking rates include the unpacking of carrier packed cartons and the removal of such debris.
22. Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service – an additional level of service whereby dates of service are guaranteed, with the mover providing reimbursement for delays. This premium service is often subject to minimum weight requirements.
23. High Value Article – items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound. These items should be disclosed to the mover to ensure that they are protected accordingly.
24. High-Value Article Inventory Form – the carrier will have you fill out a high-value inventory form to list items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound to ensure they are protected accordingly.
25. Insurance-Related General Increase (IRR Surcharge) – the carrier’s tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in the recovery of the increased cost of carrier’s and van operator’s liability insurance expenses.
26. Inventory – a detailed descriptive list of the items in the shipment and their condition before the van is loaded.
27. Line haul (also referred to as the Transportation Charge) – charges for the transportation of your goods via interstate or intrastate. These charges apply in addition to the additional service charges.
28. Method of Payment – payment must be in the form of cash, traveler’s checks, money order, a bank cashier’s check or a credit card. Personal checks are not accepted.
29. Non-Allowables (Prohibited Items) – the Carrier will not accept shipment property that will contaminate or damage (i.e., bug infestations, chemicals, propane tanks, etc.) the carrier’s property or the property of other customers, nor will it remove items that would damage the article or the premises (i.e., furniture that will not fit through doorways). Further, the carrier will not accept liability for items of a perishable nature (food, wine collections, plants, etc.).
30. Order for Service – a document authorizing the moving company to transport your household goods.
31. Order Number – 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.
32. Origin & Destination Service Charge – a hundredweight rate that applies based on the weight of the shipment plus any weight additives and location where the shipment is picked up and delivered. The charges compensate the carrier for basic handling and servicing of the shipment; includes services such as elevator, stair and excessive distance carries, piano and organ flight carries, additional transportation charge (ATC), basic appliance servicing (preparation of appliances to make them safe to ship), and on shipments moving transborder between the United States and Canada, the import and export service charge.
33. Origin agent – the agent designated in the origin area to be available for preliminary readying of the shipment before movement and/or to provide information regarding the customer’s move.
34. Overflow – when articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary van. An additional van(s) is then utilized for transportation and delivery.
35. Overtime Loading & Unloading Service – if you request loading or unloading on a specific date which is a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, an overtime charge, based on the weight of your shipment is assessed. This is also true if you request the service to be performed after working hours (i.e., between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.) on any week day, or when prevailing laws ordinances or landlord requirements will not allow loading/unloading during normal working hours on week days.
36. Pickup and Delivery Charges – separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the warehouse and your residence.
37. Reweigh – before the actual initiation of the unloading of your shipment, you may request a reweigh of the shipment. If a reweigh is performed the actual charges will be based upon the reweigh weight, regardless of whether the reweigh weight is higher or lower than the first weight of the shipment. If you request a reweigh, you must waive your right to witness said reweigh in writing.
38. Shipper – term used by moving companies to describe the customer.
39. Shuttle Service – 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.). A shuttle 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 location where the service is performed.
40. Storage Crate – a wooden container usually 7 ft. tall by 5 1/2 ft. wide & 6 ft. deep. This container is used to store goods in a climate controlled warehouse.
41. Storage-in-Transit (SIT) – the temporary storage of your household goods in the warehouse of the carrier’s agent, pending further transportation at a later date. SIT service may not exceed a total of 180 calendar days. After 180 days, the interstate nature of the shipment ends and is converted to the rules of the local warehouseman.
42. Survey (also referred to as an estimate) – performed by an agent to examine the customer’s belongings in order to develop an estimate of move charges.
43. Tariff – a publication containing the carrier’s rates, rules and regulations for services performed, applicable to the customer’s move.
44. Third-Party Services – performed by someone other than the carrier or its agents at your request or required by federal, state or local law (e.g., appliance servicing, crating).
45. Transportation Charges (also referred to as Line haul) - charges for the transportation of your goods via interstate or intrastate. These charges apply in addition to the additional service charges.
46. Unpacking – removing the customer’s goods from containers and placing them on a flat surface, as well as the disposal of such containers and packing materials. If ordered, unpacking service must be performed at the time of delivery unless requested otherwise.
47. Valuation – a tariff-based coverage for a customer’s household goods while they are in the care, custody and control of the carrier. Valuation is NOT insurance.
48. Van Operator (also referred to as a Driver) – oversees the loading, hauling and unloading of your possessions.
49. Waiting Time – if you are unable to accept delivery of your shipment within the free waiting time (i.e., 2 hours) after notification of arrival at destination, you may request waiting time until delivery can be made. There is a charge for the vehicle and manpower for each hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time (excluding Sundays or state/national holidays). The alternative is unloading your shipment at an agent’s warehouse. You will have storage, handling and delivery from warehouse expenses, and consequently it may be less expensive to pay for waiting time, if it is not for an excessive length of time. The carrier is not obligated to provide waiting time, but we will do so when it does not result in the delay in the delivery of other customers’ shipments or does not cause other undue inconvenience to the carrier.
50. Weight Additive – some articles included in a shipment (i.e., camper shells, boats, canoes, boat trailers, etc.) are comparatively light and occupy space in the van that is not commensurate with their weight. For instance, one might load 4,000 pounds of furniture and cartons in the space taken by a 1,500-pound boat. To compensate for this inequity, our tariff provides a schedule of additional weights for such articles.
1. Dish Pack (also referred to as a dish barrel or a dish box) – is a special box used to pack either dishes or any other type of fragile(s). The box is usually double corrugated for more protection and can some times come with inserts for glasses or dishes.
2. Book Box (also referred to as a 1.5 cu. ft. box or a small box) – this box is used primarily for books, allowing them to be filled completely and still easy to handle. You can also use this box for miscellaneous small items.
3. 3.1 (also referred to as a medium box) – this box is 3.1 cu. ft. (hence the name) it is primarily used as the catch all box. It is strong enough to handle most things and can typically be filled to the brim and still handled pretty easy.
4. 4.5 (also referred to as a large box) – this box is 4.5 cu. ft. (hence the name) it is primarily used for linens, sweaters, toys, etc.
5. Wardrobe Box – this box is used primarily for hanging clothes. It is not uncommon for carriers and shippers alike to fill the bottom of the box with shoes or other foldable garments.
6. Mirror/Picture Carton ( also referred to a corrugated container) – this box is used to properly pack pictures, mirrors and artwork. Though you can use separate pieces to protect the glass on cabinets and entertainment centers.
7. Crate – this is used when transporting items that are not only fragile but also extremely heavy. We typically use this for marble, slate from a pool table, or really heavy glass tops.
8. Newsprint – just another word for paper. It is the same things as newspaper except there is o print on it. In other words its just plain paper.
9. Shrink wrap – this comes on rolls and is used to protect sofas, chairs and other items from any type of weather related damage. It is also used when items are coming to storage as an added protection from moisture.
DESCRIPTIVE INVENTORY SYMBOLS
1. B/W – Black & White TV.
2. C – Color TV.
3. CD – Carrier Disassembled – Any item(s) a carrier may have disassembled (i.e. bed, china cabinet, entertainment center etc.).
4. CP – Carrier Packed – Any boxes or containers that were packed by the carrier.
5. DBO – Disassembled By Owner – any item disassembled by the owner prior to load.
6. PB – Professional Books. (College books, Law books, Dictionaries etc.).
7. PBO – Packed By Owner – Any boxes or containers that were packed by the shipper and not the carrier.
8. PE – Professional Equipment – (Medical Equipment, Major tools, etc.).
9. PP – Professional Papers.
10. MCU – Mechanical Condition Unknown – Applies to any appliances or electronics (Washer, Dryer, Televisions, Computers, Stereo Equipment, etc.).
11. SW – Stretch Wrapped – Any item the carrier may shrink wrap or plastic wrap.
EXCEPTION INVENTORY SYMBOLS
1. BE – Bent
2. BR – Broken
3. BU – Burned
4. CH – Chipped
5. CU – Contents & Condition Unknown – Will apply to any PBO boxes.
6. D – Dented
7. F – Faded
8. G – Gouged
9. L – Loose
10. M – Marred
11. MI – Mildew
12. MO – Moth eaten
13. P – Peeling
14. R – Rubbed
15. RU – Rusted
16. S – Stretched
17. SC – Scratched
18. SH – Short
19. SO – Soiled
20. ST – Stained
21. T – Torn
22. W – Badly Worn
23. Z – Cracked