Moving Lingo – Talk The Talk Like A Pro

published by on June 18, 2013Before You Move Tips

We all wish moving could be as simple as pick up, delivery, payment – and everyone walks away happy. But back on planet Earth, moving nightmares happen. Happy moves do too. So what can you do to secure your own moving day happy ending?

We believe doing your homework, being well prepared and partnering with a terrific mover is all part of the magic behind a happy move. And it starts with arming yourself with the right knowledge to avoid common moving scams and gotchas.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a booklet, Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, to help you do just that. It’s chock full of goodies that can protect you from fraud and many moving headaches. At 25 pages, it’s pretty lengthy and might make you feel like getting acclimated to the moving process is like getting tossed in the deep end on day two of your swimming lessons.

We’ll do our best to break down some of the most important sections and help demystify the maze of rules to make you a smarter, more educated customer when it comes to the big move… so here we go.

Movers are required to give it to you before you sign anything, but if you want to get a head start on reading it, you can download the PDF at

What could be one of the most important parts of the moving process? The lingo! The moving industry has it’s own unique phrases that are part of the laws that govern the business.

Here are some you should understand and will likely come across often as defined in Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and your interactions with movers:

Order For Service – The document authorizing the mover to provide all of the services described in your mover’s estimate.

Inventory – The detailed list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.

Bill of Lading – The receipt for your shipment and the contract for its transportation.

Binding Estimate – This is a written agreement made in advance with your mover. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the estimate.

Non-Binding Estimate – This is what your mover believes the cost will be, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect.

Flight Charge – An additional charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs.   Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

Individual Shipper – Any person who:

1. Is the shipper, consignor, or consignee of a household goods shipment;

2. Is identified as the shipper, consignor, or consignee on the face of the bill of lading;

3. Owns the household goods being transported; and

4. Pays his or her own tariff transportation charges

[In other words, this is you!]

Advanced Charges – Charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading.

Reasonable Dispatch – The performance of transportation on the dates, or during the period of time, agreed upon by you and your mover as shown on the Order for Service and/or the Bill of Lading. The term “reasonable dispatch” excludes transportation provided under your mover’s tariff provisions requiring guaranteed service dates.

The complete moving glossary can be found at the end of your Rights and Responsibilities booklet, and there are more detailed definitions stored here at With a little reading up, you’ll have the tools you need to put together a happy move. Check back with us soon for more Rights and Responsibilities tips from the MCR team.


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