Moving Terminology — The Ultimate Need-to-Have Glossary

Understanding and explaining moving terminology is essential for professionals working in tandem with the moving industry. Property management companies, real estate brokerages, and agents all help residents and clients understand and manage their moving process. When answering your clients’ moving questions, our essential list of moving terminology is a great resource. Keep it handy as a quick reference or share it with your residents or clients.


Accessorial Charges

Additional charges from a moving company for services such as packing, unpacking, crating, or appliance disconnection. These fees are added to the baseline moving cost.

Actual Charges

The final cost of a move from start to finish including moving cost, warehouse fees, and accessorial charges.


A representative who settles claims against a moving company for damage or loss of household goods during a move.


A moving company who is represented by a van line. An agent and their van line work together to serve customers.


The American Moving & Storage Association is an organization of moving companies dedicated to improving the moving and storage industry for moving companies and their customers, advocating on behalf of moving companies, and promoting ProMovers (defined below).

Appliance Service

A service offered by moving companies or a third-party to prepare appliances like washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators for transportation. This service may not include the disconnection of plumbing or electrical services.

Assembly and Disassembly

The process of taking apart furniture before loading it into the moving truck and reassembling it at the destination.


Bill of Lading

A legally binding document that outlines all of the details of the move from the shipping date to the items loaded on the moving truck. This document serves as a receipt of a customer’s agreement with a moving company.

Bulky Article Charge

Large items such as pool tables that require extra handling are subject to an additional charge.



The moving company who transports your belongings.

Cargo Claim

A claim filed by a customer regarding household goods that were broken or damaged during a move.

Cash on delivery (C.O.D.)

When a customer agrees to make a payment to the moving company upon delivery at the destination.


A claim filed for loss, damage, or delay in the delivery of household goods during any stage of the move or during warehousing.


The process of building wooden boxes to protect delicate or valuable items during transit.

Cube Sheet

A list of household goods and the amount of space (in cubic feet) they occupy in a truck. This is then converted into weight and used to determine the moving estimate.


Delivery Report

A report, signed by the customer, used to verify the delivery of household goods at the destination.

Delivery Window

The time period in which a moving company is scheduled to deliver a shipment to its final destination. The delivery window will depend on the distance of the move.

Destination Agent

The agent responsible for coordinating information to the customer and moving company at the moving destination.


A route change to a shipment’s destination or an additional stop after a moving truck is already en route.

Door-to-Door Service

A service where household good are delivered from the origin to the destination directly and without storage.


Elevator Charge

An additional charge applied when a moving process includes moving items in an elevator.

Estimate, Binding

An agreement made between a customer and a moving company that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the weight of household items plus accessorial services.

Estimate, Non-Binding

A non-binding approximation of a moving cost based on the estimated weight of household items and any accessorial services.

Essentials Box

A box of essential items that are not packed onto the moving truck. Designed for the individuals who are moving to use during the last days spent in an old home or the first days spent in a new home.


Flight Charge

An additional charge for a moving professional to carry items up or down one or multiple flight of stairs.

Full-Service Moving

A service where a moving company completes the moving process from start to finish for the customer. This includes providing materials, packing, loading, transporting, unloading, unpacking, and the clean-up of household goods.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is an agency within the Department of Transportation that regulates the operational requirements for moving companies, trucks, and equipment.

Full-Value Protection Insurance

An insurance policy which covers the current market value of an item, an item’s replacement, or the cost to repair an item if it’s damaged or lost by a moving company during a move.

Furniture Blankets

Soft, sturdy blankets designed to protect household appliances, furniture, banisters, doorways, and walls during the moving process.

Furniture Pads

Placed under heavy household items, furniture pads help heavy furniture and appliances slide across floors without casuing damage.


Gross Weight

The combined weight of a moving truck loaded with household goods.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service

A premium moving service that guarantees specific pickup and delivery dates.


Hazard Insurance

Insurance that protects against damage from fire, floods, wind, and other natural events.

High-Value Articles

Household items that are valued at more than $100 per pound.


Impracticable Operations

Conditions that prohibit a moving company from carrying out a pickup or delivery with their standard equipment and require special equipment or additional labor. These terms are defined in a moving company’s tariff.

Inherent Vice

When the condition of an item prevents a moving company from moving the item without causing it damage. Think fragile antiques.

International Move

Any move that involves crossing an international boundary, regardless of distance.

Interstate Commerce Commission

The Interstate Commerce Commission, or ICC, is the federal agency governing interstate transportation. Their jurisdiction includes moving companies.

Interstate Move

Any move that involves crossing a state boundary, regardless of distance.

Intrastate Move

A move where the origin and destination are located in the same state.


A detailed list of the quantity and condition of household items.


Line-Haul Charges

Charges calculated by the mileage and weight of a shipment; specifically for long-distance moves.

Load Date

The date on which the shipment is to be picked up by the moving truck.

Local Move

A short-distance move, typically 40 miles or less.

Long Carry Charge

A charge applied when a moving company carries items an excessive distance from a home to the moving truck or vice versa. This distance is determined by the moving company.

Long-Term Storage

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


Moving Company

A moving company helps people move their belongings from one place to another.

Moving Cost

The cost for a moving company to transport household items to their final destination. This does not include additional services or insurance costs.

Moving Process

All moving related actions from beginning to end. Divided into pre-move preparations, moving day procedures, and post-relocation tasks.


Net Weight

The weight of a shipment; obtained by subtracting the tare weight (the weight of the moving truck) from the gross weight (the weight of the fully-loaded moving truck).

Non-Allowable List (prohibited items)

A list of items that moving companies will not handle because they may contaminate or damage the moving company’s property or the property of the customer. For example, furniture that will not fit through doorways, items infested with bugs, household chemicals, and propane tanks are subject to this list.

Notification of Delay

Notice to a customer that a delivery will be delayed and includes the reason for the delay, the last known location of the truck, and a new delivery date.


Order for Service

A document authorizing a moving company to move your items.

Order Number

A number used to identify a customer’s move. This number appears on the Order for Service and the Bill of Lading.

Origin Agent

The agent responsible for coordinating information and preparing the necessary documentation for the customer and moving company at the moving origin.


When items are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary moving truck. An additional truck is then utilized to transport the leftover items.


Packing Service

A service offered by moving companies or third-parties where professionals pack items before moving day and unpack them upon delivery.

Packing Supplies

Also known as packing materials, these are cardboard boxes, stretch wrap, packing paper, bubble wrap, foam sheets, packing peanuts, packing tape, and other equipment used to protect or contain household items.


A portable platform for holding material for storage or transportation.


Stands for packed by owner. A term used by moving companies to designate when items are packed by a customer.

Peak Season Rates

Prices for moves that take place during the busiest season for moving companies. Typically between May 15 and Sept. 30.

Permanent Storage

Storing items in a warehouse indefinitely.

Pre-Existing Damage

Existing damage to an item that is not associated with the move.

Preferred Arrival Date (PAD)

The date a customer requests for delivery.

ProMover (AMSA)

A ProMover is a moving company who is certified by the American Moving and Storage Association as trustworthy, reputable, and professional.



The price of a moving company’s services. Based on a customer’s in-home estimate and their specific moving needs.



A reweigh of the items on the moving truck may be requested by a customer upon delivery. If a reweigh is requested, charges will be calculated based on the new net weight.

Released Value Insurance

A basic moving insurance policy required by federal law and offered at no additional charge. This policy insures your belongings for 60 cents per pound per item regardless of the item’s value.


Shuttle Service

The use of a smaller vehicle to transport items to a location that is not accessible to larger moving trucks.

Storage-In-Transit (SIT)

A request for temporary storage in a warehouse if the destination is not ready to receive the items. SIT service may not exceed a total of 90 days and the customer is responsible for the cost of the service as well as any warehouse handling fees.


A heavy-duty saran wrap, stretch-wrap is wrapped around furniture to protect it from damage.


Also referred to as an in-home estimate, a survey is a process where a moving professional visits a customer’s home and uses a cube sheet to create a list of furniture and estimate its total weight. They will also inquire about additional moving services and then provide a quote for the estimated cost of the move.


Tare Weight

The weight of the moving truck, equipment, and packing materials without a customer’s items. This weight helps determine the net weight of a customer’s move.


A comprehensive list of a moving company’s rates, rules, and regulations. There are separate tariffs for different types of moves such as long-distance and short-distance moves.

Transit Time

The time spent in transit between a customer’s old home and their destination.



When a moving professional unloads boxes and crates from the moving truck and unpacks the contents at the destination.

Updater Certified Moving Company

Updater Certified Moving Companies meet a strict set of criteria regarding their reliability and customer service. They are regarded as the best moving companies in the industry.

USDOT Number

A USDOT number serves as registration for any vehicle that transports cargo across state lines (which includes moving trucks). This number is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under the US Department of Transportation. You can check a moving companies USDOT number here.



A valuation is the estimated value of a customer’s belongings. Before the Bill of Lading is signed, a customer will declare the monetary cost for all of the items included in their move. A moving company will use this number to determine their liability for damage to or loss of an item.

Van Line

Van lines coordinate teams of local agents across the country to provide moving services for customers. Van lines are national brands and their agents perform household moves on behalf of their van line.


Warehouse Handling

Warehouse handling fees that occur each time a SIT (temporary storage in a warehouse) service is provided. These include temporary warehousing, loading and unloading of items, and the final delivery of items to their destination.


Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

A government issued document to help anyone who is moving understand every step of the moving process. Information about moving paperwork, estimates, claims, and insurance are all outlined in this document.

Moving can be an overwhelming period for residents and clients. Knowing the right moving terminology can help make the moving process less confusing and the moving industry more transparent. Reference these moving terms and pass them along to residents and clients so they can feel more confident working with their moving company.