Move it, Move it


Every industry has its own special shorthand jargon used by insiders. This blog will illuminate all the terms you’ll need to relocate without a hitch. And to sound like a pro while you’re doing it.


Bill of lading (also known as B/L or BoL)

bill of ladingLading is a verb originally meaning “to put cargo on a ship.” A bill of lading is a legal document between the shipper of a particular good and the carrier detailing type, quantity and destination of the good being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the good is delivered to the predetermined destination. This document must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the form of transportation, and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper and receiver. It also serves as a receipt ensuring those items are returned in good condition, so be sure to examine the document and make sure all your valuables are listed. The bill of lading came into existence centuries ago when international trade was heating up and people on both sides of a deal realized they needed a binding, written description of items going from Point A to Point B.


Binding estimate

binding estimateA binding estimate simply means that the price quoted in the estimate is the amount you pay, even if your shipment weighs more than the estimated amount or less than the estimated amount. It’s the guaranteed price supplied by a moving company based on the inventory of your home.


There are some rules of a Binding Estimate. Check out this list:

  1. The binding estimate must accurately describe the shipment and all the services the company will provide.
  2. A binding estimate must be in writing, and a copy must be given to you before you move.
  3. Payment due at time of delivery. If you agree to a binding estimate, you must pay the amount due by cash, certified check, money order, or cashier’s check, at the time of delivery.
  4. Your mover must retain a copy of the binding estimate and attach it to the bill of lading.
  5. The moving company must clearly state that the estimate is binding to you and your mover. Each binding estimate must also clearly state that the charges are only for services outlined in the estimate.
  6. The mover can refuse service. Before loading your household goods, if the moving company thinks you have additional belongings not stated in the estimate, the mover can refuse the service. Make sure everything you need to move is clearly outlined in the estimate. If you need to add items, tell your mover so you can work out an agreement before they start to load your shipment.
  7. Once the moving company agrees to move your belongings, they must either confirm the binding estimate, negotiate a revised written binding estimate listing the additional household goods or services or add an attachment to the contract, in writing stating you both will consider the original binding estimate as a non-binding estimate. Again, avoid any “add-ons” if you can. It can lead to a higher-priced move and could result in not having a mover on moving day.
  8. Once your mover loads all your household belongings, they have agreed to the binding estimate and no changes can be made or additional costs added, with the exception of agreed upon additional services and charges.



These are the packing materials used in supporting and securing packages for shipping and handling such as boards, blocks, planks, metal or plastic bracing.


flight chargeFlight Charge

This is the extra charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges. To compensate the carrier for the additional labor and time required to move a shipment. If your property of origin or your ultimate destination has any steps, make sure to ask your mover to include this flight charge in your guaranteed price to avoid any surprise overages; some movers even charge by the step! And if you think a service elevator eliminates the need to pay this fee, think again. There may be an elevator carry fee, including time spent waiting for the thing to come.


High-value article inventory form

inventory formThis is used to identify and account for articles which have extraordinary value. These articles are considered to be a “high value items.” The High Value Inventory Form is used to identify such high value items so that they can be properly accounted for at origin, and noted at delivery as having been received in good condition.

It is important to understand that, if you have items in your shipment which qualify as high value items, you will not be adequately covered in the event of a claim if you do not enter these items on the mover’s High Value Inventory Form. Furthermore, remember that in the event of a loss or damage claim for these items you would still be required to document any amounts you have claimed, as the high value inventory form does not constitute proof of the value of an item. If you do not have proof of value for your high-value items then it is recommended that you obtain an appraisal prior to moving such articles. These appraisals can also be important for maintaining proper proof of value for homeowners or renter’s insurance policies. In addition, you should understand that simply listing your high-value items on the high value inventory form does not constitute coverage for the items; you must also purchase full replacement value valuation coverage from your mover.



In the moving industry, moving companies often serve customers who pack their own moving boxes. The industry term for this is PBO, literally meaning “Packed by Owner.” Reasons for self-packing vary from person-to-person and from situation-to-situation.

It is important to note that when moving to an overseas destination, it is critical that moving boxes be packed by a professional moving company. The contracted moving company must certify to both the exporting and importing governments and the steamship line and/or airline that it knows what items are packed in each box and that there are no prohibited or contraband items. The company also must inform the insurance company that is issuing coverage for the contents of the shipment that the items are in good condition and free from claim at the time of packing and loading.


moving1Weight additive

It’s all about weight versus volume. Some items included in a shipment – such as a boat or camper shells – may take up a lot of volume while adding relatively little weight. To compensate for the light weight of a bulky item, a tariff, or weight additive, is added to the net weight of the shipment.


moveAccessorial Services

Transportation services that a company performs beyond simply shipping a good from point A to point B. Examples of accessorial services include waiting time, storage, extra fuel, and so forth. A company may attach accessorial charges to compensate it for accessorial services.




The consignor, in a contract of carriage, is the person sending a shipment to be delivered whether by land, sea or air. Some carriers, such as national postal entities, use the term “sender” or “shipper”. But in the event of a legal dispute, the proper and technical term “consignor” will generally be used. So to make it simple: A consignor is the person who sends things to a consignee which is the person receiving the goods.

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