Before you hire movers, there are some key terms you should know about - terms that the moving company will be referring to whenever they book your move. Knowing what they know before signing any paperwork will help keep your fees low and your move secure.
1. Bill of Lading
The contract between the mover and you for the transportation of your household or business goods. Make sure you understand and agree with all statements before you sign. It is a binding contract.
This is the most important document you'll receive from the movers. Make sure you keep it in a safe place until after the move and all items are accounted for.
2. Binding and Non-Binding Estimates
The flat rate quoted for the given inventory. The mover quotes a flat price no matter how long the job takes. This is the rate provided when the moving company performs the onsite estimate.
A non-binding estimate is the initial quote given based on the company's past experience. It is usually quoted without performing an estimate. The final price is given once the job is completed. Find out more about mover estimates...
3. Carrier's Liability
The liability that the moving company assumes for your household goods. The amounts varies according to the mover. It's important to note that this is not insurance and you should know the difference. Speak to your representative and ask about the conditions under which you're goods are protected.
For more information on moving company insurance go to this article on Should You Purchase More Insurance?
4. Delivery Window
A delivery window is the time frame in which a mover guarantees that your household goods will arrive at your new place.
If you're hiring movers for a long distance move, you should know that the moving company will provide you with a delivery window of when your things will arrive at your new home. Depending on how far you're moving will determine how large or small the delivery window is, sometimes ranging from three to five days. On average, a mover should be able to give you a three-day arrival window.
It's important to note that if you're moving to another country and need to deal with country borders and customs, the window will be even larger and will require flexibility from your end.
5. Full Service Move
The most common type of move, with the carrier moving your household items from your old address to your new address. All the items are picked up from the originating rooms and placed in the new rooms. Furniture is wrapped in blankets for protection during transport. For an additional fee, full service providers will also put together your furniture and hook-up your appliances.
6. Long Carry
An additional charge when the mover has to carry goods from the truck or van to your residence. Normally there is a distance limit between the rear of the moving truck/van to your residence's entrance. When this limit is exceeded, you are charged an additional fee.
7. Order for Service
An order for service refers to the contract between you and a mover. Once you've chosen a mover and agreed on a price, the mover will prepare an order for service that outlines the details of the move. It's a document that you'll be asked to sign so make sure you read it over carefully and that the details you discussed with the mover are outlined.
8. Short Haul
If the distance you're moving is less than 450 miles, it's considered a short haul move. Even though your move may be considered a short haul doesn't mean that a long distance charge won't apply. Ask the mover about their fee structure.
If you're hiring movers for your interstate move, the moving company must publish their moving tariff. A tariff contains everything you need to know about the company's mover fees, rules and regulations along with all potential charges. While a mover doesn't need to register or file their tariff with the government, however they do need to make is available to the public. If you're hiring a mover, ask them for a copy of their tariff before you hire.
10. USDOT Number
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) issues USDOT (United States Department of Transport) Numbers to commercial vehicles that are in the business of interstate transportation, whether it is cargo as in the case with household or business moves, or transporting passengers. According to the FMCSA website, the USDOT Number is unique and identifies a company enabling the Department of Transport to monitor and collect safety information, including information used for auditing, compliance reviews, accident investigations and vehicle inspections.