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Common Moving Terminology

A to Z Glossary to Common Moving Terminology

Like most other industries, the moving industry has common terms that refer to specific types of services, charges, and fees. Suppose you are using a moving company to move your household. In that case, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with some key moving terms that may be used when speaking with your sales consultant or going over the moving contract. Our A to Z Home Moving Glossary offers you a comprehensive moving terminology list of important words in the moving industry. 

Moving Glossary | Moving Terms


Accessorial (Additional) Services

These are moving services that fall outside the standard transportation services and charges. Specifically, accessorial moving services can include packing, unpacking, or appliance servicing. It might also have extra pick-ups or deliveries at your request.


As a local moving company representing a national van line, your agent can handle functions such as booking, origin, hauling, and destination. Lile is an agent for North American Van Lines.

AMSA Certified Mover

The AMSA (American Moving & Storage Association) certifies interstate carriers who provide transportation for household moves under their operating authority, as granted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), and who pledge to operate their moving business in a professional, efficient manner following the AMSA Code of Conduct.

AMSA Certified Van Line

The FHA certifies van lines to act as interstate carriers transporting moving shipments under their authority. Therefore, AMSA Certified Van Lines, like AMSA Certified Movers, also follow the AMSA Code of Conduct. Unlike Certified Movers, Van Lines rely on a network of agents across the US to provide basic moving services such as origin, destination, and hauling. Van Lines are responsible for the quality of service provided by their moving agents.

Appliance Service

Preparing major electrical appliances, so they are safe to move to your new home.


Bill of Lading

This is an important document that you must understand before you sign it. The Bill of Lading serves as a receipt for your household move and includes the contract for transporting your household goods. With this in mind, DO NOT sign the Bill of Lading until you’ve made sure it is correct, and keep your copy where you can find it.

Binding/Non-Binding Estimate

With a binding estimate, the mover guarantees the total cost of the move in advance based on the moving services to be provided and the quantities. A non-binding estimate is more like a quote. Therefore, it is not binding on the carrier, and the final charges will be calculated according to the actual weight of the shipment and the actual moving services provided with tariff provisions in effect.

Booking Agent

A booking agent is a company or individual who doesn’t have to be in the same physical location as the origin or destination of the move but can price, sell and register your move with North American Van Lines.



Your carrier is the professional moving company that transports your household goods to your new home.

Certified Scale

Any scale designed for weighing motor vehicles, including trailers or semi-trailers not attached to a tractor, and certified by an authorized scale inspection and licensing authority. 

Change Order

If you need to add or remove items to be shipped or change the moving services from what’s listed on your original moving estimate, the Change Order is the form you will need to use. The amount of the estimate will change accordingly.

Check-Off Sheet

Every piece of furniture and each moving box has a numbered sticker corresponding to its entry on the check-off sheet, which is used at your new home to ensure all your household goods make it to their destination.

COD – Cash on Delivery

In this form of payment for moving, the customer must pay for services at the time of delivery to the new home (or moving storage).

Contract Number

In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll find this number on the Order of Service and Bill of Lading forms. It is the number that the van line uses to identify your shipment of household goods.


Destination Agent

This is simply the moving agent you work with at your destination and who provides the info and moving services you need as you complete your move.


Many self-service movers will place commercial goods behind your household belongings on the trailer. A divider is installed between these separate shipments to keep them secure.



North American Van Lines provides a free estimate that includes a general calculation of the transportation charges, an estimation of shipping weight, and the cost of any additional moving services you request.

Expedited Service

With expedited service, the mover agrees to transport your moving shipment by a particular set date in exchange for the customer paying moving charges based on a higher minimum shipment weight.


Full-Service Mover

The most common form of moving company, a full-service mover, will move all of your household goods from your old address to your new address. Full-service movers will also provide, at additional cost, full packing and unpacking services. 


Guaranteed Pick-up/Delivery

This is a premium moving service in which the mover guarantees dates of service and reimburses the customer for delays. Guaranteed Pick-up/Delivery commonly has minimum weight requirements.


Hauling Agent

A moving agent and the owner of the moving truck that the van line assigns to transport your moving shipment.

High-Value Article

They are defined as items with a value over $100 per pound. Thus, high-value items should be disclosed to the mover to make sure the proper precautions are taken in moving them.



This is where the goods in your household move are listed with details, descriptions, conditions, and the number of each item.

Interstate Move

Any move that crosses a state boundary, regardless of the number of miles. 

Intrastate Move

Any move not crossing a state boundary is typically over 40 miles.


Line-haul Charges

These charges apply to the transportation portion of your moving expenses and are in addition to your other moving service fees.

Local Moving

Local moving usually refers to moves less than 100 miles within the same state. This move is based on hourly rates and is regulated by the state’s DOT (Department of Transportation) or other regulatory body. 

Long Carry

This additional charge will apply if the movers must carry items excessive distances between the moving truck and your residence.


Move Coordinator

Your move coordinator will serve as your single point of contact, coordinating the details of your move from beginning to end. They will keep you informed about your move’s status until your shipment’s final delivery.


Net Weight

The pure weight of a cargo shipment. To calculate this number, you subtract the tare weight (the weight of the moving truck) from the gross weight (the weight of the fully-packed moving truck).

Non-Transportable Items List (Restricted Items)

A list of items that professional movers will not pack and transport because of potential personal danger or property damage. Examples include handguns, fireworks, fire extinguishers, and paint. 


Order for Service

This document lists all the moving services you require and have requested. It gives the moving company your authorization to transport your household belongings.

Origin Agent

This moving agent is located in or near the origin location and handles local moving services, including packing, prepping transportation documentation, and performing the visual survey.


Peak Season Rates

The higher line-haul charges apply for relocations made during the summer months.

Pick-up and Delivery Charges

These are separate moving charges that apply if you’re transporting your household goods between temporary moving storage and your residence.



The estimated price of a moving company’s services. The quote consists of both the onsite inventory as well as any customer requests for assessorial (additional) services. 


Relocation Specialist/Consultant

Your relocation specialist is the agent who can give you an estimate of the cost of your move. They will answer any questions you have about the moving process.


Shuttle Service

Suppose your residence isn’t accessible to the equipment that your professional movers ordinarily use. In that case, a shuttle service employs a smaller vehicle to “shuttle” items between the house and the moving truck.

Storage-In-Transit (SIT)

This is the temporary storage of your belongings until the time to deliver them to the destination. For example, you can request SIT service if your new home isn’t ready to move into. SIT cannot exceed 90 days total, and additional charges apply for this service, as well as fees for warehouse handling and your final moving charges.



The mover’s published price list of rules, regulations, rates, and charges for the performance of interstate moving services. 

Third-Party Charges

Any charges for services performed by a third party at your request and paid for by the mover are added to your Bill of Lading charges. This may include moving services by a craftsman or third-party mover.


USDOT Number

The registration number for any vehicle, including moving trucks transporting a shipment across state lines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the US Department of Transportation assigns and monitors these numbers. 



Sometimes also known as “Maximum Value Protection,” valuation is a charge based on the degree of “worth” of your moving shipment. It compensates the moving company for taking on a greater degree of liability than the base transportation charges would cover.

Van Line

A van line is a moving company that provides services nationwide through a network of affiliated agents. Specifically, the van line authorizes its agents to transport interstate moving shipments. Furthermore, the van line handles all paperwork processing, dispatching, shipment routing, monitoring, and claims settlement on behalf of its agents. North American Van Lines is an excellent example of this type of full-service moving company.

Van Operator

This is the person who drives the moving truck or van. That is to say, they are responsible for the loading of the customer’s belongings, transport to the destination, and unloading at the destination.


Warehouse Handling

The Warehouse Handling charge applies when a customer uses Storage-In-Transit (SIT) service. And it compensates the moving company for handling the customer’s items in the warehouse — from storing them to removing them.


Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

A publication that the federal government mandates be given to all COD customers by the moving agent.

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