Glossary of Moving Terms

No matter what stage of moving you’re in from choosing a mover with services like Zipmover, to unpacking belongings knowing common terms is incredibly useful.

With that in mind, this glossary provides the top terms you should know, from A to Z.

A-Z Terms

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   L   M   N   O   P   R   S   T   U   V   W


Accessorial (Additional) Services:

Extra services that you request, or are necessary. For example, packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries. These may come with extra charges.

Advanced Charges:

Char ges for services delivered by a party other than your mover. The mover will pay for these services and include them in your bill of lading charges.


A local moving company that is authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company.

Appliance Service by Third Party:

The preparation of electronic appliances to ensure they are able to be safely shipped. This service may be charged in addition to line haul charges.

Auxiliary Service (Shuttle):

An additional, smaller vehicle to be used if the assigned over-the-road van is unable to make a normal pickup/delivery because of physical constraints. Charges for this vehicle are hourly, in addition to charges for extra labor involved.


Bill of Lading:

A receipt for your goods as well as the contract for their transportation. NOTE: It is your responsibility to understand this critical document before signing it.

Booking Agent:

The agent who accepts the order for your move. This agent may or may not be your origin or destination agent.


A middle party that arranges, or offers to arrange, the transportation of cargo by an authorized carrier. Brokers are usually not responsible for the cargo, and do not take possession of it.

Bulky Article:

Items of unusual bulk or low weight density tha t create difficult in unloading will necessitate a bulky article charge. Examples of such items include snowmobiles, cars, and pianos.



The mover transporting your belongings.

Carrier's Liability For Loss or Damage:

The liability assumed by the carrier for your possessions. There are several liability options available, so make sure to have your carrier’s representative explain each one, its ramifications, and cost. NOTE: This is not the same as insurance.


A statement of loss or damage to any household goods while in the care of a carrier or its agent. This statement is generally made on a Claim Form.

Collect on Delivery (COD):

A shipment where customer pays moving charges at the time of delivery. This type of shipment must be paid for in cash, or by traveler's check, money order, cashier's check or credit card. Commercial Shipper: Any person who is named as the consignor or consignee in a bill of lading contract. They are not the owner of the goods being transported, but assume the responsibility for payment of the transportation of the goods.


The person a shipment is to be delivered to.


The person a shipment is picked up from.

CP (Carrier Packed):

Items packed by the carrier, not the shipper.


This abbreviation stands for the rate or charge per 100 lbs.



When a driver travels without a load. Usually to move their truck to pick up a paying load.

Declared Valuation:

The value declared, by the shipper, of possessions being shipped. This establishes the carrier's maximum liability for loss or damage to the shipment. If no value is declared, liability is then controlled by the tariff under which the shipment is moved.

Destination Agent:

An agent designated in the destination area to assist you or the van operator regarding your shipment.


Elevator Carry:

A charge that compensates a carrier for additional labor required to move a shipment via an elevator.

Estimate, Binding:

An agreement made in advance with the mover, which guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate. If additional items are added, or services requested, you and your mover may:

  • Agree to abide by the original binding estimate
  • Negotiate a new binding estimate
  • Convert the binding estimate into a non-binding estimate

Estimate, Non-Binding:

A mover’s estimated cost, based on the estimated weight of the shipment and accessorial services requested. This estimate is not binding on the mover. Final charges will be based on the actual weight of the shipment, services provided, and tariff provisions in effect. Be prepared to pay 10% more than the estimated charges at delivery (110 Percent Rule).

Expedited Service:

Transportation performed by a set date in exchange for charges based on a higher minimum weight.

Extraordinary Value or High Value Article:

An item whose value is higher than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram). To ensure that they are protected accordingly, it’s recommended to disclose these items to the mover.


Flight Charge:

This charge is for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. This may come in addition to line haul charges.

Flight Charge (Stair Carry):

An extra charge to compensate the carrier, specifically for additional labor and time necessary to move a shipment up or down flights of stairs that lead to or from an origin or destination residence.

For-Hire Carrier:

A trucking company that is paid to transport cargo belonging.

Force Majeure:

A defense that protects parties when part of a contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside the control of any party.

Freight Forwarder:

A company that arranges for truck transportation of cargo, using for-hire carriers to provide the actual transportation. The freight forwarder assumes responsibility for cargo from origin to destination, usually taking possession of the cargo at some point during the process.

Full Value:

An option where the mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods, as long as it doesn't exceed the total declared value of the shipment. Under FVP, the mover must repair, replace with like items, or settle in cash at the current market replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. The minimum declared value of a shipment under this option is $5,000 or $4.00 times the actual total weight (in pounds) of the shipment, whichever is greater.


Government Bill of Lading Shipper:

Any person whose property is transported under the terms and conditions of a government bill of lading. This can be issued by any department or agency of the Federal government to the carrier responsible for transporting the shipment.

Gross Weight:

The total weight of both the van and its contents after goods are loaded.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service:

An additional level of service with guaranteed dates, where reimbursement is provided if there are delays. This service is usually subject to minimum weight requirements.


Hazardous Materials:

Materials that are explosive, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosive, or radioactive. Common household examples include nail polish remover, paint, and paint thinner.

High Value or Extraordinary Value Article:

An item whose value is higher than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram). To ensure that they are protected accordingly, it’s recommended to disclose these items to the mover.

Household Goods (when used in connection with transportation):

Personal effects or property used, or to be used, in a dwelling. Includes the equipment or supplies of the dwelling. This term also includes property moving from a factory or store if purchased with the intent to use in a dwelling.


Individual Shipper:

Any person who is the shipper, consignor, or consignee of a household goods shipment, as identified in the bill of lading. They own the goods being transported and pay the transportation charges.

Intrastate Move:

A move in which goods are transported from one point to another within the same state.

Interstate Move:

The transportation of goods from one state to a different state. This includes destinations outside the United States and when moving between two locations in one state where travel through another state or place outside the United States is required.


Line Haul Charges:

The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of a move. If separately stated, they apply in addition to accessorial service charges.

Long Carry:

A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and your residence. This service may be charged in addition to the line haul charges.

Long Haul:

A move that requires travel over 450 miles. Long hauls are usually performed with tractor trailers.


Motor Carrier:

A company which provides truck transportation. Motor carriers come in two forms: private and for-hire carriers.


Net Weight:

The gross weight minus tare weight. Shippers are entitled to a copy of the scale ticket to verify a shipment's actual net weight.


110 Percent Rule:

A law requiring movers to deliver goods for no more than 10 percent above the price of a non-binding estimate.

Operating Authority:

Registration issued by a state or Federal governmental entity authorizing a carrier to move household goods for compensation between designated geographical areas. A van line's agent may also have its own separate "operating authority" issued by a state or Federal governmental entity, to move shipments within a certain geographical area.

Order for Service:

A document authorizing a carrier to transport household goods.

Order for Service Number:

The number used to identify a shipment. It can be found in the upper right corner of the Bill of Lading and on the Order for Service.

Origin Agent:

An agent designated in the origin area to be available for preliminary readying of the shipment before movement, or to provide information to regarding the move.


When items must be loaded on a second van due to insufficient space in the first van.


PBO (Packed By Owner):

Articles packed by the shipper, not the carrier.

Peak Season Rates:

This refers to higher line haul charges that often occur during summer months.

Pickup and Delivery Charges:

Separate transportation charges for transporting a shipment between the storage-in-transit warehouse and a residence.

Private Carrier:

A company that provides truck transportation of its own cargo, usually as part of a business that produces, uses, sells, and/or buys the cargo being hauled.


Released Value (Basic Value):

The most economical protection option, at no additional cost, but provides minimal coverage. Under this option, the mover is liable for no more than 60 cents per pound ($1.32 cents per kilogram), per item. Loss or damage claims are settled based upon the pound (kilogram) weight of the article multiplied by 60 cents per pound ($1.32 cents per kilogram). If chosen, the shipper must sign a specific agreement to it.


A second weighing of shipment performed at the destination, at either the shipper's or the carrier's request.

Road Van:

A long haul tractor-trailer that moves shipments long distance (usually over 450 miles).


Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU):

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Lega cy for Users (Public Law 109-59; SAFETEA-LU) is a funding and authorization bill passed by Congress in 2005 which enhanced existing federal authority over interstate movers.


The person (customer) whose goods are being moved.

Short Haul:

A move which requires traveling a distance no more than 450 miles. Usually performed with straight trucks, although tractor-trailers can also be used.

Shuttle Service:

When a smaller vehicle provides service to residences that are not accessible to a mover's nor mal line haul equipment.

Straight Truck:

A truck with roughly one half the size and capacity of a tractor-trailer. Straight trucks are single cab and body vehicles.

Storage-in-Transit (SIT):

The temporary warehouse storage of a shipment pending further transportation, with or without notification to the shipper. If storage occurs due to the shipper, they are responsible for additional charges and may not be notified of temporary storage. However if storage is necessary due to the carrier’s fault, they are responsible and must notify the shipper.

Surface Transportation Board ( ):

A Department of Transportation agency that regulates household goods carrier tariffs, among other responsibilities.


This is when the booking or origin agent examines the shipper's goods to develop a cost estimate.


Tare Weight:

The weight of a van and its contents before goods are loaded. Tariff: A list which contains rates, rules, regulations, classifications, or other provisions related to a motor carrier's transportation services. The Surface Transportation Board requires that a tariff contain 3 specific items:
  • An accurate description of the services the mover offers to the public.
  • Specific applicable rates and service terms for those services.
  • An arrangement that allows the shipper to determine the exact rate(s) and service terms applicable to their shipment.
Each mover publishes its own tariffs and these must be provided upon request.

Third Party Services:

Services performed by someone other than the carrier by request, or as required by Federal, state, or local law.



The removal of belongings from containers and crates. This includes the disposal of disposable containers and packing materials.



The degree of worth, or dollar value, of the shipment. This charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in base transportation charges. All movers are required to assume liability for the value of goods that they transport.


Any type of trucks used for moving are called "vans." This includes everything from small econo-line pack vans, to long tractor-trailers.

Van Operator:

The driver of the vehicle carrying household goods.


Warehous e Handling:

A charge that may be applied each time storage-in-transit service is provided, and may be in addition to the line haul charges. This specific charge compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within a warehouse.