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  • Writer's pictureWalker's/Capital Movers

The ABCs of Moving

Use our handy glossary of moving terms and learn the lingo - there are a lot of industry-specific terms when it comes to moving and some of them are not so obvious.

Access to storage – when goods are stored in a warehouse (vs. Self-storage) this is usually a flat-fee service during which the customer visits their stored goods – fee covers the time to retrieve and open the pallet(s) in which the goods are stored and reclose and replace the pallet.

Bill of Lading – contract between shipper and moving services provider for the transportation of household goods/belongings. This is also a receipt for the goods and contains all the details of the move. Signature of this document indicates agreement to services and fees as listed.

Bingo Sheet – numbered check-off sheet to track all pieces being moved at loading and unloading – corresponds with the tag numbers on each item.

Booking Agent – if moving with a van line long distance or short haul, this is the member or agent of that van line who booked the move. Usually this is the company that is in the town of origin OR has the relocation account for the shipper’s employer.

Bulky Article – an item that will not fit in a standard moving box or is not a usual piece of household furniture – e.g. swing set, camper, piano, snowmobile – and may incur an extra charge to cover additional efforts to load, transport, unload the item.

Cargo Protection - see Replacement Valuation Protection

Certified Cheque – one of the forms of payment accepted by most moving companies – this is a cheque that has been verified by the customer’s bank as to having sufficient funds at time of cashing.

Claim – if damage occurs during a move, the customer may submit a statement of loss and damage. There is usually a ‘claim form’ which requires detail of the item(s) lost/damaged i.e. purchase value, replacement value, and the damage that occurred. There may be limits to remedy depending on valuation purchased.

COD – cash on delivery. This term refers to moves that are to be paid by deposit in advance or in full at completion of delivery by the customer.

Consignee – the receiver of the goods at destination.

Consignor – the shipper or person from whom the goods are picked up at origin.

Container service (also “Flexible Move”) – a separate, lockable “box” that is an alternative to moving goods by truck or van. Offers flexibility in terms of loading and delivery date as the goods may travel in the container to destination and be offloaded to a mover’s secure yard to await customer’s readiness for delivery of the goods. Containers vary in size to match client needs. is United Van Lines Canada’s proprietary do-it-yourself container service in which the client may load and unload their own containers.

CWT (hundredweight) – this is a rate per hundred pounds.

Delivery – the final part of the move when the goods are brought to destination.

Destination Agent – if moving with a van line long distance or short haul, this is the member or agent of that van line who is located in the destination community. This member may be the one supplying local help for the driver of the shipment, unpacking services, claim services or any other post-move support/follow-up services.

Dispatch – this is the office from which the scheduling of loading, hauling, delivery and packing is coordinated. In long distance and short haul moves there is often a central dispatch (the van line) and a local dispatch working together to schedule the phases of the move.

Dockage – a fee charged by the warehouse for goods that are brought in or out by the customer – in essence a “parking” or usage fee for the warehouse dock/door.

Driver – the person who drives the moving van/truck and who is typically the supervisor or crew chief for the move.

Estimate (quote) — a calculation of the fees for a move which would include transportation and any additional services such as packing/unpacking, appliance service, crating, storage. The fee is calculated based on the amount of goods to be moved. For short or long haul moves this is based on the estimated weight of the shipment. Local moves are calculated based on the estimated time to load, transport and unload the shipment.

Exception – a note about the condition of goods when they are being loaded or unloaded – this documents any irregularities about the condition of the item or its packaging. Usually made on the inventory form or a special exception form.

Firm Price – an estimated amount that is guaranteed as the final charge for the move regardless of actual weight or time.

Flexible Move – see Container Service

G-11 – A G-11 is the transportation of a shipment from the residence at origin to the Origin Member’s warehouse, for furtherance at the carrier’s convenience.

Guaranteed not to exceed – an estimate that guarantees the final move charge within a certain amount – usually 10 per cent. Based on the actual weight/time required for the move the customer may have to pay up to 10% more than the estimated charges but no higher.

Hauling agent – if moving with a van line long distance or short haul, this is the member or agent of that van line whose driver will transport the shipment.

High value articles – individual articles or matched sets with value (combined for sets) exceeding $10,000. Value must be confirmed by appraisal and coverage requires valuation purchased beyond the RVP.

Increased carrier liability – With this option, the moving company assumes greater responsibility for a customer's belongings. If any item is lost, damaged, or destroyed during the move, the moving company is responsible for either repairing the item, replacing it with a similar one, or providing a cash settlement based on the item's replacement value. The minimum value declared on the shipment must be the greater of the replacement cost of the goods or $10.00 times the weight of the shipment. Certain mechanical items and appliances require appropriate pre-move servicing, usually by a licensed professional, to protect them from internal damage during transport. If not serviced, these items will travel at owner's risk for any internal damage that may occur. Other items that are not covered include documents, jewellery, stamp and coin collections.

In-transit – the stage of a shipment that is between origin and destination.

Inventory – a listing of all the goods to be loaded and transported by the moving company. Completed for long and short haul moves but not necessarily for local moves. Listing corresponds with tags on items to be moved and any exceptions or condition notes are made on the listing pages.

Line Haul Charges – the charge for the transportation portion of the move. Packing, shuttle, stair carry, appliance service or any other additional service charges are in addition to this amount.

Loading – the removal of goods from origin and placement into the moving truck or container in preparation for transport.

Loading Completion Certificate – document used at completion of loading at origin to obtain customer’s verification that all items to be moved have been loaded and nothing for transport remains not loaded.

Local move – a move taking place over a distance of less than 50 miles and calculated on an hourly rate.

Long Carry – refers to a requirement of origin or destination that prevents the moving truck being in close proximity to the site of the goods, thus necessitating items be carried over an excessive distance. This may incur a fee in addition to line haul charges.

Long distance (long haul) move – in general a move that takes place over a distance of 500 miles or more.

Long-term storage – storage for a month or longer.

Member/agent – moving company affiliated with a van line.

Mover – company offering relocation services. May also refer to the individual who is performing the move service – including driver and assistants.

Moving blanket/pad – quilted pad used to wrap furniture and other unboxed items for protection during handling and transportation.

Moving Consultant – the moving company representative who is responsible for surveying the goods to be moved, providing an estimate of moving charges, selling the move services, and coordinating some of the services (e.g. overseas) once the move is booked.

Order Number – the registration number for a shipment – usually contains the member number of the agent who booked the move, a unique sequential number, and the year. Appears on all paperwork related to the move.

Origin Agent – if moving with a van line long distance or short haul, this is the member or agent of that van line who is located at the origin of the move and responsible for origin services such as performing a survey, supplying packers and/or movers, picking up the shipment, preparing paperwork, arranging third party services, etc. Often the booking agent and the origin agent are one in the same. In cases where they are not the booking agent may specify what they would like the origin agent to look after.

Overflow – articles that do not fit on the moving truck with the main shipment and will follow on a separate vehicle.

Packing – the phase of the move that occurs before loading during which all non-furniture and smaller and fragile items are prepared for transportation usually by placement in cartons, totes or other protective containers. Packing may be completed by the shipper (PBO – packed by owner) or by a professional packing crew.

Packing Completion Certificate – document used when the moving company is packing a shipment to certify that all packing (and unpacking) has been completed to the customer’s satisfaction.

Pallet – a large wooden crate/box used to separate and store customer goods in a warehouse. Storage lots may consist of one or more pallets depending on the amount of goods. Larger items such as couches or rugs will be wrapped and stored separately from the goods in pallets.

Palletized storage – storage in a warehouse using pallets as opposed to self-storage or storage units.

Peak Season – the busy season for household moving – late spring and summer months. This period, as well as month end, usually incurs higher rates.

Pre-authorized Credit Card – one of the forms of payment accepted by most moving companies for COD shipments. 24 to 48 hours prior to the move date the shipper’s credit card will be verified by the moving company to ensure sufficient funds for the move. Actual charges will be processed on the card after the move is completed.

Pre-packing – packing performed in advance of the main packing day for large shipments to ensure that all goods are ready for loading on the actual move date. Applicable only when shipper is using professional packing services provided by the moving company.

Property Damage Certificate – a waiver used when it is likely or possible that damage will occur during the moving of an item at customer’s request. For example – if a customer requests a large couch be moved into the basement of their new home and the access is smaller than the house at origin and the mover advises that in order to put the item where the customer requests there is a good chance that walls or banisters will be damaged. The customer can choose to not have the item placed as desired or can advise the mover to proceed, sign the waiver and accept liability for any damage, releasing the mover from liability.

Released Carrier Liability: This is the basic carrier liability that moving companies must provide at no additional cost. However, it offers minimal protection, typically reimbursing a customer based on the weight of the item rather than its actual value. For typical household goods and valuable items, this coverage is not sufficient.

Runners/Floor Runners – long mats used to protect the floors at customer homes/sites. Put down on entrance ways, hallways, stairs, room floors.

Scale Tickets – the official document with regard to the weight of a shipment (the basis of transportation or line haul charges for all non-local moves). These receipts are obtained by the driver when scaling (weighing) a shipment at an approved scales location. There will be two tickets – one for a light weight and one for a heavy weight.

Self-Storage – individual, lockable storage units with flexible access – “do it yourself storage.”

Service Specification – document that provides a general overview of services requested by customer that is completed during the moving consultant’s survey – sets out exactly what services the moving estimate will encompass (and the move once booked).

Shipper – the customer or person whose goods are being moved.

Short Haul – in general a non-local move (more than 50 miles) that is taking place over less than 500 miles.

Shuttle Service – when conditions at either origin or destination does not permit access to the size of truck necessary to transport the entire shipment, a smaller vehicle will be used to move items to/from the home/business to the larger vehicle. This service typically incurs an extra fee.

Storage in Transit (SIT) – the temporary warehouse storage of a shipment awaiting further transportation and/or delivery. Depending on the conditions incurring the SIT, the charges for this may be the responsibility of the shipper or the mover.

Storage in Vehicle – goods are temporarily stored on moving vehicle instead of being moved into a warehouse when storage is required prior to delivery. This typically involves a very short period of time, i.e. overnight or a few days.

Stair Carry – if goods must be carried up or down a flight of stairs. This often incurs additional fees.

Storage – goods kept in a warehouse or self-storage unit for a period of time.

Straight Truck – a small to mid-size box truck for local or shorter distance moves that do not require a tractor trailer.

Survey (or ‘Visual’) – the moving consultant (from the booking agent or origin agent) visually inspects the goods to be moved to assess quantity with regard to weight or time in order to prepare a cost estimate for a move.

Tag – a numbered and specifically colour-coded tag placed on every piece of a long or short haul shipment to correspond with numbered inventory listings created before/during loading.

Tag and list – the process of placing tags on all pieces of a long or short haul shipment and making corresponding entries on the inventory listings as to the type and condition of the item.

Tare weight – weight of moving van and its contents before a shipment is loaded.

Tariff – a publication setting forth the charges, rates, rules, regulations or other provisions related to a motor carrier’s transportation services.

Third Party Services – services performed by someone other than the carrier at your request or as required by regulations pertaining to your tariff. These could include appliance servicing, crating, vehicle forwarding, house cleaning, repairs.

Tractor Trailer – a large articulated vehicle consisting of a towing truck and a trailer, usually a 53 foot long one. Often referred to as a “big rig” or “semi” or “18-wheeler.” This size of vehicle, when used in the moving business, would hold the contents of a large house or several smaller shipments and would typically be used to transport shipments for a short or long haul move. Smaller shipments travelling locally would use a straight truck. Depending on access at origin or destination, shipments to be moved in a tractor-trailer may require a shuttle.

Travel time – applicable for moves billed hourly, generally local moves, travel time is the time it takes for the moving van to get from the mover’s office to the client’s origin location, from origin to destination, and the time to return to the office from the client’s unloading location. Additional time considerations in a local move may include elevators, stair carries or long carries.

TTG – Transit Time Guide – delivery schedule for long and short haul moves, via van or container, as set out in the current tariff governing the move. This is typically a range of allowable delivery dates within which delivery of the shipment must take place.

U Can – portable, local storage container. Designed to be dropped off at client location after which the customer can load and/or store goods according to their schedule. When the client is finished with storage needs or has completed loading the container, it is picked up and delivered to new location or returned to moving company.

Unit pack – packing is priced per box rather than by weight. Estimates usually include both a cwt and a unit packing cost with the “better of” option for the final charge.

Unpacking – the removal of goods from containers (boxes) and crates, and the disposal of such containers and packing materials. This does not include putting items away but rather removing them from packaging and placing them conveniently for the customer (e.g. on table or counter tops) to organize and put away.

Valuation – insurance to cover a customer’s goods while in transit/care of the movers. There are a few options including full replacement value protection – purchased by customer – or travelling at a released rate – no additional purchase required but coverage is limited to $0.60 per pound per article. Items of very high value may require additional special coverage.

Van Line – a large network or company comprised of member or agent moving companies. While each member provides local services, the van line can coordinate member resources to facilitate long-distance, cross-country and international moves more effectively than a single, local mover might. A van line can also provide central services to a moving company such as dispatch, revenue, marketing and claims resolution.

Van Operator – the driver of the vehicle transporting the shipment.

Warehouse – large indoor storage facility. A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution, and storage of goods/cargo.

Warehouse handling – fee charged when goods are brought into or leave the warehouse. This represents the physical placement and removal of goods within the warehouse.

Wrapping – applying moving blankets or plastic wrap/bags, as appropriate, to furniture or other unboxed items before placing them into pallets or racks for storage.


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