Moving Terminology Explained

The process of planning a move is even more complicated if you don’t have a clear understanding of the terminology used in the moving industry. Here are the terms you need to know:

Accessorial (Additional) Services

These are moving services that fall outside the standard transportation services and charges. Accessorial moving services can include packing, unpacking or appliance servicing. It might also include extra pick-up or deliveries at your request, or which are necessary due to unique circumstances or landlord requirements.


As a local moving company that also represents a national van line, your agent can handle functions such as booking, origin, hauling and destination.

AMSA Certified Mover

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

AMSA Certified Van Line

The FHA certifies van lines to act as interstate carriers that transport moving shipments under their own authority. 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 the actual moving services such as origin, destination and hauling. The Van Lines are responsible for the quality of service provided by their moving agents.

Appliance Service

Preparing major electrical appliances in such a way that 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 it includes the contract for the transportation of your household goods. Do NOT sign the Bill of Lading until you’ve made sure that it is completely correct, and be sure to 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, 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 is able to price, sell and register your move with North American Van Lines.


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).


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

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 make sure all your household goods make it to their destination.

Contract Number

You’ll find this number on the Order of Service and Bill of Lading forms, in the upper right-hand corner. 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.


North American Van Lines provides you with a free estimate that includes a general calculation of what the transportation charges will be, 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 certain set date in exchange for the customer paying moving charges based on a higher minimum shipment weight.

Guaranteed Pickup/Delivery

This is a premium moving service in which the mover guarantees dates of service and reimburses the customer for delays. Guaranteed Pickup/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

Defined as items that have a value over $100 per pound, 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 and the condition and number of each item.

Line-haul Charges

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

Long Carry

If it’s necessary for the movers to carry items excessive distances between the moving truck and your residence, this additional charge will apply.

Move Coordinator

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

Order for Service

This document lists all the moving services you require and/or have requested, and 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 documentation for transportation, and performing the visual survey.

Peak Season Rates

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

Pickup and Delivery Charges

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

Relocation Specialist

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

Shuttle Service

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

Storage-In-Transit (SIT)

This is temporary storage of your belongings until time to deliver them to the destination. If your new home isn’t quite ready to move into, for example, you can request SIT service. 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.

Third Party Charges

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


Sometimes also known as “Maximum Value Protection,” valuation is a charge based on the degree of “worth” of your moving shipment. It’s a way of compensating the moving company for taking on a greater degree of liability than what 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. The van line authorizes its agents to transport interstate moving shipments, but handles all paperwork processing, dispatching, shipment routing and monitoring, and claims settlement on behalf of its agents. North American Van Lines is a good example of this type of full service moving company.

Van Operator

This is the driver of the moving truck or van, and the person who is overall 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.