Common Moving Terms

Common Moving Terms

Relocating to a new home can be a monumental task. From selecting a reputable local moving company to organizing your belongings for efficient packing, there’s a lot of information to process. As you begin to work with a mover, you may hear terminology you’re unfamiliar with, which is why we’ve created this list of common moving terms and their definitions. Although most of these are standard terms that apply to moving in general, a few of them will be unique to your move with the local moving experts at MoveDay.


An agent refers to a moving company that works with a carrier or van line to manage booking, processing, and moving.

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is a required document acknowledging receipt of your belongings. This form serves as the contract with the movers for the transport of the items. The mover’s name and contact information, the transportation schedule, and the terms and conditions regarding payment for your move are also listed here. In addition, you’ll find the total moving charges and information regarding the valuation of your belongings. Most importantly, the bill of lading states how much the mover will be liable if any items are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Binding vs. Non-Binding Estimate

A binding estimate is a quote for the total cost of the move based on a complete pre-move survey that considers all elements of the move. This contract is highly accurate because it’s based on the information obtained visually by a professional estimator. Although a binding estimate offers a guarantee of sorts, changes to the information obtained during the walkthrough could still result in additional charges.

A non-binding estimate offers some flexibility as far as allowing for specifics that you did not fully know at the time of the initial quote. Although this type of estimate offers a ballpark figure of how much the move will cost, additional charges are often incurred as more details unfold.

Bingo Sheet

A bingo sheet is a checklist movers use to account for each item in the load to make sure everything made it to the final destination.

Blankets or Moving Pads

Moving blankets are thick, soft materials used to wrap and pad large items such as furniture for protection during loading and transport.

Bulky Article

A bulky article refers to a large item requiring special handling during packing, loading, and transport. Pianos are an example of bulky articles.


The carrier is the moving company authorized to transport your household goods from one location to another during a move.


A claim is a complaint submitted requesting compensation for damages incurred to items while in a moving company’s care. You may also submit a claim if the movers damage either home during the loading or unloading of your items.

Climate-Controlled Storage

Climate-controlled storage offers the highest protection level because it means that a unit or facility regulates both temperature and humidity.

Temperature-controlled storage is a related term that refers to the regulation of just temperature. With some moves, temperature control is all that is needed.

Declutter Program

The declutter program is a service offered by MoveDay where items are temporarily removed from your home and placed in a storage unit. This service makes it easier for you to stage and organize your home to prepare it for the market. Not all moving companies offer this convenient service.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT is a federal organization that regulates transportation for both commercial and personal purposes. In the context of a move, you might hear the term DOT number. Verifying this number is the best way to identify the moving company as being properly licensed to move your stuff. The DOT number is significant in determining a mover’s legitimacy since DOT licensing is required for operation.

DIY Packing aka PBO or Packed by Owner

Do it yourself packing is just what it sounds like. It’s when a customer chooses to pack their own belongings instead of paying extra for packing services from their local moving company.

Some related terms are full-service packing and partial packing. These terms refer to optional packing services offered by full-service moving companies.

Essentials Box

An essentials box is a box used to store items that you will need just before and immediately after the move. The items you would put in this box fall into three categories:

  • Items to keep you fed and clothed
  • Things that keep you comfortable and clean
  • Tools needed for unpacking

The essentials box is the box you will pack last and open first. Medications may be even more essential than the other items in this box, which is why you should keep a couple of days’ worth of meds with you during the move.

Full Value Protection

In the event of the loss or damage of an item, full-value protection will cover the cost of repairing the item. If the item is irreparable, this protection will cover the cost of replacing the item with something similar, not to exceed the total amount of coverage for the move.

High-Value Inventory

High-value inventory is defined as items valued at over $100 per pound. When purchasing full value protection, you’ll be asked to list those items on a form called the high-value inventory form. The purpose of this form is to ensure that our moving team takes special care to ensure that those items arrive safely. In the event of a claim, if you failed to list an item on the high-value inventory form and it cannot be repaired, the payout will be $100 per pound, based on the item’s weight.

Move for Hunger

Local MoveDay branches have teamed up with Move for Hunger as a way to give back to the community. Move for Hunger collects non-perishable food items and provides them to local food banks. Through this organization, we offer a discard and donate program that is free to our customers. Every move provides an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

Move Manager

Your move manager is a MoveDay employee committed to helping you throughout the moving process. This person will be your single point of contact who is standing by to answer any questions you may have regarding the logistics of the move.

Moving Permit

A moving permit is a legal document giving you and the movers permission to temporarily park vehicles such as the moving truck in designated locations at certain times of the day.


Non-allowable items are goods that cannot be transported by moving companies due to safety issues. These items include poisonous or hazardous materials (chemicals, combustible items, etc.) as well as perishable items.

Peak Season

The peak season for moving is spring and summer. The off-peak season is, of course, fall and winter. Spring and summer months are more popular for home sales and moving due to warmer weather and the ending of the school year.

Personal Move Portal

Your moving portal is an application where you can access all of your move documents, confirm/add/approve services, and even meet your moving crew prior to moving day. On your actual move day, you will be able to track your crew and items digitally, and communicate if need be via the move portal.

Storage in Transit (SIT)

Storage in transit is defined as temporary, short-term storage of goods between pickup and delivery to their final destination.

Valuation Coverage

Different than insurance, valuation coverage provides compensation to the customer if it is determined that a loss or damage of goods during the move was the fault of the moving company.

Van Operator

A van operator is a person responsible for the transport of goods throughout the move, including loading, hauling, and unloading.

Vault Storage

When items need to be stored off the truck, they are wrapped, palleted, and placed in a vault, a locked portion of a warehouse.

The above list of moving terms only scratches the surface of the various terminology used on a daily basis in the moving industry. Many of the other terms used fall into the category of technical jargon beyond the scope of this introductory overview. Also, keep in mind that not all of the moving terms mentioned here will apply to your move.

If, after reading this, you still have questions about moving terminology found in your paperwork, your move manager is always just a phone call or email away. They are committed to helping you achieve a smooth transition to your new home and will be happy to decode any confusing terminology you come across during your relocation journey with us.

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