Even if you are going to use a professional moving company to help you with your next move, there are still things that have to be done prior to the move taking place. Along with notifying the utility companies and forwarding your mail, there is one more thing that you may want to make sure you have time to do. You need to learn the jargon that you will be exposed to during your move. Just like any other industry, the moving companies use their own language to discuss what is taking place. Knowing what some of these terms are may help you understand what you are contracting and being charged for.


When you begin contacting moving companies to compare prices, you will encounter two types of estimates. These types are:

Non-Binding - These estimates are normally based on an educated guess of what it will cost to move your belongings. The moving company may ask you how far you are moving, or how many rooms of furniture you have. They will then give you an estimated price that will either be based on their guess of what your furnishings will weigh, or how long your move will take. This price can be subject to change if they find you require additional services or have more stuff than they initially believed.

Binding - This is a written contract provider by your moving company outlining all of the services the company will provide and the price that you will be charged. This type of estimate is generally provided after their representative have performed a walk through of your home and performed a full evaluation of all of the belonging that are to be moved. Pricing in a binding agreement are less subject to change even if your move takes longer than the company expected, or your belongings weigh more than they expected. 

Bill Of Lading

When the moving company refers to your Bill of Lading, they are simply referring to the contract that will control your move. It should outline the terms and conditions of your move, as well as the services and pricing the company will be providing.

The Bill of Lading must remain with your belongings throughout the move, although you should retain a copy. It has to be signed by you, the moving company, and any other transporter that will control your goods during the move. It may also serve as your receipt once your belongings have been delivered and your move has been completed.

Flight Charge

While this is charge is most commonly associated with an airlines, if you live in a multi-storied home or in an upstairs apartment, you may see an additional flight charge taxed onto your moving bill. This is often an additional charge that is levied for carrying your belongings up or down flights of stairs. If there are going to be stairs involved in your move, make sure you ask your mover whether or not there will be an extra fee.


Beware of low cost estimates that list freight services versus full-service moves. While freight service movers will move your belongings from one location to another, they will only take your belongings as far as the doorstep. With a freight-service move you will be responsible for packing and wrapping your belongings for the move, as well as carrying your belongings into your new location, unpacking, and unwrapping. You may be able to contract with them for these services but it will usually be for an additional cost.

Advanced Charges

These are charges paid to a third party agent by the moving company for the services they provide to facilitate the move. These charges will normally be added to your Bill of Lading.

An example of this may be charges paid to an electrician for taking apart or setting back up all of your electronics. If you are trying to save a few dollars, you may find it less expensive for you to hire these professionals outside of your mover and pay them direct. 

These are only a few of the terms you will encounter. You can find a full glossary of them at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website. Knowing the language of moving will help you and your movers communicate on the same page.