Feeling confused? Get to know the lingo of moving.
As you prepare for your move, you may run into terminology you’re unfamiliar with. To help you feel comfortable and confident in your relocation, Wheaton has compiled this handy glossary of words and phrases. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, our customer service team is always here to help.
Accessorial (additional) services – Services, such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or stair carries, that you request to be performed (or are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services are in addition to the transportation charges.
Advanced charges – Charges for services performed by someone other than the movers. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your Bill of Lading charges.
Agent – A local moving company authorized to act on behalf of a national van line. The agent may handle the booking, origin, hauling, and/or destination services.
Agreed delivery date – The agreed delivery date can range from one day to several depending on the weight of your shipment. Your salesperson will discuss the transit times with you prior to registering your shipment with Wheaton’s Traffic Department.
Agreed pick-up date – The agreed pick-up date can range from one day to several depending on the weight of your shipment. Your salesperson will discuss the transit times with you prior to registering your shipment with Wheaton’s Traffic Department.
Air ride – The suspension system used on trailers and tractors instead of conventional springs, where the vehicle is supported and rides on rubber cylinders filled with compressed air for a safer ride.
American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) – The trade organization for the moving industry.
Appliance service by third party – The preparation of major electrical appliances to make them safe for shipment. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.
Auto inventory – A form used when relocating an automobile, motorcycle, or boat that lists the vehicle’s miles and condition at both origin and destination. Can also be referred to as motor vehicle inventory.
Auxiliary service – Commonly referred to as shuttle service. Use of a smaller vehicle to provide service when the residence is not accessible to the mover’s normal equipment. Shuttle service involves offloading the goods from the original equipment and reloading to a smaller vehicle. Depending on the weight of the shipment, this could involve several trips with the smaller vehicle. The shuttle charge is based on a rate-per-hundred weight.
Bill of Lading – The receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. It is your responsibility to understand the Bill of Lading before you sign it. If you do not agree with something on the Bill of Lading, do not sign it until you are satisfied that it is correct. The Bill of Lading is an important document. Don’t lose or misplace your copy.
Bingo sheet – A form that allows a van operator or customer to easily check off items as they are delivered. Also called a check-off sheet.
Booking agent – The agent who prepares the estimate of cost from the information obtained during a visual survey. The booking agent does not necessarily have to be located at or near the origin. When the booking agent is located at the origin, they will also be the origin agent and perform the visual survey.
Bulky article – To ensure safe transportation, some articles included in a shipment (e.g. big screen television, motorcycles, hot tubs, etc.) require extra handling and/or blocking. There is an extra charge for such items.
Carrier – The moving company holding the operating authority required to transport household goods.
Cash on Delivery (COD) – Transportation for an individual shipper for which payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse).
Certified scale – Any scale designed for weighing motor vehicles, including trailers or semitrailers not attached to a tractor, and certified by an authorized scale inspector and licensing authority. A certified scale may also be a platform or warehouse type scale that is properly inspected and certified.
Commercial shipper – Any person who is named as the consignor or consignee in a Bill of Lading contract who is not the owner of the goods being transported but who assumes the responsibility for payment of the transportation and other tariff charges for the account of the beneficial owner of the goods. The beneficial owner of the goods is normally an employee of the consignor and/or consignee. Learn more about corporate relocation.
Consignor – The person at origin who arranges for the transportation of the shipment.
CP – Carrier packing. CP is used extensively on the inventory to identify cartons that have been supplied and packed by Wheaton.
Crating – Refers to the process of building a custom wood crate for the purpose of protecting certain items during transport.
Cube – A measurement of the capacity or cubic space of a truck or container. The industry average of is seven pounds per cubic foot.
Cube sheet – A document used to determine the cubic feet that furniture, appliances, cartons and miscellaneous articles occupy in the van. By converting the cubic feet into pounds, an estimated weight is acquired that is used in calculating the estimated cost for a move. Also referred to as a Table of Measurements.
CWT – An abbreviation for “per 100 pounds of specified weight.” Per-hundred weight.
Department of Transportation (DOT) – The federal agency which governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.
Destination agent – The agent located at or near your destination who provides necessary services and information at the end of moving.
Disassembled by owner (DBO) – Items are disassembled by owner rather than by the moving company. Wheaton is not responsible for the reassembly of these items.
Dispatcher – Assumes the task of communicating the route of a shipment to van operators and agents, making sure that instructions are carried out accordingly.
There are several types of estimates agents can make available to customers, although not all estimates types may be available on every shipment:
- Non-Binding Estimates
A non-binding estimate is the carrier’s approximation of the cost, based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. The final cost will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect. To verify the weight of your shipment, the driver will weigh his trailer prior to loading your shipment and then reweigh his trailer once your shipment has been loaded.
- Firm Binding Estimates
A firm binding estimate is an agreement between the agent and the customer that the cost of the move will be a specific dollar amount based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the specific services requested. If the actual weight of the shipment is different than the agent anticipated, the price of the move would not change. However, adding items not surveyed by the agent at the time of the estimate or adding services not discussed at the time of the estimate could increase the cost of the move.
- Option Binding Estimates
An Option Binding estimate (also known as a not-to-exceed estimate) is an agreement between the agent and the customer that the cost of the move will be no more than a specific dollar amount based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the specific services requested. If the anticipated weight of the shipment is less than estimated, then the customer’s bill is reduced by the amount of the cost associated with the weight difference between the estimated and actual weight. The customer will not pay more than the cost associated with the estimated weight, even if the actual weight exceeds the estimate. However, adding items not surveyed by the agent at the time of the estimate or adding services not discussed at the time of the estimate could increase the cost of the move.
Estimated weight – An approximate weight of a shipment determined by multiplying the estimated cubes by seven pounds.
Expedited service – An agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based on a higher minimum weight.
Extra delivery – A portion of a shipment unloaded at a location other than the destination address indicated on the Bill of Lading. Also referred to as an extra stop.
Extra pick up – A portion of a shipment loaded at a location other than the origin address indicated on the Bill of Lading. Also referred to as an extra stop.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – Established within the Department of Transportation to regulate the safe operation requirements for commercial vehicle drivers, carriers, vehicles, and vehicle equipment.
Flight charge – An extra charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs.
Fuel surcharge – The moving company’s tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in recovery of the increased cost of fuel. The surcharge, which can change twice monthly, is based upon the national average cost of diesel, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Gross weight – The weight of the truck after a shipment has been loaded. Also referred to as the heavy weight.
Hauling agent – The agent who owns the van assigned by the van line to transport your household goods from origin to destination.
Helper – A person hired by the van operator or agent to assist in the loading and unloading of goods. Wheaton requires all helper labor be certified.
High-value article – Items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound. These items should be disclosed with the mover to ensure they are protected accordingly. Also referred to as items of extraordinary value. Learn more about replacement value protection.
Household goods (HHG) – Personal goods or property used in a home.
Household goods descriptive inventory – The detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item. Also referred to as an inventory.
Individual shipper – The individual requesting movement of a shipment and paying the transportation charges.
Interstate move – The relocation of goods in the United States from a place in one state to a place in a different state.
Intrastate move – The relocation of goods within one state that never crosses state lines or includes a segment outside of that same state. Intrastate moves are NOT regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Inventory – The detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item. Also referred to as a household goods descriptive inventory.
Items of extraordinary value – Items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound. These items should be disclosed with the mover to ensure they are protected accordingly. Also referred to as high-value article. Learn more about replacement value protection.
Leave over – When articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary van. An additional van(s) is then utilized for transportation and delivery. Also referred to as an overflow.
Light weight – The weight of a truck before a shipment is loaded, including all essential loading equipment and packing materials. Also referred to as the tare weight.
Line haul – The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of your relocation. These charges apply in addition to the accessorial service charges.
Load spread – Agreed pick-up dates.
Local move – A move within a particular geographical area like a town or district instead of a state or country.
Long carry – An added charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover’s vehicle and the residence. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.
Motor vehicle inventory – A form used when transporting an automobile, motorcycle or boat that lists the vehicle’s miles and condition at both origin and destination. Also referred to as auto inventory.
Net weight – The actual weight of a shipment obtained by subtracting the tare weight from the gross weight.
Non-binding estimate – This is the approximation of cost by the moving company, based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided and the tariff provisions in effect. Learn more about estimates.
Operating authority – The government permit that defines the scope of a carrier’s operation by area and commodity.
Order for Service – The document authorizing the mover to transport your household goods.
Order (Bill of Lading) number – The number used to identify and track your shipment. The number appears on all documentation and correspondence. Also referred to as the Registration Number.
Origin agent – The agent responsible for performing packing and preparing necessary documentation for the move.
Overflow – When articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary van. An additional van(s) is then utilized for transportation and delivery. Also referred to as a leave over.
Packed by owner (PBO) – Used on the inventory to identify cartons that have been packed by the customer.
Packing date – A date set aside for packing. It is usually one day prior to loading of the goods.
Permanent storage – The warehousing of a shipment for an unspecified duration.
Pick up and delivery charges – Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the storage-in-transit warehouse and your residence.
Planner – Assumes the task of assigning a hauling agent to load, transport, and unload shipments as they are registered in Wheaton’s Traffic Department.
ProMover Program – A certification program created by the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). The program gives consumers an easy way to separate reputable, professional movers from rogue movers. ProMovers must meet stringent requirements and agree to comply with the regulations set forth by AMSA as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Wheaton and all its agents are certified ProMovers.
Purchase order – A written authorization for billing a relocation to a company. It is sometimes used in place of the Order for Service.
Registration number – The number used to identify and track your shipment. The number appears on all documentation and correspondence. Also referred to as the Order (Bill of Lading) Number.
Reweigh – When there is doubt about the origin weight of a shipment, a reweigh may be requested by the customer at destination. There is no charge for the reweigh; however, charges are calculated on the new weight.
Scale ticket – A voucher providing the weigh scale reading for tare weight and/or gross weight of a van.
Shuttle service – Use of a smaller vehicle to provide service when the residence is not accessible to the mover’s normal equipment. Shuttle service involves offloading the goods from the original equipment and reloading to a smaller vehicle. Depending on the weight of the shipment, this could involve several trips with the smaller vehicle. The shuttle charge is based on a rate-per-hundred weight. Also referred to as auxiliary service.
Spread dates – The combined dates for the agreed pick up and the agreed delivery.
Storage-in-transit (SIT) – Temporary warehouse storage of your shipment pending further transportation. For example, if your new home isn’t quite ready to occupy. You must specifically request SIT service, which may not exceed a total of 90 days of storage, and you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery charges.
Stretch wrap – The material and process used to protect overstuffed furniture (except leather and suede) from damage. Also referred to as shrink wrap.
Surface Transportation Board (STB) – The agency within the Department of Transportation responsible for the regulation and monitoring of railroads and rates for the household goods industry.
Table of Measurements – A document used to determine the cubic feet that furniture, appliances, cartons, and miscellaneous articles occupy in the van. By converting the cubic feet into pounds, an estimated weight is acquired that is used in calculating the estimated cost for a move. Also referred to as a Cube Sheet.
Tare weight – The weight of a truck before a shipment is loaded, including all essential loading equipment and packing materials. Also referred to as the light weight.
Tariff – The mover’s required, published price, list of rules, regulations, rates and charges for the performance of interstate moving services.
Transit time – The time from when your belongings are picked up to when they are delivered to the designated destination.
Transportation charge – The cost of a single loading, transporting and unloading of goods comprise the charge.
Uncrating – Refers to the process of removing the wooden crating material from items that had been crated.
Unpacking – Services required to remove or undo packing of goods at the end of a shipment’s transportation.
Valuation – The degree of “worth” of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than that provided for in the base transportation charges. Learn about valuation options.
Van line – A motor carrier with local agents that coordinates the movement of household goods and special products.
Van operator – The individual who oversees the loading, hauling, and unloading of your household goods.
Visual survey – A visual survey is performed by the origin agent to determine which items are to be moved. The amount of packing required and any special services necessary to properly service your shipment are determined during the survey. A cube sheet is prepared and used to determine the weight. The weight is the basis for the moving cost. All elements of the survey come together to determine an estimated cost for moving your goods.
Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move – A government-required publication given to all COD customers. Learn more about Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.