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The new no. 1 A-Z guide to moving companies

By James G

If you are researching moving companies, we're sure you have either received an estimate from moving companies, or you've seen some terminology that you have questions about.

Fear not - we have outlined a list of the most common terms in the moving industry so that you are up to speed!

The A-Z guide to moving companies

  • Access

Access refers to the accessibility to your home in where moving companies intend to pickup your personal effects and deliver them safely to your new home. For example, in New York City, parking can be a nightmare, but with Liffey Van Lines, you can rest assured that we will be able to handle any move, as we know the city inside out. On the other hand, factors that determine accessibility, are number of stairs, width of the stairs, freight elevator access etc.

  • Accessorial (Additional) Services

Where applicable, additional services may pertain to additional pickups or drop offs, custom fine art crating, glass top crating, marble top crating, disassembly of furniture, reassembly of furniture. Any additional services are charged in addition to your estimate or move contract.

  • Adjustor

An adjustor refers to an individual who takes care of and settles insurance claims against moving companies for damages and/or loss of personal effects during transit.

  • Agent

An agent, in moving terms, are moving companies that is directly affiliated with a national motor carrier. Liffey Van Lines, Inc. is New York City's exclusive Allied Van Lines agent.

  • Agreed Delivery Date

This refers to the contracted date that your household goods are on schedule to be delivered to your new home by moving companies. This will be discussed and outlined to you by your move coordinator prior to your move.

  • Agreed Pick-up Date

The agreed pick up date refers to the actual contracted date that your household goods are locked on schedule to be picked up from your current home. As a result, this will be discussed and outlined to you by your move coordinator prior to your move. Therefore, the pick-up date can range from one day to several days, depending on numerous factors, from accessibility, to the weight of your shipment and the required additional services.

  • American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA)

The AMSA is a collaboration of moving companies that represents the best interests of the moving and storage industry, ensruing the highest standards of professional conduct and service. This was set up because, in the trade, there are many illegal moving companies. To help and protect its customers, we recommend only moving checking the AMSA while vetting moving companies.

Liffey Van Lines is a certified Promover with the AMSA.

  • Assessed Value

The estimated value assigned to the items in a household good shipment. When purchasing moving insurance, the customer will pay a certain amount of money per $1000 of assessed value to cover the cost of any damaged goods.


  • Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is the formal contract between a customer and moving companies. This denotes the transportation of household goods between two locations, which notarizes the dates of the move, requested services from moving companies, specific conditions of the move, any special notes about the move (elevator reservation times etc) and to total charges involved. This document also notes the method of payment and the amount of additional insurance coverage chosen by the customer.

  • Binding Estimate

This is the guaranteed total charges for your relocation based on the size and weight of your move. Such a binding estimate, it guarantees the final cost of your move, and will be given after a visual in-home survey (free of charge) along with any additional requested services.

However, if the actual weight of your shipment exceeds the initially estimated one, a revised charge will be put in in place.

  • Booking Agent

An agent who registers the details of a client's move with the van lines and conducts the business transaction is referred to as the booking agent.


  • Cancellation Fee

If a customer cancels a confirmed move after a crew and truck has been dispatched, a cancellation fee will apply.

  • Carrier

A carrier refers to a moving services provider that is properly licensed and authorized to transport household goods and personal effects.

  • Carrier Liability

The financial liability a carrier assumes for the customer’s shipment in the case of loss or damage of goods.

  • Claim

A statement of loss or damage to household goods while in the custody of moving companies which serves as a request for a monetary compensation.

  • Cash On Delivery (COD)

Cash on delivery is a method of payment that requires the customer to provide payment to moving companies at the time of delivery. This payment can be made in cash, by money orders, or cashier’s checks. Prior approval is necessary for credit card payments.

  • Consignee

The person who receives the shipment at the destination.

  • Consignor

The person from whom the shipment is picked up at origin.

  • Crating

Our in-house carpentry can build custom crates of any size for any delicate or valuable item which requires special attention.

  • CWT (Per-Hundred Weight)

The cost rate per designated weight (usually 100 pounds).


  • Declared Value

Where applicable, the declared value of the goods by the shipper is ultimately used to establish the limit of the carrier’s liability for loss or damage to the shipment. However, if no value is declared, the shipment is transported under the standard basic liability.

  • Delivery

The act of transporting a shipment to the designated destination, unloading the goods, and handing them over to the shipper of household items.

  • Delivery Window

The delivery window refers to the time period in which the moving companies are scheduled to deliver a shipment to its final destination. Such delivery windows can range from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on various factors (actual distance, consolidation options, current climatic conditions, etc.).

  • Deposit

A certain amount of money (usually about 10-15% of the estimated moving cost) that a shipper of household goods pays to his/her chosen moving companies in order to book their services for a specific date. The company may get to keep the deposit as compensation in case of cancellation of the moving job.

  • Destination Agent

The destination agent is an agent in the destination area to assist the customer, coordinate the delivery of the shipment, and to provide any other necessary services. Also, if the shipment is going into storage, the destination agent is the authorized receiving agent.

  • Door-to-Door Services

A door to door service refers to the transportation between the point of origin and the point of destination. However, this service does not include auxiliary services like warehouse handling, storage in transit, etc.


  • Estimate

When you contact us, we organize an in-home survey, from there, you will receive an approximate cost for your move through Liffey Van Lines. As a result, the final cost of the move is mainly based on the total weight (or cubic feet) of the shipment, on the actual distance to the final destination, and the required additional services. Find out more information about the types of estimates here.

  • Estimated Weight

The approximate weight of your belongings, based on your inventory list or on a visual estimate performed by our relocation specialist. Hence, your quote can be subject to change.

  • Exclusive Use of Vehicle

Upon the customer’s request, the moving companies may provide an exclusive moving vehicle for the transportation of his/her shipment for an extra charge.

  • Expedited Service

An agreement with the moving companies to deliver the shipment by a set date for a higher rate.

  • Extra Pick up / Extra Delivery

Any additional stops for pick up or delivery of items different than the origin and the destination. Such extra stops incur extra charges.


  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The FMCSA is a specialized administration agency within the DOT that regulates the requirements for moving companies and motor carriers, drivers, moving vehicles, and vehicle equipment. Consequently, Liffey Van Lines is fully registered, licensed and insured to carry out household good moves.

  • Flight Charge

An additional charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs, also known as a stair carry fee.

  • Force Majeure

A defense protecting the parties in the event that a part of the contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside the control of the parties and could not be avoided by exercise of due care.

  • Full (Replacement) Value Protection

Full Value protection is a valuation program under which the motor carrier assumes liability for the full cost of repairs or the replacement value of any lost or damaged goods without deduction for depreciation of the items. If you elect to purchase full value protection (FVP), and the moving companies lose, damage or destroy your articles, your mover must repair, replace with like items, or settle in cash at the current market replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item.

  • Full Service Moving

With full service moving, there are an abundance of firms that claim to operate at the highest standard, but none quite like Liffey Van Lines, we are an accredited and certified moving companies, and we will handle any move from start to finish. For example, we can supply all boxes, carry out full packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking of household items and personal belongings, highlighting exactly why Liffey Moving & Storage is best equipped to carry out your move.

  • Furniture Blankets

Large soft covers designed to provide the best protection for household appliances, furniture, and other bulky items during the moving process.

 Furniture blankets (also referred to as moving blankets)are used to prevent property damage – they can also be taped over banisters, doorways, and walls.

  • Furniture Pads

When put under heavy household items, these convenient felt pads allow our movers to slide heavy furniture pieces and appliances across the floors in a safe and effortless manner.


  • Gross Weight

The total weight of the moving vehicle and its contents after all the items have been loaded.

  • Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service

A premium service provided by moving companies to guarantee pickup and delivery dates. This type of service, however, is often subject to minimum weight requirements.


  • Hauler (Hauling Agent)

A hauling agent is a van operator or agent who owns the vehicle assigned by the van line to transport the shipment from origin to destination. Above all, they actually transport the goods using his/her own moving equipment. As such, the hauling agent may be subcontracted by moving companies.

  • High Value Article

Also known as items of extraordinary value or valuable items, these are the items in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram). The shipper of household goods is required to fill out a high-value article inventory form listing these items in order to ensure their adequate protection.

  • Hourly Rates

When you receive an hourly rate contract, the cost of the moving service is usually paid by the hour per mover per truck. In general, hourly rates usually apply for local, short distance moves, which we do offer!

  • Household Goods

When you see the term, household goods, it refers to all the personal belongings and property used in a home.

  • Hoisting Services

Auxiliary services offered by movers in case that extremely large and heavy items need to be handled in or out of homes through the windows. Specialized equipment, like a hoisting crane and a moving platform, is required to perform such services. Check out our cow!!


  • Individual Shipper

The person who is the consignor or consignee of a shipment identified as such in the Bill of lading. To emphasize, the individual shipper that owns the goods that are being transported and pays the corresponding charges.

  • In-home Survey

Liffey Moving proudly provides a free visual inspection of the shipper’s home, which is performed by a moving consultant from our firm. This is carried out in order to get a realistic idea of the type and number of household items to be relocated and the kind of moving services that will be required to complete the job.

Only then can an accurate estimate of the moving costs be made.

  • International Move

Any relocation that involves the crossing of an international boundary, regardless of distance.

We advise that you to discuss all the relevant details, such as required documentation, fees, customs, etc., with one of our international relocation consultants to get an international moving estimate in order to avoid troubles and misunderstandings down the road.

  • Interstate Move

Any relocation that involves the crossing of a state boundary, regardless of distance. Although the term commonly refers to a house move from one state to another, it can also be used to describe a move within the origin state when the shipment has passed through another state in order to reach its final destination.

  • Intrastate Move

An intrastate move refers to any relocation that is typically over 50 miles that does not require crossing a state line. Intrastate moves are not regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

  • In-transit

A stage of the transportation process when the shipment is en route between origin and destination.

  • Inventory

A detailed list of all personal effects checked in by our movers, it includes a description of the items and their current condition. This inventory list must be signed by the shipper and the driver both at the origin and destination to certify the condition of the goods and to note any existing defects.






  • Line Haul Charges

The basic tariff fees for long-distance moves (charges for the vehicle transportation part of the move).

Linehaul charges are determined by the actual mileage traveled by the moving truck and the weight of your shipment. These charges apply in addition to the extra service charges.

  • Loading

This refers to the act of taking the household goods of a customer out of his/her old property (at origin), placing them into the moving truck, and securing them to ensure their safety during transit.

  • Loading ramp

When a loading ramp is attached to the rear of a moving truck, it contributes to the convenience and safety of loading your household goods onto the truck. This will allow for a fast loading and unloading process. When vetting moving companies, ensure they have the correct equipment.

  • Local Move

A move within the boundaries of the state, taking place over a distance of less than 100 miles (160 kilometers).

  • Long Carry Fee

An additional charge assessed when the customer’s belongings must be carried an excessive distance (more than 75 feet) from the rear of the moving truck to the entrance of the home (or from the home to the vehicle).

  • Long Haul (Long Distance) Move

A move that takes place over a distance of 450 miles or more. Long hauls are usually performed with tractor-trailers and cannot be completed in one day because of the long distance.

  • Long-term storage

Storage of household items for longer than a month.


  • Method of Payment

All legal and credible moving companies, such as Liffey Van Lines, accept payments in the form of cash, money order, bank cashier’s checks, or credit cards. Credit card payment, however, must be pre-approved in advance.

  • Motor carrier

A company that provides truck transportation.

  • Moving Companies (Mover)

A motor carrier engaged in the transportation of household goods. Movers must be properly licensed and authorized in order to operate legally. When you choose Liffey Van Lines as your mover, we carry out the entire process of planning, implementing, and managing the relocation.

  • Moving Cost

The first step in vetting moving companies is the overall cost. This cost of transportation of your household items to their final destination is usually estimated based on the weight and distance of your move. It is also usually calculated without including the proper insurance and the additional service charges required in the moving process.

  • Moving Dolly

A hand-operated wheeled platform used for easier transportation of boxes, this allows for a safe and efficient move.

  • Moving Process

When you contract with Liffey Van Lines, all of the moving related particulars (planning, packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking), divided in three main relocation stages: pre-move preparations, moving day procedures, and post relocation activities.

  • Moving Tips

When you are planning your move, you need a proper plan of action. Our blog contains practical and helpful pointers, which are derived from our 45 year rich experience of residential and commercial moves in and out of New York City. As a result, our moving professionals have the necessary experience to contribute to a safer, cheaper, and trouble-free relocation.


  • Net Weight

The net weight of a moving truck refers to the gross weight minus the tare weight of the moving truck.

  • Non-Binding Estimate

A non-binding estimate refers to the carrier’s approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the shipment and also, the requested additional services.

  • Non-Allowables

Liffey Moving will not accept items that pose a risk of contamination or damage to the company's property or the property of other customers (such as chemicals, flammable, corrosive, or explosive goods)

Items of perishable nature (pets, plants, food) are also prohibited. Liffey Van Lines has its own list of prohibited items that should be requested by customers before they start packing their belongings for shipment.


  • Operating Authority

An operating authority refers to the certification which has been issued by a state or federal governmental institution to authorize a carrier to move household goods within a certain geographical area. Henceforth, Liffey Van Lines holds all the necessary documentation to undertake a complaint move.

  • Origin Agent

The agent at origin who provides information regarding individual moves and is responsible for origin services, such as conducting an in home survey, preparing the necessary documentation, arranging third party services, preparing the shipment for transportation, and picking it up.

  • Order for Service

An order for service essentially refers to the written agreement between the individual shipper and moving companies that authorizes the carrier to handle the transportation of the customer’s household goods. To emphasize, this order for service details all of the particulars pertaining to a specific move.

  • Order Number

A unique identification number that appears on the Bill of Lading and on all other moving-related paperwork. Also referred to as the Registration Number, it is used to identify and track each individual shipment.

  • Origin

The location from which a shipment is packed up, picked up and loaded for transportation. Most often, this is the shipper’s old home, but it could also be a storage unit or some other place where the shipper is keeping there goods that they need moved.

  • Origin Services

Services provided at the origin of a shipment (such as packing, appliance servicing).

  • Overflow

Part of the shipment that cannot fit into the moving vehicle due to lack of sufficient storage space. The left over items can be shipped on another van for an extra fee.


  • Packers

Liffey Van Lines employ movers who have the necessary skills and provide packing services at origin to prepare a customer’s belongings for shipment in a safe and efficient manner. Professional Liffey packers can also unload and unpack the delivered goods upon the customer’s request.

  • PBO (Packed By Owner)

The term PBO is denoted as articles that have been wrapped and packed by the shipper. Items that do require special packing (breakables, valuables, oddly shaped pieces, etc.) are better left to experienced professional packers, this should be brought to the attention of Liffey prior to your move.

  • Packing

Packing refers to the action of preparing one’s household items for shipment, by wrapping them securely, placing them into suitable moving boxes or containers, sealing and labeling the boxes. Furthermore, Liffey Van Lines is one of the most experience companies in the New York City when it comes to efficient packing.

Using proper packing materials and efficient packing techniques is essential for ensuring the safety of your items during shipment and keeping them in excellent condition throughout the entire moving process.

  • Packing List

A detailed list of all the items to be packed for shipment. The moving inventory is often used as a packing list. A packing list can also refer to an email list for smaller moves.

  • Packing Services

As a result of the in home survey, we know exactly what you need in terms of packing and packing materials to facilitate an efficient move.

  • Packing Supplies

Also known as packing materials, these are cardboard boxes of different sizes, wrapping and cushioning materials (packing paper, bubble wrap, foam sheets, packing peanuts, etc.), packing tape and other equipment required for providing adequate protection to the household items and personal effect while in transit.

  • Peak Season Rates

Higher moving charges are applied to shipments in the summer months, when the demand for moving companies' services is at its highest (the peak moving season being between May and September. You can find some useful tips for moving in peak season here.

  • Pick-up and Delivery Charges

Additional charges are applied for transporting a shipment between a storage-in-transit warehouse and the customer’s residence. Consequently, this is to recuperate any temporary storage fees due along with warehouse handling.


  • Quote (Moving Quote)

An estimation of the cost of a move offered by Liffey Van Lines for free. You can get a quote for your upcoming move here, free of charge and with no obligation.


  • Released Value

The basic compensation for loss or damage to goods while in the carrier’s custody.

There is no additional fee for this standard coverage but it provides only minimal protection – the mover assumes liability only for 60 cents per pound per article.


  • Scale Ticket

The official document regarding the weight of a shipment. The weight will be obtained by the driver when weighing a shipment at an approved scales location. This is available to a shipper upon request.

  • Shipper of household items

A shipper is an individual whose household items and personal possessions are being relocated from the place of origin to the designated destination.

  • Short Haul

A move that takes place at a distance of over 50 miles but less than 450 miles. Short hauls are generally performed with straight trucks, although tractor-trailers can also be used.

  • Shuttle Service

When the customer’s residence is not accessible to the mover’s normal line haul equipment because of physical constraints (narrow roads, inadequate parking areas, weak bridges, etc.).

A smaller size vehicle is used to transport the goods and complete the pickup or delivery. The items are unloaded from the large moving truck and reloaded to a smaller van. Depending on the weight of the shipment and the location where the service is performed, this could involve several trips with the smaller vehicle. This auxiliary service incurs an additional fee.

  • Storage in Transit

The temporary storage of a customer’s household items in a carrier’s storage facility is referred to as storage in transit. If this is necessitated, the customer will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service.

  • Straight Truck

Vehicle which carries cargo in a body mounted to its chassis, rather than on a trailer towed by a vehicle.


  • Tractor-Trailer

A long-haul vehicle used for long-distance shipments and very large local shipments, for example, it consists of a towing truck and a trailer that can hold the contents of a large house or several smaller shipments.

  • Transit time

The transit time refers to the time from the moment when your belongings are picked up to the moment when they are delivered to the designated destination.


  • Unpacking

This is the process of unloading the customer’s goods from the moving truck and taking them out of their containers (moving boxes and crates), as well as the disposal of the packing materials and/or debris.


  • Valuation

When moving companies refer to valuation, it does not equal moving insurance – it is an amount that reflects the worth of the items for transportation. The valuation establishes the carrier’s maximum liability for damage or loss.

  • Van Line

A van line, which is referring to a motor carrier or a transportation firm that can efficiently coordinate long-distance, cross-country, and international moves with the help of local agents at the points of origin and destination. Hence, Liffey Van Lines can coordinate any move worldwide through its affiliation with Allied Van Lines.

  • Van Line Agent

An agent for a van line refers to a smaller moving companies authorized to perform moves on behalf of a larger, national moving carrier.


  • Waiting Time

Customers may request waiting time when they are unable to accept their shipment within 2 hours after notification of arrival at destination.

  • Warehouse Handling

An additional charge that is assessed when household goods are placed in storage-in-transit. As a result, this charge compensates the carrier for the time and effort required for the handling of items within the warehouse.

  • Weight Ticket

The certificate a customer gets when the van is weighted at the weight station on certified scales. It shows the weight of the entire shipment, as well as the weight of the vehicle without a load. The customer is entitled to a copy.



Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

A government-required publication that details the rights and responsibilities of a home mover. All COD customers are provided with a copy when booking the moving services of a carrier. Click here to download the booklet for free.


We truly hope you found this moving companies glossary useful, in any event, please call us on (212) 410 3500 if you have any questions about any material above.

As always, our estimates are 100% free. You can request an in-home survey right here!

Article written by James G

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