Moving FAQs – Understanding the Moving Process

This article is a brief but detailed coverage of frequently asked questions about moving. Additionally, it also contains helpful tips that will make your moving process painless.


When is the best time for me to move?

Most moving companies are extremely busy during summer months starting from around May 15th to December 15th. It is vital to take all factors into consideration when deciding the most appropriate moving time. If possible have a flexible schedule that provides the moving company with at least a 5-day window to allow for loading shipment.

Giving the moving company this 5-day allowance also allows the moving crew and drivers greater flexibility when scheduling your move. Flexibility with the arrival time is also recommended because you are most likely are not the only shipment the truck is currently moving. Offering the moving company a flexible time frame can make your moving experience more pleasant.

How do I choose the right moving companies to provide me with free moving estimates?

You first and foremost need to ascertain that you need the services of a full service moving company. Once you sure take the prerogative to research thoroughly both local and long distance moving companies. Seek references from colleagues, friends, and family. After narrowing down to a few names, ensure you only select companies that are registered with the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind that the best measure of a good mover is good service…

When is the right time to start reaching out to moving companies for free moving estimates?

The rule of thumb when seeking moving estimates is to provide the companies with as much notice as possible. An ideal time frame is 6 weeks prior to the actual moving date; this is enough time for the estimators to visit your current residence and do a complete visual survey of all the items to be shipped.

It is also a great idea to give yourself adequate time to make a more informed decision, especially in cases where you are obligated by your employer to submit estimates early for a corporate sponsored relocation. Don’t forget to call the mover so that you can confirm your booking and schedule your packing, loading and delivery dates appropriately. This time frame can be shorter if your move is outside the peak months mentioned earlier (between September 5th and May 15th)

What should I expect when the relocation expert pays a visit to my home?

The relocation specialist’s intention of visiting your home is to carry out a thorough visual survey of all the items being shipped. He will also calculate the total weight, packing costs and any other charges that are related to your move. Ensure you clearly show them all the property that you are moving so that they give you an accurate estimate. Keep in mind that certain areas in the house such as attics, crawl spaces, and cluttered closets can be deceptive so try and organize your home well prior to the visit.

Don’t be shocked when the specialist goes through closets and cabinets or even looks under the bed and on top of cabinets. This is normal because they are just trying to be as thorough as possible. Assist them by pointing out items that may be out of their view and also point out what will not be included in the move.
A great way to save you and the specialist a great deal of trouble is to get rid of the items you plan on eliminating before this visit.

Pricing and Paperwork

What is a binding estimate?

It is a contract that specifies the precise cost of relocating in advance. It takes into consideration the services you request or those deemed necessary by the moving company. If there any additional the services requested or required either at the origin or destination, this cost will definitely increase.

What is a non-binding estimate?

This is a contract that only charges you according to the actual weight of the load being shipped; it also includes the cost of any additional moving services performed along the way. You will still have to go through the entire estimation process.

In addition to the estimation process, the driver will verify the weight of the load being shipped prior to loading it on the truck. The moving costs will be calculated at the relocation address and any other additional charges incurred during the moving process will be included in the final price.

How do moving companies calculate the cost of my shipment?

If you are relocating to another state, the charges will typically be based on weight and mileage; these are known as transportation costs. There is a range of charges that you should expect to see on your estimate so be sure to ask your relocation expert to explain every charge you don’t understand. Some additional charges may include; creating, packing, valuation and coverage.

How should I pay the moving company and what payment methods are available?

Tariff provisions require that all moving costs must be paid prior to the shipment being unloaded at the intended destination. You can make payments using cash, money order or a certified check; choose what you deem most convenient for you and what the customer service representative assigned to you shipment recommends.

If your move is sponsored by your employer, ensure you make the necessary prior arrangements for the payment to be billed through an invoice.

What is an order for a service?

All moving companies are required to prepare an order for service before they relocate your property. This is simply a written confirmation of the services you requested to be performed. It also contains details on all the items being shipped. Other details in the order od service include the agreed upon pickup and delivery dates and the place and phone number through which a mover can easily contact you.

Other important inclusions in the order of service are the charges that you will incur and whether you are moving under a binding or non-binding estimate. In a case of a non-binding estimate, this document will also mention what happens in cases where the actual charges are higher than the non-binding estimate (in this case you have 30 days following g the delivery to make full payment).

In the case of a binding estimate, the order of service also includes the charge that you will be required to pay at delivery; this will be based on the binding estimate and terms of payment. It is compulsory that you and your mover both sign the order of service.

What is a bill of lading?

This is simply a receipt for your goods the contract with your mover for their transportation. Every moving company is required to prepare this document before every shipment is transported. The driver who loads your shipment is charged with the responsibility of giving you a copy of the bill of lading.

This extremely important document identifies the mover and also specifies when the relocation is taking place; additionally, it also details the terms and conditions for payment together with the total moving charges. If you are moving under a non-binding estimate, it includes the maximum amount you are required to pay upon delivery. Information regarding the valuation of your shipment and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage is also shown. It is extremely important to take your time and go through the document, only sign it if all the information is accurate.

What is an Inventory?

Drivers typically inventory all your property as it is loaded (this is not a requirement by law). An inventory is very beneficial as it provides a detailed descriptive listing of all the goods being shipped. It is important to check and confirm that everything listed on the inventory is accurate.

This is not always the easiest task, as you will find things written on the inventory such asPBO, which means packed by owner. The contents of this carton cannot be listed, as the driver is simply not able to see inside each and every box. You will also sometimes find CPon a line item in the inventory, which means carrier packed container.

You may also notice, in the middle column on your inventory form, a line that has many seemingly random letters and numbers associated with a specific item. This is where a driver uses inventory code to make note of the condition of a particular item.

The easiest way to understand the codes used by the movers is to go through the explanations on top of the sheet which offer an explanation for every code. For instance, SC means an item is scratched while C mans that it is chipped. Number 8 refers to the top of a piece while the number 3 represents the right side of a piece. These codes come in handy in helping the driver make note of any existing damage or irregularities. This is important in avoiding any future disagreements on the condition of the items being transported.

Keep in mind that an inventory will help you keep track of what is being transported and the condition of every single item. In case damage happens, all you have to do is make a note of the inventory tag number on that item and indicate it in the far right-hand column on the line that corresponds with that piece. If you make a claim, the inventory will be thoroughly scrutinized so make sure you indicate clearly.

An inventory is also used when the shipment is delivered to the ultimate destination. In this case, it is used to verify that all the items were delivered and in the same condition as they were picked up. If you notice any irregularities, ensure you immediately point them out to the driver.

Out crew and drivers are exceptionally trained on how to handle all your items with great care and the inventory safeguards against any fraudulent damage claims. It is your responsibility to use the inventory to your advantage


Can I pack any items in the drawers of my dresser or desk?

This is not advisable because they may get damaged or lost during transportation. To ensure the safety of all your property, everything is packed in boxes that are sealed. The drawers should be left empty.

Will the driver load all the boxes that I have packed?

Yes, all the items that you have packed will be loaded so long as the driver considers them safe to transport.

How should I pack my waterbed appropriately to ensure it is safely transported?

The trick to packing a waterbed is draining it completely. Fiber waterbeds, on the other hand, must be professionally vacuum drained prior to the moving date.

Is it possible to pack and move my plants?

Most moving companies do not deal with the transportation of plants. This is because of the stress and heat inside a moving trailer which creates a non-conducive environment for a plant to survive. Additionally, most states do not allow for the entry of plants while others impose very stringent conditions. On the other hand, there are states that have no regulations at all. Simply take your time to understand your state’s regulations prior to moving the plants in your own vehicle.

What should I do with valuable items such as jewelry?

Items of great value such as jewelry, money, antiques, and stamp collections can be included in your shipment, provided that you inform your moving representative before packing and moving day. To avoid any issues, it is advisable to carry expensive and irreplaceable items with you or make alternative arrangements for their safe relocation.

In the moving industry, any item that is more than $100 per pound is considered ‘an item of extraordinary value’. To be assured that a claim involving these articles is not limited to minimal liability, complete and sign your mover’s high-value inventory form. Also, be sure to sign the “Extraordinary Value Article Declaration” box, if applicable, on your Bill of Lading.

There is no standard procedure as every move follows a slightly different process when it comes to handling highly priced possessions. Ask your relocation specialists to explain to you the company’s process as it pertains to these items.

How do I prepare my appliances for moving?

Ensure all your appliances such as dryers, washing machines, refrigerators are disconnected; the washer must have a stabilizer installed. Talk to your mover, they will help you understand how appliances need to be serviced by transit. Most moving companies have business relationships with local service providers that handle this type of service. Take the prerogative to know who your mover is using since you will need to let these people into your home to service your appliances.

What should I do to protect my upholstered furniture?

We are equipped with the special material known as a stretch wrap which protects upholstered furniture from damage. This material is essentially a heavy, clear plastic wrap that will ensure your furniture is protected from being soiled.

Valuation Coverege

Am I protected against loss or damage while my property is in transit?

Absolutely! However, the level of protection you have and its cost will depend on the valuation coverage that you initially chose. This is one of the most confusing aspects of using the services of a mover to relocate; it is, therefore, important to take your time to fully understand what is offered to you and how to gain optimally.

Keep in mind that the valuation option that you select will determine the basis of which any claim you make will be adjusted. Additionally, the valuation option you choose will also establish the maximum liability of the carrier.

The liability of a carrier for loss or damage is based upon the carrier’s tariffs, as well as federal laws and regulations that have certain limitations and exclusions. It is important to remember that valuation is not insurance; it is the liability of the moving company. When moving check with your homeowner’s insurance to ascertain whether you are covered for moving; most times you will find that you are.

There are two valuation options to choose from;

a.) Released value

This is an economical option that comes at no extra cost. On the flip side, you are only guaranteed minimum protection and insufficient coverage for most shipments. You are paid $.60 per pound for every item that is damaged or lost while moving. This means that a load weighing 75 lbs only receives a settlement of $45.00.

If you choose this coverage option, you will be asked to initial bill of lading. The only place this is applicable is if your insurance policy covers your goods for their entire value and this would be considered supplemental coverage for your move.

b.) Full Maximum Value Protection

This is the most comprehensive coverage which is also known as full replacement value or full value protection. If you choose this option, any items lost or damaged with either be repaired or replaced with pother like items. In some cases, you will receive a cash settlement for the current market value of the property damaged or lost in transit. This is regardless of the age of the item in question since is not a factor in determining replacement value when the shipment is moved under full value protection. Ask your mover to inform you on full details of this plan.

The Actual Move

How do I prepare my home and myself to ensure the moving day goes smoothly?

Based on your agreement with the movers, you may have to select several consecutive days during which your property will be loaded. The number of days is known as ‘load spread’ will depend on the size of the shipment and the particular time of the year when the move is taking place. If you are relocating during the peak season, allow three to five extra days on your load spread. This will give the movers a better chance of securing a truck and driver to load and transport your shipment.

Your assigned customer care representative will contact you at least 24 hours before the load day to inform you of the driver’s arrival time. Ensure you promptly inform them of any changes that may affect the loading day. A great example of a change that you need to tell your movers about is when the street in front of your house is under construction hence preventing a truck from getting near your home. You can also inform them if you are yet to complete packing due to unavoidable reasons; in such as case, professional packers will be sent by the moving company to assist you (this might cost you extra).

Also, ensure that your home is ready for the moving crew by getting rid of any clutter that may be blocking the porch and pathways as this obstruct easy movement of property out of the house. Other ways you can help them is by taking door hinges off to allow certain items to fit through without too much strain or potential damage. Also get rid of any items that may cause the moving crew to slip or trip.

Fuel the motivation of the driver and crew by offering them water, Gatorade or any other soft drink especially if the move is taking place on a hot summer day. Although it may seem like a simple gesture, it may go a long way in ensuring your property is carefully handled and that you relocate without a hitch. Our drivers take the prerogative to ensure the home is ready using runners, door jamb protectors, and railing protectors if applicable. This will prove beneficial in avoiding the little knocks that may occur during the loading process.

How can I keep track of where my shipment is once it leaves my residence?

The Traditional Express Van Lines satellite tracking capabilities will allow tracing the whereabouts of your shipment and driver over the internet. Please ask your relocation specialist for details on shipment tracking.

How will I be sure of when my shipment is going to be delivered at my new residence?

Most moving companies typically have the driver contact you 24 hours before the actual delivery. You are also assigned a customer care representative whom you can reach to at all times to keep track of your shipment and get an update on when the shipment will be delivered.

Ensure you do your part by providing the driver with all your contact information and also your work contact or email; this makes it easy for them to keep you informed. If you will be unreachable, it is recommended that you make prior arrangement with someone you trust to serve as a liaison between you and the driver.


How can I properly file and receive my settlement on a claim?

Although claims are unpleasant situations that most movers try to avoid at all costs, there are cases where damage happens during the moving process and a claim is inevitable. The best thing to do in this case is to thoroughly go through the claims settlement procedure before moving to understand your coverage and how you will proceed in case of a claim.

Tread carefully when approaching claim adjusters because their job is difficult enough; rather than being rude and impatient try as much as you can to be kind and respectful. Also, ensure you are armed with all the necessary documentation in form of an inventory so that all damage is noted.