What Your Mover Says vs. What Your Mover Means

Every profession has its own jargon. Movers are no exception. It’s your responsibility as a shipper (see what we mean?) to know what your carrier is talking about. The US Department of Transportation provides an extensive glossary of terms, but we’ll bring you up to speed on the most common moving slang.

Shipper vs. Carrier

The shipper is you—or more accurately the customer whose things are being moved. The carrier is your mover—or the person who is transporting the materials.

Bill of Lading

A very important document. The bill of lading is both a receipt and a contract for the transportation of your things. Make sure to read it over carefully, and don’t sign it until it reflects what you’ve agreed upon. Keep a copy with you during and after the move.

Blanket Wrapping

Many moving companies will offer “blanket wrapping” (literally just wrapping your stuff with special blankets) for your belongings, particularly larger items. It helps to protect items from knocking into each other and getting damaged while being transported.


When the carrier takes note of the condition of your belongings. The movers want to make sure that if there were any scrapes or dings before they moved it, they will have a record to avoid getting charged for any damage.

Intrastate vs. Interstate

An intrastate move occurs when you need to move your things to a different city in the same state. San Diego to San Francisco would be an example. An example of an interstate move would be moving from San Diego to Salt Lake City. An interstate move could also be moving from San Diego to San Francisco, if along the way your moving truck has to take a route that leads him outside of state lines.


The document your mover has that outlines how much you’re being charged for each aspect of your move.


The “worth” of the possessions being transported. If the worth of your possessions is higher than average, a valuation charge will compensate the carrier for a higher liability risk than is already covered in basic transportation.

Full Value vs. Released Value

Released value, or “basic value” is going to be the cheapest protection available. Typically you won’t be charged an additional fee for this basic level of protection. You will pay an additional fee if you select full value coverage, but your mover will also be liable for the replacement of any lost or damaged goods.


The additional miles a mover may have to travel to pick up your load. If you reside in a small town, far away from your moving company, deadhead charges may apply to you.

For further explanation and help with other moving problems, check out our resource pages.

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