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How to Read a Moving Contract

Posted on November 29, 2021

Finding the perfect moving company can save you a lot of time and stress when relocating to a new place. We’ve talked about what to consider when hiring a moving company and whether you should hire professional movers or do it yourself.

To simplify things, hire a moving company that is licensed, insured, and well-reviewed, and most importantly they should also offer you a solid moving contract.

What is a moving contract?

A moving contract, also known as an order for service, is a written document stating the terms and conditions of your move. By putting everything on paper and demanding signatures, both parties are agreeing to specifics that govern the moving service that will be delivered.

A moving contract is provided by all reputable and trusted professional moving companies to their clients. If a company does not provide you with a moving contract, it is a good indication that you should hire someone else.

A moving contract is a legally binding agreement, just like any other contract. It’s critical that you fully understand what you’re reading and what it all means before you sign. We’ll go through all of the main aspects of a moving contract in this article so you know what to expect.

The precise contract that you’re required to sign may range in scope depending on who you’re dealing with and the state or states in which your transfer will take place, but it should always include the provisions listed below.

Description of services

In most cases, this is the first section of a moving contract. In it, your movers will outline all of the services they will provide you with, as well as the beginning and end destinations you have agreed upon.

Check that this section includes all of the services you are expecting. You can change it if you want an additional service, but keep in mind that doing so will definitely increase your quote.

Scope of services

Consider this section to be a timetable of events that will occur throughout your service, as well as a location where both parties’ expectations are set. The scope of services section is frequently divided into a numbered list that covers each phase. Inventorying, loading, and unloading a truck are a few examples.

You may also notice extra information, such as the fact that the customer (you) must have all things packed and ready to go when the movers come to load the truck, and that the service provider (your movers) will take care not to harm your possessions while unloading the truck.


This section contains information about how to pay for your service when you are expected to pay, and what happens if you do not. Your moving contract may include a flat charge for your service, or it may give a breakdown of how the service will be priced, depending on the verbal arrangements you made with the moving company that you hired (i.e. fixed rate vs. hourly rate and how those will be calculated).

Pay particular attention to this area since once you sign on the dotted line, you are legally committing to pay the sum specified in the contract or to adhere to the price structure. If you have any questions regarding payments or price, it’s best to ask them before you sign any contract.


This specifies that the moving contract is effective until the services specified within it are completed. There isn’t anything to be concerned about here, but read it over and double-check everything to ensure that you completely understand the terms of the contract and have no concerns about it.


This is a standard part of almost all contracts, not only moving contracts. The confidentiality clause basically specifies that during the period of the contract, the moving company will not divulge any information about the customer, including any records, papers, or notes relating to your relocation.

Other terms to be familiar of when moving

While the sections above cover the overall idea of what you’ll likely discover in your moving contract, there are certain terms and conditions you may not be familiar with. Additional legally enforceable contracts may be offered to you.

To take the uncertainty out of figuring out precisely what you’re committing to, we’ll go through some of the most prevalent (and confusing) moving contracts and moving contract-related terminology below.

Additional Charges: On your moving contract, there may be a section or sub-part that details any additional expenses you may incur, often known as accessorial charges. These expenses are additional fees for specific aspects of your move, such as if your movers must manage their truck through places that aren’t designed for large trucks or if you aren’t ready when they arrive and they must pack some of your stuff.

Non-Binding Estimate: A non-binding estimate is a payment estimate that may vary over the duration of the service, so the amount shown is not a guarantee of what you will owe.

Valuation: The declared value of your personal belongings. In the case of damages, your movers will not be accountable for more than the value amount.

Bill of Lading: On moving day, you will get a bill of lading, which is a copy of your moving contract. It will contain the sections mentioned above and should be kept because it also acts as your service receipt.

Binding Estimate: A binding estimate ensures that the price indicated on the moving contract is the final price you will pay. To adjust this price, a moving firm must submit an update to the contract, which must be signed by both parties.

High-Value Inventory: Your mover may provide a high-value inventory list, which is a list of the objects they’ll be moving that are of exceptionally high value, as well as their respective valuations. Additional packing or moving expenses, as well as special terms, may apply to certain products.

Linehaul charges: These fees are based on the distance that your goods will be transported and the gross weight of the cargo.

Full-value replacement and released-value replacement: Full-value replacement coverage and released-value replacement coverage are two types of insurance offered by moving firms to their customers. Examine the documents you’ve supplied to discover which one your mover accepts. You’ll get the entire worth or replacement value of any damaged products under full-value replacement, up to around $100 per pound. You’ll get a substantially lesser amount under released-value replacement—roughly $0.60 per pound.

If you have additional questions about moving feel free to contact Clutch Moving Company. We’ll be here to help you with your moving needs.

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