how to understand moving contract

How to Read a Moving Contract

No argument hiring a well-established and reputable long-distance moving company have the ability to save you a good amount of time and stress when it comes to conducting your move to a new home. There are a variety of factors that you should consider when looking for a moving company. As discussed in previous articles, the moving company that you ultimately choose to work with should be licensed, insured, as well as well-reviewed.

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However, most clients forget to consider the moving contract you sign with your moving company. A moving agreement is also sometimes referred to as an order for service. This is essentially the statement that outlines the terms and conditions of the move that this chosen company will provide.

What is the Significance of a Moving Contract?

The presence of a moving contract and the inclusion of both parties’ signatures show that the company and client agree on specific details used to dictate the exact moving service you are going to receive from this moving company. All reputable moving companies supply a moving contract to their clients. Thus, a company that does not provide this moving contract is an excellent indicator that you shouldn’t hire such a service and look elsewhere.

Why Is It Important to Read Your Moving Contract?

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An order of service is just like any other contract. It is a legally binding document. For this very reason, you must understand the contract details before you sign it. You have provided you with all of the information you need to fully understand all of the different features making up a moving contract.

With that being said, it is important to note that the actual contract you’re provided with by your moving company may be slightly different depending on the state you’re moving to. Nonetheless, you should always include the features mentioned that have been overviewed below when signing an order of service with any moving service.

Description of Services

This is generally the first section making up a moving contract. In this section, your moving company is going to list all of the services that are provided. In addition to this, you’re also going to find the initial and final destinations you have both agreed upon.

When reading through the ‘Description of Services’ section of your moving contract, you should ensure that all of the services you’re expecting to receive are included here. You hold the ability to amend this section to include any services you would like to include. However, you should also note that this might increase your estimated cost for these moving services.

Scope of Services

The best way to interpret this section of the moving contract is to as a timeline of all the events taking place during the process of your move. The ‘Scope of Services’ section will likely be laid out in your as a numbered list in your moving contract and highlights each step. An example of what you can exact would be inventorying, loading the moving truck, and unloading the truck.

Additionally, you might also notice that additional notes in this section, such as the client (you), need to have all items packed and waiting when they arrive to load all of these parcels into the moving van. It’s highly recommended you also locate the long-distance movers’ plan to take proper care not to damage any of your belonging during the process of your move while loading and unloading these items.


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You’re going to see information regarding this moving service’s payment in this section of your moving contract. Such importance is likely to include how you’re expected to pay, the monetary amount expected, what happens if payment isn’t received, and when you’re expected to pay for these services.

Your cross-country moving company might include a set fee for your moving service or a breakdown of exactly how this service will be priced. This can be the hourly rate and how these are calculated. However, these rates and final fees are going to depend on the verbal agreements you’ve made with your chosen interstate moving company.

It’s highly recommended that you pay close attention to this section before signing on the dotted line. The reason for this being that after signing, you legally agree to pay the amount disclosed in the moving contract, even if it’s different from the verbal agreement you have. It would help if you asked any questions you may have involving this payment section before signing any documents.


This is typically a short section making up the moving contract. This stipulates that the moving contract is only valid until the completion of such services dictated within the contract. This isn’t a major aspect of the moving contract. However, it’s still important to read over it and fully-understand the term of your contract.


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This is a standard section found in most contracts. This ‘Confidentiality’ section states that the moving company isn’t going to share any of the client’s information (you) during the term stipulated by the contract. This information includes records, notes, documents, and anything else related to your move with the company.

Other Moving Contract Sections That May Be Included

The sections mentioned above embody the general outline that you’re likely to find in any moving contract. In addition to these general details, there are other terms and conditions that you might not be familiar with, which are included in your contract. In addition to this, you may also be provided with additional agreements or contract terms. We have provided you with some of the most common arrangements and contract-related sections to understand better exactly what you agree to.

Additional Charges

You might find a sub-section or section that lists any additional fees you may face. This is also referred to as accessorial charges. These are fees that are for certain variables related to your specific moving process. This may include your movers having to navigate through areas that aren’t suitable for large vehicles, as well as other stipulations.

Binding Estimate

A binding estimate is classified as a guarantee that the price stipulated in your moving contract is the final price you need to pay. If your moving company wishes to change this amount, they will need to submit an amendment to the contract, and both parties will need to sign it.

Line Haul Charges

These are charges that refer to the distance the moving company is going to be transporting your belongings and the gross weight of the load.

Non-Binding Estimate

As you can imagine, the non-binding estimate is the complete opposite of a binding estimate. This means that a price may be charged that’s higher than the amount listed in your initial estimate. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has passed the 110 percent rule. Meaning, moving companies can’t charge you more than 110 percent of the estimated amount.


This is the declared value of your belongings, which means the worth of the items moved by your chosen moving company. This is a critical section that you should pay close attention to, as your movers will be held responsible for this declared value in case of any damages. Thus, having the right value is going to be important. You don’t want your belongings to be under-valued.

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Customer Name:
Customer Email:
Contact Phone:
Moving Date:
Moving from Zip Code:
Moving to Zip Code:
Number of Rooms: