Moving to a new home or office can be an exciting yet daunting task. Along the way, you may come across a variety of terms and phrases specific to the moving and storage industry that can leave you feeling confused. To help you navigate through this complex world, we’ve put together a comprehensive glossary of key terms commonly used by moving and storage companies. Whether you’re planning a move or simply want to expand your knowledge, this guide will demystify the jargon and empower you to make informed decisions.

Accessorial Services:

Accessorial services refer to additional offerings provided by moving companies to facilitate a smooth transition. These services can include packing, unpacking, furniture assembly/disassembly, appliance servicing, and more. It’s important to note that accessorial services are usually charged separately.

Bill of Lading (BOL):

The Bill of Lading is a legally binding contract between you, the customer, and the moving company. It outlines the terms and conditions of the move, including the agreed-upon services, shipment valuation, and liability limits. Make sure to carefully review and understand the BOL before signing it.

Binding Estimate:

A binding estimate is a written agreement that guarantees the total cost of your move based on the estimated weight or volume of your shipment. The final cost cannot exceed the binding estimate unless you request additional services or make changes to the agreed-upon services.


The carrier is the moving company responsible for transporting your belongings from your current location to your new destination. Choosing a reputable and reliable carrier is crucial to ensure a smooth and secure move.

Certificate of Insurance:

A Certificate of Insurance is a document provided by the moving company’s insurance provider. It certifies that the company has insurance coverage and specifies the liability limits in case of loss or damage to your belongings during the move.

Climate-Controlled Storage:

Climate-controlled storage refers to storage units or facilities equipped with temperature and humidity control systems. These units are ideal for storing items that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations or moisture, such as artwork, antiques, electronics, or wooden furniture.

Cubic Feet (CF) or Cubic Meters (CBM):

Cubic feet (CF) and cubic meters (CBM) are units of measurement used to calculate the volume or capacity for shipment.  Accurately measuring the volume of your belongings is essential for determining the appropriate storage unit size or estimating the cost of your move.

Full-Service Move:

A full-service move entails the moving company handling every aspect of your move, from packing and loading to transportation, unloading, and even unpacking. This option provides convenience and saves you time and effort, allowing you to focus on settling into your new space.


An inventory is a detailed list that itemizes all the belongings being moved or stored. It typically includes descriptions, quantities, and conditions of each item. Creating an inventory ensures that nothing gets lost during the move and serves as a reference for insurance purposes.

Non-Binding Estimate:

A non-binding estimate is an estimated cost provided by the moving company, which is subject to change based on the actual weight or volume of your shipment and any additional services requested. It’s important to understand that the final cost may differ from the initial estimate.

Packing Materials:

Packing materials are essential supplies used to protect and secure your belongings during the moving process. These materials include boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, furniture blankets, and other items that help safeguard your items from damage during transit.


Self-storage facilities allow individuals or businesses to rent storage units to store their belongings. Customers have access to their units and are responsible for packing and moving their items. Self-storage is a flexible and convenient solution for short-term or long-term storage needs.

Storage-in-Transit (SIT):

Storage-in-transit refers to the temporary storage of goods in a warehouse or storage facility during a long-distance move or when your new location is not yet ready to receive the shipment. SIT provides a secure space for belongings until they can be delivered to your new home or office.


A tariff is a document that outlines a moving company’s rates, charges, and terms of service. It includes details about various services, additional charges, and rules and regulations governing the move. Reviewing the tariff ensures transparency and helps you understand the financial aspects of your move.


Valuation refers to the declared or assessed value of your goods for determining the moving company’s liability in case of loss or damage. It’s important to note that valuation coverage is not insurance but provides some level of compensation. Understanding the valuation options available to you is crucial for protecting your belongings.

Conclusion: By familiarizing yourself with the terminology used in the moving and storage industry, you can confidently navigate the complexities of planning and executing a move. Whether you’re seeking a full-service move, require storage solutions, or simply need to understand your rights and responsibilities, this glossary serves as your key resource. Remember to consult with your chosen moving company to clarify any specific terms or practices they employ. Armed with knowledge, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free relocation experience.


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