January 24, 2017

Moving Terminology and Movers Speak

If you haven’t noticed yet, the moving industry is filled with words and acronyms that movers use all the time and often forget that most people don’t understand.   And whether you’re moving locally, long distance, or internationally, may have an impact on the vocabulary you’ll you hear. Here are some of the most common ones:

Agent:  An “agent” is an affiliated moving company authorized to act on behalf of a van line, in the case of an interstate move.  Metcalf Moving & Storage is an agent for Mayflower Transit and represents Mayflower in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Bill of Lading:  The “Bill of Lading” is the customer’s receipt for goods and contract for transportation.  The customer’s signature acknowledges that the household goods can be loaded on the van and released to the carrier.  A Bill of Lading is required for both local and long-distance moves.

Carrier:  The “carrier” is the moving company providing transportation for the household goods under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.

Claim:  A “claim” is a statement of loss or damage to any household goods while in the care, custody, or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.

CP:  “CP” stands for “Carrier Packed”.  When a moving company packs a box for the customer, it will be noted as “CP” on an inventory sheet, if an inventory is performed.

DOT:  “DOT” stands for Department of Transportation.  The DOT is the federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration within the DOT, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.  Moves performed within the State of Minnesota are governed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Loading:  “Loading” refers to the act of placing items (boxes and furniture) on the truck.

Moving Van:  Another way of saying “moving truck”.

Packing:  “Packing” refers to packing small and fragile items into boxes.

PBO:  “PBO” stands for “Packed by Owner”.  When an inventory is performed, the mover will denote any boxes packed by the owner/customer as “PBO” on the inventory sheet.

Shipper:  Customer.

Shuttle:  “Shuttle” service is the use of a secondary, smaller vehicle to complete a pickup or delivery.  This generally only applies for long-distance moves where a lage truck is used.

Survey:  A “survey” is a visual inspection performed by a moving company in order to develop an estimate of move charges.

Tariff:  A “tariff” is the carrier’s provisions, including rates, for services performed.  Mayflower Transit has a tariff on file with the Federal government for interstate moves, and Metcalf Moving & Storage has a tariff filed with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for moves performed within the state.

Valuation:  “Valuation” is the customer’s indication of the value of the possessions being shipped.  Before you sign a Bill of Lading, you must declare a value for your shipment.

Van Operator:  Driver.



Our recent move from the Twin Cities to Michigan was handled beautifully from start to finish, from the efficient and friendly service by Ron to the exceptional packing, loading and unloading by the on site crew. Special thanks to Jerry, our driver, and his side-kick Tim, who were truly angels in disguise during such an important time in our lives. I hope we don’t move again, but I’m sure that if we do we couldn’t find a company that would do a better job! Thank you – we are very, very grateful

- Marilyn B.