A moving contract is a legally binding written agreement between a moving company and a customer who intends to hire the company’s services. This agreement explicitly states the rights and responsibilities of both the mover and the customer, and details all the agreements the parties have reached – services, prices, timeframes, special conditions, etc.

A moving contract puts it all in writing, so there are no misunderstandings and there remains very little room for argument. It defines the conditions of the relocation process and provides protection against moving scams. Therefore, to increase your chance of safe and smooth relocation, you have to make sure that your moving contract is thorough and accurate – that everything you agreed with your movers is noted and all the details of your move are correct and complete.

It is also very crucial for the success of your relocation endeavor that you carefully read the moving contract – and completely understand everything that is in it – before signing the document. You have to be sure that you are hiring the right movers for you and that you agree with all the terms and conditions in the contract – otherwise, you may easily become the victim of a moving scam.

Therefore, in order to save your nerves and your money when using professional moving services, you need to know what to check before signing a moving contract.

What are the Components of a Moving Company Contract in 2022?

The specific contract that you are asked to sign may look a bit different in scope depending on who you are working with and the state or states that your move is taking place in; nonetheless, it should always include the features noted below.

  1. Description of Services

This is more or less the first section that you will see in a moving contract. This is where the movers will list all of the services that they will be offering you, as well as what you have agreed upon as your initial and final destinations.

Take your time to ensure that all of the services you are expecting are included in this section. You can adjust it if there’s an additional service that you would like to be provided, however, note that this will likely raise your estimate.

  1. Scope of Services

This is the section that serves as a timeline of events that will take place during your service, as well as a place where expectations are set for both parties. Note that the scope of services section will often be broken down into a numbered list that goes over each step.

For instance: inventorying, loading the truck, and unloading the truck. You may see extra information as well, such as that the client (you) must have all items packed up and ready to go when the movers arrive to load the truck, and that the service provider (your movers) will take proper care not to damage your belongings upon unloading the truck.

  1. Confidentiality

This is a standard part of most contracts, and not specific to just moving contracts. Have it in mind that the confidentiality section more or less states that the moving company will not share any information about the client during the term of the contract, such as any records, documents, or notes related to your move.

  1. Binding Estimate

A binding estimate is a guarantee that the price listed on the moving contract is the price that you are going to pay. Note that to change this amount, a moving company will have submitted an amendment to the contract, and both parties are expected to sign to agree to it.

  1. Full-value Replacement and Released-value Replacement

Also note that moving companies offer two levels of protection to their clients, full-value replacement coverage and released-value replacement coverage. Take your time to look at your provided documentation to see which one your mover is agreeing to.

Under full-value replacement, you will receive the full value or replacement value of any damaged items, up to about $100 a pound. Under released-value replacement, you will get a much lower amount—about $0.60 a pound.

  1. Payment

In this section, you will see information that notes how you are to pay for your service, when you are expected to pay it, and what happens if you don’t. Depending on the verbal agreements that you have with the moving company that you hired, your moving contract may include a set fee for your service, or it may include a breakdown of how the service is going to be priced (i.e. fixed rate vs. hourly rate and how those will be calculated).

Always remember to pay close attention to this section since once you sign on the dotted line you are legally agreeing to pay the amount disclosed on the contract or follow the set pricing structure. If you have a question about payments or pricing, it’s important to ask them before you sign, not after.

  1. Term

Note that this short section just states that the moving contract is valid until completion of the services dictated within it. There is not much to worry about here, but read it over just to make sure that you fully understand the term of the contract and that you don’t have any questions about it.

  1. Additional Charges

Also note that you may see a section or sub-section on your moving contract that lists additional charges you might face, also sometimes referred to as accessorial charges. These charges are extra fees for certain variables related to your move, such as if your movers have to navigate their truck through areas not fit for large vehicles or if you are not ready when they arrive and they have to pack some of your belongings.

  1. Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is more or less a copy of your moving contract that you receive on moving day. It will include the sections overviewed above and should be held on to since it also serves as the receipt for your service.

  1. Licensing Information, Names, and Addresses

Also, ensure that the moving company’s USDOT number and physical address are on the contract and match the information from the company’s website and other resources you have looked at when researching the movers. Also, check if your contact information and both your old and new addresses are full and correct – you want your movers to be able to find you;

  1. High-Value Inventory

Your mover may choose to include a high-value inventory list, which is a list of the items they will be moving that are of particularly high value and what those values are. Note that these items may have additional costs related to packing or moving them, as well as unique terms.

  1. Line Haul Charges

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

  1. Non-binding Estimate

A non-binding estimate simply refers to the estimate of payment that may change over the course of the service, meaning the amount that you see listed is not a guarantee of what you owe. In 2013 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed the 110 percent rule, which rules that the final amount you owe may not be more than 110% of the estimated price.

  1. Valuation

The declared value of what your belongings are worth. In the case of damages, your movers will not be responsible for more than the valuation amount.

Sample Terms and Conditions of a Moving Company Contract

  • Any and all provisions of this Moving Services Agreement whether in whole or part that are unenforceable for any reason will allow the remaining subjected provisions to remain in full effect.
  • This Moving Services Agreement may only be changed upon written approval by both parties including signatures.
  • The Parties agree that disputes will be resolved in the state of Texas.
  • Both parties agree that in the event of a dispute not covered by federal laws, Texas state law will apply.
  • ​The Company, Sharp Movers Inc., may pursue legal remedies for funds not received and agreed to in this Moving Services Contract.
  • In the instance client fails to pay the full balance due, the service provider forfeits any and all rights to hold any belongings of the clients.
  • ​The Company, Sharp Movers Inc., agrees that it does not obtain a security interest in the Customer’s property at any time during its rendering of services.
  • In the event, The Company, Sharp Movers Inc., shows any signs of damage or carelessness to property, The Company, Sharp Movers Inc. will be fully responsible for up to the full value of goods as agreed in this moving services contract.
  • ​The Company, Sharp Movers Inc., furthermore, states all necessary licenses and insurances needed under applicable state and federal laws are up to date.
  • ​The Company, Sharp Movers Inc., agrees and understands the requirements and elements of the client’s move and will not charge above and beyond for any unforeseen costs for the move taking place on the move date.

Conclusion

A moving contract sometimes referred to as an order for service, is a statement outlining the terms and conditions of your move. By putting it all down on paper and requiring signatures, both parties are agreeing to certain specifics that dictate the moving service is going to be provided.

Note that all reputable professional moving companies provide their clients with a moving contract and if a company doesn’t offer you a moving contract, is a good sign that you should be hiring someone else.