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 a 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 2021?

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is A Moving Contract?

A moving contract, which can also be 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 that is going to be provided. A moving contract can be beneficial for you and your moving company. It ensures that both parties agree on what is to be moved and are on the same page.

  1. What Type Of Mover Should Create Moving Company Contracts?

The types of movers who should create moving company contracts include local moving companies, long-distance moving companies, international moving companies, commercial movers, household movers, white-glove movers, fine art movers, full moving services, partial moving services, specialty movers, and self-service moving.

  1. What Should Be In A Moving Contract?

Your moving contract should include information on the company’s rates, minimum charges, and possible additional fees (such as long-carry fees, for example).

  1. Why Use A Template When Making A Moving Company Contract?

The reason why you should use a template when making a moving company contract is that it will give you the needed guidance to make your moving company contract conform to what is expected and of course, it will save you time and money. Plus, making use of a standard moving company contract template is stress-free.

  1. Why Do You Need A Moving Contract?

You need a moving contract because a moving contract is a necessity and if you decide to use a moving company for your upcoming relocation, you will need to enter into a contract. A moving contract can be beneficial for you and your moving company. It ensures that both parties agree on what is to be moved and are on the same page about what will happen if something is damaged in transit.

  1. How Is A Moving Contract Template Usually Structured?

In order to structure your Moving Contract online, you will need to prepare the following details:

  • The client’s full name and address
  • What kind of services will be delivered?
  • How much you will charge
  • Whether the project will be ongoing or if it will last for a set period of time

Please note that Moving Contracts also include the typical legal language about the independent work relationship, confidentiality, indemnification, and finally, dispute resolution methods. During the process of building your agreement, you’ll also have the ability to determine its state of jurisdiction. Additional custom alterations are permitted if needed.

  1. Where Can I Get My Moving Contracts Reviewed By A Lawyer?

Depending on who is contacted, some lawyers will not even accept requests to review contracts that they didn’t draft. An easier approach worth consideration is to request help from experts. When you become a Premium member, you have the ability to ask for a document review from an attorney with experience in business or ask additional questions related to your Moving Agreement.

  1. Can I Cancel A Moving Contract?

It may happen that you have had some unexpected costs, the home you wanted to relocate to is no longer available, or the reason can be completely different. Whatever the situation you are in, you should know that it is certainly possible to cancel a moving contract.

  1. How Do You Make A Custom Contract For Movers Online?

Any moving company planning to draft this document using a lawyer will need to follow the directions that are given. After learning more about the engagement, a lawyer will generate a contract that is customized for your needs. Before you sign your Moving Agreement, you may also consider having your drafted document looked over by a lawyer in our nationwide network of attorneys. This route, in many cases, will end up being notably more affordable than hiring the average lawyer, whose fees might be anywhere between several hundred dollars to thousands in total.

  1. What Should I Know Before Signing A Moving Contract?

Here are Five Key Steps to Take Before Signing a Moving Contract;

  • Check Your Contact Details.
  • Check the Obligations.
  • Check the Price.
  • Know How to End the Contract.
  • Talk to a Lawyer.
  1. Why Is It So Important To Understand Everything Before Signing A Moving Contract?

It is very important to understand everything before signing a moving contract because it will save you from falling into a trap or getting a shorter end of the stick. So, before signing a contract, read it thoroughly. Make sure that the contract accurately reflects what the parties agreed to. Reading the contract thoroughly can ensure that there is no misinformation or terms that were not agreed upon. It is important that you understand what it is that you are agreeing to.

  1. Can Movers Ask For A Deposit, And How Much Should You Pay?

Inasmuch as there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mover asking for a down payment, you should be aware that: The deposit has to be for a small amount – Moving company deposits should not exceed 25 percent of the final moving cost. If a mover requires you to pay half of the total costs upfront, then it is likely that you are being scammed.

  1. Can I Get My Deposit Back From A Moving Company?

It all depends on the moving company cancellation policy, but moving house deposits are typically refundable within a certain period of time. If your new moving date doesn’t fit the moving company schedule, the deposit may or may not be refunded, depending on the company’s policy and the time period of your move.

  1. How Do I Get My Deposit Back From A Moving Company?

In order to receive a full refund of your reservation deposit please submit a cancellation request in writing by using our simple electronic claims form at least 72 hours before the actual moving date.

  1. How Much Will It Cost You To Cancel A Moving Contract?

Basically, the amount of money you are going to need for fees depends on the contract you have signed. If this situation happens, the best thing you should do is to read it carefully. In case you cannot find it or you do not understand the terms, please make sure you ask. Of course, you should know that there may be variations since not every moving company operates in the same way.

  1. Why Should You Pay A Fee To Cancel A Moving Contract?

You may wonder why there are extra costs when you are canceling your contract and your movers will not have to do any hard physical work. You should bear in mind that this is a carefully planned operation. The very moment you have contacted your full-service movers, they have started making a plan on how to carry out your move. They need quite a lot of time for this.

  1. Am I Required To Do Anything Else After I Have Made My Moving Contract?

Alongside your Moving Contract, there will be a series of recommended actions to take to finalize the document. You also can try any of these actions with your document: making edits, printing, downloading it as a Word document or PDF file, or signing it with the company. Most importantly, take care to send a copy of your signed contract to your client.

  1. What Happens If You Don’t Pay Movers?

If you are unable to pay at the time the shipment is delivered, the mover may place your shipment in storage at your expense until the charges are paid. The mover is not permitted to charge for giving a non-binding estimate. A non-binding estimate is not a bid or contract.

  1. Are Moving Companies Responsible For Damage?

For your damaged things, the moving companies must take liability, as part of the contract. Some wash their hands off liabilities and refuse to pay recompense. If they decline in giving you payment for the destroyed stuff, then you have a legal reason to sue them.

  1. What Are Moving Companies Liable For?

In general, your mover is legally liable for loss or damage that occurs during the transportation of your shipment and all related services identified on the bill of lading. All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the household goods they transport.

Solomon. O'Chucks