Moving Companies A-Z Glossary

Moving Companies A-Z Glossary

We are hopeful that this Moving Companies, A-Z Glossary guide to moving terms will come in handy for you. Familiarize yourself with the words you may expect to hear when you move house, move offices, move across border or international relocation, however, the word dictionary is endless. There are a lot more terms than we’ve probably managed to cover so should you hear a word you don’t understand seek clarity with your mover and don’t allow them to use jargon without slapping their wrist for the confusion they may cause.


Acceptance Form:

The form that the home mover will sign and return to the removal company to accept the terms of the service. This follows a written quote or proposal which outlines the details and price of the removal service. It forms a binding contract.


The immediate area around your residence that will affect how the mover gets to your door from main transport routes. Things like how far from your front door can the moving truck park, are there any restrictions on the roads getting to your house (e.g. a canopy). This could also be inside your property – are there any difficult staircases? If it’s in an apartment building is there a lift? Essentially it’s an assessment of any difficulties that might be experienced in getting your belongings from their origin location onto the truck & from the truck into their destination.

Accessorial Charges

These include the extra services other than the actual transportation of the household goods. These are known as additional services that may be added to your transportation costs and are added to the baseline moving fee.

Actual Charges

The total cost of the relocation from beginning to finishing, with end-to-end solutions.


A representative who settles claims against a moving company for damage or loss of household goods during a move.


The process of moving your items and personal effects by air. This process is normally more expensive, but much quicker.

Air Way Bill (AWB)

It’s a very important document when moving to another country when doing an international removal by air. This document serves as the airfreight contract for carriage, showing all relevant information about the shipment, such as the shipper and consignee.


The process of taking apart furniture before loading it into the moving truck and reassembling it at the destination.

Appliance dolly

A wheeled trolley sort of used to transport all kinds of goods, ideal for bulky items.


Bill of Lading (BOL)

Very similar to the AWB, a legally binding document required for any shipment that acts as a receipt of shipment to show that something (used household goods and personal effects – for the removals industry) has been received by the carrier.

Binding Quote

The final price for the removal service as outlined in the written quote. This is based on the information given in the inventory or viewed by the moving consultant during a pre-move survey. Also known as binding estimate.

Blanket Wrap

Cloth that is used to protect large pieces of furniture to avoid scuffs and scratches during the removal process. Also known as furniture wrapper and/or mover blanket.

Bonded warehouse

A special warehouse that meets customs specifications, allowing removal goods to be stored pending customs clearance.

Bulky Article Charge

Large items such as pool tables that require extra handling are subject to an additional charge. This includes delicate yet expensive items such as the pianos.


Cancellation charge (Cancellation fee)

A cost to the home mover if the removal service is cancelled after confirmation during a specified time frame having being fully signed and confirmed due to the inconveniences caused.

Cash on delivery (C.O.D.)

Mode of payment agreed between the moving company and the client to be made to the moving company upon delivery at the destination.


An alternative name for a fully licensed removal company, with the ability to provide relocation services for your belongings.


Boxes made of corrugated sheet used to package and move items during relocation.

Chargeable weight

The weight used by an airline to determine the airfreight charge. Normally referred to as volumetric weight whichever supersedes the other.


A written document requesting monetary compensation for items that have been lost or damaged during the move, in accordance with the removal company’s insurance policy.


It is an undertaking of an international removal where your consignment is less than a full load/container, you may have opted to send your things via groupage/shared load. It has also become common when executing intercountry moves for inland moving.


The person to whom the shipment is to be delivered. In most cases when performing an international removal, this would be ourselves or our destination agent; but in the event that you have arranged an agent yourself, this would be you or that company. Also known as shipper.


The person to whom the shipment is packed from.


The name given to the entirety of your removal goods. It is normally used to describe your shipment.


A modular steel box that is designed to hold your removal goods during transportation. The usual sizes these are offered for international removals are 20ft, 40ft and 40ft High Cube Containers.

Corporate Account

Company or organization that is paying for or arranging a move(s) with the moving Company on behalf of an individual(s), transferee or its staff members.


The legal body in charge of formal inspection prior to official entry into the country. Customs will always supersede any international removal company. Ensure that you read through your relevant country guide or removal advice page.

Customs clearance

The Customs Inspection Procedure. The clearing process the contained goods will undergo to get through custom barriers. Customs pick shipments randomly to spot check documentation to ensure that it is in line with the contents before importing them to a new country.

Custom duty

The tax involved with shipping goods – generally based on the contents inside – is used to raise state revenue and shield domestic industries from the competition abroad. Used household goods and personal effects do not accrue this duty as long as the documentation is correct as advised by your mover.


The process of building wooden boxes/wooden lift vans to protect delicate or valuable items during transit.


The volume of your goods will be measure in either cubic feet or cubic meters e.g. 1ft x 1ft x 1ft blocks of space. Each piece of furniture will have its volume assessed and all consolidated together to get the total volume of your move.

Cube Sheet

A list of household goods and the amount of space (in cubic feet) they occupy in a truck. This is then converted into weight and used to determine the moving estimate.


Dedicated Truck (Dedicated Load)

It is allocating of a removals truck/vehicle to one house move.

Delivery Report

A detailed report, signed by the client, used to verify the delivery of used household goods and personal at the destination. It includes the goods condition.

Delivery Window

It is the time period in which a moving company is scheduled to deliver a shipment to its final destination. The delivery window varies and will be dependent on the mode of shipment (road, sea, air) and distance of the move.


These are charged by customs warehouse stations for delays and additional storage. Once goods are being loaded into a container to the point they are deconsolidated or unloaded at destination, they are subject to very strict timelines to ensure vessels leave and arrive on time. Any deviation from this can cause demurrage charges. Also known as Port storage.


The sum of money required to book a confirmed moving date. This varies from company to company. Get this advised from your preferred mover of choice.

Destination Agent

The appointed agent by the controlling mover, responsible for coordinating shipments and information to the client and moving company at the moving destination. This agent will do customs clearance, delivery, unpacking, removal of debris at destination.


The process of disassembly of an item of furniture into separate parts and labelling it accordingly for easy of assembly.


The process of reassembling furniture after unloading it from the moving truck at the destination address.


A route change to a consignment’s destination or an additional stop after a moving truck is already en-route. Also referred to split delivery.


A service that removes belongings from inside the premises, transports it and unloads the goods only to the outside of the destination and not inside the premises itself.

Door-to-Door Service(DTD)

An international removal service controlled by the Removal Company from residence to residence. Usually taking care of every part of your international removal. Also known as full service.

Door-to-Port service(DTP)

This services applies when your mover provides export services upto the port of entry, then the ship will organize for clearance for clearance by self at destination.

Domestic Move/ Domestic Removal

A local move that doesn’t require leaving the borders of the country. Commonly referred to as House move or Inland House Move.


Elevator Charge

An additional charge applied when a moving process includes moving items in an elevator. Normally applies for goods going above 2nd floor. Staircase fee is the other name for this charges.


It is an initial, approximate quote for the moving service based on limited information.

Estimate, Binding

An agreement made between a customer and a moving company that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the weight of household items plus accessorial services.

Estimate, Non-Binding

A non-binding approximation of a moving cost based on the estimated weight of household items and any accessorial services. Also known as no-obligation estimate.

Estimated Weight

From a pre-move survey by a seasoned moving consultant, an estimated weight will be taken to determine the approximate weight of the belongings inside the home.

Essentials Box

A box of essential items that are not packed onto the moving truck. Designed for the individuals who are moving to use during the last days spent in an old home or the first days spent in a new home e.g. medication


Estimated Time of Arrival


Estimated Time of Departure

Expedited service

A more expensive service that guarantees your goods to be transported quickly, in a shorter period of time than the average service.

Extra Handling Charge

Additional costs for specialist handling of specific items.

Extra pick up (Extra delivery)

Additional stops that are requested by the client en route. It’s the reserve of split delivery.

Export Wrapping / Packing

This service involves higher levels of wrapping protection for items that are being transported overseas. It also applies for goods packed for long term storage


Flat Pack

Furniture items that are sold dismantled and the pieces packed flat in order to move, that can then be assembled at destination.

PS: Many ‘flat pack’ items are not necessarily designed to be assembled and dismantled multiple times and may lose significant stability/quality as a result. They are mostly IKEA furniture, study the manual as per the manufacturers’ before planning in order to reduce the risk.

Flight Charge

It is an additional fee for a moving professional to carry items up or down one or multiple flight of stairs. Referred to as staircase fee.

Full Container Load

Also referred to as “Exclusive Container” this means that only your goods will be loaded into this container during the agreed removals dates. It could be 1×20’, 1×40’ or 1x40HC. Your removals company for your International Shipping should advise you.

Full-Service Moving

A service where a moving company completes the moving process from start to finish for the client. This includes sending a moving consultant for assessment, providing packaging materials, packing, loading, transporting, unloading, unpacking, and the setting up of household goods.

Full-Value Protection Insurance

An insurance policy which covers the current market value of an item, an item’s replacement, or the cost to repair an item if it’s damaged or lost by a moving company during a move.

Furniture Blankets

They are protective quilted covers (Soft, sturdy blankets) designed to protect household appliances, furniture, railings, doorways, and walls during the moving process. Also known as furniture pads

Floor Protectors

A plastic strip placed onto a carpet or hard flooring to protect the surface from damage during moving process.



Goods in Transit insurance. This ensures that belongings are covered by the removal company’s insurance whilst being moved by the company. Seek further advise with your relocations firm.


This is when your removal goods are shared in a large removal container. This is for international removals and are often far more cost effective than LCL. Your shipment, once export wrapped, will go into consolidation pending loading, and then at destination, go into deconsolidation once clearing customs.

Gross Weight

The combined weight of a moving truck loaded with household goods.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service

It’s a premium moving service that guarantees specific pickup and delivery dates.



It is the act of transporting goods from A to B by road.

Hazardous items

These are articles comprising of waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. They are classified as radioactive toxic, ignitable, corrosive, reactive or infectious.

High-Value Articles

Household items that are valued at more than $100 per pound. This can be antique pieces, Grand pianos, collections etc.

HHG (Household goods)

Abbreviation for your removal goods.


It’s lifting apparatus used to elevate and lower items.


Impracticable Operations

Conditions that prohibit a moving company from carrying out a pickup or delivery with their standard equipment and require special equipment or additional labor. These terms are defined in a moving company’s tariff.

Indemnity Cover

It is the cost of an item less depreciation (taking into account age, quality, wear and tear, degree of usage and the subsequent the market value).

Indicative Quote

An initial estimate of the cost of the moving service that is subject to change following the pre-move survey. Same as Estimated quote.

Inherent Vice

When the condition of an item prevents a moving company from moving the item without causing it damage. Think fragile antiques.

Insurance Premium

The charge for your insurance cover, usually quoted as a percentage of the overall cover obligatory.

International Move/Export Move

Any move that involves crossing an international boundary, regardless of distance. It could be an air freight or sea freight kind of move. Also known as International removals or International Relocations.

Intercounty Move

Any move that involves crossing an intercounty boundary, regardless of distance.


A detailed list of the quantity and condition of household items. Sometimes referred to as a packing list.

Import Duty and Taxes

Fees charged by customs on specific items that you are moving. This list will be found on specific country guides. You moving company of choice will advise relevant country moving advice as per your needs.




LCL (Less Than a Container Load)

Your belongings that are collected are cased into a wooden box and stacked into a container with other shipments. Once the container is full, the shipment is then transported to the desired location and then passed onto another agent who will then transport the goods to the final destination. This process does take longer than a dedicated shipping container and it is important to note that this service is always at the liberty of other traffic moving to your destination. For International Shipping, discuss this option with your relocation experts.

Lift Van

A large crate used in the packing of your consignment.

Line-Haul Charges

Charges calculated by the mileage and weight of a shipment; specially for long-distance moves.

Load Date

The date on which the shipment is to be picked up by the moving truck especially for export moves.

Loading ramp

Moving companies will have loading ramps inside the transportation vehicles for a quick and easy loading process.

 Local Move

A short-distance move, typically with city limits. Can be apartment to apartment. Across the street, from one estate to another, within the block etc.

Long Carry Charge

A charge applied when a moving company carries items an excessive distance from a home to the moving truck or vice versa. This distance varies from one company to another and is normally determined by the moving company. Mostly paired with difficult access.

Long-Term Storage

Storage of household items in a storage facility for an extended period of time, typically six months to infinitude.

Lump Sum

One payment that covers the entirety of the cost of moving, without individual breakdowns.

Luton Van

It’s a medium sized moving box van with approx. 17cbm/600 cuft capacity.


Marine Cover

International Removal Insurance specifically to cover your belongings during an international relocation.

Moving Company

A professional moving company helps people move their life long belongings from one place to another at a premium. It eliminates the hassle that comes along with this tedious job. Safes time and ultimately brings joy and relief.

Move Consultation

There are so many words used by different movers for this – however it means when a representative from the mover (who they will call all number of things e.g. Moving Consultant, moving expert, Relocations expert, Surveyor, assessor, Estimator, Sales Person etc.) will come to your home to assess the volume of goods you wish to move. A professional Removal Company will also use this visit to understand your individual requirements with regards to services required (packing, unpacking, 3rd party services etc), your budget and your move dates as well as be able to explain more about their company and how they would suggest you undertake your move.

Moving Consultant

The person who conducts a survey or move consultation. This individual, at The Centric Moving Company, we define them as a person directly working for you, organizing everything for you from the moment you make an enquiry, to charting a move plan that suits your individual needs to the point that everything is finally delivered and settled in.

Moving Cost

The premium paid to a moving company to transport household items to their final destination.

Moving Process

All moving related procedures from beginning to end. Divided into pre-move preparations, moving day procedures, and post-relocation responsibilities and follow ups.

Motor vehicle inventory

A form used when conveying an automobile, motorcycle or boat that lists the vehicle’s miles and condition at both origin and destination. Also referred to as auto inventory.


Net Weight

The weight of a shipment; obtained by subtracting the tare weight (the weight of the moving truck) from the gross weight (the weight of the fully-loaded moving truck).

Non-Allowable List (prohibited items)

A list of items that moving companies will not handle because they may contaminate or damage the moving company’s property or the property of the client. E.g. items infested with bugs, household chemicals, and propane tanks are subject to this list. Seek further indulgence with your preferred mover.

Non-Binding Estimate

This is normally based on a company’s past experience with similar house moves and this is usually estimated without any form of survey.

Notification of Delay

Notice to a customer that a delivery will be delayed and includes the reason for the delay, the last known location of the moving truck, and a new timeline.

Normal Access

Entrance without any obstruction; with easy.


Off – Peak Season Rates

Discounted prices for moves that take place during the less busy season for moving companies. Typically, at the mid-month of every month (7th-20th) for domestic/local/ house moves. Check with you moving company if they have they extend these kind of discounts.

Order for Service

This is a document showing prove that a moving company has been authorized to offer their transportation and help by the client.

Order Number

A number used to identify a client’s move. This number appears on the Order for Service and/or the Bill of Lading/AWB.

Origin Agent

The agent responsible for coordinating information and preparing the necessary documentation for the customer and moving company at the moving origin during a destination service.


When items are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary moving truck. An additional truck is then utilized to transport the leftover items. Better still the moving consultant charts a 2-day move plan for a seamless moving experience for local moves.

Owner Packed

Items that have not been packed by the removals company. Also commonly known as Packed By Owner(PBO)


Packing List

Very similar to an inventory but usually produced by our packing crew upon origin. This will detail what items our moving crew has packed and also indicates the condition of the goods.

Packing Service

A service offered by moving companies or third-parties where professionals pack items before moving day and unpack them upon delivery.

Parking permit

Required at collection or delivery if the local council have to approve the use of a removal vehicle at the property. Often the City Council of Nairobi (CCN) in Kenya.

Packing Supplies

Any materials used to facilitate the protection and moving of items including various sizes / types of boxes, foam sheets, bubble wrap, blankets, tape, packing paper, protective covers, wooden over casing/crates etc. Find out more about our range of packing materials. Also known as packing materials or packaging materials.


A portable platform for holding goods for storage or transportation. It can be wooden or plastic.

Pan Technicon

This is a truck specifically designed for furniture removals – it’s pretty much quite an old fashioned word J!


Stands for packed by owner. A term used by moving companies to designate when items are packed by a client. Refer to Owner packed.

Peak Season Rates

Prices for moves that take place during the busiest season for moving companies. Classically, between May and Sept for international moves and every end and beginning of every month (25th – 5th) for domestic/local/ house moves.

Permanent Storage

Storing items in a storage facility indefinitely.

Physical Survey

Refer to survey – only that this service is done by a moving consultant who physically comes on site and have physical interactions.

Port storage

Refer to Demurrage.

Port-To-Door Services (PTD)

A service where the international relocations company will take care of your removal goods from destination port to your final destination. This often includes customs clearance; however, it is paramount to always specify with the moving company that you need this as well. Check with your International Moving service provider for further advice.

Pre-Existing Damage

Existing damage to an item that is not associated with the move. The scratches had occurred prior engaging with the moving company.

Preferred Arrival Date (PAD)

The date a client requests for delivery.

Pre-Move Survey

It is a free of charge service where a professional moving company will conduct an assessment in readiness for your planned move. It can be done either virtually or physically. Also known as survey, Pre Move assessment, in-home estimate.

Private Move

This is a move whereby an individual that is moving is making their own arrangements with their trusted moving company and paying for the move themselves. The contract is basically between the moving company and the individual.

Post Most Follow-up

Also known as Post Move Interview. It is almost the phase of a move usually a service conducted by responsible moving companies to find out how the move was executed by the moving crew, how the client experience journey has been since they contacted the professional moving company.  The moving Company will be keen to seek recommendations and continuously learn from the feedback. If anything went wrong in the move, they amicably consent to resolve the pending moving issues.



The price of a moving company’s services. Based on a client’s pre-move survey/assessment/in-home estimate and their specific moving needs. Also known as a moving proposal or quotation.



Putting furniture back together once the new residence has been reached.

Removal Company

A business offering professional moving services to pack, shift, load, transport and unpack, settle-in, do house-keeping client’s goods from one location to another. Often referred to as – Professional Moving company, Movers or Moving and relocations.

Removal crew

Experts engaged to move household goods. These team is highly trained in customer service, moving skills and housekeeping skills.


A reweigh of the items on the moving truck may be requested by a customer upon delivery. If a reweigh is requested, charges will be calculated based on the new net weight. This practice is mostly done in the European countries.


This is re-working of indicative prices for a service due to changes in volume or destination.


The direction or way the consignment/shipment/load will go through to get to the desired destination.


Sea Freight

The most frequent method of international moving services overseas. Travelling by large sea vessel in a shipping container. This is more cost effective for big volumes than air shipments but does take a lot longer. Whether FCL or LCL, it goes via sea freight.

Secure Storage

Means that your household goods and personal effects goods are tightly locked away in a storage controlled facility. It is easy and flexible to gain access to this. It will require a notification and an appointment if you wished to access your stored goods. Check the arrangement with your storage company.

Setting up

IT involves placing and positioning of your lifelong belongings using your destination house floor plan and focal points as per the house dimensions. A seasoned mover will go ahead and do housekeeping for you.


The customer whose household items/possessions are being transported.

Shipping Container

A modular steel box in which goods are loaded for transport. Specially designed for use with road, rail or sea transportation and can be craned or fork lifted directly on and off different modes of transport. Come in a range of sizes, standard lengths are 20’ and 40’ and are 8’ wide and 8’ high. There are also high cube options which increase height to 9’6” increasing capacity.

Shuttle Service

It is the use of a smaller vehicle to transport items to a location that is not accessible to larger moving trucks.

Storage-In-Transit (SIT)

A request for temporary storage in a storage facility(warehouse) if the destination is not ready to receive the items. The client will accrue an extra cost of this service as well as any handling fees.


It is a saran wrap; stretch-wrap is wrapped around furniture to protect it from damage. Often referred to as stretch film or shrink wrap


Also referred to as Pre-move site visit, pre-move survey, pre-move assessment, in-home estimate, a survey is a process where a moving professional (Ref – Moving consultant) visits a client’s home and creates a list of furniture and estimate its total volume. They will also inquire about additional moving services and then provide a quote for the estimated cost of the move. Ref: Move Consultation


Tail lift

A mechanical lift on the back of a vehicle to aid with moving items.

Tare Weight

The weight of the moving truck, equipment, and packing materials without a customer’s items. This weight helps determine the net weight of a customer’s move.


Refer to Crew

Team Leader

This is the champ in charge of the moving crew.

Terms and Conditions

The rights and duties of each involved party as defined in a contract.

Terminal Handling Charges (THC)

This is a fee that must be paid for items to travel by air or sea to cover the processing of the shipment. These are charges, usually at port, which cover a range of things. It is important to see whether the moving company cover these charges, as some destinations require that they are paid for by the customer themselves.

Moving Companies

The Centric Moving Company(TCMC)

We are a leading and trusted moving company, domiciled in Nairobi, Kenya at the bypass of Kileleshwa and Lavington – 75, Ole Nguruone Road. We execute full moving services ranging from: House moving, Office Moving, Across border Moves, International Relocations and storage for used household goods and personal effects. Our employees are customer-centric, kind, empathetic, friendly, multi-skilled and experienced. We have the best movers in East and Central Africa.

Third Party Services / Third Party Contractor

A chain of management that organizes removals services to the client’s requirements with an end to end solution in mind.


This is the person whose household goods and personal effects are being moved from one location to another. Mainly this kind of move is paid for by the employer. It applies for local house moves, across the border moves as well as international moving services.

Transit Time

The time spent in transportation between a client’s old home(origin) and their new home(destination).



When the moving crew unloads boxes, crates and wrapped furniture from the moving truck and unpacks the contents at the destination.

Unique Relocation Number(URN)

This is for all shipments moving to UK. It is a Transfer of Residence (ToR) application approval number. Please note that this has superseded the old C3 form which can no longer be used to clear customs. It is applied through HMRC. Your mover will take you step by step on how to about acquiring it.


Valued Inventory

This is a list of items owned by a customer that have the replaceable price attached to it. This is the list used to place GIT and marine insurance for personal effects and used household goods. It acceptable in all currencies.


It is the estimated value of a customer’s belongings. The maximum amount the moving company will be liable for should any items end up lost or damaged.


The person providing the service.

Virtual survey

A virtual survey is similar to a PMS or survey, this time executed remotely using new technology methods either via skype, WhatsApp video or any other electronically enabled app at the comfort of your home. A seasoned moving consultant/survey will guide you accordingly to achieve accurate volumes as well plan for access of your premises.


The physical space taken up by the belongings you wish to be moved. Different moving companies will establish their volumes differently – CBM, CUFT, M2, Sqft or weight.

Volumetric weight

It is the calculation used to measure the density of a package. Also known as dimensional weight.

Van Line

Van lines coordinate teams of local agents across the country to provide moving services for customers. Van lines are national brands and their agents perform household moves on behalf of their van line.


Waiting time

The time it takes for the service to proceed due to external factors out of the removal companies’ hands, causing interruption during the time of your paid services.


The intentional relinquishment of a term in a contract.

Warehouse Handling

These are fees that occur each time a SIT (temporary storage in a warehouse) service is provided. These include temporary warehousing, loading and unloading of items, and the final delivery of items to their respective destination.

Weight ticket

This is incurred by the moving company whenever the moving truck has been packed and weighed via toll stations.



Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

You deserve full disclosure when making a move. A reliable mover understands every step of the moving process. Detailed information about moving paperwork(documentation), estimates, transit timelines, claims, and insurance are all unique as every move is equally unique and should be treated so.


Understanding and explaining moving terminology is important for professionals working in tandem with the moving industry.  Property management companies, real estate brokerages, and property caretakers, realtors all help clients and transferees understand and manage their moving process. Knowing the right moving lingo can help make the moving process less confusing and most importantly the moving industry more transparent.

When answering your clients’ moving questions, we hope our essential list of moving glossary is a great resource. Keep it handy as a quick reference and share it with your transferees or clients so they can feel more confident working with their trusted and reliable moving company.

Moving Companies

Feel free to email us with any suggestions for words to add to our list on