Moving – whether long-distance or locally – involves more than just packing, loading, and unloading. There is actually a great deal of paperwork associated with a move; especially a long-distance move. 

Since moving contracts can be very detailed and you’re putting down a lot of money, we are breaking down what moving contracts look like. As well as essential terms you should know so you can read a contract like a pro.


Description of Service

The description of the service is going to be the first section of your contract. In this section, the moving company will list all the services they’ll be providing. It’s important to keep in mind that every service rendered will be included in this section. 

If you discussed a particular service with the moving company and you do not see it listed in this section, don’t sign the contract. Go back and get the contract revised so that this section includes the service discussed. 

It’s better to have everything in writing! 

This section also includes your initial destination or destinations. If you are moving from two places, such as a house and a storage unit, the description of service will specify both locations. This is another item to be a stickler on. 

If you and the moving company verbally agreed to move items from two locations and only one is listed, don’t sign anything. Go back and discuss, have them add the second location, and then sign it. Your final destination will be recorded here in addition to your starting location.

This section should have everything you discussed in person when you received an initial quote from the moving company. 

If there are services you decide you’d like to add on that was not discussed, you can add them at this stage and have them included in the description of services. Keep in mind, however, that your total estimate will most likely increase because of this. 


Scope of Services

This section is like the timeline of your wedding day. It will list absolutely everything you and the moving company need to know from the start of your move to the very end. 

It is going to be the most detailed-looking of the entire contract so don’t be scared off from reading the contract at this point. It will include a timeline of all events and expectations for both the moving company and those moving. Most contracts break this section down into numbered lists with steps. 

You can expect this section to include a timeline for:

  • Inventorying
  • Loading the Truck
  • Travel Time
  • Unloading the Truck
  • Final Tasks and Clean Up

understanding movers contract


The payment section of your contract will define how you are going to pay for the moving services rendered and what occurs if you do not pay on time. If you have questions about payment, now is the time to ask them before signing the contract.

The largest bulk of the price you’ll pay is due to the distance your things will need to travel, the size of the house you are moving, the time of year you’ve chosen, the day of the week you decided upon, and the weight of your belongings. 

Be prepared for some sticker shock when you get to this section. 

The average price for moving long-distance is around $4,890 for 1,000 miles. That’s for a 2-3 bedroom home with around 7,500 pounds of goods. 

However, there are some ways you can make a long distance move more affordable. 



The term contains technical language that specifies that your contract is valid until the completion of your move and the services listed are rendered to you. There’s not much else to this section, but read it over to be sure you understand it and can move forward with complete clarity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure. 



This is a standard section for most contracts you’ll run into. It states that the moving company will not share any information about you, the client, during the term of your contract, including records, documents, or notes about your move.


Terms You Need to Know

As with any contract, moving contracts contain numerous terms that don’t get used in our regular lives. Here is a quick cheat-sheet so you can come back and review what they mean.

110% Rule

This is a federal rule that specifies the final amount you owe when the job is complete is not allowed to exceed more than 110% of the estimated price.

Additional Charges

This will either be its own section or a sub-section and will list any additional charges your move will incur. Extra charges include things such as helping you pack, requiring a second vehicle to move your belongings into for especially tight neighborhoods, and navigating rough terrain or flights of stairs that were not previously specified.

Bill of Lading

This is a copy of the contract you’ve signed with the sections talked about above. This document also serves as your receipt for service and should be kept for tax purposes if moving due to a job.

contract from moverBinding Estimate

This is an agreement that the quote listed on your moving contract is the price you will pay when the move is complete. If an adjustment needs to be made, the mover must amend the contract and both the mover, and you must agree to it via signature.

 Full-Service Mover

This is a moving company that will handle everything from packing your household goods to unpacking your items in your new home.

High-Value Inventory

If you have items of high value, a mover may decide to write up a high-value inventory list. This list will include a list of all items of notably high value and their values. Items in this list might have an extra cost due to special packaging or moving requirements.

Line-Haul Charges

These charges pertain solely to the gross weight of the load the moving company is carrying and the distance they are taking it.


This is the declared and agreed-upon value of your possessions. If your things are damaged during the move, this is the amount the moving company will be responsible for and no more.


Moving Made Easy

Now that you know all the parts of a moving contract, you’ll be able to walk forward with confidence and sign with ease. Be sure to clarify all parts that seem vague to you, get all questions answered, and make sure you are fully satisfied before you sign the contract. 

Once you sign, the next step will be your big move.