New York Moving Guide

Moving Guide Summary

Do you feel as if you don’t know what you’re doing? Don’t know what to handle – or where to start? It is important to try to make arrangements for your move well in advance; these tips will help you to control your move, and still be able to deal with any changes or unexpected events that could impact your plans.

  • Clear out unwanted goods
  • Get rid of flammables – paint,petrol, gas cylinders.
  • Empty fuel from mowers, clippers, trimmers and so on.
  • Clothes – do you need them all? Charity shops may want them. 
  • Separate books – disposable, family reading, valuable.
  • Check all electrical goods – will they work in the new home?
  • Start making up your change of address list.
  • Arrange to have mail forwarded.
  • Agree termination date for electricity, gas, oil, telephone and other main suppliers.
  • If you are taking electrical goods such as a stereo, see if you still have their original boxes.
  • If you have children, separate cherished toys to travel with you.
  • Round up personal documentation – marriage/birth certificates, driving licenses and so on.
  • Keep passports separate so they are not packed. 
  • To say nothing of family pets – make sure vaccinations and documentation are up to date.
  • Will your new home is ready? If not, you need to arrange temporary Storage Services.


Do’s and Don’ts of Moving

The majority of movers and their agents are reputable business people who will not promise services they cannot legally provide. Keep in mind the following “DO’S and DON’TS” when selecting a mover.

DO… Read this information booklet in its entirety. Select your household goods mover with care. To verify that the mover is authorized by the Department of Transportation, you can contact the Department at 1-800-786-5368 or on-line at Be sure that agreements between you and mover are in writing and on the order for service and the bill of loading. (See page 4 for description of these documents.) Consider obtaining more than one estimate and be wary of exceptionally low estimates. If a physical inventory record of your household goods is prepared, examine for accuracy as to the number of items, condition of furniture, etc. Make sure you understand the limited standard liability of the household goods movers. Ask the mover to explain this minimum liability and how you can get additional protection. Schedule your departure and arrival with enough flexibility to allow for unforeseen delays on the part of the mover. Notify your building manager prior to moving day if you are moving from or to a residence with elevator access or limited parking. Advise the mover of telephone numbers and/or addresses where you can be reached en route, or at destination, or both. You may designate in writing, someone to act as your representative, if required. Consider the arrangement and final placement locations of your furniture in your new residence before your goods are delivered. Be certain that everything listed on the inventory, if prepared, is accounted for before the van operator leaves either origin or destination. File a claim in writing with the mover if you determine that your shipment has sustained loss or damage. Note on the final bill of lading, any missing items or apparent damage.

DON’T… Fail to read this information booklet. Believe that any estimate or statement of probable cost given by a mover, except a written binding estimate, will be the actual cost of your move. Expect the mover to provide boxes, cartons, wardrobes, or other packaging materials, free of charge. Plan to leave your old residence until the moving company leaves. If you are unable to be present, designate someone to act on your behalf. Fail to make a final check to be certain all items to be moved have been loaded. Fail to make arrangements to have available, in cash, or certified check, or money order the maximum amount shown on the order for service unless credit has been arranged for in advance. This amount may exceed the written statement of probable cost 25 percent on hourly-rated moves and by 10 percent on weight-rated and written binding estimate moves. You have 15 days to pay any unpaid balance over these amounts. Don’t sign any receipt for your household goods until you are certain no items remain on the truck. Expect the mover to provide clean-up service, disconnection and reinstallation of appliances fixtures etc. free of charge.

Regulated Transportation

As the result of a law enacted in 1992, all household goods movements within New York State are regulated by the Department of Transportation, and can only legally be performed by movers authorized through the Department.

Every such mover is required in its advertising, or soliciting, to give you information about its certificate of authority and company address.

These movers are required to obey the law and the rules and regulations of the Department. One such rule requires them to file with the Department, and have available for your inspection, a tariff setting forth rates and charges. DO NOT USE AN UNLICENSED MOVER!

Order Service, what is it?

The mover will prepare an order for service which you and the mover must sign before the shipment is picked up. This document must contain the following information:

(1) Shipper’s name, address, and telephone number.

(2) Consignee’s name, address, and telephone number.

(3) Name, address, and telephone number of the carrier’s delivery agent or, if the shipment is to be interlined, the name, address, and telephone number of the delivery carrier.

(4) Agreed pickup time and date and agreed delivery time and date or in lieu of specific dates, the period of time within which pick- up, delivery, or the entire move, will be accomplished.

(5) Complete description of special services ordered.

(6) Any identification or registration number assigned the shipment by the carrier.

(7) Amount of probable cost and method of payment of total tariff charges.

(8) Maximum amount required to be paid in cash, certified check, or money order to relinquish possession of a C.O.D. shipment.

(9) Whether shipper requests notification of charges and the address at which such communication will be receive

Bill of loading document, what is it?

The mover will issue to you a bill of loading at time of pickup. This document is important as it serves as a receipt for your goods and represents the contract between you and the mover. There are three types of pills of lading, one for each type of move described below.

(1) Hourly-Rated Moves The driver will ask you to initial the start and finish times. The start time will usually be the time the movers arrive at your old address and start to load. The finish will be the time they finish the job and leave your new address. An additional travel time charge will be added to cover the time spent traveling from the mover’s terminal to your old address, and back to the terminal from your new address. For some movers, the starting time shown is the time the crew left the terminal to go to your old address and the finishing time to return to the terminal after finishing the job. In that case, there should be no charge for travel time.

(2) Weight-Rated Moves The driver should present you with a weight ticket showing the tare weight (the weight of the empty vehicle) at the start of loading. At destination, the driver should present you with another ticket showing the gross weight (weight of the loaded vehicle). Your charges will be based upon the difference in these weights.

(3) Written Binding Estimate Moves The bill of loading is combined with the order for service to include all services to be performed and covered by the binding estimate and will be accompanied by a detailed table of measurements of the goods to be moved. The bill of loading also sets forth the liability of the mover for loss and damage. The bill of loading includes a delivery receipt.

How much should it cost to move?

The cost of your transportation is generally determined in three ways: (1) For hourly rated moves, the charge is based upon the time it takes to do the job; including travel to and from your residences. The mover will quote an hourly rate for a van and a number of workers. Factors such as weather, traffic conditions, moving van accessibility, etc., as well as your own “readiness” will have an impact on the cost of your move. For any additional services, such as packing, rigging, Storage Services, etc., there will be additional charges. (2) For weight/distance moves, the charge is based upon the weight of your goods and the distance they will travel. (3) For moves of any distance, the mover may, if it has a provision in its tariff, offer a written binding estimate. This is a written contract covering all of the transportation charges and services agreed to by you and the mover. Make sure the items shown to the mover at the time of the estimate, are listed accurately on the table of measurements.
It is important to remember that, with the exception of written binding estimates, the exact cost of your move cannot be determined until the job is completed on an hourly-rated move, or your goods are loaded in the van and weighed for a weight-rated move. Some movers will schedule an appointment and send an experienced estimator to your home prior to moving day to look over your household effects and give you a written statement of the probable cost of the move. The estimate will help you to plan your financial arrangements in advance of your moving date.
It is your responsibility to show the estimator everything you intend to move and what special services you may need. Conditions at your new location are also a factor in the mover’s estimate. Give the moving company as much information as possible.
If you have not made arrangements with the mover for credit, the mover will insist on payment of the actual charge in cash, or by certified check or money order. If the actual charges exceed the probable cost, you may defer payment of part of the excess as follows:
Hourly-Rated Moves If the total charges exceed the written probable cost by more than 25 percent, the mover is required, at your request, to deliver your goods upon payment of the probable cost plus 25 percent.
Weight-Rated Moves If the total charges exceed the probable cost by more than 10 percent, the mover is required, at your request, to deliver your goods upon payment of the probable cost plus 10 percent. Written Binding (Estimate) Moves If a dispute arises over variances between the actual quantity of goods moved or services performed and the written binding estimate, the mover is required, at your request, to deliver your goods upon payment of the amount of the written binding estimate plus 10 percent. For any type of move, additional monies due the movers must be paid within 15 days. (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). However, if you have requested the mover to pack and move more items or provide more services, than those included in the estimate, such as destination charges (i.e., long carry charges, shuttle charges, extra stair carry charges, or elevator charges and others often not known at origin); the mover is entitled to charge for those added services and collect full payment for them at the time of delivery. NOTE: IT IS ILLEGAL FOR A MOVER TO OFFER YOU A DISCOUNT OFF ITS TARIFF RATES.

Who prepares your articles for shipment.

The care with which your goods are packed determines the condition in which they arrive at your new home. If done correctly, performing your own packing will save money. Should you decide to perform all or part of your packing, you should do so with care. Use strong containers, which may be obtained from an outside source or rented or purchased from the mover.

Special attention should be given to packing fragile items such as glass table tops and shelves, lamps, lampshades, pictures, mirrors, electronics, etc. All items must be properly packed before loading. Should you desire the mover perform the packing, the mover will supply the containers and perform the packing, unpacking, or both. There is a charge for containers, and for each container packed or unpacked by the mover. The mover is not responsible for damage to items you pack unless there is evidence of mishandling.

Certain moving preparations are your responsibility and should be made before the movers arrive, even if they perform both the packing and unpacking. Electronics, and major appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, require disconnecting and special services to protect them during shipment. Other items which are attached to walls or floors such as draperies, pictures, or tacked-down carpets should be removed and ready for shipment.

Some moving companies may provide these services for you at your request and expense. Do not pack money, jewelry, or important papers. Valuable personal items of this kind should never be packed with the shipment. The mover has no liability for these types of items. Hazardous items such as paints, propane tanks, oil, and other flammables cannot be shipped. Consult with your mover for a detailed list of these types of “non-allowable” items.

Press board, particle board and/or engineered wood furniture

Furniture manufactured from press board, particle board and engineered wood is designed to go into a box from the manufacturer, to the retailer, and then to the customer unassembled. It is not built to withstand the normal stresses of a move as an assembled unit.

Most are not designed with the extra wood structural pieces to adequately brace the unit for movement out of or into a residence, nor the normal truck vibration, even in air-ride trailers.

Usually chips or dents are not repairable. Surface impressions can be made on the furniture when writing on a single piece of paper. Assembly instructions frequently suggest that connecting hardware pieces be glued in place. This does not significantly improve the structural integrity of the pieces, but does make disassembly impossible without creating substantial, un-repairable damage. Talk to your mover about the various options available to handle these types of furniture.

When will your shipment be picked up?

Movers are required to transport shipments with reasonable dispatch. The term reasonable dispatch means the performance of transportation at the time and date, or period of time, agreed to by the carrier and shown on the carrier’s order for service and bill of loading.

The mover is required to prepare the order for service prior to receipt of your shipment. It must be signed by both you and the mover. A copy of this order shall be given to you. You should make sure that the pickup date and time shown on the order for service is agreeable to you.

If the mover promises you a pickup on a particular time or date or within a given period of days, it is required by the Department’s regulations to exercise reasonable diligence in attempting to provide such pickup on that date or within the promised period. If the mover is unable to pickup on the date and time specified, the mover must promptly notify you of the delay and when the pickup will be made.

When will your shipment be delivered?

The shorter distance hourly rated moves, generally present no problem since delivery is usually made the same day.

The following observations are applicable to the longer distance weight rated moves; Your moving company is not required to make delivery on any exact date, but only within a reasonable time after loading. However, you and the mover must state on the order for service and bill of loading that you have agreed to delivery of your possessions on a certain date or within a certain period of time.

If the mover cannot meet those dates, the mover is required to notify you to set a new delivery schedule.

Condition of your household goods

Upon arrival to pick up your goods, the mover may make notations on an inventory, or a bill of loading, about any pre-existing damage to the furniture.

If a written inventory is prepared, make sure that an accurate description of the condition of your furniture is entered on the record. Before signing such record, note on it any exceptions you may have as to the condition description. For example, the driver may note that “chest is scratched.” You may add for example, “on left side only,” if that is the case.

What is the mover’s liability for loss or damage?

It is important to understand the mover’s liability in the event your goods are lost or damaged. This is governed by the valuation statement on the bill of loading.

In most cases, in the event of loss or damage, you will not be entitled to a payment that comes near the value of your household goods unless you declare the actual cash value of your goods on the bill of loading or purchase “full replacement value protection” for your goods.

Both these options will increase the cost of your move. Ask your mover to explain the cost and various coverage options available for your particular type of move. You may also have the option to purchase additional insurance from your own agent or broker.

Glossary of moving terminology -Page1

ACCESSORIAL (ADDITIONAL) SERVICES – services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries that you request to be performed (or are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services are in addition to the transportation charges.
ADVANCED CHARGES – charges for services not performed by the mover but instead by a professional, craftsman or other third party at your request. The charges for these services are paid for by the mover and added to your bill of loading charges.
BILL OF LADING – the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. It is your responsibility to understand the bill of lading before you sign it. If you do not agree with something on the bill of loading, do not sign it until you are satisfied that it is correct. The bill of loading is an important document. Don’t lose or misplace your copy.
BINDING/NON-BINDING ESTIMATE – a binding estimate is an agreement made in advance with the mover that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is the carrier’s approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual time or weight and tariff provisions in effect.
BULKY ARTICLE – some articles included in a shipment (i.e. automobiles, boats, motorcycles, hot tubs, etc.) need extra labor and extra handling and/or blocking required to load bulky items of this nature. Tariffs provide a schedule of extra charges for such articles.
CARRIER – the mover providing transportation of your household goods. C.O.D. – transportation for a individual shipper for which payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse).
CUSTOM SERVICE PACKING AND UNPACKING – individual per carton rates that apply when the carrier is requested by shipper to pack or unpack the shipment. The custom service packing rates include cartons and packing labor.
EXPEDITED SERVICE/SELECTED DELIVERY DATE SERVICE – an agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based on a higher minimum weight or number of hours.
EXTRA LABOR – hourly labor charge for providing any requested services for which specific fees are not published. This generally covers activities such as taking up tacked down carpeting, packing owner’s furnished container’s, etc.
EXTRA PICKUP OR DELIVERY – line haul/transportation charge includes pickup from a single address and delivery to a single address. Additional charges are assessed for each stop or call requiring an additional pickup or delivery.
GUARANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY SERVICE – an additional level of service where by dates of service are guaranteed, with the mover providing reimbursement for delays. This premium service is often subject to minimum hours or weight requirements.
INVENTORY – a detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
ITEMS OR EXTRAORDINARY VALUE (HIGH VALUE ARTICLE) – items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound. Carrier will have you fill out a high value inventory form to list these items to ensure they are protected accordingly.

Glossary of moving terminology -Page2

LINEHAUL CHARGES/TRANSPORTATION – charges for the basic transportation portion of your move. These charges apply in addition to the additional service charges.
MOVER’S VALUATION BROCHURE – your mover will give you their brochure to explain what you must do and what it will cost to place a value on your house hold goods shipment
ORDER FOR SERVICE – the document authorizing the mover to transport your household goods.
OVERTIME LOADING OR UNLOADING – if you request loading or unloading on a specific date which is a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday, an overtime premium charge, based on the size of your shipment is assessed. This is also true if you request the service to be performed after working hours (i.e. between 5 PM and 8 AM)
PEAK SEASON RATES – higher linehaul charges that are applicable during the summer months.
PICKUP AND DELIVERY CHARGES – separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the SIT warehouse and your residence.
SHUTTLE SERVICE – use of a smaller vehicle to provide service from/to residences that are not accessible to the mover’s larger equipment.
Storage Services-IN-TRANSIT (SIT) – temporary warehouse Storage Services and handling of your shipment pending further transportation, for example, if your new home isn’t quite ready to occupy. SIT service may not exceed a total of 180 days of Storage Services, and you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service, as well as pickup and delivery charges.
TARIFF – the mover’s required, published price list of rules, regulations, rates and charges for the performance of interstate moving services.
VALUATION – the dollar value placed on a shipment by the shipper that specifies the carrier’s maximum liability in the event of a cargo claim for loss or damage.
WEIGHT ADDITIVE – some articles included in a shipment (i.e. camper bodies, boast, acnoes, etc. are comparatively light and occupy space in the van that is not commensurate with their weight. For instance, one might load 4,000 pounds of furniture and cartons in the space taken by a 1500-pound boat. To compensate for the light weight, Tariffs provide a schedule of additional weights for such articles.