Paperwork can be confusing, especially when you are preoccupied with the many aspects of your move on the moving day. However, it is extremely important for the success of your move that you understand all the little details - those might turn out to be crucial in the end.
Estimate Form (including Table of Measurements)
Different moving companies might have slightly differnt Estimate Forms, however all of them have all the needed fields to prepare an estimate for your move. All estimate forms must include Table of Measurement that is a list of possible household goods with corresponding weight values that the visual estimator uses when making a list of your items.
Important notes: this form should be used to include all the aspects of the deal the mover is offering you, such as whether the offer is Binding (could also be Flat, Fixed, or Guarranteed), Guaranteed not to Exceed (GNTE), or other. Make sure the estimator signs it and leaves you a copy (you do not need to sign it, only the visual estimator, and it is not a contract between you and the mover)
Order for Service
Order for Service is a document authorizing a mover to transport an individual shipper's household goods. You and your mover must sign the order for service, and your mover must provide a dated copy of the order for service to you at the time your mover signs the order.
The order for service is not a contract. Should you cancel or delay your move, or if you decide not to use the mover, you should promptly cancel the order.
Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on a bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before or at the time of loading your furniture and other household goods.
It is your responsibility to read the bill of lading before you accept it. 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 lading, do not sign it until you are satisfied it is correct. You and your mover must sign the Bill of Lading.
The other three documents (Estimate Form, Order for Service and Inventory Sheet) must be added to the Bill of Lading as attachments. A copy of the Bill of Lading with copies of the attachments must accompany your shipment at all times while in the possession of your mover or its agent(s).
The bill of lading is an important document. Do not lose or misplace your copy.
Inventory Sheet is a detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item. Your mover must prepare an inventory of your shipment before or at the time of loading. If your mover's driver fails to prepare an inventory, you should write a detailed inventory of your shipment listing any damage or unusual wear to any items. The purpose is to make a record of the existence and condition of each item.
After completing the inventory, you should sign each page and ask the mover's driver to sign each page. Before you sign it, it is important you make sure that the inventory lists every item in the shipment and that the entries regarding the condition of each item are correct. You have the right to note any disagreement. If an item is missing or damaged when your mover delivers the shipment, your subsequent ability to dispute the items lost or damaged may depend upon your notations.
You should retain a copy of the inventory. Your mover may keep the original if the driver prepared it. If your mover's driver completed an inventory, the mover must attach the complete inventory to the bill of lading as an integral part of the contract.