Terms to include in your moving contract
Moving guides - October 20, 2018
If you’re getting ready for a big relocation, you must be neck-deep in references for moving companies. Yep, it’s not an easy task when you’ve got to pick one option out of literally hundreds. But whatever moving company you end up choosing – make sure you have a solid contract! And if you’re not sure what are all the things that should be included – don’t worry! We’re here to help you out with some of the terms to include in your moving contract.
Never hire movers without a contract
To many people who aren’t very familiar with the law, this may seem like a minor thing. But in reality, having a signed contract with your movers is one of the most important issues during a relocation. Why? Because it provides a legal basis on which they’re performing their work for you. And that’s crucial because it means that, if any issues and disagreements arise, you can solve them easily based on the terms of the moving contract. If you hire movers just based on a handshake agreement and customer reviews, you’ll have a much tougher time proving what their obligations were later on, if need be.
Often-used expressions in a moving contract
If you’re not prone to reading legal contracts, it’s important you get familiar with all the different terms to include in your moving contract. And be aware – in this context, we mean ‘terms’ as in ‘expressions’. After we cover those, we’ll tackle terms as in ‘Terms and Conditions’ in your contract. So, if you take an average moving contract, what are some of the unfamiliar terms you might run into? For starters:
- Additional charges – Apart from the main cost of hiring your movers, these are all the smaller, additional costs you might run into while moving. And yes, stuff like moving supplies is small compared to the main moving costs, but be careful – these can stack up quickly while moving.
- The 110% Rule – This is something you’re probably not familiar with if you’re a member of the moving industry. So what is this rule? Well, remember the estimate that movers give before you sign a contract with them? If it’s a non-binding estimate, the money you’ll pay later can’t exceed 110% of that estimate. So in practice, it’s one of the best terms to include in your moving contract, because movers can’t charge you more than 10% over what they estimated the costs would be.
- Bill of lading – Don’t worry, this isn’t anything as major as it sounds. This is just a more formal and fancy name for your moving contract.
The most important terms to include in your moving contract
Now, we can move onto the most crucial terms to include in your moving contract. Right away, we should offer a small disclaimer. While there are contract templates out there, you’ll find that no two moving contracts are the same. Why? Because no two households are identical, and thus you can’t just have a standard relocation process for everything. That’s why most moving companies offer you their pre-designed bill of lading. In any case, we’d advise you to look this over carefully, or otherwise let your lawyer have a look. But regardless, there are some terms that simply every moving contract should have.
The contact information for all parties
To put it mildly, moving is not a simple process. There’s a lot of rescheduling that can happen, as the situation changes. Or there can be accidents and oversights made by you, or the movers you’ve hired. That’s why communication is really important. In a process as dynamic as a relocation, you want to be able to solve any disputes quickly and efficiently. So up-to-date contact information is definitely one of the terms to include in your moving contract.
Some of the individual items
On average, movers almost always make a detailed inventory of your home before they give an estimate. Of course, not everything you have can be included specifically in your bill of lading. But when it comes to larger or more expensive items, they can be named in your moving contract. So if you need your moving company to relocate an ancient piano or a home aquarium, such things may be in your contract.
As we’ve already mentioned, knowing what terms to include in your moving contract is important for a number of reasons. But mainly, you need to learn about this because that contract will be the basis of the relations between your moving company and you. And furthermore, in the case of any disagreements, the law will refer to this contract while trying to sort things out. That’s why an arbitration clause might be a valuable part of the bill of lading. But what is an arbitration?
Basically, an arbitration is an alternative way to settle disputes, instead of going to court. People use it for different reasons – but efficiency is the main one. It’s simply much faster than a traditional court, and based on rules all parties agree upon. The American Moving and Storage Association has a dispute settlement program that’s based on this method.
Agreeing upon rates
Naturally, the price of your moving company is one of the major issues that might be disputed by you or the movers. That’s why it’s really important to figure out what the costs you’re shouldering are – knowing what to expect is a really good thing. And to do that, you need to settle how your movers will charge you. So, the type of charging rate is one of the most crucial terms to include in your moving contract.