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Moving Quote Terminology, Decoded

What Does My Moving Cost Estimate Mean?

Reading through a moving company estimate can feel a lot like trying to decipher the Da Vinci code-but it doesn’t have to be that way. Becoming familiar with some of the most commonly used moving company estimate terms and acronyms empowers you to engage in better negotiations. Here are some of the terms you’re likely to see on your moving company cost quote papers, and what they mean.

1. Non-Binding Quote

A non-binding moving quote or estimate means your movers don’t actually have to honor the quote. In the non-binding quote, movers give you the guess as to what the move will cost. But they’re not legally prohibited from changing it significantly at the last minute if the quote is non-binding.

What you want as you get serious about selecting a mover is a binding quote, which the mover can only deviate from by a certain percentage (and only if conditions change, such as you bringing 20 extra boxes).

2. PBO

This short acronym means “Packed By Owner.” You can usually save a few bucks by packing your own stuff instead of having your movers do it for you. If your contract says “PBO” and you do, in fact, pack all of your own belongings, your final bill should not reflect any packing service.

3. CP

If you have your movers do some of your packing, you may see “CP” on your bid or mover’s quote contract. This stands for “Carrier Packed.” It indicates how many boxes or cartons your movers packed for you. No surprise here: there will be an additional fee for this service. If you blend self-packed and mover-packed strategies during your move, pay special attention to how many boxes are labeled “CP” on your quote and final invoice, so you don’t over-pay.

4. Cube Sheet

If your moving quote makes any reference to the “cube sheet,” it’s the vendor’s way of referencing the document they use to estimate the weight of your cargo. Movers first determine the number of cubic feet your belongings will occupy in the truck, then translate that to a weight estimate to create your moving bid.

5. Flight Charge

You paid for a truck, not an airplane, right? This term doesn’t refer to the cost to ship your stuff via plane, it relates to how many flights of stairs your movers have to navigate as they haul your furniture and boxes. Make sure this number is zero on your quote if you’re moving from bottom floor apartment to single-story home.

6. PAD

Your movers will pad furniture and other valuables with foam and bubble wrap while you move, but the acronym “PAD” actually stands for “Preferred Arrival Date.” If you’re asked to fill out a form with this term, enter the date you want your belongings to arrive at your new home.

Your moving quote will be packed will all sorts of terms and figures, and knowing what they mean gives you leverage. Make your movers peg you as a knowledgeable customer! You will be better able to advocate for yourself-and check your moving quote for anything fishy-when you’re familiar with the lingo.


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