Bill of lading (BOL) is one of the many industry terms used by professional moving companies. It’s common for this term to be a little confusing at first, so we’re here to help make it clear. Your bill of lading is a document that is relevant to your entire moving process. It provides critical information that you will need to verify in order to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.
We all know that moving can be a stressful process. It’s easy to make the mistake of quickly signing your bill of lading without properly reading it first. Worse yet, you may sign it without knowing what is supposed to be in the document in the first place. Below are three key items you should look for in your bill of lading.
1. Double-Check Your Estimate
Every bill of lading should have your moving estimate attached. Your estimate tells you the expected cost of moving your belongings to your new home. Make sure the estimate you were originally provided matches the estimate listed on the BOL. There are already lots of hidden costs associated with moving. You don’t want to mistakenly agree to pay more than you were supposed to.
Double-checking your estimate includes making sure that all of your requested moving services are listed. For example, will your moving company be packing and unpacking for you? If so, make sure those services are on the estimate. (And if not, then consider asking for these services! Seriously. You should never have to pack for a move.)
Another thing to be aware of when reviewing your estimate is whether the estimate is binding or non-binding.
A binding estimate is an exact cost for your moving services. At the end of your move, the price you pay should match the binding estimate—regardless of whether the weight of your items is more or less than anticipated. While this may seem favorable at first glance, a binding estimate can result in you overpaying for your move.
A non-binding estimate means that the price of your move is not locked in ahead of time. At Megan’s Moving, we use non-binding estimates. This allows us to adjust your moving cost to accommodate changes in your move, including reducing your cost when your move is faster than expected. If we finish your move in four hours instead of five, our non-binding estimate allows us to adjust the price downwards so that you don’t have to pay for that extra hour.
Whether your moving company uses binding or non-binding estimates, it is crucial to make sure the correct estimate is attached to your BOL.
2. Make Sure Your Moving Dates are Correct
Your bill of lading is not just your moving receipt, it also confirms your moving schedule. Remember that phone calls can break up and emails can be misread. If you wanted to move on September 16, but the scheduler for your moving company wrote down September 6, then you will have a moving truck at your door a week early and very stressful situation to deal with before your move even begins.
Double-check that all pickup and delivery dates on your BOL are correct before you sign the document. Closely review any additional contracts that specify the date and time of your moving service. If find an error or inconsistency, don’t take a chance that it will be sorted out. Notify your moving company immediately.
3. Your Inventory
The third critical piece of information to verify on your bill of lading is your inventory. Your inventory is the mover’s description of your stuff. At Megan’s Moving, we attach an estimate to every BOL, which includes a detailed inventory of your belongings. Make sure that all of your items are represented accurately. If you have eight dining chairs but the inventory says seven, correct the error right away.
The opposite is also true. Moving companies often provide estimates by weight. If the inventory says four mattresses when you only have three, bring this to your moving company’s attention before signing so that they can adjust the cost. Otherwise, you may have to pay more than necessary for your move.
It’s All in the Details
At Megan’s Moving, our experienced team knows that details matter. We work hard to make sure that your bill of lading is clear, accurate, and self-explanatory. If you are worried about being taken advantage of by shady movers or you just want to put your moving process on auto-pilot, then request a free full-service moving quote today.