| Packing Tips
| Prohibited Items
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- Summer is "peak" moving season. If you can be flexible about when you move, don't wait until the summer. Also, the first and last days of the month are extra busy. Specify the exact date you want to move and when it will be convenient for an agent to visually survey your household and prepare an estimate.
- Tour your house before the agent arrives. Check from attic to basement and determine what will be moved and what will be discarded. Show your agent everything you will be moving.
- If you plan to do the packing yourself, start collecting suitable containers and packing materials. Set packing goals and deadlines. Have all packing complete by moving day.
- Notify the post office that you will be moving. Provide them with a forwarding address (temporary or permanent). Click here to notify the U.S. Postal Service of your move.
- If you are being relocated at your company's request, find out what portion of your moving expenses will be paid by the company. If your company has a written moving policy, ask for a copy.
- Dispose of all flammables such as cleaning fluids, aerosol cans, fireworks and matches. Drain the fuel from your power mower and other machinery. Discard partly used containers of any substance that may leak. Empty the water from your steam iron.
- Obtain a written appraisal of antique items to verify their value. Dont wax or oil wood furniture before moving, because some products may soften the wood, making it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.
- Unplug all electronic equipment such as television sets, home computers, stereos, etc. 24 hours in advance of a move so they will be at room temperature on moving day. Moving a TV set and other electronic equipment in which heat is still retained could cause internal damage.
Good packing is essential for a good move. If you choose to do some or all of your own packing in preparation for your relocation, it's especially important that you be familiar with the techniques and boxes that will best protect your possessions.
- Limiting cartons, when possible, to a maximum weight of 50 pounds to make handling easier.
- Wrapping items carefully.
- Providing plenty of cushioning to absorb shock.
- Using sturdy cartons that close.
- Making sure cartons are firmly packed and do not rattle, bulge outward or bend inward.
- Not mixing items from different rooms in the same carton, when possible.
- Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until last the things you'll need until moving day.
- Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, items not recommended for inclusion in your shipment and anything that would puncture or damage other items. However, blankets, sweaters, lingerie, bath towels and similar soft, lightweight goods may be left in drawers.
- Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans, for example.
- Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic or cloth bags (which can be purchased from the moving company) and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
- Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
- Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping draws attention to very small things. Use a double layer of newspaper for a good outer wrapping.
- Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of a carton for cushioning.
- Build up in layers, with heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
- As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets or cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
- Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets also may be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are lift uncovered.
- Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper.
- Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
- Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
- Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items listed on United's High-Value Inventory form. These must be left open for the van operator's inspection.
- As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while cartons are stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
- Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
- Put a special mark on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.
For more information on packing specific types of items like China, glassware, silverware, odd shaped items, etc., Click Here
to view the complete list.
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There are many terms for you to be familiar with in relation to a move. Here is an alphabetical listing of the normal terms used in the moving industry.
Accessorial (additional) services
services such as packing, unpacking, extra stop, or shuttle 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 costs.
an affiliated moving company authorized to act on behalf of the van line. The agent may handle the booking, origin, hauling and/or destination services.
Bill of lading
customer's receipt for goods and contract for transportation. The customer's signature acknowledges that the household goods can be loaded on the van and "released to the carrier."
a binding estimate is an agreement made in advance between the customer and 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 weight and tariff provisions in effect on the day of the load.
accepts the order for the customer's move and registers it with the van line. The booking agent may or may not be the origin or destination agent.
to ensure safe transportation, some articles included in a shipment (i.e., big screen TVs, motorcycles, hot tubs, etc.) require extra handling and/or blocking. Our tariff provides a schedule of extra charges for such articles.
the moving company providing interstate transportation of household goods under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.
statement of loss, damage, or delay to a household good shipment while in the care, custody or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.
COD (cash on delivery)
shipments where the customer pays the moving charges at the time of delivery. For COD shipments, payment is required in cash or by traveler's check, money order or cashier's check. If a credit card is used, it must be arranged with the booking agent because authorization is required prior to loading. Personal checks are not accepted.
Department of Transportation (DOT)
the federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) within the DOT, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.
the agent designated in the destination area to be available to assist or provide information regarding the shipment to the customer or the van operator.
when a customer changes the destination of their shipment after it is en route, transportation charges shall be calculated from the point of origin, to the point at which the carrier is able to effect the diversion, plus the transportation charge from the diversion point to the new destination point.
Exclusive use of vehicle
upon request and subject to availability, the customer may request and the carrier may provide an exclusive unit for a shipment. Transportation charges are based on actual weight subject to specific minimum weights.
hourly labor charge (15 minute minimum) for performing any requested services for which specific fees are not published. This generally covers activities such as removing/placing items in attics/crawlspaces, packing/unpacking owner's furnished containers, etc.
Extra pickup or delivery
linehaul/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.
the carrier's tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in the recovery of the increased cost of fuel. The surcharge, which can change monthly, is based upon the national average cost of diesel as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Full-service packing & unpacking
hundredweight rates that apply based on the weight of the shipment when the carrier is requested by shipper to pack or unpack the complete shipment. The full-service packing rates include cartons and packing labor. The full-service unpacking rates include the unpacking of carrier packed cartons and the removal of such debris.
High-value article inventory form
the carrier will have you fill out a high-value inventory form to list items included in a shipment that are valued at more than $100 per pound to ensure they are protected accordingly.
Insurance-related general increase (IRR surcharge)
the carrier's tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in the recovery of the increased cost of carrier's and van operator's liability insurance expenses.
a detailed descriptive list of the items in the shipment and their condition before the van is loaded.
Method of payment
payment must be in the form of cash, traveler's checks, money order, a bank cashier's check or a credit card. Credit card payment must be pre-approved prior to loading. Personal checks are not accepted.
Non-allowables (prohibited items)
the Carrier will not accept shipment property that will contaminate or damage (i.e., bug infestations, chemicals, propane tanks, etc.) the carrier's property or the property of other customers, nor will it remove items that would damage the article or the premises (i.e., furniture that will not fit through doorways). Further, the carrier will not accept liability for items of a perishable nature (food, wine collections, plants, etc.).
Order for service
a document authorizing the moving company to transport your household goods.
used to identify the customer's shipment and appears on the upper right corner of the Order for Service and the Bill of Lading. This number should be used whenever the carrier is contacted.
Origin & destination service charge
a hundredweight rate that applies based on the weight of the shipment plus any weight additives and location where the shipment is picked up and delivered. The charges compensate the carrier for basic handling and servicing of the shipment; includes services such as elevator, stair and excessive distance carries, piano and organ flight carries, additional transportation charge (ATC), basic appliance servicing (preparation of appliances to make them safe to ship), and on shipments moving transborder between the United States and Canada, the import and export service charge.
the agent designated in the origin area to be available for preliminary readying of the shipment before movement and/or to provide information regarding the customer's move.
when articles to be shipped are left behind due to insufficient space on the primary van. An additional van(s) is then utilized for transportation and delivery.
Overtime loading & unloading service
if you request loading or unloading on a specific date which is a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, an overtime charge, based on the weight of your shipment is assessed. This is also true if you request the service to be performed after working hours (i.e., between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.) on any week day, or when prevailing laws ordinances or landlord requirements will not allow loading/unloading during normal working hours on week days.
PBO (packed by owner)
when articles are packed by the customer for moving.
United's online shipment tracking system that provides the security of knowing the location and status of your shipment. Using your order number you can track your shipment, any time of the day or night.
before the actual initiation of the unloading of your shipment, you may request a reweigh of the shipment. If a reweigh is performed the actual charges will be based upon the reweigh weight, regardless of whether the reweigh weight is higher or lower than the first weight of the shipment. If you request a reweigh, you must waive your right to witness said reweigh in writing.
United's inventory control system that replaces hard-to-read handwritten inventories. Using an advanced bar code system, each item being shipped is scanned and electronically inventoried at loading. At delivery, pieces are scanned a second time, identifying any missing items immediately.
used if the assigned over-the-road van is unable to make a normal pickup or delivery because of physical constraints (extremely narrow road, inadequate parking area for the truck, weak bridge, etc.). A shuttle service is the use of a secondary, smaller vehicle to complete the pickup or delivery. Charges for this service are based on the weight of the shipment and the location where the service is performed.
the temporary storage of your household goods in the warehouse of the carrier's agent, pending further transportation at a later date. SIT service may not exceed a total of 180 calendar days. After 180 days, the interstate nature of the shipment ends and is converted to the rules of the local warehouseman.
performed by an agent to examine the customer's belongings in order to develop an estimate of move charges.
a publication containing the carrier's rates, rules and regulations for services performed, applicable to the customer's move.
performed by someone other than the carrier or its agents at your request or required by federal, state or local law (e.g., appliance servicing, crating).
removing the customer's goods from containers and placing them on a flat surface, as well as the disposal of such containers and packing materials. If ordered, unpacking service must be performed at the time of delivery unless requested otherwise.
a tariff-based coverage for a customer's household goods while they are in the care, custody and control of the carrier. Valuation is NOT insurance.
oversees the loading, hauling and unloading of your possessions.
state-of-the-art satellite location and communication system that allows us to immediately contact our van operators as they travel to your new location.
if you are unable to accept delivery of your shipment within the free waiting time (i.e., 2 hours) after notification of arrival at destination, you may request waiting time until delivery can be made. There is a charge for the vehicle and manpower for each hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time (excluding Sundays or state/national holidays). The alternative is unloading your shipment at an agent's warehouse. You will have storage, handling and delivery from warehouse expenses, and consequently it may be less expensive to pay for waiting time, if it is not for an excessive length of time. The carrier is not obligated to provide waiting time, but we will do so when it does not result in the delay in the delivery of other customers' shipments or does not cause other undue inconvenience to the carrier.
some articles included in a shipment (i.e., camper shells, boats, canoes, boat trailers, 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 1,500-pound boat. To compensate for this inequity, our tariff provides a schedule of additional weights for such articles.
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Before your things are packed and loaded, please take some time to look over the items that we cannot put on a truck or in a container. Hazardous and perishable materials are not allowed, and we recommend that you keep sentimental or personally important items with you.
- Aerosol cans
- Car batteries
- Charcoal/lighter fluid
- Chemistry sets
- Cleaning solvents
- Darkroom chemicals
- Fire extinguishers
- Household batteries
- Liquid bleach
- Loaded guns
- Nail polish
- Paint thinners
- Pool chemicals
- Propane tanks
- Sterno fuel
- Weed killer
- Food without adequate preservation
- Frozen food
- Open or half-used foods
- Refrigerated foods
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- Address books
- Airline tickets
- Car titles
- Cell phones
- Computer data files/backups
- Family photographs/photo albums
- Financial documents (stocks, bonds, CDs, - IRAs, deeds, tax records)
- Home videos
- Insurance policies
- Jewelry and furs
- Keys (car, furniture, new home)
- Laptop computers
- Medical/dental records
- New home documents
- Prescription medicine
- Professional files/research projects
- School records