What is a Mover’s Tariff?

movers boxes stairs

Moving isn’t something that most of us do pretty often. As such, it’s a common experience to come up against moving terms that you’re not familiar with. Case in point: “mover’s tariff,” a standard term in the world of professional moving companies but one that probably doesn’t have an obvious definition at first glance.

Of course, part of our job here is to make sure that you go into your move with all of the information that you need. And to that end, we’ve put together this quick explainer on mover’s tariffs, including what they are and why you need one. Let’s get into it.

What is a mover’s tariff?

A mover’s tariff is a document provided to you by your moving company that outlines their rates, as well as any terms of service that are crucial for you to know about before moving day (for example: their cancellation policy or what services may incur additional fees). The tariff may be just one page, or it could be a dozen pages or more.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, all interstate moving companies must provide their customers with a mover’s tariff upon request. The American Moving & Storage Association offers additional information on the federal laws surrounding mover’s tariffs and what they must include.

How do moving companies come up with their tariffs?

A mover’s tariff is, for all intents and purposes, a legal contract that provides customers with a breakdown of a moving company’s fees and the rules and regulations around doing business with them. Many companies work with attorneys to set up their tariff and ensure that it covers all of their legal bases and offers a clarified outline to customers about what they can expect.

While there are standard templates for mover’s tariffs, each moving company’s tariff is unique to the way that they do business. Even if you’ve worked with other moving companies in the past and are familiar with their rates and policies, it’s important to carefully read the tariff of any new company that you choose to work with. You won’t have any recourse if, for example, you get an unexpected charge later on that you weren’t anticipating but which was explained in the tariff.

Why you need a mover’s tariffs

Aside from the fact that interstate movers are already required to provide you with a mover’s tariff, these documents have a lot of use for you, the consumer.

The biggest benefit of a mover’s tariff is that it eliminates surprises. You’ll learn everything that you need to know to keep moving day running as smoothly as possible, and you’ll also be able to get any questions answered ahead of time, rather than when you’re already juggling a bunch of other things.

If the moving company that you’re interested in hiring doesn’t offer you a mover’s tariff: ask for one. It is absolutely within your rights as customer to receive a full breakdown of all of the need-to-know information regarding the services you are paying for. And if you want a tariff but the company won’t provide one, consider heading back to the drawing board and finding a company that offers up more transparency.

How to use a mover’s tariff

Getting the most out of the tariff your movers provide you with basically just comes down to reading the document. Take your time on it so that you don’t miss anything key, and be sure to pay special attention to any sections that go over reasons your moving company may be able to modify your agreed-upon rates or services.

Rates that you’ll find on a mover’s tariff

One of the biggest pieces of utility that a mover’s tariff provides is a breakdown of rates. This includes not just the overall rate of your move (which may be based on the distance your movers will be traveling, the hours of labor required, the weight of your belongings, or a combination of these factors), but other charges that you may incur over the course of your relocation.

Remember, if it’s mentioned in the mover’s tariff you won’t be able to claim later on that you didn’t know about it. Here are some additional charges items that your tariff will likely go over:

Packing costs: Either for full-service packing or on-the-fly packing that your movers have to do because you didn’t get a chance to fully pack before they arrived.

Supply costs: Some moving companies will charge additional fees for the use of certain supplies, including extra boxes or packing materials.

Insurance costs: Look to the tariff for an outline of the charges for various insurance plans offered by your movers.

Moving conditions: There may be an added fee if your movers have to go up and down stairs or if there is some other factor that makes it inherently more difficult to get your belongings out of your old home and into the moving truck.

Storage: If you’re going to need storage services along with your move, check the tariff to see if that extra service is provided and how much it costs.

Long carry fee: It’s possible that your moving company will charge extra if they are unable to park their truck within a certain distance of your front door for loading or unloading the truck.

Multiple stops: Expect to spend more if your moving company has to stop at an additional location—for example, if you need them to swing by your storage unit.

Other potential fees: Read the mover’s tariff carefully to make sure that you’re completely apprised of any other additional charges that you may face. This includes cancellation fees, late start fees that are a result of a delay on your end, fees for items that are bulky or otherwise difficult to move, and fuel surcharges, as well as other charges that may not be listed here.

Read through all associated fees on your mover’s tariff closely, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your moving company about any rates that you have questions about. The tariff is a way to put all of these fees out into the open, and it’s natural that you may want a bit more information.

Can you negotiate the rates on the tariff?

All moving companies have their own policies regarding rate negotiations. Moving is a competitive industry, however, and many companies are willing to work with you on prices if it means keeping your business. A rate change isn’t a guarantee, but it’s always worth asking!

Find reputable movers to help with your next move

Before you even get to the mover’s tariffs you need to find a moving company. Use Moving.com to easily search reputable, pre-vetted movers in your area. When making your selection, be sure to contact at least three different moving companies to get quotes so that you can be sure you get the best deal possible on your relocation. You can choose to request a mover’s tariff at this point, though the company may first need to get a more thorough inventory of your belongings so they can give you the most accurate estimate of what your move might cost.

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Published at Fri, 28 Jun 2019 16:47:23 +0000