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Removals Company A-Z Glossary

Posted by Bournes Moves - October 10, 2016

Hopefully this guide to moving terms will help you become familiar with the words you may expect to hear when you move house, however the list is endless and there are a lot more terms than we’ve probably managed to cover so if you hear a word you don’t understand don’t hesitate to ask your mover and slap their wrists for using jargon and feel free to email us with any suggestions for words to add to our list on home@bournesmoves.com


  • ACCESS – the immediate area around your properties that will affect how the mover gets to your door from main transport routes. Things like how far from your front door can the removals vehicle park, are there any restrictions on the roads getting to your house (e.g. a low bridge). This could also be inside your property - are there any difficult staircases? If it’s in an apartment building is there a lift? Basically an assessment of any difficulties that might be incurred in getting your belongings from their current location onto the vehicle & from the vehicle into their new location.


  • BLANKET WRAP – items of furniture will be wrapped in cloth or heavy duty paper blankets to protect it during transportation from any bumps or scrapes against adjacent items.


  • CARTONS – cardboard boxes used to pack your items for moving. View our cartons guide
  • CONTAINER – see ‘shipping container’ or ‘storage container’.
  • CONTAINER VEHICLE – a truck that is specially designed to be able to transport interchangeable shipping containers. View our vehicle fleet
  • CORPORATE ACCOUNT – a company that is paying for / arranging a move(s) with the Removal Company on behalf of an individual(s).
  • CUBIC FOOT / CUBIC METER – the volume of your goods will be measure in either cubic feet or cubic meters e.g. 1ft x 1ft x 1ft blocks of space. Each piece of furniture will have its volume assessed and all added together to get the total volume of your move.


  • DECLARED VALUE – the amount you tell the moving company your belongings are worth (usually the purchase cost less depreciation). Often this is requested for insurance purposes.
  • DEDICATED LOAD / TRUCK – this truck will be routed and scheduled according to the specified dates and locations of your individual move.
  • DOMESTIC – origin and destination of the move are in the same country.
  • DOOR-CURBSIDE – your belongings will be taken from inside your origin address and transported to your destination address where they will be unloaded from the vehicle to the curb side – they will not be delivered inside your property.
  • DOOR-TO-DOOR – your furniture & effects will be taken from inside your origin address and transported and unloaded from the vehicle to rooms as directed inside your destination address.


  • ESTIMATE – see ‘survey’.
  • ETA – estimated time of arrival
  • ETD – estimated time of departure
  • EXCLUSIONS – charges or items that are not included in your contract.
  • EXPORT WRAPPING / PACKING – wrapping/packing of your items providing increased levels of protection required for the risks involved in overseas moves. At Bournes we use specially designed bubblecraft material to wrap furniture and items as over and above standard blanket wrapping (see ‘blanket wrap’) used for shorter distance moves. Find out more about packing options.


  • FIRE INSURANCE – additional insurance required for items being stored in a Removal Company’s warehouse to cover against risk of fire.
  • FLAT PACK – items of furniture that are sold dismantled and the pieces packed flat in order to move that can then be assembled at destination (*note* many ‘flat pack’ items are not designed to be assembled and dismantled multiple times and may lose significant stability/quality as a result so please check with the manufacturer before planning to do so in order to reduce this risk).



  • HAULAGE – the act of transporting goods from A to B by road.


  • IN HOME VISIT – see ‘survey’.
  • INDEMNITY COVER- the cost of an item less depreciation (taking into account age, quality, wear and tear, degree of usage and the subsequent market value).
  • INVENTORY / PACKING LIST –itemised list of furniture/boxes that have been packed and loaded often indicating condition on loading and any owner packed items.




  • LUMP SUM – a single price for the entire group of proposed services without breakdown for individual items. This can also be used to refer to the sum of money a company may give an employee for them to contribute toward / cover the costs of moving.


  • MOVE CONSULTATION – see ‘survey’.



  • OWNER PACKED / PBO (Packed by Owner) - any box or item that is not professionally packed by the moving company.


  • PACKING MATERIALS – any materials used to facilitate the protection and moving of items including various sizes / types of boxes, bubble wrap, blankets, tape, packing paper, protective covers, wooden over casing etc. Find out more about our range of packing materials.
  • PANTECHNICAN – a truck specifically designed for furniture removals (this is quite an old fashioned word!).
  • PART LOAD – a consignment that doesn’t need all the space on a vehicle so will usually be transported in conjunction with other smaller shipments.
  • PBO – see ‘owner packed’.
  • PRIVATE MOVE – a move where the individual that is moving is making their own arrangements with their removal company and paying for the move themselves. The contract is between the removal company and the individual.




  • SHIPPING CONTAINER – modular steel box in which goods are loaded for transport. Specially designed for use with road, rail or sea transportation and can be craned or fork lifted directly on and off different modes of transport. Come in a range of sizes, standard lengths are 20’ and 40’ and are 8’ wide and 8’ high. There are also high cube options which increase height to 9’6” increasing capacity.
  • SHUTTLE – a smaller vehicle used to move goods between a property and the Removals Truck – this may be required where access to a property may be difficult for example due to a narrow street which does not allow for a large truck and where the distance is too great for carrying items to be efficient.
  • S.I.T. (storage in transit) – temporary storage awaiting further transportation.
  • STORAGE CONTAINER – this could mean either wooden or steel. Wooden storage containers are stored inside, usually in a purpose built warehouse. Steel containers (see ‘shipping container’) are also sometimes used for storage, particularly if this is short term during a move.
  • STORAGE EXTENSION – this is an insurance term used to identify an additional premium paid to extend your insurance cover to allow for a period in storage to cover for the specific associated risks (see ‘fire insurance’).
  • SURVEY / ESTIMATE / IN HOME VISIT – there are so many words used by different movers for this – but it means when a representative from the mover (who they will call all number of things e.g. Move Consultant, Surveyor, Estimator, Sales Person….) will come to your home to as a minimum assess the volume of goods you wish to move. A professional Removal Company will also use this visit to understand your individual requirements with regards to services required (packing, unpacking, 3rd party etc), your budget and your move dates as well as be able to explain more about their company and how they would suggest you undertake your move.


  • THIRD PARTY SERVICES – a service that your mover may be coordinating for you but that will be provided by an external company e.g. house cleaning, home cinema set up, carpenter, plumber etc.
  • TOTAL LOSS – an insurance term used to describe an incident whereby nothing (or nothing of value) is left and the item cannot be repaired to its pre-destruction state.
  • TRANSIT INSURANCE – A policy whereby client pays a premium to cover their belongings during their move from accidental damage/loss. Find out more about our UK Insurance or International Insurance.



  • VOLUME – the physical space taken up by the belongings you wish to be moved. This forms part of what your quotation is based on to move in the UK (Some other country’s e.g. USA work on the weight instead).


  • WAREHOUSE HANDLING – costs associated with the placement / removal of items within the warehouse, often when storage in transit is involved.





Want to know more about Removal Companies? 

Find out everything you need to know about finding and choosing the right removal company for you with The Ultimate Guide to Removal Companies.

Read our guide: The Ultimate guide to removal companies


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