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What is The Bill of Lading and Order for Service?


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Two very important pieces of paperwork to be aware of during the moving process are the Bill of Lading and the Order for Service. These documents are provided by the moving company and serve as the contract between the customer and the mover.

Paperwork illustration

What is a bill of lading?

The Bill of Lading (sometimes referred to as B/L or BOL) is the contract between the customer and the mover for the transportation of the shipment.

The moving company is required by law to prepare a Bill of Lading. 

The Bill of Lading states that the mover is required to provide the service requested and requires the customer to pay the charges for the service. It is very important that customers read through the Bill of Lading and agree to the terms before signing it. 

The Bill of Lading identifies the mover and the time when the transportation is scheduled for. The Bill of Lading also specifies the terms and conditions for payment, and the maximum amount required to be paid at the time of delivery for items that are on the non-binding estimate.


Every Bill of Lading must include the following elements:

  1. Mover’s name and address
  2. Name and address of any other moving company that might take part in the transportation of the items
  3. Name, address, and phone number of the office of the moving company to contact for additional information
  4. Payment form accepted by the mover at delivery (same as in the estimate and order of service)
  5. Customer name, address, and phone number for collect-on-delivery basis transport
  6. Dates or period of time for pickup and delivery of the shipment (for non-guaranteed services)
  7. Dates for pickup and delivery and any penalty or entitlements stated in the agreement
  8. The actual date of pickup
  9. The ID number of vehicles used for transporting the shipment
  10. Terms and conditions for payment of the total charges and notice of any minimum charge
  11. For collect-on-delivery transport: the maximum amount the mover will demand from the customer at the time of delivery (based on the estimate)
  12. Evidence of any insurance coverage 
  13. Attachment to the Bill of Lading (binding/non-binding estimate, the order of service, inventory list)
  14. One of the two options for liability (Full Value Protection or Waiver of Full Value Protection)
What is a Bill Of Landing
The moving company is required by law to prepare a Bill of Lading.


The Order for Service is attached to the Bill of Lading and is an important part of the contract between the customer and the mover. The Order for Service document is written proof of the services requested to be performed in conjunction with the shipment. It lists the agreed dates for the pickup and delivery, the liability that has been requested, any special services ordered, and the customer’s contact information


The Order for Service also contains:

  1. Mover’s name, address, and the USDOT number assigned to the mover. 
  2. Customer’s name, address and if available, telephone number(s). 
  3. Name, address, and telephone number of the delivering mover’s office or agent at or nearest to the destination of the shipment. 
  4. A telephone number where the customer may contact the mover or the designated agent.
  5. One of the following three dates and times: 
    1. The agreed-upon pickup date and delivery date of the move. 
    2. The agreed-upon period(s) of the entire move. 
    3. If the mover is transporting the shipment on a guaranteed service basis: the guaranteed dates or periods of time for pickup, transportation, and delivery. The mover must enter any penalty or per diem requirements upon the agreement under this item. 
  6. The names and addresses of any other motor carriers, when known, participating in the transportation of the shipment. 
  7. The form of payment the mover accepts at delivery. The payment information must be the same as was entered on the estimate. 
  8. The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges, including notice of any minimum charges. 
  9. The maximum amount the mover will demand, based on the mover’s estimate, at delivery to release the shipment, when transported on a collect-on-delivery basis. 
  10. A complete description of any special or accessorial services ordered and minimum weight or volume charges applicable to the shipment.
  11. Any identification or registration number that the mover assigns to the shipment. 
  12. For non-binding estimated charges: the mover’s reasonably accurate estimate of the amount of the charges, the method of payment of total charges, and the maximum amount (110 percent of the non-binding estimate) the mover will demand at the time of delivery for customers to obtain possession of the shipment. 
  13. For binding estimated charges: the cost the mover will demand based upon the binding estimate and the terms of payment under the estimate. 
  14. An indication of whether the customer has requested notification of the charges before delivery. Customers must provide the mover with contact information.
interstate bill of lading contract
The Bill of Lading defines the contract between the customer and the moving company.

Binding Estimate Order for Service

In the case that the customer is moving under a binding estimate, the Order for Service will state the amount to pay, the terms of the payment, and will contain signatures from both the customer and the mover.

Non-binding Estimate Order for Service

If there are changes regarding the dates for pickup and delivery of the shipment, or if there are any changes in the non-binding estimate that the customer has agreed to, the mover is obligated to make a written change to the Order of Service (to be attached to the Order of Service).