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For Moving Vendors: US DOT Bill of Lading Rules

Bill of Lading

You are well aware – very well aware – that there is a necessary moving paperwork procedure for each customer who books with you. This paperwork must be filled out completely and properly before being presented to conduct your move and after the service is completed. Below, we’ve highlighted the steps necessary to ensure you are following the FMCSA guidelines so you can be on top of your paperwork game.

Bill of Lading

This is the official contract between you and the customer or ‘shipper’.  It works as a receipt of freight services as well as a contract. It is a legally binding form giving you all the details needed to process the move and invoice according to the agreed-upon terms. If you are unclear how to use a bill of lading, it is best to contact a legal consultant as it is a binding document.

Order for Service

This form is different from your formal contract but is required for an interstate move. It is an agreement between you and the customer, or ‘shipper’, that gives you permission to move their items.

Bingo Sheet and Inventory

  • The Bingo Sheet is critical to ensure that you and your customer can keep track of all items being shipped and immediately note any losses. Use this moving paperwork to check off items as they are loaded and unloaded and prevent loss disputes down the road. The form is required for interstate moves, and though it can be waived, it is recommended to follow through.
  • Since a Bingo Sheet uses a numerical system, conducting an inventory as well as the bingo sheet provides you with more detailed documentation of the items shipped.

Declared Value and Valuation

  • If the customer is shipping valuable art, antiques, or other high-cost items, they must declare the value of each item prior to shipping. If they do not complete this step, they cannot claim damages for the full value of the item if anything were to occur during the move. This can make things difficult for you and your insurance company down the road.
  • Before the move progresses, the customer must select a valuation option for insurance purposes. They can choose full value protection, replacement value protection, or released rate value. The choice they make will determine added insurance costs, so this should be calculated prior to the moving day.

Leave a Copy for the Customer

Once the move is complete and the customer has signed off that they have received their shipment, provide them with a copy of the USDOT Bill of Lading for their records. This ensures they can reference the paperwork that they signed if in a few days they realize something is missing.

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Unpakt Team