A moving contract for a move between states differs from many service contracts because it is regulated by an office of the Department of Transportation. In addition to providing the usual elements of a legally binding contract, your moving contract acknowledges that compliance.
Parties to the Contract and Basic Offer
Your binding moving contract names your moving company and the name and address of your clients, the persons whose belongings you are moving. It specifies your offer -- what you are promising to move and where you are moving it. It includes the conditions of the move, such as packing, whether included or not, your promise of reasonable care and, optionally, the date by which you guarantee the move will be accomplished. It specifies which goods -- packing blankets and boxes primarily -- are included and, if there are additional costs, the costs of each item or service.
Consideration for Services and Acceptance
The contract spells out how much and when your client is to pay for your services. In contract law this is termed the "consideration." The contract also spells out your clients' acceptance of the terms of your offer with respect both to the circumstances and details of the move as specified in the contract and to the consideration, including the calculation of the payment amount and the timing of the payment.
Additional Terms and Estimates
Your contract has a section devoted to additional contract terms and specifications, such as your minimum insurance obligations, additional insurance for high-value goods not otherwise covered and mileage charges. Your contract also includes your estimate of the moving costs, based on weight, and details of collection for additional charges incurred. It also contains your provision for dispute resolution. Organizations often require clients to agree to arbitration.
The contract states that each of the two parties understands and agrees to the contract terms. Both your responsibilities and your clients' are specified in the contract as well as any penalties for failure to abide by the agreement. If, for example, items are damaged in the course of the move, you agree to reimbursement under specified circumstances. If your clients pack their own belongings, they agree that you are not responsible for damage incurred as a result of inadequate packing. Another example: your clients agree to have their belongings ready for the move on a specified date, but they do not. The penalties, if any, for the delayed move are specified in the agreement.
Special Terms of Moving Contracts
The federal government, specifically The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also requires that you provide your clients with a copy of its booklet on moving, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move." Your moving contract includes your notice that you have provided your clients with this booklet and your clients' acknowledgment that they have received it. Once you have prepared a draft of your company's moving contract, it's always a good idea to have it reviewed by an attorney.
Patrick Gleeson received a doctorate in 18th century English literature at the University of Washington. He served as a professor of English at the University of Victoria and was head of freshman English at San Francisco State University. Gleeson is the director of technical publications for McClarie Group and manages an investment fund. He is a Registered Investment Advisor.