Understanding Moving Paperwork: What is the Bill of Lading?
Moving involves a LOT of paperwork and Excel preparation, and while it’s arguably all important, there’s one form that you’ll want to pay close attention to: the bill of lading, or BOL. The bill of lading documents the terms of a move (including any insurance, valuation, or liability limits) and serves as a binding agreement between a moving company and the customer. It also includes carrier information, such as company name, contract of carriage, customer order information, and more. Read on to learn more about the bill of lading form and download our official bill of lading template, which you can use to standardize your agreement process.
What is the Bill of Lading?
The Bill of Lading, which is a pair of identical documents used by moving companies to record the details of a shipment, also includes information about freight charges and prepaid arrangements. Sometimes referred to as a shipping receipt, a BOL is:
A contract between the shipper and receiver. It outlines the terms of their agreement, including when payment will be made for the items, details re: the items included in the shipment, and what happens if something goes wrong.
A legal document proving receipt and possession of goods. BOLs are issued by a shipper (in this case, your moving company) at the time of the move, and received by the consignee (your customer).
A record of the details of a shipment and proof of ownership. For this reason, it’s crucial for both parties to:
- carefully review the details listed and address any adjustments or discrepancies prior to signing
- sign at the right time! Movers will sign when possession of the shipment occurs, while customers will sign once their goods arrive.
- retain a copy of the bill of lading that’s signed by both parties.
If there are any claims made against a moving company for loss or damage to a customer’s property, both parties will need to supply copies of this important document as evidence of delivery.