Long Distance


Making a move, whether around the world or across town, can be an exciting and yet stressful time. In either case, planning can help to make the move less stressful and more enjoyable.

Durango Transfer Moving and Storage offers interstate moves to everyone across the country. As an Interstate Agent for Atlas Van Lines, we have extensive resources throughout the world to assist in your relocation. Our network of Atlas agents allows Durango Transfer the ability to provide quality service no matter where you are moving from, or where you are going to.




When scheduling your appointment, allow the agency sales representative at least one to two hours of meeting time. The main objective of the appointment is to provide you with an approximate cost for your move. Take full advantage of this time to express any concerns you may have. The more you communicate with your representative, the more "personalized" your estimate becomes.

For example, suppose you are building a home in your new location and there is a slight possibility that it won't be completed by the time your shipment is to deliver. Storage in Transit (S.I.T.) may be an option.

Or, perhaps it is important that costs be kept to a minimum. Your representative can assist by offering a special pricing program suitable for your budget, or may offer tips on how you can cut costs associated with your move.

Our representative will figure up the estimate, go over everything with you, and answer any questions you may have before she leaves.


The cost of your move can be divided into three categories: the transportation charge, the cost of materials and services required to complete the move, and the cost of valuation. Let's look at each of these individually.

Transportation Charge: This is usually your largest expense (55-70%). It is based on a tariff rate determined by the actual weight of your shipment and the number of miles it will be traveling (zip code to zip code). This charge includes the cost of loading your goods, transporting them, and unloading them at destination.

Materials and Services: Any materials and/or services required to complete your move result in additional charges. For instance, when pacing and unpacking are requested, you pay for the cost of packing material as well as labor charges for the actual packing service. Delivery conditions at your new location may also require additional services. And, unless the conditions are revealed to your sales representative in advance, costs for these services are not included in your estimate.

For example: the driver arrives to deliver your shipment and finds that your residence is not accessible to an over-the-road vehicle (tractor/trailer). To complete the delivery, a shuttle service is required. Because inaccessibility was an unknown factor, the cost for the shuttle service was not included in the original estimate. Therefore, additional charges are due (even on a binding estimate).

Listed below are examples of services which may result in additional charges:

    Auxiliary (shuttle) service - using a smaller truck to transfer the shipment between the residence and the over-the-road vehicle (tractor/trailer) or vice versa
    Extra pick-up and/or deliveries
    Overtime packing/loading or unpacking/unloading
    Piano and/or organ handling
    Automobile handling
    Bulky article handling (motorcycles, playhouses, hot tubs, etc.)
    Extra Labor (to repack PBO cartons, disassemble & reassemble items such as exercise equipment, etc.)

Be sure to tell your sales representative about the conditions at your new home or apartment so you will know beforehand if additional charges are due at destination.

Your representative is making a mental note of the various services that yor move requires as well as completing a Table of Measurements, or cube sheet, as you tour each room of your home. This document is used to determine the cubic feet that your furniture, appliances, cartons, and miscellaneous articles that will occupy the van. By assigning an average weight value per cubic foot, the representative converts the total cubic feet into pounds, thus determining the estimated weight of your shipment. The estimated cost is then based on that figure. Your sales representative provides you with an Estimate/Order For Service detailing the breakdown of charges. (The Estimate/Order For Service is not binding and can be amended, cancelled or delayed.)

Remember……an estimate is just an estimate. The actual weight of your shipment is used to compute the actual charges of your move.

Valuation: Valuation is the liability the carrier (mover) assumes for your goods while in their care. Most major carriers offer two plans: standard liability and full value liability. What type you select will determine the cost. (Ask your Atlas Agency representative for a copy of "You Deserve A Choice in Protection.")



Once you have decided on a carrier (and we hope you choose us), notify your agency representative immediately. This assures immediate scheduling of your agreed pick-up and delivery dates. This is especially important during the peak season (May 15 through September 30) when carriers experience over 50 percent of their business.

Your representative, also known as the booking agent, is now responsible for making the necessary arrangements for your move - from scheduling packing dates to hiring an outside contractor to perform specialized services for items that require special handling (such as servicing a grandfather clock or disassembling a pool table).

If you intend to do your own packing, it is recommended that you purchase special moving cartons and packing material from your local carrier representative. When properly used, these containers aid in protecting your goods while in transit. You may use other sturdy cartons, but they must have lids that can be taped shut. A packing brochure with helpful tips is available from your agency representative.

Labeling your boxes appropriately assists both you and the driver in room placement at your new residence. We suggest that you mark on the sides of the cartons instead of the top, so you don't have to lift every box to see what is in the box below it.

If your move requires full or custom (partial) packing, your origin agent notifies you of the date and time that the packing crew is scheduled to arrive to begin preparing your household goods for transit. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of packing required, it may take one or more days to complete. Usually, the actual loading of the van takes place the following day.

Behind the Scenes

With Atlas Van Lines, the information contained on the Estimate/Order For Service is communicated to Atlas Headquarters and your shipment is assigned an identification number (Registration number) that appears on all documentation and correspondence.

The booking agency may elect to transport your shipment using its own driver and tractor-trailer. Or it may turn the order over to the van lines's Operations Department for driver selection and shipment scheduling.

So, it's conceivable to have up to three different agencies sharing the responsibility for your move - the booking agent, the origin agent, and now the hauling agent.

Unlike freight, moving household goods is not just a matter of picking up the goods at Point A and delivering them to Point B within a reasonable period of time. Consider this: several shipments may be loaded on the trailer, originating from and delivering to different cities across the U.S., all of which must be moved within a specific time frame. Now, that takes some planning and organization!

That is where our Operations Department comes in. It is the "heart" of the system. Experienced Planners coordinate the routing of shipments within and from their respective geographical zone.

Dispatchers communicate a schedule to our drivers and participating agencies and make sure instructions are carried out accordingly. Because drivers normally check in daily, at each stage of your move, a telephone call on our toll-free line, or a visit to the Atlas web site can provide you with the status of your shipment.

It is a matter of teamwork. Everyone works together toward a common goal, which is to provide you the smoothest move possible.


Upon arrival, your driver asks you to sign the Bill of Lading. Your signature acts as authorization for the carrier to transport your belongings. It is imperative that you check the document for accuracy and completeness. Any changes in dates, destination, valuation, or services will require an amendment to the Order for Service.

Your driver is required to complete a Household Goods Descriptive Inventory of the items that are being shipped and to note their condition. Once the inventory is completed, the driver asks you to sign, acknowledging that the inventory is to the best of your knowledge, a true and complete list of the goods being tendered to the carrier and the condition in which the goods are received. If an automobile or boat is included, a signed Motor Vehicle Descriptive Inventory is also required.

When additional services are necessary to complete your move, the Additional Services Performed and Origin/Destination Service and Delivery Report (ASPOD) must be completed. The ASPOD indicates, when applicable, the amount of manpower and time that was necessary to accomplish the particular service listed and who performed the service. Your initials confirm that the services listed were completed as stated.

Now that the preliminaries are over, just sit back, relax, and let the driver and helpers do their job.


The agreed delivery date on your Bill of Lading specifies the preferred time period when delivery of your goods can be expected (example: 5/26-6/07). Most drivers try to advise you of their anticipated arrival at least 24 hours in advance. In the unlikely event that your shipment is delayed past the agreed delivery period, you will be notified of the change.

If you request notification of the actual weight and charges by checking the appropriate box on the Bill of Lading, an Atlas representative will inform you of the amount due prior to delivery.

Unless another means has been prearranged, payment is due at the time of delivery by cash, certified check, or postal money order. The driver will not begin unloading until payment is received. Many carriers now honor major credit cards, but don't assume so. Check with your agency representative in advance to confirm that the agency participates in a charge card program. Verify which cards are accepted and if any restrictions apply, e.g. can the transaction occur at origin or destination?

In the event the actual charges exceed the estimated charges by more than 10 %, the driver can release your goods when you pay what is called the 110% Collection Option (not applicable on binding estimates). For example, if the cost of your move was estimated at $2500 and the actual charges are $2800, you are only required to pay on delivery the estimated charges ($2500) plus 10% ($250) or a total of $2750. The balance of the charges is due in 30 days.

To this point, there have been up to three agencies involved in your relocation - the booking agent, the origin agent, and the hauling agent. (Recall that it is possible for the booking agent to act as the origin agent and even the hauling agent.) Now, a fourth agency is about to join the moving team.

When the driver needs assistance with unloading, or specific arrangements need to be made for items requiring special handling, the destination agent assigned to your move assists the driver by providing experienced helpers and scheduling other required services. The destination agency's warehouse is also available in the event your shipment goes into temporary storage.

As the driver begins to unload at your new residence, you should check off the items on your copy of the inventory as they are carried in. This helps you determine if all furniture and/or cartons are accounted for. You should also record any noticeable damage. Once you have completed your inventory check, transfer any notations onto the driver's copy of the inventory and sign it.

Hopefully, you have had an opportunity to plan ahead in regard to furniture placement. Although most drivers are very cooperative, they are only required to place furniture once.

If you have requested "unpacking," it is important that you understand what unpacking actually entails. The industry definition of unpacking is removing the packed items from the cartons and placing them on a table or counter for the customer to place in cabinets or drawers and, when requested, the disposal of used material and containers at the time of unpacking.

After Delivery

Although your carrier's objective is to transport your personal belongings without incident, there may be times when loss or damage occur. If you should discover that items are missing or damaged, here is what you should do:

  • Finish your unpacking, then make a list of the damaged and/or missing articles. DO NOT THROW AWAY ANY OF THE DAMAGED ITEMS!
  • Gather your documents for reference purposes. As mentioned before, you save time knowing your shipment registration number. Atlas offers two options when making a claim. You can either fill out the online claim form available at www.atlasvanlines.com or call your carrier's Customer Service Department at the corporate headquarters to request a claim form (your agency representative can provide you with a toll free number). Claim forms are mailed promptly.
  • When received, fill out the claim form as completely and accurately as possible and return it to the Customer Service representative. Although you actually have nine months from the date of delivery to submit a claim, it is best to file as soon as possible. All claims are settled within the parameters defined by the liability option you previously selected.
Processing begins at the corporate office upon receipt of your claim. A copy of the claim form with an assignment sheet is faxed or mailed to a reputable repair firm authorizing it to make an inspection and/or proceed in restoring an item damaged in transit. An article that is non-repairable is reported to the Customer Service representative for further assessment.

Every effort is made to locate a missing item. If your carrier is unable to restore it, restitution for a lost and/or non-repairable item will be considered in your final settlement. A letter will be issued advising you of those items.

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