By definition, a tariff is a document that contains all of a moving company's rates, charges, and service terms for relocating a customer's possessions. The purpose is to provide greater transparency to the customer in understanding the costs and expectations for a move.
For a local move, a moving tariff may be a simple single-page document that outlines hourly rates, packing fees, and other terms and conditions.
However, more complex moves -- like interstate -- will often invoke a tariff spanning dozens of pages, which outline additional fees and calculations that are regulated at the state and federal level. These calculations are combined to rate, or price, the move. Some common long distance fees and verbiage include:
- Transportation Charges (e.g., Linehaul Service Fee): The cost to move and relocate the customer's belongings. This is typically derived from the weight of the customer's inventory and distance traveled
- Insurance Surcharge: To add the cost of the carrier's liability insurance expense
- Fuel Surcharge: To add the cost of fuel and gas, calculated based on the distance traveled
- Origin Service: The cost for the carrier to handle and service the customer's belongings at the origin/pick-up location
- Destination Service: The cost for the carrier to handle and service the customer's belongings at the destination/drop-off location
- Additional Transportation Charge (ATC): Charges that the carrier can apply for services performed in special areas
- Auxiliary Service: Charges that can be levied if a standard truck is unable to transport the load and a auxiliary service (e.g., shuttle) is required
- Steps: Charges based on how many flight of stairs, or steps, are needed to reach the customer's location
- Bulky Items: Heavy or large items (e.g., piano) can be subjected to additional fees
For long distance moves, customers will typically choose between full pack or partial pack. Full pack is generally charged by weight (cost per 100 lbs or CWT), while partial pack is charged by the carton/box that is packed (rate per carton is determined by the tariff).
Across all of these charges, moving companies typically will adjust the price by changing the discount % they provide to their customers (particularly when working with individuals that are moving since they are more price sensitive). They typically will adjust the linehaul/transportation costs using a "Linehaul Services Discount", packing using a "Packing Discount", and all other services using a "Accessorials Discount". Some companies will show the discount % to the customers on the estimate; others will want to hide it ("Hidden Discount"). Within Supermove, moving companies have the flexibility to change the names of each billing line item based on whether discounts should be hidden or visible to the end customer.
A Brief History
Beginning in 1937, the Household Goods Carrier's Bureau was responsible for submitting a collective tariff on behalf of all regulated moving companies to the federal government. While the scope and language of the tariff evolved over time, this document ensured that any moving company that subscribed to it -- the most recent version was tariff 400N -- would be in compliance with federal regulations and the transportation board.
In 2007, on the grounds of anti-trust laws, the federal court struck down on the practice of having a single, common tariff across the moving industry. Carriers now had the ability to organize their own tariffs to be approved by the state.
In practice, most moving companies have opted to maintain and use a tariff that is very similar to the 400N. However, over recent years, more and more states have been publishing their own regional tariffs, such as the Max 4 Tariff in California, and it is to be expected there will be increased divergence and variability from company to company further into the future.
Types of Long Distance Tariffs
The most common types of long distance tariffs are as follows:
- 400N: A common industry-approved tariff that outlined rates, service terms, and conditions for all compliant moving companies from 1937-2007. Since de-regulation, most moving companies have opted to maintain a tariff structure similar to the 400N moves due to familiarity and convenience.
- 400NG: Interstate tariff for moves for military personnel that is managed by the Department of Defense. All moving companies that do interstate military moves use this tariff. More details on the 400NG can be found here: https://www.ustranscom.mil/dp3/pdfs.cfm
- State-specific: Tariffs outlining intrastate charges and rates (long distance moves within one state). This has become more common since 2007 de-regulation. An example of the Max 4 Tariff in California can be found here: https://bhgs.dca.ca.gov/forms_pubs/max_4_2021.pdf
- Vanline-specific: Since 2007, most vanlines have undergone restructuring to create their own vanline tariff for their agents to follow. An example of this is the Wheaton Van Lines tariff here: https://wheatonworldwide.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/WVL100-Effective-06-15-22.pdf
Building Your Tariffs in Supermove
Thanks to the Supermove Billing Engine, you have the ability to customize and create different formulas to calculate fees based on weights, distances, and any other variable you have outlined in your tariff. You can even create different conditions, so the correct formulas populate if you are working on a local, intrastate, or interstate move. What this means is every tariff is supported on Supermove provided we have access to the weight distance tables & rates associated with that tariff (An example of what this looks like can be found here).
Let's walkthrough using the following example:
Uploading a Tariff schedule in Supermove
Using the California Max 4 Tariff as an example, let's say we want to configure California intrastate fees with their approved rate schedule:
To upload this into Supermove, you would want to create a CSV file of the table and submit it into the Supermove Office app by going to Settings >> Billing >> Tables >> +Upload Billing Table. Once submitted, you'll have a table that may look like this for you to then start creating formulas:
Organizing Variables to Reference in your Tariff Formulas
Once you've uploaded your rate schedule, you can then create custom Variables that can interact with your rate schedule by going to Settings >> Billing >> Tables >> + Create Variable. An example may look like this:
Developing Formulas based on those Variables
After you've created your variables, you can then use those to develop the formulas to calculate fees. Need to determine an interstate linehaul charge? Thanks to your uploaded rate schedule and variables, you can do just that by going to Settings >> Billing >> Formulas >> +Create Billing Formula:
The Final Product
As you build out your calculations, you can configure your Supermove account to apply the right formulas for your different Project and Job types throughout the platform. An interstate move, for example, that uses custom formulas to calculate linehaul charges, insurance surcharges, fuel surcharges, and origin and destination service charges can automatically display like so:
If needed, you can make individual adjustments to the fields by going to Edit >> Edit Billing Values. You'll see a screen looks similar to this:
Supermove can lend a hand in relieving the burden of calculating fees and costs, regardless of how big or small. As part of the transition to Supermove, our team can organize the above steps on your behalf, so that your account can reflect the tariff that governs your business. If you are interested in getting started with this process, please contact email@example.com