What's a delivery spread and why should I care?

what is a moving delivery spread?

There are no two ways about it: a long-distance move has a lot of considerations attached. When you’re picking up your life from one city and moving it to another, emotions can run high and even the smallest of inconveniences can seem insurmountable. So when a moving company gives you a span of dates on which they’ll be picking up and/or dropping off your stuff instead of a specific date and time, your first instinct might be to go absolutely haywire. But wait: there’s a reason behind the range.

The Moveline team is comprised of moving industry experts with years of experience helping people relocate from one city to another. We’ve compressed our knowledge of pickup and delivery spreads (also called “ranges”) into a quick guide to give you some insight into the process.

What’s a delivery spread?

First, a little background on how long-distance moves work is key. At any given point in time, a moving truck is most likely hauling boxes and belongings from multiple customers at once; the process of coordinating a truck’s route involves a number of moving parts, often with multiple pickups and dropoffs that must be carefully coordinated to ensure the most efficient delivery methods possible. If it’s heading from, say, New York to Florida, it’s probably making multiple stops along I-95 on the way down to pick up and drop off other customers’ belongings.

For reasons of safety, drivers are required by law not to exceed the amount of hours in a day during which they’re operating the truck. Since it makes sense not to encourage drowsy driving among moving professionals hauling entire homes’ worth of belongings, those restrictions actually make a lot of sense, but they do tend to lengthen the amount of time it takes to get from the first customer to the last in any given route. Needless to say, it’s wise for moving companies to give a date range consisting of several days that can be narrowed down as time goes on. That’s why it’s important to understand that ranges are common and can be several days in length.

Are the dates within a spread guaranteed?

Since each route is an intricately-planned series of pickups and dropoffs for multiple clients, (a prime reason accurate inventory is so critical), there’s always potential for delays along the way. However, your moving company must meet reasonable dispatch requirements, which basically hold the movers accountable for transporting your stuff when they say they will.

If the dates aren’t met within the window that was agreed upon, you can file a delay claim (aka an “inconvenience claim”) along with any food and lodging receipts reflecting money you had to spend while you were waiting beyond the delivery spread for your new place to be habitable. You’ve got nine months to file such a claim, and two years after that to pursue civil action if the company refuses to reimburse your claim. A reputable company, though, will do everything in its power to stay within the delivery spread; after all, the spread itself is a form of flexibility that keeps expectations reasonable on all sides, and a properly-executed move shouldn’t ever come down to a claim.

How can I keep the dates as tight as possible?

Generally speaking, when you’re ready for the movers the moment they arrive (i.e., your stuff is completely packed, a path is cleared, an elevator is reserved, and a driveway or loading zone is reserved for the moving truck’s convenience) and your belongings match the inventory you gave them, you’ve done your part. Now it’s up to the other customers on your truck’s route to do the same. While you can’t control the weather, federal safety regulations or natural disasters, you can control your portion of responsibility by being prepared, and so can other customers.

If, for example, you listed your old place as a one-bedroom and didn’t include all the furniture and a correct amount of boxes when, in reality, it’s a one-bedroom with a detached office, a ton of patio furniture and a piano you forgot to mention, you’ve likely thrown a wrench into things. Although movers take a margin of error into account to avoid mishaps, they rely on accurate inventory checklists to keep everything straight and the truck from getting overloaded.

The good news is, Moveline can take the guesswork out of the inventory process; instead of a moving company representative coming to your home and eyeballing your stuff or relying on you to give them a clear picture of what they’re moving, we’ll do a video chat with you or walk you through the process of inventorying your home on video and uploading it to our server; from there, we’ll do the dirty work and knock out an accurate inventory your movers can count on. The coolest part is, we do it for free, and we assign you a Move Captain to oversee your move from start to finish. You can even pay your movers through us, including tip. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.


Get moving asap

So, if you’re planning a move (whether it’s long-distance or local), don’t go it alone. You can let us assist you by planning your move through the Moveline homepage even if you’re only a couple of weeks away from your move date. Forget the stress and strain and let us help you #movebetter.