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Best Cheap Moving Companies (June 2024)

U-Pack is the best cheap moving company because its rates are the most affordable compared to competitors. Read our full review to find out what else makes it a top-tier provider.

Author Image Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 04/24/2024

It can be difficult to determine which moving companies provide competitive pricing and which will waste your time with a lengthy quote process that yields an expensive price tag. This is where we can help. We recommend U-Pack as our top pick for the cheapest moving companies because our research showed that it provides the most affordable moving quotes compared to other providers. International Van Lines was a close second because of its competitive rates for full-service moves, and Allied Van Lines came in third for its affordable in-house vehicle shipping services.

We conducted over 4,800 hours of research to help you find the best moving company on a budget. Our research methodology included interviewing multiple industry experts, analyzing data from a survey of 1,000 moving customers, and thoroughly evaluating different moving companies’ service offerings and protection plans. This helped us create a list of 10 moving companies that offer high-quality services for more affordable moves.

Key Takeaways

After 4,800+ hours of research across 31 moving companies, we recommend U-Pack, International Van Lines, and Allied Van Lines as our top choices for the cheapest moving companies.
Depending on if you are moving locally or long-distance, moving costs typically range from $750–$3,750 for a two-bedroom move.

10 Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2024

We analyzed each mover’s services and requested quotes from each. We found the following to be the best cheap moving companies:


Compare the Best Cheap Moving Companies

U-Pack and International Van Lines provide some of the most affordable prices when examining each company’s service model. See how our top movers compare in terms of pricing and more in the table below.

Best For Star Rating BBB Rating Sample Quote Link
U-Pack U-Pack Most Affordable
A+ $3,256–$4,679 VISIT SITE
International Van Lines International Van Lines Best Service Offerings
A+ $2,519–$4,306 VISIT SITE
Allied Van Lines Allied Van Lines Best for Vehicle Relocation
A+ $5,442 – $6,312 VISIT SITE
North American Van Lines North American Van Lines Best for Claims
A+ $4,700–$5,540 VISIT SITE
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group Interstate Moving & Relocation Group Most Efficient
B $3,823–$4,824 VISIT SITE
Moving APT Moving APT Best Customer Service
B $3,566–$6,266 VISIT SITE
JK Moving Services JK Moving Services Best Specialized Packing
A+ $5,600–$6,622 VISIT SITE
American Van Lines American Van Lines Best Overall Moving Labor
A+ $4,544 VISIT SITE
Safeway Moving Inc. Safeway Moving Inc. Most Reliable Pricing
B- $4,000–$5,000 VISIT SITE
Mayflower Mayflower Best for Large Moves
A+ $3,500–$4,500 VISIT SITE
U-Pack
Logo U-Pack
Best For Most Affordable
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $3,256–$4,679
VISIT SITE
International Van Lines
Logo International Van Lines
Best For Best Service Offerings
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $2,519–$4,306
VISIT SITE
Allied Van Lines
Logo Allied Van Lines
Best For Best for Vehicle Relocation
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $5,442 – $6,312
VISIT SITE
North American Van Lines
Logo North American Van Lines
Best For Best for Claims
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $4,700–$5,540
VISIT SITE
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Logo Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Best For Most Efficient
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
Sample Quote $3,823–$4,824
VISIT SITE
Moving APT
Logo Moving APT
Best For Best Customer Service
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
Sample Quote $3,566–$6,266
VISIT SITE
JK Moving Services
Logo JK Moving Services
Best For Best Specialized Packing
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $5,600–$6,622
VISIT SITE
American Van Lines
Logo American Van Lines
Best For Best Overall Moving Labor
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $4,544
VISIT SITE
Safeway Moving Inc.
Logo Safeway Moving Inc.
Best For Most Reliable Pricing
Star Rating
BBB Rating B-
Sample Quote $4,000–$5,000
VISIT SITE
Mayflower
Logo Mayflower
Best For Best for Large Moves
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $3,500–$4,500
VISIT SITE
Company Star Rating BBB Rating Sample Quote Visit Site
4.5
A+ $2,519–$4,306 VISIT SITE
4.2
A+ $4,544 VISIT SITE
4.3
B- $4,000–$5,000 VISIT SITE
3.9
B $3,823–$4,824 VISIT SITE
3.8
A+ $3,256–$4,679 VISIT SITE
4.2
B $3,566–$6,266 VISIT SITE
4.7
A+ $5,600–$6,622 VISIT SITE
4.8
A+ $5,442 – $6,312 VISIT SITE
4.5
A+ $4,700–$5,540 VISIT SITE
4.0
A+ $3,500–$4,500 VISIT SITE

*Sample quotes are for a two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco, unless otherwise noted.

**BBB ratings are accurate as of April 2024.


Compare the Best Cheap Movers: Local vs. Long-Distance

Moving costs can vary greatly depending on if you are moving locally or long distance. In the chart below you can compare the average cost of a long-distance move with the average cost of a local move for each of the best cheap moving companies we recommend.


What Determines a Move’s Cost?

Many factors determine a move’s cost, including whether you book a local move to a nearby city or a long-distance move to another state. Hiring a full-service moving company near you will typically entail higher costs than a container company with portable storage units that you load and unload unassisted. A DIY move is a cheaper but more stressful option, and many providers have partial packing services that establish a middle ground in terms of costs.

Below is a breakdown of how cost factors vary depending on whether your move is a single-day move or multiday move, along with how costs can vary based on the length of your move.

Cost by Move Length

Single-Day Moves

Multiday Moves

Moving costs can vary depending on if you are moving locally or long-distance. In the table below, we provide a breakdown of cost based on move length.

Move LengthMove SizeAverage Cost
Local (less than 50 miles)Two-bedroom$750–$1,250
Intermediate (100 miles)Two-bedroom$2,000–$2,750
Long-distance (500 miles)Two-bedroom$3,000–$3,750

Multiple factors can affect the cost of your single-day move. You can see more details on these factors below. However, you'll receive an estimate that covers all the services provided, an hourly rate based on the company’s demand, and an approximate estimate of the total time it will take to complete your move.

  • Hourly rates: Companies usually charge hourly rates for local moves they can complete in one day, as it's the standard cost structure for single-day moves.
  • Additional services: Additional services such as packing or loading will add to your final total based on the hours worked.
  • Material costs and fees: You might also have to pay for material costs for packing supplies or crating or flat fees for specific services such as piano or pool table moving.

Costs can be more complex for longer interstate moves. Companies will charge you flat rates or estimated costs based on the following factors:

  • Additional services: Extra services such as packing, crating, vehicle shipping, and more will increase the cost. These may have flat fees attached or be included in your line-haul fee.
  • Advance booking: Booking your move at least six weeks to a month in advance will help ensure that you don’t incur higher rates. Some movers will bill higher rates when you book within a week of your move date.
  • Company size: Comparing quotes between national van lines, local movers, and truck rental options can reveal significant pricing differences. Well-known brands typically charge more than smaller independent movers but may provide better service, reliability, and claims handling.
  • Distance of the move and the weight of the shipment: These factors are used to calculate “line-haul fees,” which are responsible for most of the cost. Movers must have a defined weigh-in process for their trucks and stable per-mile rates to determine these fees.
  • Insurance: Replacement value protection plans and other moving insurance options protect your items but contribute to the overall price. Higher-value plans cost more. Going without protection saves money but carries a financial risk if items are damaged.
  • Moving date: The cost of the move is affected by the moving date. Moving between May and September often comes with higher rates, which companies increase in response to increased demand.

Costs can be more complex for longer interstate moves. Companies will charge you flat rates or estimated costs based on the following factors:

  • Additional services: Extra services such as packing, crating, vehicle shipping, and more will increase the cost. These may have flat fees attached or be included in your line-haul fee.
  • Advance booking: Booking your move at least six weeks to a month in advance will help ensure that you don’t incur higher rates. Some movers will bill higher rates when you book within a week of your move date.
  • Company size: Comparing quotes between national van lines, local movers, and truck rental options can reveal significant pricing differences. Well-known brands typically charge more than smaller independent movers but may provide better service, reliability, and claims handling.
  • Distance of the move and the weight of the shipment: These factors are used to calculate “line-haul fees,” which are responsible for most of the cost. Movers must have a defined weigh-in process for their trucks and stable per-mile rates to determine these fees.
  • Insurance: Replacement value protection plans and other moving insurance options protect your items but contribute to the overall price. Higher-value plans cost more. Going without protection saves money but carries a financial risk if items are damaged.
  • Moving date: The cost of the move is affected by the moving date. Moving between May and September often comes with higher rates, which companies increase in response to increased demand.

Each state has its own regulatory bodies and tariff requirements to regulate moving companies. Some states, such as California, require moving companies to provide “not-to-exceed” pricing for all local and long-distance relocations. Other states mandate that all services must have clear and transparent pricing regulated by the local moving governing body. 

QUICK Tip
Many state governing bodies offer resources, such as moving tips and “what to expect” guides for moving customers. Texas is a prime example; this moving guide is readily accessible on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) site. You can also read a thorough “rights and responsibilities” brochure on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) site. Resources such as these could help you avoid overpaying.
Why Trust Us? We conducted 4,800+ hours of research on moving companies and crafted a ranking system based on the following research
31
Companies Considered
1000
Homeowners Surveyed
21000
Reviews Analyzed
22
Providers Compared

Reviews of the Top Cheap Moving Companies

U-Pack

Most Affordable
3.8

U-Pack (USDOT #: 2946400) is our pick for the most affordable mover. This self-service mover offers a pay-for-what-you-use space policy on its moving trailers. This option allows customers to pay per foot on a moving trailer for pricing flexibility. U-Pack also provides adjustable contents protection plans and reliable delivery windows to ensure your long-distance move goes smoothly.

How We Scored U-Pack

U-Pack earned 3.5 out of 5 stars according to our rating scale. The company is a great option for inexpensive moves, but it scored low because it lacks additional service options and has a minimum distance requirement of 150 miles. However, U-Pack offers excellent pricing and quick scheduling, making it a good choice for those on a tight budget.

  • Moving Services (40 out of 59 points): U-Pack lost points here because it doesn’t offer local moving services. You can’t use it for a small move if the overall relocation distance is less than 150 miles.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company keeps its protection plans simple with one partial-value protection plan, which federal law requires, and one full-value plan.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): U-Pack lacks convenience and lost points in this area because it only lets you finalize scheduling over the phone.
  • Additional Benefits (11 out of 13 points): U-Pack provides an excellent selection of extra benefits, given it’s tailored to more self-service and cheaper moves. It also offers packing supplies and GPS tracking, but it doesn’t provide any financing. 
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): U-Pack has generally received positive reviews on popular review sites. However, we found that many of its trucks have failed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) inspections. This is partly because the company works with ABF Freight, a large freight transportation company.

Pros and Cons

Pros Has a flexible and budget-friendly pay-for-what-you-use policy Provides GPS tracking on your containers Has no deposit requirement Cons Doesn’t provide access to storage during transit Only gives you three days to load and unload your belongings Doesn’t have an app to monitor or track your move

Moving Services

U-Pack mainly focuses on self-service portable storage container moves. The process is simple: the company delivers one of its container options to your home, and you can load your belongings at your leisure within three days. You notify the company to pick up and deliver the container to your new home once you’re done loading it. You can unload your belongings at your own pace.

U-Pack offers two container options: the ReloCube moving container or a large moving trailer from ABF Freight. You only pay for the square footage you use if you choose the moving trailer.

Here are some of the other services U-Pack provides:

  • Climate-controlled storage 
  • Loading and unloading (via third-party)
  • Packing and unpacking (via third-party)
  • Military moves 
  • Senior moves
  • Student moves

Cost

U-Pack’s pay-for-what-you-use service model keeps costs low. This means you’ll only pay for the space you use when you rent a trailer from U-Pack. Its pricing model makes it easy to downsize to cut costs. You can also hire moving labor to help with more difficult tasks directly through U-Pack.

U-Pack charges tiered cancellation fees; you’ll pay $50 for canceling within a week of your move and $150 for same-day cancellations. All move fees are due before the delivery of your goods.

  • Sample Quote: $3,256–$4,679 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment Accepted: Credit card, debit card, or PayPal

Reputation and Reviews

U-Pack has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site. According to positive reviews, its drivers and containers are high quality. Some negative reviews mention billing disputes and delivery date discrepancies. We also found mixed customer feedback on Trustpilot and read dozens of recent customer testimonials. We found that poor customer service was a common theme in many negative Trustpilot reviews, leading the company to hold 2.6 out of 5 stars* on the site.

*All Trustpilot scores in this review are accurate as of April 2024.

International Van Lines

Best Service Offerings
4.5

Consider International Van Lines (USDOT #: 2293832) if you want a company to handle almost every part of your move but still want affordable rates. The company offers one of the most comprehensive service selections, including packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, furniture assembly, storage, and car transportation. International Van Lines’ (IVL) local and long-distance moving pricing is fairly low compared to other full-service movers, and its deposit requirements are well within industry norms.

IVL offers quick quotes and reasonable rates for local and long-distance moving needs. As a broker, it can search for the lowest rates possible to facilitate a more affordable move.

How We Scored International Van Lines

IVL received a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars based on our methodology. The company is highly rated because of its extensive range of basic and add-on services and broad service area. Additionally, IVL has been praised for its exceptional BBB rating and the quality of its moving services. However, we deducted some points in areas because it doesn’t provide a rental truck option and financing, which are important if you’re on a tight moving budget.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): IVL offers some of the most comprehensive service selections, including all options for full-pack, partial-pack, and specialty services such as crating for artwork and antiques. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): IVL scored perfectly in this area because it offers more than three different insurance coverage options. You can pay for full-value protection or use a more budget-friendly partial-value release plan. 
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): We found IVL’s scheduling and quote process to be simple and easy. The company provides multiple communication methods, including email and phone. 
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): IVL lost points here because it doesn’t provide financing or any do-it-yourself (DIY) moving methods, and DIY moving options are better suited for cheaper moves.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): IVL has maintained a positive reputation on online review platforms and has had only one crash report in the past two years. The majority of its trucks have passed federal inspections and remain in service.

Pros and Cons

Pros Has lower pricing relative to other full-service movers Offers multiple protection plans Provides specialty services for artwork, antiques, and pianos Cons Has mixed customer reviews across its locations Has annoying pop-up ads on its website Local branches are only available in five states

Moving Services

IVL’s basic full-service offerings include released liability coverage, loading and unloading, and in-transit furniture protection. It also provides 30 days of free storage at your destination for long-distance moves. You can add other services if they’re in your budget, including the following:

  • Assembly and disassembly
  • Crating
  • Full packing
  • Storage
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

We found the quote process with IVL to be efficient. The quote we received included all basic labor, transportation, and furniture protection. Long-distance moves come with 30 days of free storage, although our selected move route didn’t qualify for this. As a bonus, there was a 15% discount for senior citizens and free cancellation within 48 hours’ notice for local moves.

The quote we received below is for a basic move, and we had to handle all packing on our own. The price range includes loading, unloading, and transportation with few add-ons or special offerings.

  • Sample Quote: $2,519–$4,306 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: 25%
  • Payment Accepted: Cash, credit card (deposit only), money order, cashier’s check

Reputation and Reviews

The quality of service offered by this company can differ according to your location and the local agents working in the area. IVL has an A rating from the BBB but is not presently accredited. Some customers have reported inconsistent quality depending on the partner companies used, but most reviews suggest superior moving services. IVL features an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars on its Trustpilot page, with many positive reviews mentioning how it simplified customers’ long-distance moves.

Allied Van Lines

Best for Vehicle Relocation
4.8

Allied Van Lines (USDOT #: 076235) is a full-service moving company that offers customizable local, long-distance, and international relocation plans. Allied provides you with a guaranteed flat rate after a home review. You can pick and choose from additional services to create customized packages that fit your budget.

The company owns its fleet of car carriers so that you can work directly with Allied for your vehicle transportation needs, not with a third-party agent. This helps you avoid booking fees associated with third-party carriers and makes for an all-around smooth and budget-friendly move.

Allied Van Lines’ comprehensive service options make it a top choice for moving customers. It offers local, long-distance, and international moving services, as well as vehicle shipping and expedited small move services via Allied Express. These services aren’t available at low rates, but we still consider the company one of the best one-stop destinations for all moving needs.

How We Scored Allied Van Lines

We rated Allied 4.8 out of 5 stars for its robust and affordable local, long-distance, and international moving services. However, it lost some points for not offering self-service moving options and financing.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Allied provides a complete range of moving services, including vehicle shipping and piano moving.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company provides various coverage options that can be customized to fit your budget.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): You can contact Allied via phone, online chat, or email, and we found the company’s website easy to navigate and use.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): Unfortunately, Allied doesn’t offer financing or moving truck rentals, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking for the cheapest moving option.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): Based on our research, Allied has a predominantly positive online reputation and handles more than 90% of the complaints it receives on the BBB. The FMCSA reports that Allied has fewer failed inspections than the industry average, but it has also reported more incidents of injuries, crashes, and required tows than other companies. It’s important to note that this may be attributed to the company’s large size.

Pros and Cons

Pros Allows you to pick and choose the services you want without extending your budget Offers vehicle coverage of up to $100,000 with no deductible Provides mobile storage containers through Allied Express with loading and unloading services Cons Doesn’t provide instant quotes for local moves Doesn’t offer 24/7 claims support Features a misleading online “Instaquote” option that doesn’t actually provide a quote

Moving Services

Allied Van Lines provides basic loading and unloading services with any moving package, along with basic moving coverage. The following services cost extra:

  • Assembly and disassembly
  • Crating
  • Installation of appliances
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Small moves via its Allied Express program
  • Vehicle shipping for cars, boats, trucks, and RVs

Cost

Allied Van Lines doesn’t require deposits, and its discount offerings vary between locations. The basic move price we received includes loading and unloading, as well as transportation of goods. Full-service packing for a one-bedroom home could add hundreds of dollars to your move cost, if not double it. Allied typically provides nonbinding estimates. This means your quoted price is subject to change between getting your quote and signing a moving contract.

  • Sample Quote: $5,442 – $6,312 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: None required
  • Payment Accepted: Cash, check, money order, or certified check

Reputation and Reviews

Allied’s headquarters BBB page has a poor rating of 1.09 out of 5 stars but an A+ rating. We found other locations that score better. We recommend you find your local Allied branch on the BBB to get a better understanding of its services. The company also features a 2.3 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Many customers report delays in the moving process and confusion over quotes changing, but others mention that Allied provides friendly and helpful customer service.

North American Van Lines

Best for Claims
4.5

North American Van Lines (USDOT #: 070851) is a large national mover with more than a thousand moving trucks in operation and more than 500 agent locations nationwide. The company brings customer support to the front and center, providing numerous online resources, including convenient claims forms for reimbursement due to issues occurring during a move. North American Van Lines (NAVL) has customer service representatives available 24/7, and it offers online shipment tracking with status updates 24 hours a day.

NAVL offers binding and “not-to-exceed” estimates. This means you can have a bottom-line price for any local or long-distance move. NAVL provides a streamlined process for damage claims, assuring that your goods will be protected. Its moving crews can handle almost any type of household goods.

How We Scored North American Van Lines

NAVL scored 4.5 out of 5 stars, according to our scoring system. The company offers a wide range of cost-friendly, full-service moving options, including packing and storage assistance, for different distances. Points were deducted due to its limited booking procedures, which require you to speak with a representative over the phone.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): The company provides all possible standard moving services, including partial- and full-pack services.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): NAVL earned all points in this area because of its comprehensive protection plans and insurance. The company provides a basic carrier liability protection program called “No-Cost Released Value Protection,” which is included in its full-valuation protection program. This guarantees a minimum shipment value of $6,000 and provides a value of $6 per pound, which is calculated by multiplying the shipment’s total weight by $6. This coverage is significantly greater than the standard 60 cents per pound mandated by law.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): Unfortunately, NAVL only offers phone communication.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): The company offers many extra benefits for which we award more points, such as storage options and shipment tracking. On the downside, it provides no cheaper self-service options, such as moving truck rentals or financing.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): NAVL has a high rate of responsiveness to complaints on its BBB profile. However, the company’s FMCSA profile presents alarming figures. Its failed inspection rate is 27.3%, with reports of 29 crashes in the past two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Uses a predictable pricing model, including a not-to-exceed pricing option that few direct competitors offer Reduces the stress of filing a claim by providing access to domestic and international claims forms on its website and hosting dedicated customer support lines Bolsters its availability by having agents located in strategic locations throughout the United States Cons Doesn’t provide fast, ballpark estimates for assessing potential moving costs Brokers some services to moving companies and drivers outside its own employee base Varies storage options based on local availability

Moving Services

NAVL offers basic loading and unloading services and transportation of your goods in all basic move packages. It also provides moving supplies for DIY packing to make your move less expensive. Added services cost extra and include the following:

  • Appliance installation
  • Crating
  • Furniture assembly
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Valuation coverage
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

We like that NAVL doesn’t require deposits to book. The pricing we received below accounts for loading, unloading, and transporting goods. Insurance protection, storage, crating, and packing all cost extra. NAVL has previously advertised discounts for senior citizens and other groups, but these offerings vary by location. NAVL provides the option to receive binding estimates when you book, so you should ask about this if you want to move forward with a moving contract.

  • Sample Quote: $4,700–$5,540 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: None required
  • Payment Accepted: Cash, check, money order, or certified check

Reputation and Reviews

NAVL is known for offering excellent moving options. However, it’s important to remember that the service quality may differ depending on your location. Although the company’s headquarters has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB, its overall customer rating on the same page is only 1.13 out of 5 stars. The same goes for its Trustpilot profile, which only has 2.3 out of 5 stars. Therefore, we recommend carefully examining customer feedback for your local NAVL branch before booking services. This will help you make an informed decision.

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

Most Efficient
3.9

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (USDOT #: 3034100) is a moving broker that finds a provider in its network to fulfill your requested services. Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (IMRG) works with full-service moving companies to customize your move plan, offering packing assistance and numerous add-on options. We noted IMRG’s efficiency in providing quotes; the company returned a binding estimate to our team within 10 minutes of an inventory survey. As a broker, IMRG can compare rates among its partners and negotiate for you to lock in an affordable rate. However, this price-matching option may be limited in certain locations.

How We Scored Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

IMRG earned a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. The company stands out for its excellent service profile and flexibility. It offers assistance with all types of moves, and you can book online or over the phone. Additionally, IMRG provides useful moving checklists and guides for each stage of the moving process. Its main drawbacks are that it doesn’t offer storage, truck rental, or financing options.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): During our research, we found that IMRG offers a wide range of services, including full packing, partial packing, crating, and specialty services. We also noticed that these services can be customized to suit your specific needs and budget, making it easier and more affordable for you to move.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company only offers two insurance plans: a partial-value protection plan and a full-value protection plan. 
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): IMRG schedules moves via phone and online. We found that IMRG provides clear communication during the entire moving process.
  • Additional Benefits (6 out of 13 points): The company offers several additional benefits, but we noticed that it doesn’t provide any options for DIY moving, financing, or storage services. It’s surprising that IMRG doesn’t assist with storage services, as it has become a standard add-on in the moving industry and can significantly help with relocations.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): According to our research, IMRG has a positive online reputation and has passed all inspections in the last two years without any accidents on its FMCSA profile.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides quick estimates, helping expedite the booking process to accommodate last-minute moves Can find cheap movers for local, long-distance, and international relocations Features a moving checklist, cost calculator, and other resources on its site Cons Is reliant on third-party movers to perform services, leading to mixed moving experiences Has no weekend customer service Doesn’t refund your deposit and booking fee 72 hours after initial booking

Moving Services

IMRG’s basic move packages vary, depending on the partner you book. Container rentals include transportation and container delivery at either end of your move. Full-service move packages come with loading and unloading, while the following services cost extra:

  • Added coverage plans
  • Crating
  • Disassembly/reassembly
  • Packing/unpacking
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

One of IMRG’s partner companies will handle your move. Many offer military discounts and fair pricing. However, the company requires a full week’s notice for all cancellations.

Our free quote from IMRG was for a basic move with no packing or unpacking assistance and one flight of stairs. The quote process was straightforward and quick, although we noted that this provider doesn’t offer binding rates. The price range below accounts for the possibility of added services such as packing, crating, and storage.

  • Sample Quote: $3,823–$4,824 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: Up to 33%
  • Payment Accepted: Credit card and check

Reputation and Reviews

IMRG is a moving broker that depends on the performance of its partner companies to deliver top-notch service. The company has no BBB accreditation and currently holds a B rating. Many customers have praised the professionalism of IMRG’s crews, but some have reported negative experiences and bait-and-switch pricing tactics. We found the company to hold an overall positive reputation on other sites, such as Google Reviews, with a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars based on thousands of reviews.  

Moving APT

Best Customer Service
4.2

Moving APT (USDOT #: 2247863) is a moving broker that partners with movers nationwide. This business model provides a full range of moving services with price-matching guarantees and rates you can adjust to fit your budget. We like that many of its partner companies offer long-distance relocation services and that it provides a helpful moving calculator and checklists.

How We Scored Moving APT

Moving APT scored 4.4 out of 5 stars via our rating methodology. We deducted points for it not offering online booking and for having inconsistent insurance options among its partner companies. However, we gave the company credit for providing high-quality local and long-distance moving services and helpful resources such as a moving calculator and other online tools.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): The company is a broker that connects you with movers who fulfill all standard services within your budget, as well as specialty services like crating.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): Moving APT offers a released value protection plan. It also offers full-value options, but we found that your specific coverage options vary according to what carrier you receive.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): The company features a user-friendly website, but it only offers final scheduling via phone.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): Moving APT offers moving truck rentals that are ideal for cheap moves, but it doesn’t offer packing supplies. The company also lost points for not providing financing.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): Moving APT has a B rating and isn’t accredited but has a higher customer review score and response rate on the BBB than many others on our list of cheap moving companies. Additionally, Moving APT’s FMCSA profile is spotless.

Pros and Cons

Pros Lets you tailor your services to your budget Offers price-matching Provides an online cost estimator tool Cons Customer reviews vary by location Has reviews citing unwanted contact from partner companies after moves have already been booked Doesn’t refund your deposit if you cancel within seven days of your move

Moving Services

Moving APT’s partners provide full- and self-service moving assistance for all long-distance relocations. You can customize your move with the following options:

  • Crating
  • Commercial moving
  • Loading/unloading
  • Packing/unpacking
  • Piano moving
  • Specialty packing for antiques
  • Storage services

Cost

Moving APT provides a cost estimator tool to give quick quotes. However, you’ll have to call for your final estimate. One benefit of Moving APT is that it offers price matching if you get a lower quote from a competitor.

That said, you should take price-matching guarantees with a grain of salt. Such guarantees could violate your statewide tariff regulations. This could be the underlying reason for many “price switching” and “bait-and-switch” remarks in negative reviews, as movers may have their hands tied by local moving regulations.

  • Sample quote: $3,566–$6,266 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: Varies between partners
  • Payment accepted: Cash, check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Moving APT’s BBB page has a B+ rating without accreditation but a customer review score of 3.53 out of 5 stars. Former customers have appreciated the company’s resources and quick quotes. However, it’s worth noting that a few reviewers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the poor customer service they received after booking. This specific complaint seems to be one of the largest patterns on Moving APT’s Yelp page, earning it 1.3 out of 5 stars.

JK Moving Services

Best Specialized Packing
4.7

JK Moving Services (USDOT #: 1065394) is one of the more expensive options on this list, but it remains one of our top picks due to its specialized packing services. The company operates as a carrier and broker, providing a la carte services to long-distance moving customers in all 50 states. JK Moving trains its employees on-site in a live training environment, which includes a furnished two-story home. This specialized training improves the company’s add-on offerings.

Additionally, JK Moving offers financing as low as 0% to help customers afford full-service moves. We also found that the company maintains a high rating for its customer service.

How We Scored JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services received a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The company scored high because of its financing options and long-distance moving services. However, due to the absence of DIY moving options or a moving cost calculator, its final rating was slightly reduced. Nevertheless, it’s still a great option to consider for long-distance moves.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): JK Moving provides comprehensive moving services that can be customized to fit your budget. It offers basic full-pack and partial-pack options, as well as specialty services for antiques and artwork.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company only offers two contents protection plans. It offers a partial-value protection plan and a full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): JK Moving offers phone and online scheduling for a more in-depth virtual or in-person estimate process. 
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): JK Moving stands out from other providers by offering various additional benefits, such as financing programs, storage solutions, and GPS tracking. However, it doesn’t provide any online tools to help you understand its pricing.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): The company has a strong online reputation with positive customer reviews. According to its FMCSA profile, it has had one injury and two tow incidents.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers financing options as low as 0% Provides GPS shipment tracking Uses an AI-assisted online quote tool to provide accurate estimates easily Cons Doesn’t provide sample pricing online Customer reviews mention difficult communication after booking Features higher-than-average pricing

Moving Services

JK Moving provides premium long-distance moving services, which typically cost more than some of the services other providers offer in this guide. Its services include:

  • Antique moving
  • Crating
  • GPS tracking
  • Loading/unloading
  • Packing/unpacking
  • Piano moving
  • Storage services

Cost

JK Moving gives nonbinding estimates, which means your initial quote is subject to change. Move size and distance will be the key determining factors for cost. We researched the company to obtain a quote for moving services. Our analysis of online customer reviews found that JK Moving charges approximately $1,600 for moving a one-bedroom apartment over a distance of roughly 145 miles.

We also contacted the company and spoke with a sales representative who informed us that we could only receive a binding estimate after completing a virtual or in-person survey. While obtaining a quote from JK Moving may be lengthy, it results in a more precise and detailed estimate.

  • Sample quote: $5,600–$6,622 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: $250 up-front
  • Payment accepted: Cash and credit card

Reputation and Reviews

JK Moving has an A+ rating with the BBB and an impressive customer review score of 4.38 out of 5 stars. JK Moving is renowned for providing excellent training to its movers and offering financing options. However, some quality issues have affected the overall customer experience. The company also has a positive reputation on its Yelp page, with 3.5 out of 5 stars, and it appears responsive to most of the reviews on the site.

American Van Lines

Best Overall Moving Labor
4.2

American Van Lines (USDOT #: 614506) might be worth checking out if you’re an art or antique collector, a fitness enthusiast, or a musician. American Van Lines (AVL) is a long-standing full-service moving company that carefully handles large, fragile, and high-value or rare items, such as treadmills, pianos, and antiques. Moving crews are routinely trained in packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking best practices.

You’ll be treated to flat-rate pricing to help ensure you don’t pay more for your move than you planned. While AVL’s rates are often above industry averages, it provides expedited service between major cities. This service option offers lower rates for some long-distance moves.

Note: American Van Lines is not available in Alaska or Hawaii

How We Scored American Van Lines

AVL scored 4.4 out of 5 stars. The company offers a comprehensive range of services, which includes cheaper moving options. It received more points for its service offerings and extensive moving valuation coverage options. However, it lost some because of its lack of customer-oriented options and up-front transparent cost information.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): AVL scored high due to its comprehensive service packages. You can receive specialty services from highly trained moving professionals in addition to all basic moving services for packing and loading.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company scored high in this area because you can tailor your insurance coverage to match your budget. 
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): AVL lost points because it only offers scheduling via phone. The company also limits its customer service hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST on Saturdays. The company is closed on Sundays. 
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): The company provides fewer benefits than competitors, no financing or DIY moving options, no online cost calculator, and no up-front cost information. Up-front quotes are crucial for quick, small moves.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): AVL has a positive online reputation, but its trucks fail federal inspections regularly. Its FMCSA profile also reports an injury and five tows.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers flat-rate pricing for all moves Has moving crews specifically for handling pianos and antiques Provides a guaranteed delivery date and time frame (additional charges apply) Cons Doesn’t give instant moving quotes on its website or by phone Has a high deposit requirement of 10%–50%, which depends on your move Has difficult communication, per customer reviews

Moving Services

AVL provides loading and unloading services and basic furniture protection in its basic moving package. Its focus on specially trained movers and premium services makes it one of the most expensive movers on this list, though. Plan to factor additional services into your budget as needed, which can include the following:

  • Antique packing and moving
  • Custom crating
  • Loading and unloading
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Piano moving
  • Special item moving
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

AVL offers flat-rate pricing for all moves it carries out. This pricing model is one of its strong points because you won’t have to pay any hidden fees when you book. That said, it has a high deposit requirement and requires seven days’ notice for refunds if you need to cancel your move.

  • Sample Quote: $4,544 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: Up to 50%
  • Payment Accepted: Cash, credit card, money order, cashier’s check, traveler’s check

Reputation and Reviews

The company has an A rating with the BBB. Its customer review score is 4.03 out of 5 stars, which suggests that it provides better service than other companies on our list of cheap moving companies. The same remains true for its impressive 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Former customers have praised AVL for its affordable pricing structure. However, there have been some negative reviews about the company’s price hikes and difficulties communicating with the moving crews.

Safeway Moving Inc.

Most Reliable Pricing
4.3

Safeway Moving Inc. (USDOT #: 3756000) offers nationwide long-distance moving, packing, unpacking, and loading and unloading services. The company offers flat-rate pricing, which is beneficial if you have a fixed budget.

We don’t like that Safeway’s website isn’t user-friendly and doesn’t provide instant quotes. Nevertheless, the company’s flat-rate pricing and comprehensive offerings, including all basic moving packages, should attract you if you plan to move over a long distance and have a low budget in mind.

How We Scored Safeway Moving Inc.

Safeway received a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. It offers a comprehensive range of services, including packing and storage, and provides the convenience of online and over-the-phone quotes. However, it’s important to note that Safeway doesn’t provide additional benefits such as a moving calculator or financing options.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Safeway can connect you with any service your move requires with a focus on affordability, including options for partial and full packing and specialty services.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): Safeway limits its insurance coverage to one released value protection plan and one full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): We like that Safeway provides various means of contacting and communicating with its team, including phone, email, and chat options. During our research, our interactions with Safeway were effortless and enjoyable, and we believe that this can alleviate some of the stress involved in communication during your small move.
  • Additional Benefits (4 out of 13 points): Safeway can’t provide shipment tracking, financing, up-front quotes, or offer DIY moving methods such as truck rentals, so it lost many points in this area.
  • Customer service (6 out of 12 points): Safeway, like many moving brokers, can sometimes suffer from a bad reputation as a result of the companies it represents. Several customers have had mixed experiences with Safeway when they have been connected to movers, and the company has higher-than-average issues recorded on its FMCSA profile.

Pros and Cons

Pros Includes light packing with all long-distance moving quotes Offers one free month of storage in secure, climate-controlled facilities Provides flat-rate pricing for all moves Cons Features varied reviews by service area Works exclusively as a broker Offers no online pricing information

Moving Services

Safeway’s service options include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking as part of the base package. The following services only apply to long-distance moves:

  • Assembly and disassembly
  • Crating
  • Loading/unloading
  • Packing/unpacking
  • Storage services
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

Safeway provides personalized binding estimates, meaning your price shouldn’t change unless your move inventory does. However, when we read customer reviews for Safeway, we noticed that many negative ones reported pricing discrepancies. This is common among movers who operate primarily as brokers and is important to remember when signing a moving contract. We contacted the company and underwent a mock quote process, and we found our interactions with the company overall pleasant and thorough.

Here is a breakdown of the quote we received:

  • Sample quote: $4,000–$5,000 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: Up to 40%
  • Payment accepted: Cash, credit card, certified check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Safeway currently holds a B- rating with the BBB. Safeway sometimes operates as a moving broker, and some customer reviews suggest it engages in bait-and-switch pricing tactics. Despite this, most reviews praise Safeway for its top-notch service, detailed quote process, and comprehensive insurance coverage. The company features a more positive reputation on its Trustpilot profile with a 4.1 out of 5-star rating, and many reviews mention how professional and personable its customer support remains even in difficult situations.

Mayflower

Best for Large Moves
4

Mayflower (USDOT #: 125563) is a nationwide moving company that was founded in 1927. It offers local and long-distance moving to 46 states and markets itself as “America’s Most Trusted Moving Company.” We like the breadth of services this company provides and its wealth of experience.

Mayflower is one of the best options for larger long-distance moving needs. Its tiered protection plans and full-value protection make it worth considering for relocations with high-value goods. Mayflower reviews vary between locations, but many local agents are highly rated and offer excellent service.

Note: Mayflower isn’t available in Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, or West Virginia.

How We Scored Mayflower

Mayflower scored 4.8 out of 5 stars. It has a solid customer service reputation and offers tiered insurance options, setting it apart as a top choice for residential or commercial moves.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Mayflower provides all the standard moving services for loading and packing, as well as the extra services of vehicle shipping, crating, and piano moving. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company offers multiple insurance plans, customizing the coverage to match your budget.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): You can contact Mayflower either online or over the phone to schedule a move. 
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): Mayflower offers a decent selection of additional benefits, such as tracking and moving supplies. The company lost a few points in this area because it doesn’t offer some ideal options for cheaper moves, such as financing or moving truck rentals. 
  • Customer Service (10 out of 12 points): According to UniGroup’s (Mayflower’s parent company) BBB page, Mayflower is responsive to over 90% of its complaints. The company currently has a failed vehicle inspection rate of 24% on its FMCSA profile, which is in line with the national average. Additionally, there have been reports of 29 crashes in the last two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers binding estimates for long-distance moves Requires no deposits for booking Includes full-value coverage with all quotes Cons Has some reviews that mention moves being brokered out Features elevated rates for basic moving services Some reviews mention damaged items

Moving Services

Mayflower offers excellent long-distance and interstate moving services. This includes its Snapmoves plan that expedites smaller relocations to all points in the U.S. Its moves come with full-value protection unless you choose to waive this coverage. Additional services offered include the following:

  • Crating
  • GPS tracking
  • Packing supplies
  • Storage
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

Mayflower’s quote process is similar to that of other large movers. You can either submit a quote request form online or call to speak with a move coordinator. You should have a comprehensive inventory list of all major items to move. Mayflower will provide you with a binding estimate for your move without requiring any deposit for booking.

We tried to get a quote from Mayflower but couldn’t proceed further as the company asked for more details, including a virtual consultation. This is not a criticism of the company, as a more detailed quote process can help you avoid unforeseen costs. It’s an excellent way to be fully prepared for your move.

  • Sample quote: $3,500–$4,500 (two-bedroom move from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco)
  • Deposit: None required
  • Payment accepted: Cash, traveler’s check, cashier’s check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Mayflower’s expedited service options and efficiency were commonly cited in positive reviews on UniGroup’s BBB page. However, negative feedback mentioned rushed estimates or altered pricing when the bill was due. Though it only has six reviews, Mayflower has a mixed reputation on Trustpilot and a 2.4 out of 5-star rating. The reviews on the site mention the same issue with altered pricing and certain items being moved around carelessly by its crews.


What Should You Know About Cheap Movers?

Understanding essential details about affordable movers will help you determine which best matches your move’s needs and budget. You should know what goes into calculating a move’s cost, the insurance available, and the different moving services companies offer.

Your total moving cost depends on distance, item weight, and time of year. Hiring professional movers can simplify the moving process but adds a significant expense. We got an average quote of $2,264 for a smaller-load move with basic services.
Moving insurance is a type of coverage that ensures the safety of your belongings while a moving company transports them from one place to another. This coverage offers protection against any potential damage or loss during transit.

Nick Valentino, vice president of market operations with Bellhop, shared with us how important moving insurance is depending on your type of move: “With long-distance moves, getting insurance for your belongings is much more important. Your things will be out of your sight for much longer and traveling much further, increasing the risk that something could happen to them.” He also mentioned that some high-end homeowner insurance plans extend coverage to moving, so check your policy.

Released value protection is the most basic coverage required by federal law that provides minimal protection at no extra cost, which makes it ideal for cheap moves. This type of coverage compensates items based on their weight at $0.60 per pound rather than their actual value. This plan is typically automatically included in your moving package but often doesn’t provide substantial coverage. For example, a 25-pound television would only receive $15 in compensation.
Full-value protection is a comprehensive option that holds the moving company responsible for repairing, replacing, or reimbursing the full value of damaged or lost items. You can purchase extra coverage from an insurance provider separate from the moving company if you need additional protection.
Several budget-friendly moving options exist to help you save money on your move.
You can skip professional movers by renting a truck from companies such as U-Haul or Penske to pack and move everything yourself.
Another cost-effective option is a moving container service, such as U-Pack or 1-800-PACK-RAT. These companies provide a container for you to do all the packing and loading, but they perform the transportation.
A full-service mover is the most expensive option, but most companies will work with you to create a moving package around your needs and budget.
The moving industry has several regulations and logistics you might not know. They can add weight to the total shipment weight to account for the materials they use during your move. This can include packing materials and any furniture blankets or dollies the company provides. You should also note that moving companies may charge additional fees for shuttle services when the truck can't park directly at the pickup or delivery location. Factors such as narrow streets or restricted access can necessitate shuttle services, which involve using smaller vehicles to transport belongings between the truck and the residence.
If you need to store your goods temporarily during the move, moving companies must provide Storage-in-Transit (SIT) services. This involves storing your belongings in a secure, climate-controlled facility until you're ready for delivery. Please note that specific regulations govern the maximum storage duration, liability, and charges associated with SIT.
Moving companies are restricted in their ability to transport certain items due to safety regulations, legal restrictions, or liability concerns. They can't relocate gasoline, propane tanks, ammonia, paint thinners, fireworks, perishable food items, firearms, ammunition, and pool chemicals.

How Can You Save Money When Moving?

You can save money on your move by downsizing and handling some of your own packing. Most long-distance movers bill based on your total shipping weight and added services. Local movers typically bill hourly, so you can also apply these tips to save money on your local move

Mary Beth Johnson, vice president of business development with Atlas Van Lines, mentioned to us that one of the best ways you can save money when moving is to, “look out for additional charges from moving services.” She also shared that moving companies charge for a variety of extra services in addition to standard shipping, such as “full-service and custom packing, debris removal, crating, disassembly and reassembly charges, rigging, and waiting time. When reviewing your estimated costs, it’s important to know what is necessary and what is not.”

Here are some additional ways to save money on your upcoming move:

  • Consider renting a moving truck or moving container: You can dramatically reduce your pricing with a DIY move, which can involve renting a moving truck or moving container. If you rent a moving truck, you can hire movers to load and unload your belongings while you handle the transportation of your goods on your own. Book at least one month in advance, regardless of your chosen moving method.
  • Downsize: If you plan your move far enough in advance, you’ll have enough time to downsize before your move date. Start by compiling a full inventory of your home. Break this list down room by room, and note which items you’ll take with you and which you’ll get rid of. Make appropriate plans to dispose of unwanted items. This may mean making regular trips to a town dump or organizing a yard sale. Downsizing will be less costly than having your movers transport unwanted goods.
  • Get multiple quotes: Moving companies offer varied service ranges at different prices. Signing a contract with the first moving company you find won’t get you the lowest possible price. We recommend getting quotes with a few different pricing options and structures ahead of your move date. You can compare quotes and ensure you book with the mover offering the lowest cost.
  • Handle your own packing: Full-service packing is one of the most expensive single add-on services you can purchase. Moving companies often charge hourly rates for your movers’ labor, plus markups for packing supplies. Packing your own home can cut your moving costs considerably.

Full-Service vs. Self-Service

You generally have two options when planning a move: hiring a full-service moving company or choosing a self-service moving solution. The main difference between the two lies in the level of involvement and the range of services provided, which can significantly affect the overall cost of your move.

Full-Service Moving Companies

A full-service moving company provides a complete solution for your relocation needs. It takes care of every aspect of the move, including packing, loading, transportation, and unloading at your new place. These companies employ a team of professional movers who are trained to handle and move your possessions safely.

The main advantage of using a full-service moving company is the convenience it offers. It handles all the heavy lifting, which minimizes the physical strain and stress that usually come with moving. Additionally, it provides the necessary equipment, such as dollies, blankets, and packing materials, to ensure your belongings are well-protected during transportation.

However, this convenience comes at a premium price. Full-service moving companies charge based on the weight of your belongings, the distance traveled, and any additional services required, such as packing and unpacking. The cost can quickly add up, especially for long-distance moves or if you have many possessions to move.

Self-Service Moving Companies

Self-service moving companies offer a more affordable option by providing the necessary resources to handle the move yourself. These companies usually provide rental trucks or trailers and moving equipment such as dollies and furniture pads.

The main advantage of a self-service moving company is cost savings. Handling the packing, loading, and unloading yourself (or with the help of friends and family) can significantly reduce the overall expense of your move. This option is especially appealing for those with a tight budget or for shorter, local moves.

However, the downside is the increased physical labor and time required. You’ll be responsible for packing and securing your belongings, loading and unloading the truck or trailer, and potentially driving a larger vehicle.

When considering the cost-saving benefits of a self-service moving company, it's important to factor in the potential need to hire additional help, such as professional movers or laborers, to assist with the heavy lifting and loading. This can somewhat offset the initial cost savings but may still be more economical than a full-service option, depending on your circumstances.


Why Should You Read the Fine Print in a Moving Contract?

You should have a copy of your moving contract and estimate, and clearly understand your moving contract to ensure a positive moving experience. Moving industry terminology can be confusing for those unfamiliar with these contracts. Therefore, we have defined some key terms and things to look for in your moving contract.

A bill of lading is a legal contract between you and a carrier that acts as a moving contract. It contains all the necessary details about your shipment, such as your goods' description, condition, quantity, and destination. In addition to the contract, it includes a receipt. The bill of lading can also serve as a document of title, which means that the person having the original bill of lading has the legal right to claim ownership or possession of the goods. You can think of a bill of lading as an alternate name for a moving contract, but it includes much more documentation.

Mary Beth Johnson mentioned how the bill of lading should, “specify the total cost of the move, any additional fees or surcharges, and the payment schedule.” She encourages customers to look for hidden fees or ambiguous pricing language in a bill of lading to avoid potential scammers.

A carrier is a moving company that handles moves directly. This means it will use its own trucks and employees for the relocation. A moving broker will outsource your move to third-party carriers. The moving services available will largely depend on the broker's partners in your area.

The FMCSA has established a rule that states moving companies can only charge up to 110% of a nonbinding estimate. This means that the final cost of your move should not exceed 110% of the initial nonbinding quote provided to you at the time of the initial estimate. The purpose of this rule is to prevent moving companies from significantly increasing the cost of a move beyond the initial estimate, which could cause financial difficulties.

A nonbinding estimate, usually given over the phone or online, is subject to change due to market fluctuations between the day you receive it and the moving day.

Binding estimates won’t change unless your inventory or service requirements change. You’ll need an in-person consultation or a video call for a binding estimate. It's important to carefully read your contract and estimate to avoid paying unnecessary fees or higher rates than expected.


What Time Line Should You Follow To Prepare for Your Move?

Adhering to a time line that starts eight weeks before your move date can help you better prepare for your move. Nick Valentino mentioned a common issue with long-distance moves: Your belongings could be several days behind you. This is why it’s important to pack the essentials yourself and travel with them so that you can survive a few days until the truck pulls up. We’ve broken down a moving checklist and an average time line to help you book on time and stay on track with packing for your move.

  • Eight weeks: Take a full inventory of your home, and create lists of things you plan to take with you and want to get rid of. You can use these lists when you request quotes from movers. You should also start researching reliable movers near your area.
  • Six weeks: Gather quotes from different movers near you and start packing your belongings. Begin with items you won't need in the coming weeks, then gradually move on to more essential items. Pack at a steady pace of a few boxes per day.
  • Four weeks: Try to book your move around a month before the moving date. Keep packing your items, and coordinate shutoff and turn-on dates for all utility services at your current and new addresses.
  • Two weeks: Keep packing your items and focus on semi-essential things at this stage. Submit a change of address form at your local post office or online.
  • Moving week: Finish your move preparations by packing your kitchen items and some of your essential clothing. Keep out just enough clothing and kitchenware until the day before the move to ensure you have access to essential goods during your road trip to your new state.

Our Conclusion

A cheap move may at first seem out of reach, but several reputable movers offer affordable options. Our deep dive into U-Pack showed us that it’s an overall more affordable and cheap moving option, as long as you’re willing to undergo a slightly different type of move. International Van Lines’ flexible packing options and nationwide coverage make it a solid choice if you’re on a budget and need several services. You also can't go wrong with Allied Van Lines, which offers rates as low as $1,000 for baseline moving services. 


FAQ About Cheap Moving Companies

What is the cheapest way to move long-distance?

The cheapest way to move long distance is by using a self-service, portable moving container company.

Do you tip movers?

You’re already paying your hired movers for their services, so you’re not expected to tip them. However, if you’re impressed with their services, you can tip them roughly $4–$5 for each hour of work. Read our guide to tipping movers for more information.

What is a reasonable price for a local move?

One of our top-ranked movers, International Van Lines, lists an hourly rate of $200 as a general price to expect for local movers with a crew of four workers. Interstate Moving & Relocation Group, another one of our top picks, states on its website that a local move will cost $550–$2,000.

We averaged our cheapest rates and got a price of around $1,100. This average rate includes loading and unloading with no added services. Packing, crating, and other add-ons cost extra.

What should I do if I have a lot of stuff to move?

Having a lot of stuff can significantly add to your moving cost due to the added weight and space requirements. You should downsize as much as possible before your move by donating or otherwise getting rid of unneeded items. Having a yard or garage sale is another way to reduce your inventory size.

Where can I get cheap moving boxes?

You can get cheap moving boxes on online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Many former moving customers list their used supplies for free after they move. The Home Depot and U-Haul sell a comprehensive range of moving boxes and supplies, but they come at a cost.

When should I hire movers?

You should hire movers outside peak season to reduce moving costs. Peak moving season is throughout the warmer months and early fall, generally from May to September. Some moving companies offer discounted rates for moves booked well in advance.

Do you pay movers before or after?

Many moving companies require you to pay a deposit when booking your move. Some companies require you to pay a portion of the remaining balance upon pickup and the remainder upon delivery of your items. Other movers require the full balance when arriving for pickup. It’s important to ask about these details before scheduling your move date.


Our Rating Methodology

We back up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling options, additional benefits and custom service options, and reputation among customers to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.