The Best Cheap Moving Services of 2023

Moving to a new home can be daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. It’s time to find help—and save money—with the best cheap moving services.

By Nicole Fallon | Published Dec 7, 2022 5:55 PM

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The Best Cheap Moving Services

Photo: istockphoto.com

For many, moving day is one of dread, exhaustion, and stress. People often feel overwhelmed by the chaos of packing everything in their former home, transporting it, and unpacking it in a new space. And moving expenses can be prohibitively high, especially for long-distance or large moves.

Those who don’t want to deal with the headaches of packing and loading all their belongings can consider hiring one of the best cheap moving services. “Cheap” doesn’t just mean low-priced, either; in our list, we’ve included the companies that offer the best value for money in terms of services, support, and overall customer experience.

  1. BEST OVERALL: American Van Lines
  2. BEST CHEAP SELF-SERVICE: Budget Truck Rental
  3. BEST CHEAP SELF-STORAGE: CubeSmart
  4. BEST CHEAP CONTAINER: Zippy Shell
  5. BEST FOR CARS: AmeriFreight
The Best Cheap Moving Services Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Cheap Moving Services

Whether someone is looking to go the DIY route or wants full-service movers to do everything for them, there are plenty of options for consumers on the hunt for the cheapest moving companies. Before committing to the cheapest furniture movers available, however, it’s important to consider factors such as a company’s availability and service area, the types of services offered, the items being moved, how far the customer is moving, whether the company holds insurance, and more.

Type of Moving Service

Those in a hurry might contact the first company to appear during an online search for “cheap moving services near me” or “who is the cheapest moving company.” However, determining which moving service is suitable will depend on many factors, including the size of the moving truck needed and where the customer is going.

Moving services include full-service movers, moving truck rental companies, shipping containers, self-storage facilities, and specialized vehicle shipping. Some movers only offer services for intrastate moves (a move within the same state) or shorter moves under 100 miles, while others are willing to make interstate (a move over state lines) and long-distance moves. Customers will want to consider what additional services will be needed—such as packing and unpacking or vehicle-moving services—as not all companies offer them.

In addition, it’s wise to find out whether the company is a broker or a carrier. Brokers outsource their moving services to partner companies that handle jobs for them. While the move may come at a lower price point, there are added risks with brokers, as consumers’ belongings change hands with companies they had no say in hiring. In contrast, hiring a carrier comes with less risk, as they have in-house staff who handle all aspects of the move.

Deposit and Pricing

Most movers will not require a deposit before services are rendered; it should be expected that payment will be made upon delivery of belongings. Pricing can be set at a flat rate or by the hour. Movers generally cost between $25 to $50 per hour for each mover, plus a tip, and most jobs will require at least two people.

For flat-rate jobs, customers can expect to pay around $1,250, the average cost for a local move. Long-distance moves from reputable and reasonable moving services, however, come at an average cost of $4,890. Consumers will find higher prices during busy times, like between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Customers will want to ensure all pricing estimates are binding to ensure their rates are locked in; otherwise, they may find they’re charged more than they were quoted due to surprise rate hikes from the company on moving day.

Licensing and Insurance

Hiring movers comes with risks—including the potential for broken or missing belongings and injuries from heavy lifting—as a customer puts their belongings into someone else’s hands. To minimize these risks, customers can ensure the moving company (and all its employees) is appropriately licensed and insured. All interstate moving companies must register with the U.S. Department of Transportation to obtain a unique USDOT number.

Customers can inquire about what liability insurance packages the company offers consumers—basic or full coverage—to protect themselves in the event their property gets damaged or goes missing while in transit. A basic plan is unlikely to cover the entire cost of a customer’s belongings; coverage is usually based on a flat-rate price per pound. However, those on a tighter budget or those without high-value items may find a basic plan to be adequate.

Cancellation Policy

Many companies will allow customers to cancel their moving services for free as long as they give advance notice; the amount of time needed for notice should be disclosed before a customer books services. However, some companies require customers to pay a cancellation fee and may keep any deposit that has been paid (if the consumer paid one).

Before booking services with a moving company, customers can confirm the cancellation policy is suitable and fair. If the situation allows, customers can also try rescheduling services rather than outright canceling; some companies may waive cancellation fees if the service is rescheduled.

Reviews and Complaints

Before committing to a mover, customers can ask for references and read customer reviews. Feedback from previous customers can be a telling sign of how a company operates and treats its clients, and it gives insight into what services the company does best and where it falls flat.

Customers can reference the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if any complaints have been filed against the company; if so, it’s important to find out whether the company made an effort to resolve the complaint. Customers will want to keep a sharp eye out for companies that operate under multiple names. These companies will often use this tactic to avoid being assessed by the BBB, and they should be avoided.

Our Top Picks

Time to move? Here are the best cheap moving services nationwide to pack, ship, drive, and move customers from their old homes to new ones.

Best Overall

Photo: americanvanlines.com

Why It Made the Cut: Self-coined as “America’s trusted moving company since 1995,” American Van Lines provides customers with exceptional service at an affordable rate, making it our pick for one of the best cheap full-service moving companies.

Founded in 1995, American Van Lines started with two trucks and a dream to revolutionize the moving industry. Today, American Van Lines is still family owned and operated, and it serves customers nationwide through several branch locations. With over 100,000 completed moves, American Van Lines’ hundreds of employees and fleet of trucks provide reliable, professional moving services.

American Van Lines provides more than local moving services. Long-distance moving is the company’s specialty, and it seeks to create a stress-free move experience for renters and homeowners. Other available moving services include corporate relocation, moves for military families, storage solutions, and moving services for fragile items such as antiques and pianos. Customers can cancel any services up to 7 days before their scheduled move without charge.

Not only does American Van Lines specialize in long-distance moves, but it also offers cheap moving services from state to state, as well as discounts for moves between large cities. Additionally, the company cares about its industry’s effect on the environment and organizes sustainability initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of moving. While customers must provide a 10 to 50 percent deposit when booking, American Van Lines still offers fixed-rate services, even for specialty items. This ensures a customer isn’t charged a higher rate for services that took longer or were more intensive than expected.

Specs

  • Type of moving service: Full-service
  • Deposit required: 10 to 50 percent of the estimate
  • Cancellation policy: Free up to 7 days before the move
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Discounts for moving between major cities
  • Sustainability initiatives that aim to reduce the environmental impact of moving
  • Fixed-rate services, even for moving specialty items

Cons

  • 10 to 50 percent deposit required
  • Cancellation limited to 7 days before the move

Best Cheap Self-Service

The Best Cheap Moving Services Option Budget Truck Rental
Photo: budgettruck.com

Why It Made the Cut: For moving renters and homeowners who only need a truck, Budget Truck Rental is the best cheap self-service solution with clean, spacious moving truck rentals and accessories.

Budget Truck Rental is one of the best moving truck rental companies, and it is a leading truck rental company in the United States with a network of over 1,600 locations. It was founded in 1998 and provides moving trucks to both the consumer and light commercial sectors.

Self-movers interested in Budget Truck Rental’s solutions have a choice of four sizes: a cargo van, a 12-foot small truck, a 16-foot medium truck, or a 26-foot large truck. For small local moves, customers can rent a pickup truck. Budget Truck Rental also offers a variety of accessories and services in addition to trucks to help with moving, including protection plans, hand trucks, furniture pads, loading and unloading help, towing equipment, and all-inclusive toll payments. When getting a quote, customers may want to be aware that prices can fluctuate dramatically based on the date. For that reason, it’s a good idea for a customer to be sure of the moving date before looking at truck prices so the quote is as accurate as possible.

If a customer’s moving dates are flexible, Budget Truck offers discounted rates, promotions, and deals to help mitigate rental costs. Thanks to the company’s partnership with AARP in 2009, AARP members—as well as AAA members, students, military members, and first responders— get additional deals and promotions on Budget Truck’s rental services. These generous discount programs aren’t standard among moving truck rental companies, which makes Budget Truck Rental a great choice for those who are eligible.

Specs

  • Type of moving service: Moving truck rental
  • Deposit required: $150 at time of rental
  • Cancellation policy: Free up to 24 hours before scheduled pickup
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Consistent discount promotions and deals
  • Discounted rates available for flexible moving dates
  • Discounts available for students, AAA members, AARP members, military members, and first responders

Cons

  • High price variability depending on booking date

Best Cheap Self-Storage

The Best Cheap Moving Services Option CubeSmart
Photo: cubesmart.com

Why It Made the Cut: For high-quality self-storage facilities that won’t break the bank, CubeSmart is the best option with an affordable rate and nationwide locations.

Founded in 2004, CubeSmart is now a publicly traded company offering affordable, easily accessible storage space for residential and commercial customers. With over 1,300 facilities nationwide, CubeSmart provides clean and brightly lit facilities for household storage, moving storage, business storage, and vehicle storage. Climate-controlled units are standard for CubeSmart, which may mean the price is higher than other facilities without climate control. However, knowing that climate-controlled units are the norm can bring peace of mind if a customer is concerned about any temperature-sensitive items.

CubeSmart’s moving storage solutions offer convenient features, like month-to-month leases and easy unit access, to ensure a smooth moving process. It also provides consistent deals on storage units, free packing and moving tips, and a printable moving checklist.

To provide convenient customer access, CubeSmart opens early and closes late. While many self-storage facilities limit their hours, most CubeSmart locations are open until 10 p.m., and some are even accessible 24/7. Additionally, the company’s partnerships with local moving and labor companies like Penske Truck Rentals, Simple Moving Labor, and Bellhop Moving Services make it a one-stop-shop for moving needs, which could save even more money in the long run.

Specs

  • Type of moving service: Self-storage facility
  • Deposit required: N/A
  • Cancellation policy: N/A
  • Customer support: Phone, email, in-person on location

Pros

  • Extended customer access hours
  • Convenient partnerships with moving and labor companies

Cons

  • Potential for climate control standard to lead to higher overall cost

Best Cheap Container

The Best Cheap Moving Services Option Zippy Shell
Photo: zippyshell.com

Why It Made the Cut: Renters and homeowners who need to transport furniture and items—but don’t want a large moving truck or storage unit—may benefit from Zippy Shell.

Zippy Shell was founded in Australia in 2007 as one of the country’s first mobile storage businesses. It made the move to the U.S. in 2010 and merged with 1-800-PACK-RAT in 2018 to continue its mission of making moving and storage simple for customers. It offers an innovative “metal cage” container design to improve airflow and reduce mold and mildew.

The affordability of Zippy Shell heavily influenced its selection as our top pick for cheapest and best moving container company. Previous customers often cite the stellar customer service of Zippy Shell locations. They also compliment the company’s efficient process: Customers can simply order a Zippy Shell, load up their items when the container gets dropped off, and prepare for its delivery to their next destination.

Zippy Shell’s cancellation policy is a bit strict, and a 3-day loading window may be too short a time for some homeowners and renters. However, the service’s low price and high quality still make it an attractive option. While the metal cage design may require more careful packing than what a fully walled container would necessitate, the durable steel construction of the shell keeps items safe, secure, and ready for their next adventure. Zippy Shell also has temperature-controlled storage facilities to ensure belongings don’t shatter in the cold or expand in the heat.

Specs

  • Type of moving service: Moving container rental
  • Deposit required: N/A
  • Cancellation policy: $300 fee for cancellations less than 10 days before delivery; no refunds for cancellations within 48 hours of delivery
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Temperature-controlled storage facilities
  • Durable steel construction

Cons

  • Rigid cancellation policy
  • Metal cage container design may not be ideal for certain items
  • Loading time limited to 3 days

Best for Cars

The Best Cheap Moving Services Option AmeriFreight
Photo: amerifreight.net

Why It Made the Cut: Coordinating car transportation in a move is a hassle, but AmeriFreight offers the best cheap car-moving service to rid customers of auto-shipping headaches.

Founded in 2004, AmeriFreight provides individual shipping and business services across the nation. While AmeriFreight offers a variety of moving solutions for consumers and businesses, we chose its auto-shipping solution as the best for its affordability and reliability. AmeriFreight provides customers with a dedicated customer service agent as soon as their car is in tow to communicate updates and answer questions. AmeriFreight also takes the guesswork out of price quoting—it guarantees customers the cost will be the price they were quoted. In addition, AmeriFreight provides a 2-day damage inspection and claim window, which is quite long compared to competitors in the market. Though customer service isn’t available on Sundays and the company’s website is somewhat unintuitive, the company’s A+ Better Business Bureau rating speaks volumes about customer satisfaction.

Specs

  • Type of moving service: Auto shipping
  • Deposit required: Unspecified deposit required at scheduling
  • Cancellation policy: No fee if canceled before order is accepted; loss of deposit if order has been accepted
  • Customer support: Live chat, phone, email

Pros

  • Cost guaranteed to be the price quoted
  • Relatively long 2-day damage inspection and claim window

Cons

  • Somewhat user-unfriendly website
  • Customer service unavailable Sundays

Our Verdict

Because of the company’s fixed-rate services, reliable customer service, discounts between major cities, and sustainable initiatives, we chose American Van Lines as the best cheap moving service available. For those looking for even more discounts and a self-service option, we recommend Budget Truck Rental.

How We Chose the Best Cheap Moving Services

When choosing the best cheap moving services, we performed extensive research to decide which ones would make the cut. We looked for budget-friendly moving services, including those known for low prices or for offering multiple customer promotions or incentives. We also considered companies that provided excellent value for money. We separated each moving service into categories by the type of service each company provided, the deposit required, and cancellation policies.

Before You Use One of the Best Cheap Moving Services

Before hiring one of the cheap moving service companies listed above, customers will want to determine what kind of moving services they require. Some companies provide full-service moving, while others offer moving truck rentals and storage options. While hiring a full-service moving company will naturally cost more, doing so saves considerable time and energy. Customers will want to weigh the cost and the potential benefits.

One important thing for customers to keep in mind when the budget is the determining factor is that oftentimes they will get what they pay for. Hiring a dirt-cheap moving company may mean some sacrifices in terms of availability and quality of service. These risks can be mitigated by carefully researching cheap moving companies and understanding exactly what each one offers for the price, as well as the typical customer satisfaction rating. Getting quotes from multiple moving companies and comparing factors can help customers balance the cost of the services rendered.

Cost of Using One of the Best Cheap Moving Services

The national average cost of moving is $1,250. This cost could vary slightly depending on the services a customer requires, the type of discounts a company offers, and whether the move is during peak moving season (May through September). Another factor to consider is the distance a person will be moving. For example, the national average cost of a long-distance move spanning over 1,000 miles is $4,890.

Customers will also want to consider the number of items they need to move to their new home, as more boxes to move equals more time, increasing the amount they’ll pay. Heavy or irregularly shaped objects may also require additional movers. For local moves, labor costs for movers typically range between $25 and $50 per hour for each mover.

To minimize or spread out some of these costs, it can be helpful to use a combination of moving services. For instance, a homeowner or renter can use a shipping container for lighter and more durable items that they may not need immediately, but hire a full-service moving company to help with fragile or high-use items that will need to be set up right away.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Cheap Moving Services

Moving is stressful enough as it is, and finding the best cheap moving services shouldn’t add to stress levels. Luckily, hiring a moving service can alleviate some of the pressure, and there are benefits to hiring one of the best cheap moving companies.

  • Cheap moving companies often run promotions that allow customers to save even more money.
  • Some storage services partner with other moving services so customers can get the best deal.
  • The money saved on moving services can go toward other things once a homeowner or renter is settled into their new place, such as upgrading furniture or renovating.

FAQs

For homeowners and renters searching for cheap and good moving services, here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Q. What is the cheapest moving service?

The cheapest moving service depends on a customer’s desired service, but the five companies on our list are a great starting point.

Q. How can I move my stuff cheaply?

The cheapest way to move is to do it yourself and/or ask friends and family to help you move. You can also rent a self-storage unit to store items until you can move them yourself.

Q. How can I save money when hiring movers?

You can save money when hiring movers by packing your belongings yourself. You can also reuse boxes instead of buying the best moving boxes. For example, you can use kitchen towels to separate plates instead of using a moving service’s packing materials. It’s also wise to avoid hiring a moving service during peak season (May through September), as rates may be higher.

Q. What day is cheapest to hire movers?

The cheapest day to hire movers is when there is less demand, which is usually Monday through Thursday. Weekend days may have increased rates.

Q. What month is the cheapest to move?

The cheapest months to move are from the end of September to April, when many moving companies may have lower rates. Statistically, January is typically the month with the least demand—though a winter move may present additional weather-related challenges, depending on geographic region.

Q. How much does it cost to move on average?

The national average cost to move locally is $1,250. The average cost to move long distances over 1,000 miles is $4,890.