The Best Moving Companies in San Diego of 2023

The best moving companies in San Diego know the ins and outs of relocating in this West Coast metropolis.

By Tony Carrick | Published Jun 14, 2023 12:26 PM

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The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether moving to or from San Diego or simply making a local move across this West Coast city, finding the right moving company for the job is crucial. Given that San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country, relocation comes with big-city challenges. Parking a moving truck, transporting one’s belongings to (or from) an upper-floor condo, and big-city moving prices are all obstacles one faces when‌ planning a move to or from “America’s Finest City.”

Luckily, there are several great moving company options to choose from, ranging from national moving companies that can accommodate long-distance moves to reputable local companies that are intimately familiar with the city. Here are our picks for the best moving companies in San Diego.

  1. BEST OVERALL: United Van Lines
  2. RUNNER-UP: International Van Lines
  3. BEST MOVING CONTAINER: PODS
  4. BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE: Two Men and a Truck
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Best Fit Movers
The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Moving Companies in San Diego

Gathering quotes, checking for insurance and proper licenses, and evaluating cancellation policies are just a few of the steps one needs to consider when shopping for the best movers in San Diego. Here, customers can learn more about these and other crucial characteristics of moving companies.

Local, Interstate, or International Moves

When choosing one of the best moving companies, it’s important for customers to decide if they need a company that handles local, interstate, or international moves. Local moves are usually within 50 miles of the current residence and don’t cross state lines. Interstate relocations cross over state lines, while international moves are to another country. Some smaller local moving companies may limit moves to San Diego and the surrounding area, while national moving companies may offer longer-distance interstate and international moves.

Up-Front Pricing

Most San Diego moving companies will give a customer an estimate of the total cost of the move. They’ll do this either by visiting the customer’s home and assessing their belongings or by giving the customer an inventory form that asks them to list the items they plan to move, including the number of boxes and large items such as furniture and appliances.

Customers will want to keep in mind that an estimate may not be the final cost of the move. As such, it’s important to ask the moving company about the things that may incur additional fees. Customers will want to be as thorough as possible when providing the required information to get an accurate quote and avoid surprises on the moving day.

License and Insurance

Just because a moving company has a truck doesn’t mean it’s licensed or insured to offer a moving service in San Diego. Only moving companies that have the proper insurance coverage and licensing are legally obligated to protect the property. And while local movers in San Diego don’t require any special licensing, moving companies that offer interstate moves must have a valid Department of Transportation number, which customers can verify by going to the U.S. DOT website. Customers can ask a company for its certifications and insurance prior to hiring it for a move.

Auto Transportation

One of the hassles of moving cross country is moving vehicles, especially if the family has more than one vehicle to move. Those looking to hire a service to move their vehicle or vehicles for them have two options. They can choose to hire a separate moving service that specializes in moving vehicles or choose a moving company that offers car transportation as part of its overall package of moving services. Most moving companies will charge an additional fee to use this partner service. Going directly to a car transport service may be a more affordable option, but it pays to get multiple quotes to see which is most cost-effective.

Specialty Item Moving

Many companies for moving and storage in San Diego offer specialty moving services for handling large or odd-shaped items and those that are especially fragile. Common specialty items include fine art, pianos, antiques, grandfather clocks, and pool tables. When searching for a moving company that offers this service, customers can carefully list each of their specialty items and ask for details about how these items will be packed and shipped. Since moving specialty items usually incurs additional fees, customers may want to also get a quote for moving these items. Most importantly, customers can find out what protection the moving company offers to prevent a specialty item from incurring damage during the move.

Cancellation Policy

Since moving plans can change for a variety of reasons, it’s crucial for customers to find out what the moving company’s cancellation policy is before scheduling the move and paying the deposit. If there’s a decent chance the move might need to be canceled or postponed, the customer will want to look for a service with a flexible cancellation policy. Cancellation policies vary from moving company to moving company, but most will give their customers a full refund of their deposit if they provide adequate notice.

Deposit

It’s fairly common for a moving company to ask customers for a deposit to reserve a moving date. Since moving involves a truck and a crew, this deposit is usually to protect the moving company so it doesn’t suffer a total loss in the event the customer cancels at the last minute. Most moving companies require small deposits that are in the range of $100 to $500. Some of the larger national moving companies may require a deposit that’s as much as 25 percent of the cost of the move. When a company requires more than 25 percent of the total cost of the move, that should be viewed as a red flag and a sign of a scam. Additionally, the deposit should not be a separate fee that the customer has to pay; it should always go toward the total cost of the move.

Reviews and Complaints

One of the best ways to vet a moving company is to read reviews by other customers who have hired them to handle their move. Moving company reviews are easy to find. Sites such as Google and Move.com offer comprehensive reviews for both local and national movers. When vetting a moving company, customers will want to take note of the average star rating for the mover and read the comments other customers have left regarding their experience with the company.

Our Top Picks

The list below includes some of the most reputable professional movers in San Diego. These companies offer transparent pricing and numerous services that meet the needs of those who need moving help in San Diego.

Best Overall

Photo: unitedvanlines.com

Why It Made the Cut: United Van Lines (UVL) offers a bevy of attractive services for those moving from or within a major city like San Diego.

The largest moving company in the United States is also one of the best options for San Diegans. That’s because United Van Lines offers a full suite of moving services in San Diego that can meet the needs of someone moving to or within a large metropolitan area. There are specialty crating services for moving valuable items, ensuring they stay secure and undamaged. There are also discounts for those moving out of small apartments, which is common for those living in a major city like San Diego.

Customers will want to be aware that getting a quote for UVL services can be a tedious process, as it must be done by phone and can involve speaking to more than one customer service representative.

The company offers useful add-on services, such as post-move cleaning and Wi-Fi takedown and setup. UVL also has one of the most generous cancellation policies, allowing its customers to cancel for free up to 48 hours before the move. The company also offers useful moving day services including checklists and moving truck tracking on its website.

 

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international
  • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Free cancellation: Yes
  • Deposit required: No

Pros

  • Specialty and fragile items protected with custom crating
  • Free cancellation as long as no services have been provided
  • Add-on options like cleaning services or Wi-Fi network disassembly available
  • Discounts for small long-distance moving jobs for studio apartments or tiny homes
  • Checklists, mover contacts, and tracking conveniently located in MyUnited online portal

Cons

  • Somewhat challenging customer service experience

Runner-Up

The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Option International Van Lines
Photo: internationalvanlines.com

Why It Made the Cut: International Van Lines offers a transparent pricing system and options to save for those customers who are willing to be flexible with their moving dates.

Budget-conscious customers will love International Van Lines’ transparent pricing and discount options. The company provides a detailed breakdown on its website regarding how it comes up with its quotes. This includes a description of its fee structure for the number of flights of stairs and elevators the move involves, as well as the cost of crating specialty items. The company also describes how peak and off-season moves affect pricing.

There’s also a moving cost calculator on the company website to help customers calculate the price of their move. While this is an attractive feature, the company’s inventory system is difficult to use due to its outdated interface. IVL sometimes offers its customers discounts of up to 20 percent off their move if they are willing to be flexible with their moving dates, making it a great option for those who may be willing to move on weekdays or during off-peak periods. IVL does require its clients to put down a 25 percent deposit to reserve their moving date, though it does allow for free cancellations up to 48 hours before the move.

 

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international
  • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Free cancellation: Up to 48 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: 25 percent of quoted price

Pros

  • Readily available free estimate breakdown information
  • Moving cost calculator helps customers budget for their move
  • Discounts available for customers with flexible moving dates

Cons

  • Somewhat user-unfriendly online inventory system
  • 25 percent deposit required at booking

Best Moving Container

The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Option PODS
Photo: pods.com

Why It Made the Cut: PODS offers multiple size options, making it a convenient option for those looking for a moving container.

PODS is the biggest name in the moving container industry, and for good reason. The company offers three container sizes of 8, 12, and 16 feet in length, meaning customers can choose the right size for their belongings. And since a moving container can be a target for thieves, especially in big cities, PODS offers its customers peace of mind with insurance plans that reach as high as $300,000. These services don’t come cheap though, as PODS rental fees start at about $1,400 and reach as high as $6,900. Customers will also want to check their local regulations or homeowners association bylaws, as there may be restrictions about where and how long moving containers can be placed. But for those looking for moving and storage solutions, PODS is certainly worth considering.

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international to United Kingdom and Australia
  • Customer support: Phone
  • Auto transport: Through third party
  • Free cancellation: Until 4 p.m. on the day before the move
  • Deposit required: Varies by service

Pros

  • Wide container size range with three options of 8, 12, and 16 feet
  • Flexible content protection plans ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 in value

Cons

  • Prices may be relatively high
  • Storage container placement may be limited by local regulations in some areas

Best Customer Service

The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Option Two Men and a Truck
Photo: twomenandatruck.com

Why It Made the Cut: Two Men and a Truck has a glowing customer service record and a transparent and accurate quote service.

Few moving companies can match the customer service pedigree of Two Men and a Truck. The company boasts a stellar 96 percent customer referral rate, so customers can feel confident that they’re getting what they’re paying for. Two Men and a Truck also offers various ways to receive a quote, including by phone, text message, or online. Since the company has a comprehensive quote-creation process, customers can feel confident that they won’t face surprise additional fees on moving day.

Two Men and a Truck also offers junk removal services, making it a great one-stop shop for those who may have a lot of items to dispose of prior to moving. Two Men and a Truck is a franchise, so services may vary from location to location. For this reason, customers will want to check online reviews for the San Diego location nearest them.

 

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance
  • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat
  • Auto transport: No
  • Free cancellation: Up to 36 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: Not specified

Pros

  • High 96 percent customer referral rate
  • Three convenient ways to get a quote, including a comprehensive online process
  • Junk removal services available

Cons

  • Pricing, policies, and customer experience may vary from one location to another

Also Consider

The Best Moving Companies in San Diego Option Best Fit Movers
Photo: bestfitmovers.com

Why It Made the Cut: Best Fit Movers, a local moving service, is familiar with the ins and outs of moving in San Diego.

Sometimes the best moving company is a local one that knows the area well. San Diego–based Best Fit Movers fits the bill. It serves the greater San Diego metropolitan area, making it an expert in local regulations, which is crucial when parking a moving truck in the city. The company has an excellent website with a user-friendly online interface that makes it easy to submit a list of belongings during the quote process. Since Best Fit Movers is a local San Diego mover, there are limitations to what it can and can’t move. The company does not offer international moves, nor can it move vehicles.

Best Fit Movers is one of the more affordable San Diego moving companies. Its security deposits are very reasonable; Best Fit requires just $100 for local moves and $250 for long-distance moves, and it offers free pads for wrapping furniture.

 

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance
  • Customer support: Phone
  • Auto transport: No
  • Free cancellation: Up to 72 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: Varies by service

Pros

  • Familiarity with the San Diego County area
  • Inventory checklist, move details, and tracking conveniently located in online portal
  • Free protective furniture pads

Cons

  • No international moves
  • No auto transport services

Our Verdict

With a broad range of services that will appeal to city dwellers, such as cleaning services and discounts for small homes, United Van Lines is the best all-around option for San Diego residents. International Van Lines is another great moving option, especially with its incentives for those with flexible moving dates.

How We Chose the Best Moving Companies in San Diego

We considered several criteria when choosing the top moving companies in San Diego. Moving to, from, or in a major city presents more challenges than other types of moves. As such, we looked for companies with the know-how to deal with moving from apartments or condos and dealing with strict parking regulations for moving trucks and containers. Pricing is always a top concern, so we limited our choices to those companies that offer a transparent quote process. All of the companies on our list have either a local or national reputation for good customer service and ethical business practices. Our selections are also fully insured.

Before You Hire One of the Best Moving Companies in San Diego

Before hiring a moving company it’s important to find one that matches the move. Does the moving company need to be capable of handling an out-of-state or international move? If moving from an apartment or condo in the heart of the city, it’s necessary to hire a service that won’t add excessive fees for climbing stairs or using an elevator and can handle obtaining the necessary permits to park the truck on a busy city street. Does priceless artwork or an antique clock need to be moved? Then it’s necessary to find a company with expertise in handling specialty items.

Cost of Hiring One of the Best Moving Companies in San Diego

Knowing the cost to move when moving within, to, or from San Diego is key when planning a move. If the move is local, a cost of about $500 to $6,400 is expected, depending on the size of the home. For those moving out of state either to or from San Diego, the cost of the move can range from $700 up to $10,000 depending on the size of the home and the distance from point A to point B. The cost to hire movers will be higher than DIY-ing a move with a moving container or truck rental. Adding on extra services, such as hiring one of the best packing services, will also raise the price of the move.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Moving Companies in San Diego

While there are many advantages to hiring a professional moving company to handle a relocation, some are specific to moving in San Diego. For those who live inside the city, a professional moving company will be able to help with such challenges as parking the moving truck and moving items that may be many floors up. A reputable moving company will also know how to package and wrap belongings to reduce the odds that they will suffer damage moving from point A to point B. And if there does happen to be damage, a good moving company has insurance in place to reimburse the owner for those losses. While a top moving company may not be the cheapest, customers can rest assured that they can trust them with their belongings. The best moving companies:

  • Can handle the complexities of big-city moving;
  • Know how to package belongings so they don’t suffer damage; and
  • Have insurance policies to reimburse the customer for damaged items.

FAQs

Ahead, customers can learn more about how to find a reputable moving company in San Diego and save money on the move.

Q. How do I choose a reliable moving company in San Diego?

While there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a good moving experience, there are several things you can do to find reliable movers in San Diego. Customers can start by getting referrals from friends and family and carefully reading recent reviews of the service. It’s wise to go to multiple companies for quotes so you can compare prices and services. You may want to be wary of companies that ask for large deposits up front as this is a common sign of scam. You can also check the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau and find out if they are licensed and insured.

Q. How can I save money on moving companies in San Diego?

There are a few things you can do to find an affordable moving company in San Diego. You’ll want to take stock of what you’re moving and use an online moving calculator to establish a benchmark for what you’ll likely pay. Then, you can look for deals. Some San Diego movers offer reduced rates for those living in single-bedroom and studio apartments, and others will knock off a big chunk of the fee if you agree to move on an off-peak date. Specifically looking for the best cheap moving services can help find a great price.

Q. How much do moving companies in San Diego charge on average?

If moving locally, you can expect movers and packers in San Diego to charge between as little as $500 for a small apartment and up to $6,400 for a large 4-bedroom home. Fees for moving out of state vary based on the size of the home and the distance of the move.

Q. What are the cheapest months to move in San Diego?

The off-season in the moving business is typically between the months of October and April. That’s because demand for moving during the fall and winter is typically low. Most San Diego moving labor will reduce their rates during this period to draw more business.

Q. What is the cheapest day to hire a moving company in San Diego?

Most people plan their moves for the weekend, so Monday through Thursday are the cheapest days of the week to hire a moving company. Some, but not all, moving companies will reduce their rates for midweek moves.

Q. Do I need to label my boxes before moving?

It’s wise to label boxes before moving. Doing so helps movers identify which rooms the boxes should end up in when they arrive at the new home. Movers will also take greater care when handling boxes labeled “fragile.” You can also number your boxes, which allows you to account for all of them and identify any missing ones.

Sources: World Population Review, moveBuddha