The Best Moving Companies in New York City of 2023

Figuring out the logistics of a move to the Big Apple can seem daunting, but both newcomers to the city and long-time residents can make the process less stressful by hiring one of the best moving companies in New York City.

Best Overall

The Best Moving Companies in New York City Option United Van Lines

United Van Lines

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Runner-Up

The Best Moving Companies in New York City Option International Van Lines

International Van Lines

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Best Moving Containers

The Best Moving Companies in New York City Option PODS

PODS

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Moving to, from, or within a major city like the Big Apple—with potentially steep moving expenses and the complications of parking and getting one’s furniture up and down multiple flights of stairs—can be a downright scary prospect. Luckily, there are moving companies that can help those moving within New York City navigate all these obstacles. These New York City movers have services designed to meet the needs of big-city moves with specialized packing services for fragile items, discounts on small-home moves, and flexible cancellation policies. In this guide, those contemplating a move within the Big Apple can find out what to look for when shopping for the best moving companies in New York City and find out which movers are the best in the business.

  1. BEST OVERALL: United Van Lines
  2. RUNNER-UP: International Van Lines
  3. BEST MOVING CONTAINERS: PODS
  4. BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE: Two Men and a Truck
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Morgan Manhattan
The Best Moving Companies in New York City Options
Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Moving Companies in New York City

Finding a moving company that handles the type of move necessary for the job, has a transparent quote process, and is properly licensed and insured is key when shopping for a mover in New York City.

Local, Interstate, or International Moves

Understanding the three different types of moves—local, interstate, and international—is key to choosing the right moving company when moving away from the city. New Yorkers who are planning to move to another state or another country will need to check that their moving company can facilitate that type of job. While a local move may sound as if one is moving just across town, these types of moves actually encompass a much larger area. Local moves do not cross state borders and are typically within a 50-mile radius. For instance, moving from Brooklyn to the suburbs could be considered a local move even though it involves transporting the customer’s belongings outside of the city.

An interstate move, in comparison, is any move that involves crossing state lines regardless of how far one is moving. Companies that conduct interstate moves must be licensed to do so and adhere to guidelines put forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is a baseline requirement to consider when weighing the best interstate moving companies. International moves occur when one is moving outside the U.S. to a different country. Any mover conducting an international move must be registered with the Federal Maritime Commission, and international moves require one’s belongings to be cleared through customs.

Pricing Transparency

One of the most stressful parts of hiring a moving company is the steep price tag that often comes with it. The cost to move can vary depending on a variety of factors, but on average, customers pay $1,711 for local moves—and long-distance moves can be far more expensive. While there may be no way to get around this expense, using a moving company that offers transparent pricing and quote processes that are easy for customers to understand can certainly help ease the stress that comes with paying for a move. The best moving companies in New York City provide accurate quotes that show how they calculate their bottom-line price. With a reputable moving company, one can also feel confident that the quote will be very close to the actual bill they end up paying at the end of the move. Customers will want to keep in mind that providing an accurate inventory of their belongings during the quote process is key to ensuring they don’t end up with surprise charges on moving day.

License and Insurance

When shopping for a moving company in New York City, customers will want to look for one with the proper license and insurance to operate as a mover to avoid problems on moving day. All local moving companies in New York City must be licensed by the New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner with an Authority to Transport Household Goods license. When using interstate movers, New York City residents will want to be aware that any business carrying belongings across state lines is required to have an Interstate Operating Authority number with the Department of Transportation. Customers can verify registration by going to the U.S. DOT website.

Residential and commercial moving companies in New York City are also required to have insurance to protect their customers’ belongings, the structures they’re moving into and out of, and also their movers and moving trucks. Property managers and building management companies may require the mover to produce a certificate of insurance to prove that the moving company is insured up to a certain coverage amount; otherwise they won’t allow the movers into the building.

Auto Transportation

While most property and personal belongings can go in the back of the moving truck, customers will have to make other arrangements for their cars or other vehicles. Moving a second vehicle in a long-distance move can be a logistical nightmare for households with more than one car or truck. Luckily, many large moving companies offer auto transportation as part of their overall suite of moving services. There are also moving companies that specialize entirely in auto transportation. Since full-service moving companies typically farm out auto transportation to companies that specialize in this service, customers can save a significant amount of money by going directly to an auto transportation company to fulfill their vehicle relocation needs. If they feel more comfortable using one business for all of their needs, customers may want to check what auto transport options are available with some of the best long-distance moving companies.

Specialty-Item Moving

Grandfather clocks, large pieces of antique furniture, expensive artwork, pianos, and other items that are irreplaceable or challenging to move require more care than the average moving box. Many moving companies offer specialty-item moving services for these belongings. Movers will custom pack these items and strategically position them in the moving truck to ensure they aren’t damaged in transit. Since specialty-item moving adds to the overall cost of movers, customers will want to be sure to list each high-value or irreplaceable item they plan to move during the quote process. Customers will want to keep in mind that larger moving companies are typically best equipped to handle specialty-item moving. With that in mind, those who have several specialty items that they need moved may want to seek out one of the best moving companies for assistance.

Cancellation Policy

A variety of factors can force one to change their moving plans at the last minute, which is why it’s so important to consider cancellation policies when shopping for a moving company. How late one can cancel or change their move without losing their deposit varies from company to company. While some allow their customers to cancel right up to the moment that the movers walk in the door, others require a minimum of 3 days’ notice. If there’s a fair chance that one may have to cancel their move, then the customer will want to look for a moving company with a flexible cancellation policy to ensure they don’t end up losing money.

Deposit

Many moving companies require their customers to put down a deposit to reserve their services for a particular date. The deposit is intended to protect the moving company by limiting their losses in the event that a customer cancels at the last minute and the moving company is unable to book a new client. While some companies require no deposit at all, others may ask their customers to pay as much as 25 percent of the overall moving cost up front. Customers will want to be wary of certain red flags when asked to pay a deposit. The deposit should never be more than 25 percent of the cost of the move, and the moving company should always put a security deposit toward the overall bill.

Reviews and Complaints

One of the best ways to vet a mover is to look at what the company’s past clients have to say about its services. Customers can check reviews for moving companies on sites such as Google or Move.com. These sites provide a star rating that gives the prospective customer a general idea of how the company’s customers feel about the service they received. Customers can also read individual reviews to find out what former customers’ experiences were like with the mover. When checking online reviews, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that large regional and national movers have multiple locations that work independently of each other. As such, customers will want to look at the reviews for a particular location when vetting the company online to ensure they’re getting accurate customer feedback.

Our Top Picks

Our picks include some of the top movers in New York City. They are well established in the industry, come with glowing recommendations from their clients, and offer services that meet the needs of a move to or within a major metropolitan area.

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Why It Made the Cut:

Discounts for moves from small apartments, a custom crating service, and free cancellation make United Van Lines a great choice for those moving to or within New York.

United Van Lines offers special rates for small moves, a customer-friendly cancellation policy, and packing for specialty items, making it a great option for their customers. Customers who live in small studio-style apartments can take advantage of United Van Lines’ Snapmoves service, which offers discounted rates and special pricing for those with fewer belongings to move, ideal for those living in a major metropolitan area. United Van Lines will also custom crate specialty items, making the company a great choice for those who may have antiques, artwork, or other large and valuable pieces of furniture.

On moving day, customers can track their move and access a list of contacts all via the United Van Lines portal. While United Van Lines offers excellent service overall, customers may find the company’s quote process to be somewhat inconvenient as it requires an in-home visit, and customer service can be difficult to get in touch with.

Customers who may need to change their move at the last minute will also like United Van Lines’ cancellation policy; it’s possible to cancel without incurring a charge right up to the moment the move begins. United Van Lines also doesn’t require its customer to pay a deposit to reserve a moving date.

 

Specs

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

Pros

  • Custom crating for specialty and fragile items
  • Free cancellation as long as no services have been provided
  • Discounts for small long-distance moving jobs for studio apartments
  • Checklists, mover contacts, and tracking conveniently located in MyUnited online portal

Cons

  • Somewhat challenging customer service experience
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Why It Made the Cut:

International Van Lines quotes include a detailed breakdown of its pricing, and the company offers discounts for off-peak moves, making it a good option for those moving to or within New York.

Budget-sensitive customers will appreciate International Van Lines’ transparent quote process, as it provides resources that help customers determine the cost of their move and discount pricing options available. The International Van Lines website includes a moving calculator that allows customers to determine how much they can expect to pay for a move. When customers get a quote from International Van Lines, they receive a comprehensive explanation of how the company reached the quoted amount. This includes small details that impact price, such as the number of flights of stairs, parking, and even seasonality.

Customers may want to note that International Van Lines requires them to pay 25 percent of the total moving cost to reserve a date. In addition, those who need to cancel their move must do so at least 48 hours in advance to avoid losing that deposit. That being said, there are cost-saving opportunities to be had for customers depending on their moving date. When getting a quote, customers may also receive an offer for a discount if they choose to schedule their move on an off-peak date.

 

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

  • Free estimate breakdown readily available
  • Helpful moving cost and budgeting calculator
  • Discounts available for customers with flexible moving dates

Cons

  • 25 percent deposit required at booking
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Why It Made the Cut:

PODS offers a variety of size options and services designed for big-city moves, as well as robust content protection plans for customers.

There’s a reason PODS is one of the best-known moving container companies in the business: the sheer breadth of service options it provides. PODS offers three different container sizes—8, 12, and 16 feet—making it easier for customers to rent the pod that suits their move. This helps them avoid overspending on a size that’s bigger than what they need. PODS also offers insurance that protects customers’ belongings with plans that range from $5,000 up to $300,000. This can provide tremendous peace of mind for those moving to and from New York City.

Prospective customers will want to be aware that finding a place to put a PODS container can be very difficult in more densely populated parts of the city. Although PODS rates are somewhat high, the company’s services are well suited for the needs of those moving to or from New York. For instance, PODS offers a unique service for city dwellers with its PODS City Service. With City Service, the PODS delivery driver will also remain with the PODS container as the customer loads it to protect it from theft. PODS drivers are also familiar with the complexities of parking and obtaining permits in the city, making the process easier for the customer.

 

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 options of 8, 12, and 16 feet
  • Flexible content protection plans ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 in value
  • Specialized services for city dwellers

Cons

  • Storage container placement may be limited by local regulations
  • Prices may be relatively high
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Why It Made the Cut:

Two Men and a Truck boasts an impressive customer service track record along with a transparent quote process, as well as convenient junk removal services.

Those looking for a moving company with a strong track record of keeping its customers happy may find the right fit with Two Men and a Truck. The company boasts a sky-high 96 percent referral rate, which is a clear indication that its customers are satisfied with the services they receive. Part of that stellar reputation comes from Two Men and a Truck’s quote process, which is thorough and accurate, assuring customers won’t have any surprises when it’s time to pay the bill at the end of the move. Customers can also get a quote from Two Men and a Truck in three ways—by phone, online, and even via text.

Customers will also want to inquire about the deposit requirements when contacting the company, as this information is not readily available on its website. In addition, customers who need to transport a vehicle as part of their move may need to find a separate service provider, as Two Men and a Truck does not offer auto transport services. The company does offer other services that may not always be available with local movers, though. For instance, along with moving services, Two Men and Truck can also help its customers get rid of belongings they don’t want prior to the move with its junk removal service.

 

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
  • 3 convenient ways to get a quote, including a comprehensive online process
  • Junk removal services available

Cons

  • Deposit requirements not specified
  • No auto transport services
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Why It Made the Cut:

Locally based, Morgan Manhattan is well versed in the nuances and logistics of moving in and around New York City, and it offers a convenient quote option too.

Morgan Manhattan has been moving people in the Tri-State area since the mid-1800s, so it’s safe to say the company knows the ins and outs of moving in and around New York City. This makes the company especially well suited for handling tricky moves that involve high rises, apartments, and other locations in densely populated areas of the city. Prospective customers will want to keep in mind that Morgan Manhattan does not accept credit cards as payment, so they will need to have cash or their checkbook handy on moving day. The company also does not detail its deposit requirements or its cancellation policy, so customers will want to inquire about both during the quote process.

The company does offer a unique and convenient way for customers to get an accurate quote: Customers can take a video of the belongings they want moved and send it to the company. In addition to being a convenient option for busy people, this process could lead to more accurate quotes since the company’s moving professionals can see exactly what is being moved. Wine enthusiasts will likely love Morgan Manhattan’s wine storage service, which allows customers to store their valuable wine collection in a temperature- and humidity-controlled vault inside the company’s local storage facility.

 

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international
  • Customer support: Phone, email
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Free cancellation: Not specified
  • Deposit required: Not specified

Pros

  • Local to the New York City area
  • Convenient video quote option
  • Climate-controlled wine storage available

Cons

  • Credit card payments not accepted
  • Deposit requirements not specified
  • Cancellation requirements not specified

Our Verdict

United Van Lines is our pick for Best Overall due to the comprehensive set of services that include discounts for small homes, specialty-item packing, and a free cancellation policy. The Runner-Up award goes to International Van Lines because of its transparent quote process and discounts for moving on off-peak days, which makes it another great option.

How We Chose the Best Moving Companies in New York City

We considered several criteria when choosing the top moving companies in New York City. Since moving to or within the largest city in the U.S. presents unique logistical concerns, we chose companies that have experience moving to or from major metropolitan areas and offer special services that can meet the unique needs of big-city dwellers. These include companies that offer discounted pricing for moves from small apartments and those that can help their clients navigate local parking regulations.

Our selections also include moving companies that offer a full suite of services, including specialty packing, auto transportation, junk removal, and post-move cleaning. Our research also checked to see that each company has the proper licensing and insurance to operate a moving company in New York.

Before You Hire One of the Best Moving Companies in New York City

Before settling on a moving company, there are several boxes customers may want to check to ensure they find the right fit. For starters, verifying that a moving company is properly licensed before signing a contract for service is always a good idea. Unfortunately, moving scams are fairly common, especially in moves that involve a major metropolitan area such as New York City. Customers will likely want to make sure the company is licensed by the Department of Transportation and determine what type of insurance coverage the company has in case anything is damaged during the move.

Specifically, customers may want to find out if the company they are hiring offers full value protection for any lost or damaged items, or if it only offers released value protection. Whereas with full value the company will pay to replace the item, with release value protection, the company will only pay 60 cents per pound. This could lead to customers paying out of pocket to replace any belongings that are lost or damaged during a move.

During the quote process, customers may want to consider asking if the company offers binding or non-binding pricing. With binding pricing, the moving company cannot charge the customer more than the estimate. With a non-binding estimate, that price can end up being more than the quote, which could mean a customer has to pay more than expected on moving day.

Prospective customers may also want to seek out movers that specialize in particular conditions or circumstances. For instance, businesses that need to hire office movers in New York City will likely want to look for a moving company that has extensive experience clearing out offices and manages its own facility to store furniture and office equipment if need be. In addition, customers who will need to temporarily store their belongings during a move may want to consider movers that work with storage companies in New York City. When it comes to moving and storage, New York City customers may also want to vet local companies that are familiar with municipal regulations and understand the logistics of coordinating a move on busy streets with limited parking options.

Cost of Hiring One of the Best Moving Companies in New York City

When budgeting for moving costs, New York City residents may need to weigh a variety of factors to accurately calculate the total price of hiring movers. Whether a customer is moving to New York City from another part of the country or moving from one borough to another, the cost will vary based on the size and distance of the move. Across the nation, customers can expect to pay between $920 and $2,530 for a local move within a particular city. That being said, New York City moving costs could be somewhat higher or lower than that range, depending on the circumstances of the move. When someone is moving to New York City, long-distance movers can be significantly more expensive, so customers will want to budget accordingly if they are planning to relocate to the Big Apple from another state or city.

Other factors that influence the cost of the move include the number of specialty items and whether the customer purchases additional services, such as junk removal, packing, post-move cleaning, and furniture storage. New York City residents may need to factor in these additional costs depending on the specific circumstances of their move.

Discounts may be available to help keep moving costs down. For instance, the best military moving companies often offer military discounts to active and former service members. Customers who want to further cut costs may want to consider handling all packing and cleanup on their own, as these services can significantly increase the total cost of hiring a moving company. If professional moving is simply too expensive, customers can also consider more affordable options, such as renting a van or truck that they load and drive themselves. For those who need to hire movers but are on a tight budget, the best cheap moving services may be a viable option.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Moving Companies in New York City

Hiring one of the best moving companies in New York City is often worth the cost for customers who want to avoid the hassle of moving all of their personal belongings to a new home on their own. There are many advantages to going with a reputable company. The best moving companies understand how to pack for a move to minimize the chances that the customer’s belongings are damaged. They also understand the challenges of moving in a big city and can help their customers navigate these issues to ensure a smoother move. Top moving companies are often very reliable, and customers can expect their movers to show up on time and deliver their belongings on schedule. When the move is over, customers can expect the final bill to be very close to the original estimate due to fine-tuned quote processes. The very best moving companies in New York City can offer other perks and benefits that help improve the overall customer experience, such as:

  • Additional services to make the moving process easier on customers, including custom crating options for fragile or specialty items, climate-controlled wine storage, and junk removal assistance;
  • Generous discounts for customers with flexible moving dates or small local moves, among other scenarios, that can help reduce the overall cost of moving; and
  • Intuitive online tools, such as moving cost calculators, quote platforms, and moving checklists, to help customers prepare and budget for their move.

FAQs

Moving can be stressful even under the best circumstances, but moving to a city as densely populated as New York City comes with its own set of challenges. Those who are considering a move to New York City may want to consider some of the most common questions and concerns people have when scheduling moves to or from the city. For instance, understanding when the peak moving season is and how far in advance one needs to reserve a mover can be key when planning a move to or from the Big Apple.

Q. How far in advance should you hire movers in New York City?

When hiring movers, New York City residents may want to book at least 2 months in advance. This will ensure that you have several options to choose from, allowing you to find a moving company that best suits your needs and budget.

Q. How much do you tip a mover in New York City?

The amount customers typically tip movers varies depending on the size and distance of the move. In New York, local movers may expect a tip of at least $10 each for half-day moves. For full-day moves, customers may want to double that tip for each mover. As with other services that may warrant tipping, such as hiring furniture movers, New York City residents can feel free to adjust the tip amount based on the quality of the service they receive.

Q. What is the busiest month for movers in New York City?

Moving activity in New York City begins to heat up as the weather gets warmer in the spring. Movers begin to see more bookings in May, with July being their busiest month before demand begins to wind down at the end of August. Prospective customers who are planning to move from another state to New York may want to keep these seasonality factors in mind so they can book a moving company well in advance.

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Tony Carrick

Contributing Writer

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer who has contributed to BobVila.com since 2020. He writes how-to articles and product reviews in the areas of lawn and garden, home maintenance, home improvement, auto maintenance, housewares, and technology.

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