The Best Moving Companies of 2022

Learn everything you need to know about choosing one of the best moving companies to safely transport your belongings.

By Brie Greenhalgh | Updated Sep 23, 2022 9:47 AM

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The Best Moving Companies Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether someone is looking at a cross-country move or just a move across town, there’s a fair amount of stress and hassle that comes with packing up, hauling, and unpacking belongings. And while many people have great friends and family members who can help with local moves (if they’re comfortable asking), moving can be easier with the help of one of the best moving companies. It’s helpful for someone who is moving to a new home to let professional movers take on the big job of transporting items using their labor, equipment, and trucks.

Choosing the best moving company can feel daunting for customers since they’re entrusting their money—and valuables—to someone else. But there are plenty of ways for customers to ensure they hire the right company at the right price. The distance of the move will be a key factor in choosing a moving company since a 50- to 100-mile move is typically considered local, though customers will need to call and ask about each company’s specific policy. Transporting goods across state lines, even within the local radius, might require a different company who is licensed to haul goods to different states. Beyond that, customers will need to consider factors like specialty items, timing, deposits, insurance, and more. The best moving companies are equipped to handle all types of moves and have great customer service and realistic pricing.

  1. BEST OVERALL: United Van Lines
  2. RUNNER-UP: International Van Lines
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: American Van Lines
  4. BEST MOVING PACKAGES: Mayflower Transit
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: U-Pack
The Best Moving Companies Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Moving Companies

Moving a household is a complex process. As customers narrow down the specifics that apply to their situation, they can quickly identify the best moving company for they. Whether they’re looking for a local moving company or an out-of-state moving company, the following considerations will help guide the decision-making process.

Local, Interstate, or International Moves

Moving within a 50- to 100-mile radius typically only requires the help of a local mover. Depending on the area, local companies might be able to move the customer fairly quickly, which is helpful if the move was unexpected or the customer’s original plan for help fell through. Those moving to a new state will need to find an interstate moving company. Federal regulations require that companies transporting goods across state lines be licensed to do so. Since local companies might not specialize in this kind of transport, customers moving to a new state will need to find a larger company who can.

Then there are international moves to consider when the origin or destination is a country other than the U.S. This is a much more complex process that involves extensive paperwork, brokerage or port fees, customs fees, and scheduling shipping or air freight. Moving goods internationally can take weeks to months due to scheduling and transit times. An international moving company is the best option since this is a special kind of move that requires the right licenses and connections to the most reputable companies.

Up-front Pricing

Pricing a move isn’t a cut-and-dried process. Moving a 1-bedroom apartment is much easier and less costly than moving a 4-bedroom house. The size, weight, quantity, and type of items the customer has will influence the total cost. However, there should be transparency about the pricing once the customer has discussed what they’re planning to move and where. Any extras like auto transport or navigating stairs should have a fixed price that’s discussed ahead of time. While it’s not impossible for a fee to be added at the time of the move, it should be clear and fair. For instance, if the customer forget to mention there is no elevator at their three-story apartment complex, they’ll likely be charged a fee for the extra labor to use the stairs when the movers arrive.

Also, it’s best for customers to avoid going with the rate that is much cheaper than everyone else’s rates. That’s a red flag that the company could be running a scam to move the customer’s goods to a storage unit and charge them again to remove the items. Obtaining multiple quotes and going with the most reputable company is a customer’s safest bet to avoid being scammed.

License and Insurance

Customers will want to always book with a company who can show their license and insurance papers. Every moving company should carry basic liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Without these, the customer will have no legal recourse should the worst happen. Beyond basic liability insurance, it’s also helpful if a moving company offers the customer full-service insurance to insure their valuables at a higher rate if they own expensive items. If the company doesn’t offer this, the customer can always ask their own insurance company about moving insurance.

Interstate movers must be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Customers can search their DOT number in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database. The American Trucking Associations also has a comprehensive list of licensed interstate movers customers can review.

Auto Transportation

Many homeowners have more than one car, but they don’t always have a driver for every car. In this case, the customer will need to look for a moving company that can do auto transportation. Many of the bigger moving companies offer household moving and auto transportation, or the customer can search for a company that specializes in moving cars. If the car is exotic or antique, customers will want to ask about covered transport to keep it protected during the move.

Specialty Item Moving

Customers who own a piano, an antique grandfather clock, or other unusual, valuable, oversize, or delicate items will require specialty moving. If the customer is using a local moving company, they won’t want to just assume the company knows how to lift a piano into a moving truck. It’s not about the weight; it’s about keeping the piano steady to avoid irreparably damaging the instrument. Using a piano moving company for any piano move is a critical option to prevent catastrophe.

For other items that are large, odd sizes (oversize flat-screen TVs) or have intrinsic value, customers will also want to make sure the movers are capable of properly packing the items and securing them in a way that they will not be damaged during transport. Other examples to consider are things like jet skis, hot tubs, or safes. All speciality items typically cost more to move since they require more packing material, equipment, care, or space.

Cancellation Policy

Customers will want to ask each company for their cancellation policy when they call for a customized quote. The customer will need to know how close to the expected move date they can cancel if necessary, and how much money they’ll get back on their deposit. Unexpected things happen, so it’s best for customers to be aware of their policy and choose the company that offers a lot of flexibility if possible. Customers will also need to ask about the company’s side of the cancellation policy. They likely have a clause about the circumstances under which they can cancel or change a move (it’s rare but can happen).

Deposit

Moving company deposits have a tendency to feel like the precursor to a scam—and for good reason. Deposits are one way that companies have been known to scam people, but even reputable companies often require deposits. It’s not illegal, nor should it prevent a customer from hiring a moving company. A small deposit is basically held as a warranty to secure the moving dates, as the company schedules their labor and trucks around each move. If the customer backs out of the move, a portion of that deposit offsets the company’s lost earnings on the canceled move.

The key to knowing whether a deposit is a red flag or not is the deposit amount. If a homeowner has a multi-thousand-dollar move coming up, their deposit should be around 20 percent. Large deposits or full deposits are a red flag that the company is not legitimate.

Reviews and Complaints

Reviews and complaints are a customer’s most valuable research tool when researching the best moving companies. Great reviews will share details about up-front pricing, ease of booking, safe handling of valuables, great customer service, etc. Some reviews will complain about lost deposits, making it sound like the money was stolen, but it’s possible those customers were simply unhappy that they missed the cancellation window. While there are plenty of negative reviews for just about everything (that should be taken with a grain of salt), a company with a repeated history of unethical business practices should be avoided at all costs.

Customers will want to look at reviews on more than one website (Google, Moving.com, Better Business Bureau, etc.) to get a well-rounded picture about the company—good and bad. No company is perfect, but many try their best. If the customer knows someone who recently used a moving company, they can also ask them about their experience. References are a great way to find a moving company.

Our Top Picks

A customer’s decision to hand over the move of their personal belongings can be daunting. Choosing the right company to handle packing and hauling their goods safely builds the customer’s confidence and ensures a smooth transaction.

Best Overall

The Best Moving Companies Option: United Van Lines
Photo: unitedvanlines.com

Why It Made the Cut: United Van Lines can handle any moving distance, doesn’t require a deposit, and has a great online portal for customers to access details about their move and contract.

United Van Lines’ tagline is they “take care of it all,” and that seems to be true. With locations throughout the country, United Van Lines can help with local moves, interstate moves, and even international moves. Additionally, the company offers auto transport and a number of helpful add-on services like packing and unpacking, cleaning, or Wi-Fi disassembly. Some customers will like that United Van Lines offers discounts for small apartments and tiny homes since there are fewer belongings to handle. A surprising benefit is that no deposit is required to book with United Van Lines.

What really sets United Van Lines above the rest is the MyUnited online portal that customers can use to see the status of their move and contact the mover without having to go through customer service first. This convenience could be why United Van Lines’ customer service support can be slow and difficult to get ahold of, so having the online portal is a helpful perk.

Specs

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

Pros

  • Small moving jobs for studio apartments or tiny homes available at a discounted rate
  • Add-on options like cleaning services or Wi-Fi network disassembly available
  • MyUnited online portal puts checklists, mover contacts, and tracking in one convenient place

Cons

  • Customer support is challenging to get in touch with


Runner-Up

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

Why It Made the Cut: International Van Lines can help move people almost any distance, allows cancellation up to 48 hours before the move, and offers discounts to help lower the cost of a move.

International Van Lines (IVL) is a reputable company that’s primarily based on the East Coast, but the company frequently helps people move nationally and internationally, too, even if they need to work with a trusted partner to get the job done. Customers whose moving dates are flexible might receive a discount since it makes scheduling a little easier for the company. We like that IVL offers transparent pricing, specialty moving, and itemized billing. Having the option to cancel for free as close as 48 hours before the scheduled move is also helpful.

IVL does have an online inventory system for customers, but it’s not as user-friendly as it could be. Also, customers will need to pay a 25 percent deposit to reserve their moving appointment. Overall, this company works hard to maintain a great reputation as a top moving company.

Specs

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

Pros

  • Discounts available for customers with flexible moving dates
  • Additional fees and estimate breakdowns are easily accessible on website so clients can budget appropriately
  • Cancellation available up to 48 hours before the move

Cons

  • Online inventory system is not user-friendly and time-consuming to use
  • 25 percent deposit required at booking

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Moving Companies Option: American Van Lines
Photo: americanvanlines.com

Why It Made the Cut: With over 25 years in business, American Van Lines has the experience to move apartments, homes, and commercial businesses with the advantage of fixed-rate service fees.

American Van Lines has a long history in the moving business, so customers will find that the company offers almost any moving service they need, whether local or international. The company specializes in antiques and pianos, which is helpful as customers won’t have to find a separate company to handle those items. Customers can get a discount for moving between major cities since there’s higher demand. IVL’s sustainability initiative also helps reduce the company’s impact on the environment while moving the customer’s items.

American Van Lines does require a 10 to 50 percent deposit, and free cancellation is limited to 7 days prior to the move. However, these factors haven’t prevented them from helping many happy customers who appreciate their fixed-rate services that allow for more transparent pricing.

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Free cancellation: Up to 7 days before the move
  • Deposit required: 10 percent to 50 percent of the estimate

Pros

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

Cons

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

Best Moving Packages

The Best Moving Companies Option: Mayflower Transit
Photo: mayflower.com

Why It Made the Cut: Mayflower Transit is a reputable company that specializes in customizing moving packages to meet customers’ specific moving needs domestically and internationally.

Not only does Mayflower Transit offer traditional household moving; the company also offers military and government relocations, which translates to a large coverage area and an experienced service offering. One of the things that sets Mayflower apart is the company’s flexibility in creating customized moving service bundles from full-service to limited item relocation. It’s also helpful that Mayflower does not require a deposit up front and allows cancellations up to 24 hours prior to the move. Mayflower Transit does not offer any tracking, so customers will need to keep in touch with the mover themselves for updates. As an added bonus, the company’s partnership with Move for Hunger means qualifying leftover food will be donates to a local shelter so the customer doesn’t have to pay to move it (or pack it).

Specs

  • Type of move: Local, long-distance, international
  • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Free cancellation: Up to 24 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: No

Pros

  • Customizable moving service bundles available
  • Cancellation up to 24 hours before the move
  • Move for Hunger partnership lets homeowners donate food before a move

Cons

  • No tracking services available, so homeowners will need to keep in touch with movers directly
  • Moving supplies need to be purchased separately for self-service moves

Also Consider

The Best Moving Companies Option: U-Pack
Photo: upack.com

Why It Made the Cut: U-Pack is a flexible option for people who prefer to save a little money by doing the packing themselves while leaving the long-haul transport to a pro.

U-Pack will bring a trailer or container to the customer’s house and park it, and the customer will have 3 days to load it with all of their belongings. When it’s ready, U-Pack will pick it up and haul it to the customer’s long-distance destination, where they will have 3 days to unload it. U-Pack doesn’t offer local moves within 50 miles, but it’s a great option for customers who need to hire someone to legally transport their goods across state lines. The system is built to make transit time more predictable and avoid hidden fees since it’s a straightforward pickup and drop-off transaction. In many areas, U-Pack does offer the option to hire staff to load or unload the trailer if needed. Customers can cancel for free up to 7 days prior to the trailer drop-off, and no deposit is required.

Specs

  • Type of move: Long-distance only
  • Customer service: Phone, email, Facebook Messenger
  • Auto transport: No
  • Free cancellation: Up to 7 days before the move
  • Deposit required: No

Pros

  • Customers have up to 3 days to load their belongings
  • Moving staffers for packing and unpacking are available for hire
  • Instant online quote available upon request

Cons

  • Moves must be more than 50 miles away from starting location
  • Cancellation is limited to 7 days before the move

Our Verdict

Great customer service, transparent pricing, adequately covered territory, special services, and a reliable reputation are the key components of the best moving companies. That’s why we selected United Van Lines as our top choice since they have a large service area, plenty of options, a helpful customer portal, and they don’t require a deposit. However, for cusomers looking for a little more control and a little less cost, using U-Pack is another great option for those who just want to hire a transport company to haul their belongings.

How We Chose the Best Moving Companies

While much depends on the location and distance of move and the quantity and type of goods the customer needs to move, there are a few elements that stood out to us when reviewing the best moving companies. We evaluated companies that have local, statewide, nationwide, and international moving options to provide the coverage needed for any homeowner or renter. We evaluated the websites of each company and took the overall customer reviews and experiences into account to make sure most customers enjoyed a satisfactory or pleasant experience. We also reviewed factors such as cancellation policies and deposits, as well as the ability to track and monitor shipments. All the companies on our list are nationally known and have been in business for several years with an overall reliable reputation.

Before You Hire One of the Best Moving Companies

Before hiring a moving company, customers will need to consider whether they’re moving locally, within the state, across state lines, or even internationally. Some companies cannot offer some moving services if they aren’t licensed to transport across state lines. Local companies are great for local moves as long as they have a solid reputation, but customers will likely need to find a national moving company they trust to move greater distances.

Most importantly, hiring a moving company is best for people who are willing to entrust their goods to other people. It’s a helpful service that can help people who are unable to pack, carry, and transport their items, but it does come at a price customers need to be willing to pay. Customers will want to make sure they choose a company that is licensed and qualified to handle their specific needs whether it’s extra services or distance. They’ll also want to ask movers lots of questions, get written estimates so they can compare details, and always do their research to evaluate reviews from several sources.

Cost of Hiring One of the Best Moving Companies

Moving costs are a moving target since no two moves are the same. For moves traveling less than 100 miles, the average cost is $1,682 with a range of $902 to $2,476, but moving out of state could cost up to $6,900 on average. Many moving companies offer an online estimate or calculator that can help estimate the cost, but customers will also need to do a walk-through in person or virtually to have the most accurate assessment and avoid unexpected costs.

Moving companies calculate costs based on weight, but that’s determined by the size, volume, and type of items being moved. There are basic average estimates for the number of rooms being moved that can be used initially, but any specialty items like pianos, cars, safes, hot tubs, etc., will require extra consideration and cost. Additionally, the distance the customer is moving will affect the total price since they’ll be charged for the driver’s time, fuel, and mileage.

Customers can expect to pay $25 to $50 per hour per mover, and the amount of belongings will determine how many employees the company will send to the house. For instance, a small apartment usually needs two employees who work for 2 to 3 hours. Additionally, customers might be charged extra if access is difficult, there are numerous stairs, or they have lots of heavy items. Moving in the summer or on weekends or holidays is always more expensive and can be hard to schedule, so customers will want to opt to move in the middle of the week if possible.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Moving Companies

Moving is a hassle, even though relocating to a new city can be an adventure. Relieving the stress and strain of moving are popular reasons for using a moving company, even though it can feel like an expensive venture. But the benefits of using a moving company help offset the costs.

  • Relieves stress. Worrying about loading, transporting, and unloading items within a short period is stressful, so leaving that to the pros can reduce unnecessary and unhealthy stress.
  • Avoids injury. The customer might already have a bad back, cause a hernia, smash fingers, or worse if a serious accident happens while moving heavy, unwieldy furniture.
  • Saves time. If the customer doesn’t have time to pack up and move, they can hand over the entire job to a moving company.
  • Keeps belongings secure. Sometimes people have a period of time between moving out of one home and into a new one. In this case, the moving company can safely store the customer’s goods until they’re ready to be moved in.
  • Insures your valuables. If someone accidentally breaks a priceless heirloom during a DIY move, the owner might not have any recourse if it wasn’t insured. However, moving companies must have liability insurance and often offer full coverage for an extra fee, meaning any broken items will likely be covered.
  • Cost-effective. When factoring in time, labor, mental health, and packing supplies, the cost of moving yourself can add up quickly. Many people decide that their sweat equity is worth trading for help from a reliable moving company.
  • Proper packing. Professional movers are adept at carefully packing and securing belongings, both small and large. They can carefully load the trailer in a way that will keep all the goods secure for a long move for more peace of mind, whereas that might not be as natural and easy for the person moving.

FAQs

While the information above puts customers in a good position to start getting quotes from moving companies, they may still have lingering questions that they want answered before moving forward. What follows are some of the most commonly asked questions about hiring a moving company that can help guide the decision-making process.

Q. How much do moving companies charge?

There’s no set rate that moving companies charge for a move. Moving costs are made up of several factors like distance, time, weight, and type of items. Local movers might charge a flat rate based on the number of rooms being moved, but long-distance moves typically need customized quotes that may include fixed-rate fees. Customers can get initial estimates online from many major moving companies, but it’s advisable for them to talk to someone about their needs to get an accurate quote. On average, local moves cost $1,682, but national moves can cost between $2,600 and $6,900.

Q. Do you tip moving companies?

Tipping is not required, but it’s considered polite. Yes, the moving company is already charging the customer to do the job, but in reality, the movers are doing them a huge favor and potentially saving them from injury, too. Offering movers a tip is a way for the customer to express their gratitude for their manual labor, especially if they do a great job, show up on time, are friendly, and handle the items with care. The recommended amount to tip movers is to estimate 5 to 10 percent of the total cost or to tip $4 to $5 per mover per hour. Some people consider tipping movers as they do tipping waiters, so customers could also tip 10 to 20 percent of the total cost if they are happy with service and able to tip that amount.

Q. Do moving companies provide boxes?

It depends on what the customer is hiring them to do. If the movers are only being paid to load, haul, and unload the customer’s belongings, then they won’t be doing any packing, which means they won’t provide boxes. If the customer is hiring them to pack their items or do a full-service move, then the cost of all boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc., will be included in the price.

Some moving companies do offer boxes for purchase if needed, and many will also bring some moving supplies in case the customer’s items aren’t properly secured. Customers will be charged for whatever the movers use that was not in the original contract, such as moving blankets for a TV or furniture bags or protective sheets.

Q. Do moving companies assemble furniture?

Some moving companies offer this as an extra service if customers ask ahead of time. They usually charge the same hourly labor rate as for moving. Disassembling and assembling furniture can be extremely helpful for customers to add on to their moving costs if they have children or if the task is beyond their physical capacity.

Sources: HomeAdvisor