Anyone who has ever planned and executed a move looks toward the next one with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Hiring a moving company to do the heavy lifting can alleviate some of the anxiety associated with a move. Professionals are familiar with the process, can anticipate problems, and should be able to make the transition from old home to new a smooth one, regardless of whether the trip is just a few miles or all the way across the country. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, so it’s critical to carefully evaluate any moving service before hiring.
Mayflower Moving Company is one of the largest, oldest, and most respected moving companies in the country. The Mayflower Moving Company history is long: It was founded as Mayflower Transit in 1927, and it has expanded and grown over nearly a century. The company added a distinct line of services for military moves in 1961, and then in 1995 Mayflower joined UniGroup, Inc., further expanding the network and available services and making the union the country’s largest moving service and storage provider. There are more than 200 agencies across the country, and the company can handle moves to more than 150 countries.
There are many elements to consider when choosing a moving company, including the cost of moving, types of moves offered, reputation, services, licensing, and a host of other elements. We evaluated Mayflower’s claims and offerings in these categories and others to see how it stacked up.
See more of the best moving companies, the best long-distance moving companies, the best interstate moving companies, and the best military moving companies.
Our Verdict: Mayflower is an established moving company with some standout attributes in all areas, but its easy-to-understand packages and deposit-free, easy cancellation options make the company especially ideal for long-distance moves. That said, the options for small-volume local moves are also attractive for families moving kids into dorms or parents into long-term care, and the company’s expertise in military moves makes it a great option for service members.
- Service area: U.S. and international
- Moving distance: Local, long-distance, international
- Types of moves: Small moves, corporate moving, military moving, car shipping
- Additional moving services: Full-service moving, debris removal, packing and unpacking, storage services
- Customer support: Phone, email, live chat
- Cancellation policy: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the move
- Deposit: No deposit required
- Customizable long-distance moving service bundles available
- Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the move
- Binding cost estimate
- Checklists, mover contacts, and tracking conveniently located in the online MyMayflower move portal and mobile app
- Move For Hunger partnership helps customers donate food before a move
- Moving supplies must be purchased separately
Mayflower Review: Claims
Mayflower focuses heavily on establishing trust with its customers and clients. Possibly recognizing that the internet tends to paint horror stories about movers damaging, stealing, losing, and delaying customers’ treasured possessions, Mayflower emphasizes its history, the professionalism of its movers, the transparency of the moving process, and its vow to be with customers “Every Step of the Way.” The company’s pledge to handle complications and details is threaded through the language, imagery, and all-inclusive packages offered before, during, and after the move.
About Mayflower Transit
Mayflower is part of UniGroup, which also owns United Van Lines. In 2018, UniGroup shareholders chose to become a cooperative company, allowing agents to serve their customers directly while maintaining centralized support services. What this means for customers is that the agents are based locally, meaning the agents will understand the complexities and complications of the customer’s specific move.
Mayflower is identified as a Certified ProMover by the American Moving and Storage Association and is ISO certified, as well as being GSA approved to provide military moving services, whether it’s for a temporary assignment or a permanent change of station move.
Types of Moves Offered
If there are personal belongings to be moved, there’s a very good chance that Mayflower has a plan to move them. Mayflower is federally licensed to provide interstate and long-distance moves, both within the United States and internationally. The company employs trained move coordinators to facilitate each type of move.
Local moves (about 50 miles or less, even if they cross state lines) are managed by local agents that are part of the Mayflower network for more customized service, but they are still full-service moves.
Mayflower offers some special programs for smaller moves or those that have additional needs. The Snapmoves program is specifically designed for smaller-volume moves, regardless of whether the move is local or cross-country. The program streamlines the quote and scheduling process, tailoring services to customers who have fewer things to move: small homes, apartments, dorms, storage unit contents, small offices, and even moving family heirlooms to another family member. Mayflower also offers special services through local agents to help older adults who are moving to an assisted living facility, retirement community, or a smaller new home. These programs are cognizant of the fact that older adults—or their families, who may be local or at a distance—may need a little extra help with packing, unpacking, and cleaning or organizing at both ends of a move. For these reasons, options are available to make that process easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
Corporate moves, in which a company moves employees to work at a new location and pays for the move, either individually or as a large group of transferees, can be sudden. Additionally, they can come with the extra complications of individuals needing to find new homes quickly or storage in the interim period. Mayflower offers programs for individual employees or group plans that the company can retain for use by its employees.
As a GSA-approved moving company for military moves, Mayflower prides itself on its experience and finesse working with military families and meeting their needs. The company has assisted more than 225,000 members of the military and their families with moves over the last 10 years, so it’s fair to say that the company understands the intricacies of military moves and has agents with the experience to help manage this frequent and challenging process.
Finally, Mayflower offers car-moving services—either alongside a full-home move or independently. The company uses both open and closed car carriers as appropriate for the vehicle and can deliver cars door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal, based on the location and the customer’s budget.
Moving Packages and Additional Services
Mayflower’s lineup of additional moving packages and services is extensive. Customers can choose from a range of options, either as part of a complete moving package or à la carte.
- Personalized moving coordinator: This is an individual assigned to a move whose job it is to assist in scheduling services, helping the customer tailor their package and add-ons, and answering questions.
- Full packing service: Customers who want their moves taken care of from start to finish can select this option. This includes packing and unpacking, as well as loading and unloading and transport.
- Partial packing service: Clients who want only some tasks to be completed by a mover can select this option.
- Unpacking services: This service allows customers to focus on acclimating to their new environment, leaving the unpacking to professionals.
- Custom crating options for fragile or valuable items: Items and belongings are best packed according to their fragility and how much a customer values each. For the items that need a little extra care, Mayflower can provide custom crating options to ensure that those items make it intact from Point A to Point B.
- Electronics packing and installation for computer networks, home theaters, and televisions: Not everyone will know how to set up their electronics—and for those who don’t want to spend time on setting up the essentials, this service can be key.
- Short- and long-term storage (both residential and commercial): Sometimes move-in and move-out dates don’t align neatly, or not all of a customer’s items can be moved in one day. For those situations, the ability to store items can be a valuable add-on.
- Removal of packing and moving materials after unpacking is complete: Debris and trash removal can be tedious, tiresome, and the last to-do on anyone’s list after a long day of moving. For individuals who want to eliminate clutter in their new home quickly, there is the option to add the removal of packing and moving materials service to their moving package.
- Car-shipping services: For long-distance moves, it may be more efficient and cost-effective to have a vehicle shipped rather than driving it the distance.
- Move For Hunger partnership: Mayflower will assist clients in donating their unopened, nonperishable food items. Those food items are then transported to a local food bank and then to a local food pantry.
Even with all these additional services at customers’ fingertips, Mayflower has one notable flaw: It doesn’t provide packing supplies, unlike some of its competitors. This can be a deal-breaker for those who don’t want to pour time into finding, buying, and waiting for supplies to arrive in time to pack. However, Mayflower does provide a handy list of supplies its clients may need, based on the types of items and their fragility.
Getting an Estimate
Mayflower does not offer estimates to potential customers without them first making contact with an agent. This can be frustrating for potential customers shopping around online before choosing a company, but it makes for a much more accurate decision-making process when it’s time to make the choice. Mayflower focuses on the idea that every move is personal and unique, so it stands to reason that its estimates would be customized as well. Customers can call 1-877-720-4488 to speak with an agent immediately, or they can click the prominently displayed button on the website to fill out a short form including the ZIP codes for the starting and ending locations of the move, the size of the home, and the general dates of the move, then add their contact information and wait for a call.
In the past, Mayflower required a full in-home visit from an agent to survey the home’s contents and discuss the options and packages available. Now, however, Mayflower offers a virtual in-home visit that accomplishes the same goal more conveniently. The company will not provide an estimate without a virtual or in-person visit so that the estimate can be as accurate as possible. The chief benefit of this process? Mayflower’s estimates are binding, which means that once the company provides an estimate, the cost won’t go any higher unless the customer decides to add more services after the estimate is complete. Some may argue that this means the agent will overestimate the cost to move to ensure the company doesn’t lose money, but as many customers will find more items that need to be moved after the estimate is complete, the binding process protects the customer against unpleasant surprises when the bill is presented. Most moving customers appreciate the stability and certainty of knowing the full cost ahead of time.
Mayflower Moving Cost
The cost of the move itself will vary based on the size of the home, the distance of the move, and the amount of possessions being transferred. Full-service moves include:
- Personal move coordinator
- Full Value Protection coverage
- Standard transport of appliances (but not disconnection/reconnection)
- Licensed, qualified, and insured drivers
- Loading, transportation, and unloading of household belongings
- Disassembly and reassembly of bed frames
- Standard furniture placement
Quotes based on these criteria will vary, but published research indicates that in general Mayflower Moving average cost is about on par with or slightly lower than comparable companies.
In addition to the full-service move packages, Mayflower offers add-ons at a cost. Option 1 costs $225 and includes $5,000 in additional valuation protection, Gold Standard Protection, identity theft protection for the duration of the moving process, and Claims Assist should anything go wrong. Package 2 costs $425 and includes everything in Option 1 plus $25,000 in additional valuation protection, debris removal, and additional delay claim payment of $250 per day should the movers be late on delivery. Option 3 includes Option 1 services plus $25,000 additional valuation protection, television wall mount disassembly and reassembly for two televisions, and an additional delay claim payment of $250 per day. These options will be worked into the cost at the estimate stage based on the customer’s preference and make it easier to itemize and see exactly what’s included in the total cost.
With so much of life being managed online in today’s society, it’s no surprise that Mayflower offers online connectivity through a website and a mobile app. Once customers have registered and made contact with an agent, the MyMayflower move portal becomes available.
Both the app and the online interface include a Move Milestone Timeline—a comprehensive list of what needs to be completed and when, based on the customer’s specific moving plan. Customers can book their move and make adjustments directly, work through an interactive weekly checklist (customers can even add their own to-dos to the list; it’s not limited to what Mayflower suggests), keep a running contact list with notes, and track their shipments. The platform also has moving tips, suggestions, and packing help. It’s an easy way to keep everything in one place regarding the move and is an excellent resource. The only drawback is that customers cannot access the platform without contacting a Mayflower agent for an estimate. While this is understandable, as MyMayflower is part of the product the company is selling, access prior to the estimate could also encourage customers who are in the very early stages of planning a move to use Mayflower’s tools and then stick with Mayflower when they’re ready to hire because they’re already using those tools.
Moving: The Day Of
Mayflower assigns each customer a personalized Move Coordinator, whose function is to help develop a personalized moving strategy based around the customer’s individual needs, concerns, and budget. The Move Coordinator can help the customer make the best decisions for their move and can help gather and explain potential resources. On the day of the move, the Move Coordinator is the touch point for the customer—if something goes wrong, there’s no need to join the queue on a general phone line to explain the situation multiple times, because the Move Coordinator is the point person to help solve the problem.
Mayflower’s website provides an excellent general 8-week move countdown checklist (in addition to the MyMayflower app’s personalized lists). This includes tips for the moving day: what to have on hand, what to carry in the car separate from the moving trucks, and how to prepare the family for the day’s activity. Once those steps are complete, Mayflower’s experienced movers will take care of the rest. The company provides access to real-time shipment trackers so that customers can see where their belongings are.
Note that payment is expected prior to the Mayflower moving truck being unloaded. This is a federal regulation. Payment can be made in cash or by travelers checks, a money order, or a cashier’s check. Credit cards are also accepted, but Mayflower may require the credit limit to be verified (but not charged) 2 days prior to the move date. Customers should be prepared to make their payment on the day of the move.
Mayflower’s cancellation policy is quite generous. Considering how expensive a move can be, the fact that Mayflower requires no deposit and offers free cancellation up until 24 hours prior to the move is exceptional. It demonstrates Mayflower’s understanding that circumstances can change very rapidly during a move and also its flexibility and confidence that it’s providing the best service available. The company doesn’t feel the need to bind the customer into a nonrefundable deposit or penalize them should they need to make a change at the last minute.
Moving Protection and Insurance
Included in every move quote is Mayflower’s Full Value Protection. With some common-sense exceptions, this compensates the customer if their items are damaged or lost during the moving process by repairing or replacing them. Repair or replacement compensation cannot exceed the amount determined by the customer based on the plan they select. The Full Value Protection maximum is equal to weight of the customer’s damaged or lost belongings multiplied by $6.00. Should the customer waive that coverage, the maximum compensation is the weight multiplied by $0.60; this is coverage that cannot be waived and is mandated by law. Customers also have the ability to increase the coverage for an extra cost.
It’s important to note that customers must complete the High Value Inventory form, on which they’ll list any items that are worth more than $100 per pound, such as jewelry or artwork, for those items to be covered differently.
Mayflower offers this coverage in lieu of insurance. The stated benefit of Full Value Protection is that standard insurance claims require the customer to prove that damage was a result of negligence or malice on the part of the movers, which can be difficult and inconvenient. Mayflower’s coverage simply accepts that if the damage occurred during the move, the company will compensate the customer.
The Claims Assist program offered by Mayflower works with customers to help them file the most appropriate and effective claim in the event of damage or loss. Customers can access the link to file a claim through the MyMayflower portal or app, or from a link under the “Moving Tips & Advice” menu on the landing page by clicking “File a Claim.” The page offers several options: For a recent move with Mayflower, customers can click a link, type in their order number and name, and be taken directly to a claim form. Some moves, including Military, Government, and International moves, are listed under separate links, as those policies differ somewhat. The toll-free number for help with claims is posted right at the top of the page, encouraging customers to call for assistance.
Mayflower provides multiple ways to contact an agent—constantly. From the moment a customer lands on a company page, a small pop-out bubble hangs at the lower corner of the screen, inviting a chat. The bot takes customers through a tree of questions, then connects to an agent if it can’t find the correct answer. The phone number to contact an agent is in the top banner of every page, and the “Get a Quote” button is prominently placed in every location where someone might think they’d like a quote. Also in the top banner is a link to contact the company, which leads to a contact form with plenty of space to ask Mayflower Moving customer service representatives for help.
The company’s website holds a wealth of moving information. A comprehensive 8-week Mayflower Moving checklist outlines what customers should think about before, during, and after a move, along with reminders and tips that could help save money—such as checking in with the Move Coordinator after a highly successful garage sale that might reduce the overall moving estimate. A blog (which also feeds the company’s social media pages) offers thoughtful and well-supported articles on topics relevant to anyone considering a move or who has recently moved and is working on settling into their new home. A video library offers helpful guides on everything from packing boxes to helping pets adjust to a move. Articles help customers who haven’t moved before decipher the terminology used during a move, breaking down what customers ought to be looking for in a moving company and how they can protect themselves. The library is a wonderful resource regardless of whether or not a shopper plans to use Mayflower Moving services. However, as the company has offered these resources for free without requiring a registration or check-in, it’s likely that the goal of continuing to build trust with potential customers is the centerpoint of Mayflower’s marketing. At first glance it’s pretty effective in demonstrating that Mayflower has the customer’s best interest at the forefront of its business.
Mayflower Reviews by Customers
A glance at Mayflower Moving’s reviews on ConsumerAffairs and Trustpilot creates a sense of whiplash. Customers seem to be either very pleased with the company’s services or very displeased, which seems odd—until the business model is considered. It’s a co-op, which means that while Mayflower has supervision over the main company, the actual planning and moves are handled by local agents to allow for regional customization. Obviously, with over 500 agents nationwide, there is some variation in the quality of the service. Also evident in some of the reviews is that some customers don’t fully understand how the Full Value Protection works; many complaints about damage that wasn’t reimbursed to the customer’s satisfaction included items that should have been recorded on the High Value Inventory. Certainly there are some local agents who aren’t quite up to the company’s guarantee of quality, and it falls on the corporate shoulders to correct those problems and ensure appropriate training, but the company as a whole seems quite solid. Checking local review sites and social media, along with the local Mayflower Moving BBB (Better Business Bureau) entry to inquire how a local branch stacks up might be a better way for shoppers to assess what an individual’s experience might be like.
And what about the drivers? UniGroup maintains a Facebook page for its drivers that is full of information for drivers, inside jokes, and accolades for outstanding drivers each month. The company seems focused on keeping its drivers educated and appreciated, which goes a long way toward retaining quality drivers. Most customers know that workers who are satisfied and recognized for their hard work will be happier in their jobs and do those jobs well, so it’s encouraging to see that Mayflower is committed to supporting its drivers. In terms of reviews, the drivers who have posted are largely happy with their work experience at the company. Some customers have also left reviews, but again, those are mixed based on locality, and they’re a little tricky to parse out because of the nature of social media and its reputation for being a sounding board for just about anyone. Customers looking to seriously inquire about Mayflower’s moving and storage offerings may want to take these with a grain of salt and investigate the local agent to get a better read on what the experience might be.
How Mayflower Stacks Up to the Competition
Its moving packages and additional services have placed Mayflower among the best moving companies in the country. Along with its cousins United Van Lines, Allied Van Lines, and American Van Lines, Mayflower competes for the position of the best moving company in the country. Mayflower’s specialization in military moves certainly gives the company the edge in that particular sector. Many competitors offer similar services and also have longevity and fine reputations, but Mayflower’s deposit-free booking and generous cancellation policy along with its helpful MyMayflower planning portal push it slightly beyond what other companies can offer.
Should you hire Mayflower Moving?
Held up side by side against the best moving companies in the country, Mayflower holds its own. Especially for those who want a streamlined, managed move that comes as a complete package with a coordinator and no surprise charges on the day of the move—and that provides access to moving details right at their fingertips—Mayflower is a solid option to manage short- and long-distance moves of all sizes.
Before moving, potential clients may have some lingering questions about hiring Mayflower.
Q. Does Mayflower offer international moves?
Yes, Mayflower offers international moves to more than 150 countries. The process begins with an International Moving Consultation with an international move specialist to help customers understand the documents they’ll need, along with any limitations to what can be moved to another country. The package also includes Customs Clearance Management to ease the customer’s concerns about the complex rules of customs exchange between different countries, full packing, and a personalized international moving plan.
Q. What moving services does Mayflower Moving offer?
Mayflower provides long- and short-distance interstate, intrastate, and local moves, along with military and international moves. The company also has programs for older adults moving into facilities and other smaller-volume moves. Packing, unpacking, debris and trash removal, storage, and car shipment are also available.
Q. What is the largest moving company in the U.S.?
Currently, the largest moving company in the United States is UniGroup, of which Mayflower is a component.
Q. How much do you tip a mover?
Tips for excellent service are always up to the customer. A general starting point is to tip each mover between $10 and $20 per half day of work (about 4 hours), extending to $10 to $15 per half day for excellent work or as much as $50 for delicate or particularly outstanding service. For long-distance moves, it’s important to remember to tip workers at both ends of the trip, as they’ll likely be different crews. There’s no set amount in terms of etiquette, but the movers are handling your most precious possessions, and it’s kind to show appreciation with a tip for a job well done.
Q. What is the oldest moving company?
Bekins Van Lines, founded in 1891, is currently the oldest operating moving company in the United States. It was the first company to specialize in moving household goods.
Q. What is the cheapest day to hire a moving company?
Weekdays will typically be less expensive days to move than weekends. As Thursdays and Mondays can allow for long weekends to pack and unpack, the middle of the week, especially in the middle of the month, will be the least costly time to move.
Q. How do I find the best local movers?
First, look for referrals from friends, family members, online review sites, and social media. Choose a few likely candidates, then call and request written, detailed quotes. Ideally, the movers should ask specific questions about the contents and volume or come to your home before giving a quote. Look at the quotes (keeping in mind that cheapest is not always best) then check licenses, insurance, and the Better Business Bureau. Be prepared to make a small deposit, but be wary of companies requiring full payment up front, and keep copies of your signed contract.
Q. How can I make my moving cheaper?
There are many ways to make moving less expensive without sacrificing quality. Schedule the move for midweek instead of the weekend, and be flexible: Many moving companies offer a discounted rate if you don’t mind stretching the dates in one direction or another. Pack your own items—check or advertise on local social media pages to see if someone else has recently moved and wants to pass along packing boxes and material in good condition rather than throwing them away, or ask local big-box stores for broken-down boxes. Reduce the weight of the move by transporting some items in your car. Choosing a drive-yourself truck can save money if there are friends available to help load, but the time a larger move will take to complete yourself may make it less cost-effective than expected.
Q. What is the most expensive day to move?
Fridays and Saturdays at the beginning and the end of the month are the busiest moving days, especially in the summer months, and therefore are the most expensive days to schedule a move.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that individual experiences with this company may vary.