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Which Moving Services are Right for You?

Men unloading chair from moving van
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Moving services aren’t one-size-fits-all. From auto-shipping companies to trailer rentals, to a POD or the most basic two men and a truck type of moves, you have decisions to make from a variety of different movers. You have to ask yourself, “Which moving service is right?” Allow plenty of time to see how your options fit your timeline and your budget.

Avoid the hassle (and the potential expense) of on-the-fly moving decisions. Compare moving companies and your choices to see the best options in your area with these new home moving services.

Which moving service is right for your move?

After you’ve asked yourself which moving service is right, you need to consider all the different movers and moving options. It depends on how much stuff you’re moving, how far you’re moving, and even what your budget is. Here are all the different movers to consider.

Full-service professional movers

So, what is full-service moving? It allows you to skip the backache because moving companies do the heavy lifting for you. Look for moving help by searching for the best reviews online using words like “considerate” or “professional.” Movers can range from a two men and a truck operation to massive crews who clean out a house in no time. Companies like Mayflower and United Van Lines are popular full-service movers, but you can most likely find a variety of companies in your area with a quick internet search.

  • You should use professional movers if: You have a large household or a long-distance move.
No heavy liftingMore expensive
No driving a moving truckLess control over the treatment and care of items
The carrier insures your itemsAdd-on fees for packing or unpacking
Gratuity for each moving professional is an added expense

Truck rental

When you need to get from here to there on your terms, a moving truck rental from a company like Penske Truck Rental, U-Haul, or other “pack yourself” moving companies could be the way to go. You decide how much truck you need, plus when and where you’ll pick it up. You’ll pay for the size of the moving truck, not what’s inside. But note that inexperienced packers could end up with damaged items or scratched furniture.

  • You should use a truck rental if: You have a short-distance move or are moving on a budget
Set your own travel timesDrive a large truck yourself
Compare fees to save moneyMove other vehicles separately
Rental goes by truck size and not the weight of your itemsExtra fees for not filling up the gas tank or cleaning out the back of the truck before returning
May need to purchase additional insurance


When your belongings are taking over and a move is in the not-too-distant future, storage units may be the right answer. Tidy up your home to sell or stow your stuff between moves. Opt for a moving container like PODS for simple storage to get the extra space you need at a price you can afford.

  • You should use storage if: You have short-term move or are doing home staging
Multiple types of storage units fit a variety of itemsSome storage companies continue to raise prices during the life of your lease
Range of pricing and featuresSecurity differs between companies and locations
Convenient Your storage unit may be hard to access

Auto shipping

When you need to get your vehicle to your new home, auto shipping companies will do it for you. Have your car travel by open trailer, single-bed trailer rental, or train. Compare the options, plan ahead, and it might cost you less than you thought.

  • You should use auto shipping if: You have a long-distance or international move.
Simple way to get vehicles to a new homePricey
Work with companies to save moneyInitial costs are estimates
Less stress of dealing with moving multiple cars long distancesNot as much control over your vehicle

Junk removal

If you’ve got junk and don’t know what to do with it all, a junk-removal service can wade through the mess. Don’t waste your time sorting through things you don’t need. This service works well for anyone buried under stuff who needs a way to clean it out, fast.

  • You should use junk removal if: You have a large, established household
Fast elimination of overwhelming itemsHard to get a set price before using the service
Some companies will actually pay you for your junkA valuable item could be junked before you realize it
Minimal effort on your partSome junk removal services aren’t environmentally friendly

Moving container

A moving container is a bit of a combination of some of the other moving options. With a container, you can pack it all up yourself and then have a moving or shipping company transport it for you. You still have some control but don’t actually have to do the transporting.

  • You should use a moving container if: You have a long-distance move and a lot of stuff
You can pack your own thingsIf you don’t pack your things well, you’re at risk of damaging your own property in transit
You don’t have to worry about transporting anythingThese can be pricey
The container can double as storage if you need it toYou’re at the mercy of the delivery company’s time, and sometimes you don’t get your stuff promptly.

Professional packers

If you hate packing, you can hire someone to do the whole job for you. Yes, someone will actually come to your home and do the entire packing job while you do absolutely nothing. For some people this is ideal, but it’s not for everyone.

  • You should use professional packers if: You don’t have time to pack
Saves you timeCan be pricey
Minimal effort on your partYou’re at the mercy of the company doing the packing, including their time
Packing can be done very quicklyProfessional packers don’t know the value or sentimentality behind your items and might not treat them with the same care you would

What to consider when researching different movers:

Zero Creatives/ Getty Images

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all your moving company options? Narrow down your list using the tips below. Figuring out the right moving company for your move is easy once you know what you need to look for and what you should ask the different movers.

  1. Experience
    You don’t need to bypass a new company, but you should double-check on the experience of its movers. You want professional movers who understand how to load your things so you don’t end up with damaged furniture and broken dishware.
  2. Online reviews
    People are more likely to complain than to leave a compliment, but scrolling through online reviews can be revealing. Use a site like the Better Business Bureau to help you decide if a professional moving company is right for you. Are the bad reviews due to user error or actual, serious issues with your potential moving service?
  3. Licensed and insured
    Some companies resort to shady insurance practices. Unlicensed and uninsured movers could destroy your things during a move and leave you to pick up the pieces. Check if your insurance will cover you or if you should purchase additional coverage.
  4. Guaranteed pickup and delivery
    A moving service might offer great rates, but if their response to scheduling is, “It varies,” you may need to move on. What’s the timeline of pickup and arrivals? Can your move be pushed back if necessary? Find out if your scheduled date and time are guaranteed.
  5. In-home estimates
    A reputable moving service will head to your home for a free in-home consultation. They’ll view your rooms, the amount of stuff you have, and get a clear view of your needs so you both know what’s ahead. Can you get a better price by switching up the day of the week or opting to move in a different season? See if fuel is an extra fee and the type of delivery timeline the company follows.
  6. COVID-19 safety precautions
    With COVID-19 still being very much at play, you want to keep that top of mind when hiring any company to come to help you move. Ensure that the company is following proper safety protocols like wearing masks, social distancing, and being sanitary.

How to choose a moving service in 4 steps: 

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Step 1: Evaluate your situation

The first thing you have to do is consider your own moving situation. Do you have a lot to move? Are you moving far? Are you taking a car? Write down an outline for your move so you know where to start.

Step 2: Research the proper moving service for your move

Once you know what type of moving service you need, research movers to fit your situation. Use the tips we provided to narrow down your moving company options.

Step 3: Ask all the questions

After you’ve narrowed down the options in the category of movers you need, ask all the moving companies questions, like how they’re handling COVID-19, what their timelines are like, and how they price their services.

Step 4: Lock it all in

Once you’ve settled on a moving company, lock everything in. Get a reservation, a quote, and a plan in writing so you’re ready when moving day comes.

The bottom line

Do you go for a U-Haul, PODS moving containers, or clear out the clutter with a junk removal service? Should you sell your car, rent a truck trailer, or consider one of the auto shipping companies? Do you need a moving truck or a moving service? Consider your situation, your belongings, and your experience with moving. There’s no perfect answer for knowing which moving service is right, but you can figure out which is right for you.

How confident are your packing skills? Do you have a lot of friends or family to help? What can your bank account, and your lifestyle, handle? There is no perfect solution — all you can do is evaluate your personal circumstances and decide what makes the most sense for your timeline, your budget, and, yes, your sanity.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the average cost of a moving company?


Local movers can start at $30 an hour. A long-distance move, according to data from PODS, can run $1,237-$2,999. Depending on your location, the amount of competition, the time of year, and the size of your home, your prices will rise. Extra fees, like packing or unpacking, can tack on more to your final bill.


How much does auto shipping cost?


Moving your car with an auto shipping company depends on the type of shipping you choose. An open trailer in a short move could cost several hundred dollars. CostHelper states the average coast-to-coast cost for shipping a four-door sedan runs between $600-$1,000. But, a cross-country move on a train may run from $800-$1000, according to A-1 Auto Transport.


Do professional moving services offer packing supplies?


Some moving companies show up with boxes, packing tape, and moving blankets they’ll need to pack your home. Others charge extra for the dollies and straps to secure your items. Find out what’s included in your move by interviewing potential moving services.


Should you tip professional movers?


Yes, you should tip the people who moved your items, even if you gave them food. If you had a positive experience with the crew, plan to tip between 5% to 10% of the total cost of your move. Divide that amount by the number of workers for your final total.


Is it safe to move during COVID-19?


Yes, as long as you talk to the moving company ahead of time to ensure they’re following CDC recommendations. Figuring out which moving service is right for a move during COVID-19 is important. Make sure anyone who enters your home wears a mask and washes their hands. Keep your distance from them as much as possible as well. As long as everyone is careful, it should be no problem to move amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hedy Phillips contributed to this post

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