Advertiser Disclosure

Which Moving Services are Right for You?

Men unloading chair from moving van
Hero Images / Getty Images

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. Allow plenty of time to see how your options fit your timeline and your budget.

So avoid the hassle (and the potential expense) of on-the-fly moving decisions. Compare moving companies and your options to see the best options in your area.

What moving services make sense for you?

Professional movers

Skip the backache: 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 simple the two men and a truck operation, to massive crews who clean out a house in no time.

  • Who it’s most useful for: Large households, long-distance moves
  • Pros: No heavy lifting, no driving a moving truck, the carrier insures your items
  • Cons: More expensive, less control over the treatment and care of items, add-on fees for packing or unpacking, gratuity for each moving professional is an added extra 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 or U-Haul 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.

  • Who it’s most useful for: Short-distance moves, movers on a budget
  • Pros: Set your own travel times, compare fees to save money, rental goes by truck size and not the weight of your items
  • Cons: Drive a large truck yourself, move other vehicles separately, extra fees for not filling up the gas tank or cleaning out the back of the truck before returning, may need to purchase additional insurance

Storage

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.

  • Who it’s most useful for: Short-term moves, home staging
  • Pros: Multiple types of storage units fit a variety of items (including vehicles), range of pricing and features, convenient
  • Cons: Some storage companies continue to raise prices during the life of your lease, security differs between companies and locations, 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.

  • Who it’s most useful for: Long-distance movers, International movers
  • Pros: Simple way to get vehicles to a new home, work with companies to save money, less stress of dealing with moving multiple cars long distances
  • Cons: Pricey, initial costs are estimates

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.

  • Who it’s most useful for: Large, established households
  • Pros: Fast elimination of overwhelming items
  • Cons: Hard to get a set price before using the service, a valuable item could be junked before you realize it, some junk removal services aren’t environmentally-friendly

Considerations for choosing the best moving companies

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.

  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.

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.

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.


Man on computer

Everything for your move, all in one place

Curate your personalized moving checklist, set up TV & Internet, and more with a free MYMOVE account.

Get Started

Already have an account? Sign In

View our Privacy Policy

Related Articles

A Complete List of Moving Discounts for College Students

College is an amazing investment in your future. But it’s also expensive. As a college student preparing to move, make sure you know about the variety of storage and moving discounts out there.

Read More

Storage Unit Prices: What to Expect

When trying to figure out average storage unit prices, you have to consider their size and location. And if you choose to use climate-control storage, that will also impact the price.

Read More

A Complete List of What Won’t Moving Companies Move

The last thing you want on Moving Day is to get stuck with leftover items that movers won’t move. So, before you hire a professional moving company, do some research. Find out what movers won’t move ahead of time. That way, you can decide whether or not you should dispose of those items, or try to transport them yourself.

Read More