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    by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    Hiring a professional moving company helps keep everything streamlined and organized, especially for long-distance relocations. If you're looking for a less stressful moving experience, check out our top picks and information on how to find the best moving company for you.

    Our 7 top moving company picks of 2021

    The best movers should have excellent customer reviews, reliable services and fair prices. Our research team vetted 63 professional moving companies that are rated by more than 15,067 customers. Read our guide to choose the best moving company by comparing credentials, quotes and customer experience.

    Top pick methodology
    To select our top picks for this moving company guide, we compared all movers on our site with reviews over the last year. We then eliminated those with an overall satisfaction rating below 4 stars, leaving 21. To stay on the list, movers then needed to have at least a 2:1 ratio of 5-star to 1-star reviews, leaving eight companies. The ConsumerAffairs research team also considered availability of services when making the final selections.
    Our pick for nationwide availabilityAmerican Van LinesAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Types of moves: Local, long-distance, commercial, corporate, military
    • Additional services: Packing, storage, piano moving
    • Fleet size: 15 trucks, 39 tractors, 51 trailers
    • USDOT number: 614506

    American Van Lines specializes in moving fragile and high-value items across the U.S. The carrier has a wide range of long-distance moving services for businesses, residential customers and military personnel. Most cross-country moves cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

    What we like: You can get flat-rate pricing for long-distance moving, and its vans have air-ride suspension. We also like that the booking process is fast and easy.

    What to consider: Online quotes aren’t instant, and you must pay an upfront deposit to secure your move. There are also weight minimums to keep in mind.

    What customers say: As of publishing, American Van Lines has a 4.1-star rating on ConsumerAffairs. According to recent review data, the happiest customers frequently mention the company’s reliable service and helpful moving coordinators. Several reviews mentioned:

    • Quick communication, especially during the quote process
    • Responsive, proactive moving coordinators
    • Helpful, informed and courteous moving crews and customer service
    Our pick for valueColonial Van LinesAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Types of moves: Long-distance, corporate relocation
    • Additional services: Packing, storage
    • Fleet size: 21 trucks, 16 tractors, 21 trailers
    • USDOT number: 1434373

    With Colonial Van Lines, you can choose different packing options in case you need help with specific items. It can also accommodate last-minute moves. Costs vary depending on requested services and time of year. We were given a quote of between $1,712 to $3,500 for a three-bedroom move from Chicago to Houston booked two months in advance.

    What we like: Colonial Van Lines has lots of experience — the company handles around 12,000 moves a year. It also has climate-controlled storage options if the date of your move and the availability of your new home don’t line up.

    What to consider: The company requires a deposit to confirm a move. Include all the items you’re moving when requesting a quote to ensure the estimate is accurate.

    What customers say: As of publishing, Colonial Van Lines has a 4.3-star rating. Some complaints seem to be about discrepancies between estimates and final charges. The happiest customers frequently highlight the company’s prices and customer service. Recurring phrases that we noticed in recent 5-star reviews included:

    • Courteous drivers
    • Professional customer service
    • Easy to find online
    • Exceeded expectations
    Our pick for speedy deliveryUnited Nation Van LinesAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Types of moves: Long-distance, military, corporate relocation
    • Additional services: Packing, loading, storage
    • Fleet size: 15 trucks
    • USDOT number: 697249

    United Nation Van Lines guarantees that all drivers are licensed and insured. The company offers special senior moving packages, including full-service packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, specialty boxing and storage, if needed. Long-distance moving services cost anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000.

    What we like: United Nation Van Lines provides a handy moving tracker app. Customers work with a dedicated moving coordinator to schedule packing and relocation services.

    What to consider: The company does not offer local moving services. Also, a deposit may be required. According to one reviewer, the deposit was about a third of the total estimate.

    What customers say: As of publishing, United Van Lines has a 4-star rating. There are a few scheduling complaints, but, overall, most customers seem happy with the service. Positive reviews mention service and value. Some recurring phrases we noticed included:

    • Beyond-great customer service
    • Prices are quite a bit lower
    • Would highly recommend
    Our pick for easy bookingEmpire Moving GroupAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Types of moves: Local, long-distance
    • Additional services: Auto transport, full-service packing
    • Fleet size: None
    • USDOT number: 3304546

    Empire Moving Group provides moving services for residential and commercial clients, as well as options to ship your car. The company does not disclose rates online. For the most accurate pricing information, it’s best to contact the company directly. A recent reviewer paid $5,000 to move from California to New York.

    What we like: Empire can assist with all aspects of a move, from packing and loading to transport and unloading. The company can also provide boxes, packaging material, pads and other moving supplies.

    What to consider: It’s a moving broker, so it researches and prescreens movers on your behalf to find the right team for your move. With a moving broker, you rely on the company to pick the carrier to handle your move.

    What customers say: As of publishing, Empire Moving Group has a 4.1-star rating. A few complaints mention either scheduling issues or inaccurate estimates. However, most customers report a positive overall moving experience. Customers note:

    • Good communication
    • Fast, on-time workers
    • Personal items handled with care during packing and loading
    Our pick for long-distance brokerageMoving APT
    • Types of moves: Interstate, long-distance and international
    • Additional services: White-glove packing, car shipping
    • Fleet size: None
    • USDOT number: 2247863

    Moving APT specializes in coordinating interstate and long-distance relocations for residential and corporate clients. Car shipping and furniture moving services are also available. You can compare multiple quotes from different companies on its website. It costs $1,650 to $3,150 to move a small three-bedroom home from New York to Florida.

    What we like: Moving APT’s website is easy to use. You can compare multiple free quotes for moving and storage services at a time.

    What to consider: Like other brokers, the company works with a network of third-party carriers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some people prefer to work directly with a carrier. All booking fees are nonrefundable.

    What customers say: As of publishing, Moving APT has a 4.5-star rating. Of the company’s relatively few complaints, most seem to be about scheduling issues and hold times on the phone. Most customers have positive experiences with the broker, highlighting:

    • Fair pricing structure
    • Efficient, reliable services
    • Careful and professional team
    Our pick for customer serviceInterstate Moving & Relocation Group
    • Types of moves: Long-distance, corporate, military
    • Additional services: Full-service packing, auto transportation
    • Fleet size: None
    • USDOT number: 3034100

    Interstate Moving & Relocation Group is a moving broker with 25 years of experience facilitating moves across the U.S. It can arrange a full-service long-distance move that includes packing, labor and transport. According to one reviewer, it cost $3,000 to move items from a one-bedroom unit from Florida to New York.

    What we like: IMRG has more than 25 years of experience as a full-service moving broker. It works with a vast network of prescreened carriers so you can schedule service nationwide. IMRG also handles auto transport services if you’d like car shipping as part of your move.

    What to consider: Choosing any moving broker comes with a level of uncertainty because a different company will be doing the actual moving. Also of note: Interstate Moving & Relocation Group does not provide customer service on weekends.

    What customers say: As of publishing, IMRG has a 4-star rating. Some complaints seem to be from customers who were not aware of the company’s status as a moving broker, even though it is clearly stated on its website. Overall, positive reviews mention:

    • Affordable quotes
    • Hassle-free moving experience
    • Honest work and speedy deliveries
    Our pick for East Coast movesBold Moving and StorageAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Types of moves: Local, long-distance
    • Additional services: Packing, storage, cleaning, auto transport
    • Fleet size: 6 trucks, 2 tractors and 4 trailers
    • USDOT number: 3139358

    Bold Moving and Storage is a carrier based in Richmond, Virginia. Local moving services are available in Maryland, Virginia and the D.C. metro area. Long-distance and interstate moves are available for delivery anywhere in the U.S. Costs vary based on relocation distance and services requested. According to reviewers, price estimates are accurate and reasonable.

    What we like: Bold Moving and Storage facilitates relocations with plenty of service options. The booking process is easy, even for those with tight scheduling. Storage facilities are equipped with 24-hour video surveillance.

    What to consider: It’s not a nationwide mover. It’s available for moves that start around the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., areas.

    What customers say: As of publishing, Bold Moving and Storage has a 4.8-star rating. A few complaints seem to be about long hold times on the phone. Some of the happiest customers frequently mention the following topics and phrases:

    • Fast and courteous crews
    • On-time pickups and deliveries
    • Careful with furniture and cleaned up after

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      Who are the best movers near me?

      We compared local moving companies across the U.S. to help you find trusted movers in your city. Make sure to read local company moving reviews to find out what other people near you have experienced. Your first interaction with any local moving company is when you request a quote. If the moving representative is unhelpful or pushy at this time, it’s often best to find another company.

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      How to hire movers

      Finding a moving company doesn’t have to be a major chore. Follow these seven steps to find the best moving company for you:

      1. Get multiple estimates: With everything you need to do for a move, it’s tempting to choose the first moving company that looks good. However, it’s crucial to research businesses first and contact at least two or three moving companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Getting a moving quote gives you an idea of what the company charges for your move, but sometimes estimated quotes can change. Some companies price-match or throw in extras to gain you as a customer, so it’s beneficial to get multiple quotes.
      2. Conduct a walk-through: To get an accurate idea of how much movers cost, have multiple moving companies do a walk-through of your current home. Moving companies might charge extra for fragile items, bulky furniture or additional labor. The walk-through also gives you a chance to see if you feel comfortable with the company.
      3. Ask for references: Reputable moving companies provide references upon request. These references may be former clients, accrediting agencies or insurance agents. Checking references is an essential step when making sure a company is trustworthy, has a good track record and offers excellent customer service.
      4. Read customer reviews: It’s essential to know how other customers feel about the company and the types of complaints that are commonly made against it. A mover might look good on paper, but former customers can tell you what it is really like working with the company.
      5. Watch out for red flags: If the company has no address, hasn’t been operating very long or has more than one business name, this can be a sign of fraud or a scam. A company that has no references, reviews or reputation is also suspect and might be run by a scammer.
      6. Pay only on delivery: A reputable company does not ask for payment until the move is complete. Some companies may require a deposit (typically 20% or less), but you should never prepay the entire cost of a move. Pay your deposit with a credit card in case you end up having to dispute charges — it’s easier to get your money back this way.

      Types of movers

      There are two types of moving companies: brokers and carriers. The FMCSA states that a moving broker books moving services and hires carriers to complete the move. A moving carrier owns a fleet of trucks and handles the actual moving process.

      Brokers charge a fee for facilitating relocation services, handling logistics and providing customer services. With a carrier, you’re not dealing with a middleman, but you might have fewer moving date options.

      Long-distance movers

      Long-distance moving companies help customers relocate from one state to another. These movers are required to be registered with the DOT. Long-distance movers charge for services based on the distance of the move and the size of the move. Keep in mind that some companies may refer to longer intrastate moves as long-distance moves as well. Shop around and look for discounts to find the cheapest way to move long-distance.

      Local movers

      Some moving companies only operate within a defined local area, like within a specific city or state. These companies may be required to register with the DOT and/or local authorities. Local movers often charge by the hour.

      Corporate movers

      Corporate relocation companies specialize in moving entire businesses. They can move a large number of belongings, and they have relatively quick turnaround times to make sure the company being moved is back up and running as soon as possible. They also typically provide more packing material and organizational help, such as furniture assembly and disassembly, than other types of movers.

      International movers

      International moving companies help individuals, families and corporations move their belongings overseas. They are well-versed in international moving logistics, including shipping by air and sea, handling customs and tracking items.

      Full-service movers

      Full-service movers handle every aspect of a move, from packing the belongings in your current home to unpacking them at your new place and everything in between. Full-service movers are an excellent option for working professionals or anyone else who doesn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hiring full-service movers creates a stress-free moving experience.

      • Packing: Full-service movers pack your home and provide all the materials needed to safely and securely relocate your belongings. This includes handling any large items, like furniture, that may need to be disassembled to make moving easier.
      • Labor and transport: Full-service movers load your packed belongings and transport them to your new home.
      • Unpacking: Full-service movers unload and reassemble furniture. They can also unpack your belongings and dispose of all packing supplies before they go.

      Moving questions

      How much do movers cost?
      Professional relocation companies charge based on several factors. On average, a long-distance move costs between $2,000 and $5,000. You can expect local moving labor costs to range between $80 and $100 an hour. International moving costs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more.

      In addition to moving distance, price estimates depend on several factors, including:

      • The weight of your possessions
      • Your house or apartment size
      • The amount you tip your movers

      How much you pay your movers isn’t the only cost you’ll need to consider. Full-service movers provide boxes and other packing materials, but labor-only movers do not. Don’t forget to factor in those costs if you plan on doing your own packing. These supplies can add up, so we recommend creating a moving budget ahead of time and seeing what supplies you can get for free from friends, family or businesses that may be willing to pass on their recycled boxes. We also recommend getting quotes from at least a few companies to make sure you know you’re getting a fair rate.

      What is considered a long-distance move?
      Most U.S. movers consider a move long-distance if it exceeds a specific number of miles — typically 100 to 400. Most moves that require traveling over state lines are considered long-distance moves.

      If you’re planning a move and aren’t sure if it’s long-distance, ask your mover. How the mover classifies your move — local or long-distance — likely determines how it calculates your quote.

      Can you hire movers to move one item?
      Yes, you can hire movers to transport one item. Moving a large item like a piece of furniture or a piano requires specialized services and extra caution, especially if there are stairs or tight hallways involved. Most movers can relocate delicate or bulky items for a fee. They also have the proper materials to pack and transport bulky or fragile items safely.
      Can you hire movers without a truck?
      Yes, most movers offer services that don’t include a moving truck; you might hear this service referred to as labor-only moving. Labor-only movers typically charge by the hour. There are a few situations where you might want to hire movers without a truck:
      • You need help packing. If you’re moving delicate or fragile items that require special caution, consider hiring a professional to help you properly pack your valuables.
      • You need help loading or unloading. Maybe packing was a breeze, but loading and unloading are intimidating. You can hire movers by the hour to help you load and unload your possessions.
      What won't movers move?
      Movers usually won’t transport:
      • Perishable items
      • Hazardous materials
      • Plants
      • Pets

      While movers do handle items that can’t be replaced, such as valuable documents or personal and sentimental items, it may be best to pack those and keep them with you to prevent them from being lost or damaged.

      Depending on where you live, your mover might have specific regulations or guidelines to follow. Let the company know about any special items you need to transport to see if its employees can move them.

      Can you negotiate with moving companies?
      You can try using an estimate from one or several moving companies to negotiate prices with other movers. Find out the average cost to move a home the size of yours and compare features offered by different companies. Don’t be afraid to negotiate lower prices for additional fees and to ask about available discounts or promotions.

      Once you settle on a moving company, get a written contract that includes all costs.

      Will movers hold your stuff overnight?
      Many moving companies offer storage solutions. If your move-out and move-in dates don’t coincide or you run into unforeseen circumstances, ask your mover about storage options. Most movers can either keep your items in the moving truck or transfer them to a storage unit.
      Do I need moving insurance?
      Purchasing full-value protection insurance for your move is optional and not to be confused with hiring an insured mover. Any mover you hire should be registered, bonded and insured.

      Additional moving insurance can be purchased as an add-on to the base level provided by the moving company you hire. The insurance your moving company provides won’t cover everything, so the biggest benefit of purchasing additional coverage is making sure your most valuable assets are fully protected. We think this is especially important for long-distance moves or for anyone moving particularly valuable items, like art or antiques.

      Are professional movers worth it?
      This is a personal preference. A professional mover provides a valuable service and can help keep your move streamlined and organized, especially for long-distance moves. Choosing to handle a move yourself can definitely save you money, but what you save in dollars may cost you in work and stress. Even for smaller moves, which can still require intense labor, professional moving companies can be a lifesaver.
      Article source
      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.
      1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Movers vs. Brokers.” Accessed June 3, 2021.

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        by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team

        As a member of the ConsumerAffairs Research Team, Kathryn Parkman believes everyone deserves easy access to accurate and comprehensive information on products and businesses before they make a purchase, which is why she spends hours researching companies and industries for ConsumerAffairs. She believes conscious consumption is everyone's responsibility and that all content deserves integrity.

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