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Best packing services

Paying a mover to pack your things could be worth the added cost

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    North American Van Lines, Allied Van Lines and JK Moving Services
    two men wrapping a piece of furniture in a room full of moving boxes

    Moving companies offer more than just loading and unloading services. Many provide packing and unpacking services, too, which can be helpful if you’re short on time. If you’re looking for ways to offload some of the tasks associated with your next move, check out our guide on how to find the best packing company for you.

    Our top picks

    To make our choices for the best packing companies, we collected 17 data points each for 70 companies. We analyzed these data points to compare cost, availability and add-on services to make our final selections.

    Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear. As of publishing, each company on this list has a rating of at least 3.6 stars out of 5 on our site.

    JK Moving Services
    • Rating on CA as of publishing:   4.1
    • Availability: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    • USDOT number: 1065394

    JK Moving Services offers full-service and fragile packing as well as furniture disassembly and reassembly, short- and long-term storage and auto transport. It performs local, long-distance, interstate and international relocations to and from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    JK Moving provides a dedicated moving agent for each move, and you can complete a virtual survey of your home to get a cost estimate.

    According to its website, its “green moving” practices have saved more than 4.5 million pounds of garbage from landfills. The company recycles wood, cardboard and paper from its moves and compacts anything it sends to the landfill.

    Happy JK Moving customers on our site mention the quality of the packing. One reviewer from Virginia said: “JK Moving met all my needs and the price. They came out, gave us a quote and it was accurate. The driver was very nice, and the people who loaded were very nice as well. I'd tell others to go with JK Moving unless they find something that they think is much better. They were very honest and very good at packing my stuff. I would just go with them.”

    Allied Van Lines
    • Rating on CA as of publishing:   4.0
    • Availability: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    • USDOT number: 76235

    Allied Van Lines’ line of additional services includes fragile packing, furniture disassembly and reassembly, short-term and long-term storage and auto transport. It offers local, long-distance, interstate, international, corporate and military moves, as well as container moving.

    According to its website, Allied has completed more than 750,000 moves in the U.S. over the past 15 years. It provides customer service around the clock.

    You can easily schedule a virtual in-home survey to get an estimate of your belongings, and once the move is in effect, you can track your shipment on the Allied website. All you need is your last name and your move number.

    Satisfied customers on our site like Allied’s customer service and attention to detail. One reviewer from Illinois said about their two moves with Allied: “Both times everything went very smoothly — from the estimate to the customer service support, to the packers and the truck driver. ... The two packers took a full day to package everything in our 2,400-square-foot townhome, and then the four loaders, including the truck driver, spent five hours loading everything. … I would use this company again. Highly recommend!”

    North American Van Lines
    • Rating on CA as of publishing:   3.5
    • Availability: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    • USDOT number: 70851

    North American Van Lines offers full-service and fragile packing, furniture disassembly and reassembly, short-term and long-term storage, GPS tracking and auto transport, and it can service your local, long-distance, interstate, international, corporate or military relocation.

    North American Van Lines also provides customer service 24/7. It completes moves across the U.S. and in Washington, D.C.

    The North American Van Lines website is full of helpful moving resources, including moving and packing tips and checklists, timelines, packing calculators and frequently asked questions. It also provides a dedicated moving agent for each move.

    Reviewers on our site who were happy with North American Van Lines often mention the quality customer service. A customer from South Dakota said: “From the moving estimate to the last piece of furniture off the truck, they handled everything expertly. I would definitely recommend them. Everyone we dealt with was friendly and professional. These folks know what they are doing. They were some of the hardest workers we have ever seen when it came to packing, loading and unloading.”

    Types of packing services

    Moving companies generally offer several additional services you can choose from based on your needs and budget. This selection ranges from do-it-yourself packing and loading to full-service packing and furniture assembly.

    The most common packing services include:

    • Full-service: With full-service packing, the company handles all the packing and moving tasks for you. The mover provides packing supplies, like boxes, tape, packing paper and cushioning material, and then packs up the boxes for you, ensuring that your most fragile items are safe and secure before loading them onto the truck. Movers can also disassemble large pieces of furniture (as needed) and transport your items to your new place. Even after you’ve arrived at your destination, they’ll unload and unpack the boxes for you.
    • Partial-service: Partial service may be a good option if you’re looking for something more a la carte. For instance, you could pay for the company to pack up the kitchen — this room tends to have the most fragile items, so it can take the most time to pack up.
    • Self-service: Self-service means you do all the packing, loading and unloading yourself. In this case, you might rent a moving truck or a portable moving container (like a pod) and then pack and load your things on your own. It’s a cheaper option; however, it requires you to do all the heavy lifting yourself, including moving furniture and appliances onto the truck.

    How much do packing services cost?

    Average packing costs can vary, depending on where you live, the distance of the move and how much stuff you need packed up. You could even pay more based on the day of the week you move — Friday, Saturday and Sunday rates tend to be higher.

    Also, keep in mind that some companies charge separately for unpacking services. It’s important to thoroughly review the quote to ensure that all the services you want are included upfront.

    For a local two-bedroom home with full-service packing, you might spend around $2,000. Here are some estimates for each type of packing service:

    Full servicePartial serviceSelf-service
    Studio apartment$770 to $1,290$630 to $1,020$500 to $760
    2-bedroom home$1,730 to $2,220$1,330 to $1,680$930 to $1,150
    3-bedroom home$2,660 to $3,620$2,000 to $2,670$1,330 to $1,740
    4-bedroom home$3,600 to $5,390$2,660 to $3,920$1,730 to $2,460

    Prices assume a local move of fewer than 50 miles.

    What to look for in a packing and moving company

    Moving scams are on the rise, so it’s important to know how to identify a legitimate company. It could cost you thousands of dollars if you fall victim to one of these scams.

    When choosing a reputable moving company, you can first ask family and friends for recommendations. Inquire about any issues they experienced during their move and how the company worked to resolve them.

    You can also search for moving companies in your area and read customer reviews. Even if most reviews are positive, you should still read through any negative ones. Pay attention to a company's response to those negative reviews, too — this can help you see which prioritize customer service.

    Once you’ve compiled a shortlist of moving companies to research, check that the companies are registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (for interstate movers) or your state government (intrastate movers). Look for a USDOT number on the company’s website, which you can confirm with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    If the company is legitimate, it should provide a quote detailing all the moving costs and a moving contract. The moving contract is essential because it shows what the moving company is responsible for and what will happen if your items are damaged during the move.

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      When should you start packing for a move?

      You should start packing for a move at least one month in advance, if not sooner. It’s a good idea to make a packing plan ahead of time, which includes the scheduled days you hope to pack up certain rooms. Give yourself a buffer to ensure you have everything packed in case something unexpected, like an illness, comes up. Having a plan helps reduce the overall stress of moving.

      What will movers not pack?

      There are several potentially hazardous materials movers won’t pack or load onto the truck. These may include cleaning solutions (like bleach or ammonia), fertilizer, paint, paint thinner, pool chemicals and gasoline. You can ask the moving company for a list of prohibited items so you can plan how to dispose of or transport these items on your own. You should transport sentimental or valuable items (e.g., family heirlooms, jewelry) and important documents (e.g., Social Security cards, passports) yourself.

      How much does it cost to have a mover pack and move for you?

      The cost of hiring a mover can vary greatly, depending on several factors. However, for a local move of fewer than 50 miles, you can expect to pay at least $1,000 for a full-service mover. For a long-distance move of more than 400 miles, you can expect to pay at least several thousand dollars.

      What’s the most efficient way to pack when moving?

      The most efficient way is to go room by room and pack items you don’t currently need first (like out-of-season clothes or extra sets of dishes). You might want to start with the kitchen — it usually takes more time than other rooms.

      Bottom line

      Moving companies typically provide several extra services to fit your moving needs. Full-service moving may be the most expensive option, but it can be a huge help to have trained movers pack and load your boxes, especially for a cross-country move. If you’re looking to save money on moving costs, you may opt for partial service or self-service, especially if it’s a simple local move.

      Either way, before you schedule a mover, make sure it’s a reputable company that’s registered with the proper authority and insured. Get a quote in writing, and read over the moving contract carefully before you sign.

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