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Best Moving Companies in California 2021

If you’re looking to move within, out of, or into the Golden State, learn about the best moving companies in California with our guide. Compare cost, services, perks, and downsides.

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With so many options for professional movers, it becomes a chore to figure out which company is right for you and your family. That’s why the This Old House Reviews team has researched some of the best moving companies in the United States.

In this guide, we will go over the best options for moving companies in California and compare each company’s services, overall cost, pros, and cons.

Top Moving Companies in California

We name the following moving services the best in California based on in-depth research:

  1. International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
  2. Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
  3. North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
  4. 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
  5. JK Moving: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
  6. American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
  7. PODS: Most Convenient

Each moving service was graded on factors including its service options, protection plans, booking process, customer service, and container sizes. Depending on the size of your move and your moving needs, any of these companies may be a better option for your California move. For this reason, we recommend getting several estimates as you search for the best moving company for you and your family.

International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines (IVL) is a full-service mover that’s ideal for moving into or out of California long-distance. California is one of the five states in which IVL offers intrastate moves, but availability may be limited. The company provides comprehensive full-service options in-house, such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. We find IVL’s specialty services for antiques, artwork, and pianos a great value, too.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of International Van Lines:

✔ Above-average customer review scores
✔ Offers multiple protection plan options
✔ Provides top-tier specialty services for pianos, antiques, and expensive artwork

✘ Better suited for interstate moves than local moves
✘ No online booking option

Services

International Van Lines focuses on full-service moves, but it also offers partial-service and self-service moves. Customers work with the company to mix and match services to create the perfect moving package for them. IVL offers additional security for your belongings with a full-value protection plan and short-term and long-term storage solutions.

International Van Lines’ service options:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Loading and unloading
  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • Crating
  • Transportation
  • Contents protection plan options
  • Storage services
  • Specialty services for recreational and sports equipment, fragile items, large appliances, pianos, antiques, and more
  • Moving supplies
  • Vehicle relocation
  • Commercial moves

Cost

We received a quote from International Van Lines to move a two-bedroom home from Los Angeles to San Diego in about a month for $2,015–$3,445. This estimate has the mover load your belongings and transport them.

See what moving package International Van Lines can create for you by filling out this easy-to-use form.

Learn More: International Van Lines Review

Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation

If you are looking to avoid some wear and tear on your car, we recommend Allied Van Lines. Allied acts as a carrier for its services, which means it provides in-house transportation for vehicles. This option also means you can potentially save money on vehicle relocation when bundled with full-service options like loading and unloading.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of Allied Van Lines:

✔ Offers in-house vehicle relocation services
✔ Provides GPS tracking on all shipments
✔ Offers the Allied Extra Care Protection plan for comprehensive insurance coverage

✘ More suited to long-distance moves than local moves
✘ No online sample pricing

Services

Allied Van Lines is a full-service mover that focuses mainly on long-distance moving. Though it can help with local moves, Allied might be a better choice if you are looking to move cross-country to or from California. Popular service options include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. We find the company’s fragile-only packing option a good middle ground for partial-service moves.

Allied Van Lines service options:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Loading and unloading
  • Vehicle relocation
  • Transportation
  • Fragile-only pack
  • Packing supplies
  • Storage services
  • Corporate moves

Cost

Allied Van Lines provided us with a ballpark estimate to move a two-bedroom home with an average amount of belongings from Seattle to Los Angeles for $6,158–$7,038.

This quote is just a rough estimate, but Allied also provides binding estimates through in-home and virtual surveys. This process provides an accurate estimate that does not drastically change due to unforeseen events.

We encourage you to see what Allied Van Lines can do for your California move by completing this short survey.

Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review

North American Van Lines: Best for Claims

North American Van Lines is a full-service mover that provides extra financial security to your move. Its contents protection plan offerings include custom full-value release coverage, which is based on the value a customer declares on their shipment. This provides protection based on the actual value of your belongings rather than a predetermined amount based on weight. North American Van Lines also features a transparent, accessible, and detailed claims process that is easily accessed across its website.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of North American Van Lines:

✔ Easily accessible and transparent claims process
✔ Provides custom contents protection plans
✔ Offers separate customer support lines based on your type of move

✘ Storage services vary according to location
✘ Agent availability varies according to location

Services

North American Van Lines is a full-service mover, so customers receive services such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. The company also offers assistance with the installation of appliances, which is a rare perk.

North American Van Lines’ popular services:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Loading and unloading
  • Transportation and delivery
  • Fragile-only packing
  • Assistance with self-packing (such as help choosing which type and quantity of boxes and packing supplies are needed)
  • Installation and assembly for furniture and appliances
  • Moving and packing supplies
  • Short-term or long-term storage
  • Vehicle relocation services

Cost

We received a ballpark quote from North American Van Lines to move a two-bedroom home from Los Angeles to Seattle for a total of $6,135–$7,010. Similar to Allied, North American Van Lines offers binding estimates to further your financial peace of mind. To obtain a binding estimate with the company, you will have to schedule a virtual or in-home survey.

To schedule your virtual or in-home survey with North American Van Lines, provide some brief information here.

1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover

1-800-PACK-RAT acts as a great self-service moving company to potentially save money when compared to full-service movers. PACK RAT provides high-quality moving containers at competitive prices. The company also strives to provide a user-friendly experience through its customer portal and online resources, including its moving and storage blog. It features seven locations across Northern and Southern California.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of 1-800-PACK-RAT:

✔ Provides $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves
✔ On-site storage includes 24/7 security and climate-controlled units
✔ Offers price-matching with PODS

✘ Availability can be limited based on states you are moving in and out of
✘ Higher prices for a self-service mover
✘ No online booking process

Services

1-800-PACK-RAT provides self-service moves for local and long-distance moves. PACK RAT delivers your choice of portable storage container(s) to your point of origin. You load your belongings onto the container(s). Once loaded, you notify PACK RAT when to pick up and deliver your belongings to their destination. Customers receive 30 days worth of rental time, and PACK RAT provides additional flexibility with on-site storage services.

The company offers services for loading, unloading, and more through its partnership with HireAHelper.

1-800-PACK-RAT’s service options:

  • Moving container moves
  • Moving assistance via HireAHelper
  • Moving supplies
  • Short-term and long-term storage services
  • Vehicle relocation

Cost

We received a quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT for using a 16-foot container moving from Los Angeles to San Diego for a total of $1,238.70. This quote includes transportation, delivery and pickup, a no-cut security lock to protect your valuables, and protection coverage up to $10,000.

We suggest you learn what 1-800-PACK-RAT can do for your move in detail by filling out this online questionnaire.

Learn More: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

JK Moving: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover

JK Moving offers full-service and partial-service moving packages custom-made to fit your moving needs and budget. JK Moving is also one of the few moving companies that offers financing for its moves. Customers are able to receive rates as low as 0% same-as-cash on their moves with JK Moving.* The company does not offer intrastate moves within California, but JK Moving is a great full-service option for cross-country moving into or out of the state.

*Subject to credit approval

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of JK Moving:

✔ Offers GPS tracking
✔ Offers financing through Enhancify partnership
✔ Provides personal moving coordinators for each customer

✘ Storage is conducted by third-party companies
✘ No local moves for California

Services

JK Moving offers many industry-standard full-service options like packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. JK Moving collects details about your move and budget and determines what services are most beneficial for you to include in your package.

JK Moving service options:

  • Packing and unpacking services
  • Loading and unloading services
  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • Specialty services for items likes antiques and pianos
  • Transportation
  • Freighting
  • Crating
  • Long-term and short-term storage
  • Commercial moves
  • Government moves
  • Archive services

Cost

Because JK Moving customizes each of its packages, the company does not feature sample pricing online. The following factors will impact the price JK Moving quotes you:

  • Where your original home is located
  • The overall distance of your move
  • The size and weight of your move
  • The date and the time of year of your move
  • Additional services you purchase
Get a more accurate idea of what JK Moving can offer you by completing this short form.

Learn More: JK Moving Review

American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor

American Van Lines (AVL) is a great option if you are worried about having certain items handled effectively. Each of AVL’s movers are full-time movers that hold, on average, 10 years of moving experience. This allows AVL customers to receive reliable and skilled service for handling difficult or heavy items. American Van Lines supplies many industry-standard full-service options, such as furniture disassembly, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking and more.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of American Van Lines:

✔ Offers a price-matching policy
✔ Provides flat-rate pricing and binding estimates
✔ Expansive network of agents

✘ Up-front deposits range from 10%–50% of total amount
✘ Prices might be higher than some competitors

Services

American Van Lines offers full-service and partial-pack options for local and long-distance moves. The company handles every part of a move from start to finish with services like furniture disassembly, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and furniture reassembly. AVL provides partial-service moves as a cheaper alternative to its more expensive full-service moves.

One unique offering from American Van Lines is its fixed pricing. The price customers receive at the end of the quote process becomes a binding estimate that the company does not change. Despite any unexpected circumstances during the move, American Van Lines sticks to the price you are quoted. Other moving companies may adjust your overall cost due to such issues.

American Van Lines service options:

  • Loading and unloading
  • Full or partial packing and unpacking
  • Transportation
  • Specialty services for difficult items like pianos and expensive artwork
  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • Crating
  • Storage services
  • Moving supplies
  • Corporate moves

Cost

AVL does not post any sample pricing on its website, but it displays the average cost of some of its popular moves on its moving cost page. The company estimates a move from Los Angeles to Seattle for a two-bedroom apartment costs around $4,706. Since this is the average cost, this price includes a mixture of services.

If you want a more accurate quote of what your California move with American Van Lines might look like, we recommend you get a free quote by filling out this easy-to-use survey.

Learn More: American Van Lines Review

PODS: Most Convenient

PODS is a self-service mover for both cross-country and local moves. Similar to 1-800-PACK-RAT, PODS offers 30 days of storage rental in its cost. However, if you need additional time for loading and unloading, you can add another 30 days at rates starting at $149 per month, which is cheaper than 1-800-PACK-RAT. PODS also offers additional convenience with on-site storage services for both short-term and long-term storage.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of PODS:

✔ Detailed and transparent quote process
✔ On-site storage includes 24/7 security and climate controlled units
✔ Features high customer review scores

✘ Moving labor available only through third-party companies
✘ Requires plenty of time in advance to book

Services

PODS offers three container sizes: seven feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. The company includes $10,000 in contents protection on its moves, and it features more than 230 storage facilities across the nation. Moving assistance with services like loading and unloading are available through third-party companies PODS partners with.

PODS deals with local moves and interstate moves in every state.

PODS’ service options:

  • Self-service moving container moves
  • Moving supplies
  • Packing and unpacking via third-party companies
  • Loading and unloading via third-party companies
  • Long-term and short-term storage services
  • Commercial moves

Cost

We received a quote from PODS for a 16-foot container moving from Los Angeles to San Diego in roughly two months for a total of $1,264.95.

PODS is a pay-as-you-go service, so the price is broken down into payment stages. The first payment is $487.95 for the initial delivery. The second is $638 for transportation. The final payment is $139 for the final drop-off and pick-up. This quote includes the first month’s rental and $10,000 in contents protection, and it does not include taxes.

We encourage you to see how your pricing might break down with PODS by filling out this short questionnaire.

Learn More: PODS Review

Compare the Top California Moving Companies

California witnesses a lot of migration and moving. Perhaps you’re part of the large exodus leaving the state currently or maybe you’re looking to move into the state for the booming tech industry in San Francisco or the vibrant cultural scene of Los Angeles.

Either way, a professional moving company helps make this daunting task simple and stress-free.

See how the best california movers stack up against each other:

Comparing the Top Moving Companies in CA

Provider International Van Lines Allied Van Lines North American Van Lines 1-800-PACK-RAT JK Moving American Van Lines PODS
Provider International Van Lines Allied Van Lines North American Van Lines 1-800-PACK-RAT JK Moving American Van Lines PODS
Get a Quote Visit Here Visit Here Visit Here Visit Here Visit Here Visit Here Visit Here
Our Superlative Best Overall Full-Service Mover Best for Vehicle Relocation Best for Claims Best Overall Self-Service Mover Most Customizable Full-Service Mover Most Experienced Moving Labor Most Convenient
Local Yes, but not ideal Yes, but not ideal Yes Yes No No Yes
Long-Distance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labor included Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Specialty Services Antiques, pianos, vehicles Antiques vehicles Appliance installation None Antiques, pianos, vehicles Antiques, pianos None
Storage Services Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Quoted Price $2,015–$3,445 $6,158–$7,038 $6,135–$7,010 $1,238.70 Not available $4,706 $1,264.95

Other Considerations When Moving In California

When moving, there are several other services you may need or want to consider besides a moving company. You will need home insurance, and you may want a home warranty; especially given California’s reputation for wildfires and earthquakes.

Depending on the type of home you are moving into, you may need a lawn care service or pest control service. Both of these services are highly important in California as the state witnesses all kinds of problems with gophers, rats, and ants.

Consider reading some of the articles listed below to help better prepare you:

Moving Companies in California FAQs

How much are local movers in CA?

If you are looking to move just around a few city blocks, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to roughly $1,500. This price depends greatly on the size of your move.

What is the best month to move?

Typically, moves during late September to April see some lower rates. Demand for movers usually slows down during this time frame, so companies lower their rates to encourage you to book with them.

Will movers move alcohol?

If you are looking to relocate with your California wine, most moving companies will handle alcohol, both closed and open bottles. We suggest you use a double-layer cardboard box with some padding in between bottles to minimize the risk of them breaking.

Conclusion

The size of your move, the overall distance of your move, your budget, challenging and fragile items you own, and the amount of labor needed will all impact which company will be the best option for your move to, away from, or within the Golden State. Think about what you and your family want most out of a professional moving service before deciding on a moving company.

If you value having a company handling almost every part of your move, look into full-service movers like International Van Lines, Allied Van Lines, and North American Van Lines.

If you do not mind the DIY approach to things and are looking to save money, check out self-service movers like 1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS.

We recommend gathering multiple quotes to accurately compare each company and what they can bring to your California move.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on seven factors:

  • Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and or international moves?
  • Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
  • Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
  • Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
  • Trailers/containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
  • Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
  • Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular reviews sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.