clock menu more-arrow no yes

Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2021

Whether you’re moving across the country or across town, relocating can be an expensive ordeal. Read our guide on the cheapest moving companies with detailed information about services, availability, and pricing.

Cardboard moving boxes in a bright, white kitchen area of a home. Adobe

Moving can be one of the most stressful processes you’ll undertake, but hiring a mover can provide some peace of mind. While professional movers can save you time, they often come with certain expenses. If you’re planning an interstate move, a long-distance mover will charge you for the distance and weight of your move, as well as for additional services, contents protection plans, storage services, and monthly rental charges.

Luckily, there are a variety of affordable options in the moving industry. The This Old House Reviews Team has researched the best moving companies in the nation and gathered multiple quotes and price estimates to help you find an affordable mover.

This guide covers our top picks for cheap moving companies and compares them on their average cost, services offered, and state availability.

5 Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2021

After in-depth research our review team found these to be the most affordable moving companies:

1. U-Pack: Most Affordable

U-Pack is our pick for the most affordable mover. This self-service mover offers a pay-for-what-you-use space policy on its moving trailers. This option allows customers to pay per foot on a moving trailer, allowing for flexibility in pricing.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of U-Pack:

✔ Its pay-for-what-you-use policy provides flexibility for space and budget
✔ Provides GPS tracking on your containers
✔ Has competitive pricing for a self-service mover

✘ Doesn’t provide access to storage during transit
✘ U-Pack’s service guarantee is included only with the purchase of additional services
✘ Gives customers only three days to load and unload their belongings

Services

U-Pack offers self-service portable storage container moves. The company delivers one of its container options to your home, you load your belongings at your own pace within the three days allotted, you notify the company when to pick up and deliver the container to your new home, and you unload your belongings at your own pace.

U-Pack provides its ReloCube moving container (70” x 82” x 93”) or a large moving trailer used by ABF Freights. For the moving trailer, customers pay for only the square footage they use.

U-Pack does offer less time to load and unload its containers when compared to PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT, both of which offer 30 days. However, careful planning can potentially save you money by renting U-Pack’s containers.

U-Pack service options:

  • Portable moving container services
  • Pay-for-what-you-use moving trailer services
  • Delivery
  • Moving labor via third-party companies
  • GPS tracking
  • Contents protection plans

Cost

We received a quote for two ReloCubes going from Boston to Chicago for $2,613. We also received a quote for 13 feet of space in a moving trailer for $2,044. The company claims these estimates are all-inclusive with no hidden fees. These quotes also include five to seven business days for transit.

Learn how much money you could save with U-Pack by filling out this short survey.

State Availability

U-Pack offers its services in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico. For local or shorter-distance moves, U-Pack has a 150-mile requirement to provide its services.

Our Take on U-Pack

If you want a self-service or partial-service moving experience on a budget, we recommend U-Pack. The company provides the overall lowest average cost we have come across. U-Pack also provides adjustable contents protection plans and GPS tracking to add further security to your relocation.

Learn More: U-Pack Review

2. International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover

If you want a company to handle almost every part of your move, but you still want affordable rates, look into International Van Lines (IVL). IVL provides moving services such as packing, furniture disassembly, loading, transportation, unloading, furniture reassembly, and unpacking at competitive rates for a full-service mover.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of International Van Lines:

✔ Offers multiple protection plans
✔ Offers specialty services for artwork, antiques, and pianos
✔ Provides vehicle relocation services

✘ Doesn’t offer pricing online
✘ Customer reviews vary according to location and mention difficulty in communication
✘ Is better suited as a long-distance moving company

Services

International Van Lines can mix and match its services for customers based on both moving needs and budget. The company also offers full-value protection plans and storage solutions. If you’re looking to move difficult items, such as antiques and pianos, International Van Lines offers top-tier specialty services with its moving packages.

International Van Lines’ services:

  • Packing and unpacking services
  • Loading and unloading services
  • Delivery
  • Crating
  • Specialty services for recreational and sports equipment, fragile items, large appliances, pianos, antiques, and more
  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • Protection plan options
  • Short-term and long-term storage
  • Moving supplies
  • Vehicle transportation services
  • Corporate relocation services

Cost

IVL gave us a quote of $4,200–$6,150 for moving a three-bedroom home from Boston to Chicago within two months’ time. This quote includes loading services and transportation.

If you want a more accurate idea of what your moving package with International Van Lines might look like, complete this short questionnaire.

State Availability

International Van Lines provides its services in all 50 states, and it also helps with international moves.

Our Take on International Van Lines

International Van Lines is a great choice if you want competitive rates for full-service options like packing and unpacking. The company offers one of the most comprehensive service selections with services ranging from packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, furniture assembly, storage, and car transportation. Its specialty services and protection plans are also great inclusions for those looking for complete security during relocation.

Learn More: International Van Lines Review

3. Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation

Allied Van Lines is an experienced full-service moving company that offers customizable local, long-distance, and international relocation plans. Following an in-home estimate, Allied can provide a guaranteed flat rate, and customers can pick and choose from additional services to create a customized package that fits their budgets. Add-on options include the transportation of most vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVS, vans, boats, motorcycles, and snowmobiles. The company owns a fleet of carrier trucks, so customers work directly with Allied on vehicle transportation needs, not with a third-party agent.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of Allied Van Lines:

✔ A la carte-style packages allow customers to pick and choose the services they want without extending their budget
✔ Offers vehicle coverage of up to $100,000 with no deductible
✔ Provides mobile storage containers through Allied Express, an alternative solution to metal move containers that includes loading and unloading

✘ Doesn’t provide instant quotes for local moves
✘ Doesn’t offer 24/7 claims support

Services

Allied Van Lines offers a range of moving options, from DIY support to full-service packages, and it also provides storage, moving kits, and helpful online moving resources. The variety of services available means you can tailor your moving package to your specific needs, the size of your move, and your budget. The company, which has been in business for more than 90 years, is experienced in handling local, long-distance, and international moves.

Allied Van Lines services:

  • Full-valuation coverage
  • GPS tracking
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Loading and unloading
  • Fragile-only packing
  • Boxes and moving supplies
  • Appliance disconnection and reconnection

Cost

Allied Van Lines offers free basic liability insurance, but supplemental insurance and optional services, such as crating and vehicle relocation, come with additional costs. For example, a basic package (without additional services) to move a two-bedroom home from Trenton, New Jersey, to Columbia, South Carolina, in late September would cost between $3,501 and $4,033, according to Allied’s online planning tool.

Factors that could impact the total cost of your move with Allied Van Lines include:

  • The date and time of your move
  • The distance of your move
  • The size and weight of your items
  • The addition of optional services

We recommend getting a more detailed quote from Allied Van Lines by filling out this quick online form.

State Availability

With the largest network of local movers in the world, Allied Van Lines is available in all 50 states and in more than 130 countries across the globe.

Our Take on Allied Van Lines

Due to its long-standing reputation in the industry, Allied Van Lines is a good choice for those seeking experienced full-service movers, especially for long-distance relocations. The company can provide a guaranteed flat rate, ensuring you will not go over budget. Additionally, Allied’s in-house vehicle relocation services can provide cost savings to customers when they bundle the add-on with other full-service options.

Start your quote process with Allied Van Lines by taking this online survey or by calling 877-483-9424.

Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review

4. 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service

Our top pick for a self-service mover is 1-800-PACK-RAT. This company provides similar services to U-PACK, but it does so at a higher average cost and with more size options. 1-800-PACK-RAT also features a partnership with HireAHelper, which allows customers to receive reputable labor for services like loading and unloading, while having the flexibility of a self-service mover.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of 1-800-Pack-Rat:

✔ Includes $10,000 of protection on long-distance moves
✔ Has a variety of useful online resources and tools, such as a moving calculator
✔ Offers three different sizes of weather-proof containers

✘ Available in only 29 states
✘ Bookings and estimates must be completed over the phone

Services

1-800-PACK-RAT offers industry-standard self-service moving options. In addition, the company provides short-term and long-term storage solutions that can be added to your move. 1-800-PACK-RAT also provides more size options than U-Pack. It offers eight-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot containers.

1-800-PACK-RAT’s services:

  • Portable storage container moves
  • Short-term and long-term storage services
  • Moving labor via HireAHelper
  • Moving supplies
  • Auto transportation services

Cost

We obtained a quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT for a 16-foot container moving from Chicago to Houston in about a month for $3,316.53. This price includes all transportation for the move including delivery and pick-up, a no-cut security lock, and up to $10,000 in contents protection.

Get a free quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT by completing this easy-to-use form.

State Availability

1-800-PACK-RAT can help any customer with moving and storage within a 100-mile radius of each of its locations. It also states that it can most likely help with a move in the United States even if a location is not nearby, so we suggest you contact the company to learn more.

1-800-PACK-RAT features locations in the following areas:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

Our Take on 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT is our pick for ‘Best Overall Self-Service Mover’ due to its competitive rates, partnership with HireAHelper, storage options, and quality of its portable storage containers. 1-800-PACK-RAT also provides adjustable contents protection plans.

Learn More: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

5. PODS: Most Convenient

PODS is another self-service storage container company that acts as an affordable alternative to full-service movers. PODS provides one of the most convenient moving experiences due to its 30-day window for you to load and unload your moving containers included in the move, as well as its nationwide availability. If you need additional time to load and unload, PODS starts additional rental fees at $149 per month, which is cheaper on average than 1-800-PACK-RAT’s rental fees.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of PODS:

✔ Detailed quote process can be conducted via online chat
✔ Includes a 30-day rental
✔ Available in all 50 states

✘ Quote process can be lengthy
✘ Not much availability on short-term notice

Services

PODS provides three moving container sizes: seven feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. The company also offers moving labor through third-party providers, so you can receive help with tasks such as loading and unloading. PODS also provides a variety of contents protection plans and on-site storage options.

PODS service options:

  • Portable storage container moves
  • Packing and unpacking services
  • Loading and unloading services
  • Storage solutions
  • Commercial moving services
  • Moving supplies
  • Protection plans

Cost

For a 16-foot container going from Boston to Chicago in roughly two months, PODS gave us a quote for $3,113.31. This includes all transportation, a month’s worth of rent, and $10,000 in contents protection.

Learn how PODS can help you with your move by filling out this online form.

State Availability

PODS claims that it can provide services in all 50 states. However, the company does not have a physical location in every state.

PODS does not feature a brick-and-mortar location in:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Our Take on PODS

PODS makes a great choice for a cheaper moving company that provides plenty of flexibility. PODS also provides excellent in-transit storage solutions with options that include climate-controlled units, as well as affordable fees for extending rentals.

Learn More: PODS Review

What Impacts Moving Costs

Overall, the same factors will influence the price you receive with a moving company. Some factors will differ, such as hourly labor or the number of PODS containers you receive, but the following factors will most likely influence the final price you pay for your moving company’s services:

  • Location of your original residence
  • Date and time of your move
  • Overall distance of the move
  • Truck parking access
  • Truck size used
  • Truck driver’s hours
  • Hours worked by moving labor
  • Fuel costs
  • Number of portable storage containers used
  • Size/weight of your move
  • Additional protection plans you purchase
  • Additional services you purchase

Cheap Moving Companies FAQs

What is the cheapest moving company?

We find U-Pack to be the most affordable moving container company on this list. When it comes to the most affordable full-service mover, we recommend International Van Lines.

What is the cheapest way to move long-distance?

Overall, using a self-service, portable moving container company tends to be cheaper for cross-country moving.

Is it OK not to tip movers?

Given that you’re already paying movers for their services, it is by no means an expectation that you tip your movers. If you’re impressed with their services, you can tip them roughly $4–$5 for each hour they helped you.

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.