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4 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves 2021

Want a professional moving experience but have a smaller load? Learn about the best moving companies for small moves with our guide that closely compares costs and services.

Two stacked cardboard moving boxes in a family room of an apartment with a navy blue couch and hardwood floors. Adobe

The moving process can be difficult and time-consuming, even if you’re only relocating a few pieces of furniture or an otherwise small load. A professional moving company can make your move easier and provide peace of mind.

There are so many professional movers throughout the United States that it gets difficult to figure out which are best for your moving needs and which are better suited for smaller moves.

Fortunately, the This Old House Reviews Team has researched the best moving companies in the industry. Based on our research, we created this guide on the best moving companies for small moves and compare their costs, services, benefits, and downsides.

4 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

After in-depth research and review we found the following to be the best small load moving companies:

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

We find self-service movers to be better suited for smaller moves, and we find 1-800-PACK-RAT to be the best overall self-service mover. PACK-RAT provides flexibility in the space you use by offering three portable storage container sizes. If you want assistance with your small move, the company features a partnership with HireAHelper to include services such as loading and unloading.

Pros & Cons

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

✔ Provides $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves
✔ Wide range of online resources and tools
✔ Offers three sizes of weather-proof and easily-accessible containers

✘ Locations are only in 29 states
✘ Bookings and quotes must be completed over the phone

Services

1-800-PACK-RAT offers a comprehensive selection of self-service moving options that can be paired with moving services from HireAHelper for a partial-service move. This means the company delivers a moving container to your residence. You load the container up with your belongings at your own pace. Once loaded, you notify the company when to pick up and deliver your container to your new home. You then unload the container at your own pace.

PACK-RAT customers can also receive short-term and long-term storage services as either a stand-alone service or additional service for your move. This adds a layer of flexibility to your move.

Below are some of 1-800-PACK-RAT’s popular services:

  • Portable storage container moves
  • Short-term and long-term storage solutions
  • Moving labor via HireAHelper
  • Contents protection plans
  • Moving and packing supplies
  • Vehicle relocation services

Cost

We obtained a moving quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT to transport one of its 8-foot containers from Dallas to Austin, Texas, in about three months for a total of $1,552.61. This quote includes all transportation, delivery and pick-up, a no-cut security lock, and $10,000 in contents protection.

If you want to see how two rooms can fit into PACK-RAT’s 8-foot container, fill out this easy-to-use form.

State Availability

1-800-PACK-RAT claims that it can help with any moves within a 100-mile radius of each of its locations easily. It also states that it can most likely help with a move in the United States even if a location is not nearby. We suggest you call the company to figure out if it can help with your move.

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

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.f

Our Take on 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT is our top pick for small moves due to its quality and variety of containers, storage options, partnership with HireAHelper, and its competitive pricing. Customers are able to receive self-service pricing while getting partial-service options, and it provides plenty of insurance on its long-distance moves. These factors all work to make 1-800-PACK-RAT a great choice for a professional mover for anyone relocation with a smaller load.

We recommend you see how 1-800-PACK-RAT’s moving and storage service handle small moves by completing this short survey.


PODS: Most Convenient

PODS is another portable storage container company that works great for small moves. The company also provides a great level of convenience when it comes to the schedule of your move. PODS includes 30 days for you to load and unload your moving containers. If you require additional time, then PODS starts additional rental fees at $149 per month, which comes out cheaper than 1-800-PACK-RAT’s rental fees.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of PODS:

✔ Includes 30 days of rental in initial cost
✔ Transparent quote process
✔ Claims to help with moves in all 50 states

✘ Not much availability for short-term notice
✘ Quote process can get long

Services

PODS offers three sizes for its moving containers: 7 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. This adds plenty of variety depending on how small your move is. PODS also offers other services that can be provided to your move based on your location, such as loading and unloading services.

Read over the services PODS offers below:

  • Portable storage container moves
  • Packing and unpacking services via third party
  • Loading and unloading services via third party
  • Storage services
  • Moving and packing supplies
  • Contents protection plans

Cost

We received a free quote from PODS to transport a small container (8-foot) from Dallas to Austin within a few months for a total of $1,436.89.

PODS is a pay-as-you-go service, so each payment is billed one week before the service is rendered. It would cost $427.95 for the initial delivery, 30 days of rent, and $10,000 in contents protection. The second payment for four days of transportation is $760.42. The final payment for delivery to the new address and final pick-up is $139.

We suggest you see what payment plan PODS might provide you by completing this short questionnaire.

State Availability

PODS claims to help with moves in all 50 states. The company does not feature a physical branch in every state, though. PODS does not have a physical location in the following states:

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

Our Take on PODS

If you value flexibility in your scheduling, we recommend PODS. Unexpected events can happen even with smaller moves, and PODS’ on-site storage options help add a layer of flexibility and ease to your move. The company also provides some of the best rates we have seen for extending your rental period.

If you want an accurate cost breakdown and detailed estimate from PODS, we recommend you fill out this online form.


U-Pack: Most Affordable

U-Pack is a great option for smaller moves at affordable pricing. U-Pack offers a unique pay-for-what-you-use policy on its moving trailer option. This option is ideal for small moves as it allows customers to pay per footage of a moving trailer. This way you are only paying for the actual space that your belongings require.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of U-Pack:

✔ Pay-for-what-you-use policy provides flexibility for space and budget
✔ GPS tracking on your containers
✔ Competitive pricing for a self-service mover

✘ Only provides three days to load and unload
✘ No on-site storage access
✘ U-Pack’s service guarantee is only included with the purchase of additional services

Services

U-Pack offers its ReloCube moving container (70” x 82” x 93”) or a large moving trailer used by ABF Freights. Customers can pay for only the footage they use on the moving trailer, which is perfect for a small move that only requires limited space.

U-Pack does offer less time to load and unload compared to PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT, but careful planning can possibly save you money when it comes to using U-Pack.

Here are the services U-Pack provides:

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

Cost

U-Pack quoted us a ReloCube going from Dallas to Denver for $1,141. It would cost $1,182 to use five feet on the moving trailer. U-Pack states that these prices are all-inclusive and contain no hidden fees.

We recommend you see which of U-Pack’s options best suit your small move by completing this online questionnaire.

State Availability

U-Pack helps with long-distance moves in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. When it comes to local moves or shorter distance moves, U-Pack has a 150-mile requirement to fulfill any requests. This means U-Pack tends to not offer help for in-state moves.

Our Take on U-Pack

If you are concerned about affordability, we suggest you look into U-Pack. The company’s pay-for-what-you-use policy is ideal for those only sending a few items, and customers can still receive help with moving labor based on their location. Keep in mind that U-Pack will most likely be unable to help with any in-state moves, but the company makes a great option for long-distance moves.

To see how much money U-Pack can possibly save you, fill out this short form.


International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines (IVL) is our top pick for a full-service mover. The company offers full-service and partial-service options for both local and cross-country moves all across the United States. Full-service options include packing and unpacking, specialty services for pianos and antiques, and storage services. IVL is a great choice for small moves given the company’s ability to adjust its moving packages based on your specific needs.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of International Van Lines:

✔ Provides specialty services for artwork, antiques, and pianos
✔ Offers custom moving packages based on your wants and needs
✔ Offers multiple contents protection plans

✘ No online pricing
✘ Customer reviews vary according to location and mention difficulty in communication

Services

International Van Lines allows customers to mix and match its services to create partial-service and full-service moves. The company also offers a full-value protection plan and storage solutions. IVL’s approach to creating moving packages and its large network can easily adjust its offerings for smaller moves.

Learn about International Van Lines’ service options here:

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

Cost

We received a quote from International Van Lines to move a one-bedroom home from Dallas to Austin in about three months for $825–$1,650. This quote includes all transportation and loading services.

If you want an accurate idea of what International Van Lines might cost you, fill out this online survey.

State Availability

International Van Lines helps moves of any size in every state. The company also supplies services for international moves.

Our Take on International Van Lines

International Van Lines is a great choice if you want full-service options for a small move. The company provides a wide variety of moving services, including packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading, furniture assembly and disassembly, and storage solutions. Its specialty services are a great perk if you have difficult items to transport.

We encourage you to see what sort of moving package you can create with International Van Lines by completing this online form.

How To Prepare for a Small Load Move

Moving companies often act as an effective means to remember important steps to accomplish during a move. Some moving companies offer personal moving coaches, while other companies provide a moving checklist.

Even with these resources, there are some important steps that may get skipped over when preparing for your move. Read over some major steps to take below to make sure your move occurs with ease:

  • Condense your belongings: We recommend you make two piles as moving day draws near. In one of the piles, place items you can donate. In the other pile, place items you want to throw away. A few days before the movers arrive, you can spend some time taking each pile to its respective drop-off location.
  • Notify important people: Notify your internet provider, electricity and water companies, insurance companies, tax agencies, utility companies, the post office, and the Social Security administration.
  • Create an inventory: An important step to take when making your inventory is to make note of the condition of your items and take pictures of them. These photos and notes will come in handy if you have to file a damage claim for reimbursement.

Small Load Moving Companies FAQs

What is the most affordable moving company?

U-Pack is the most affordable moving company on our list.

What is considered a small move?

Most moving companies consider a move under 2,000 pounds to be a small move. This would roughly be the amount of belongings in a moderately furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment.

How far in advance should I book small load movers?

Though you will want to check with your moving company, we suggest booking your movers at least two months in advance.

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 7 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.