If you are one of the many military families called for a permanent change of station (PCS), you may be feeling a lot of stress and uncertainty. One method to help alleviate the hassle of relocation is hiring a professional moving company. Using self storage is another way to make military moves or deployments easier. For example, a 10’x10’ self storage unit in San Diego, which is home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel, hovers around $190 per month.
There are many movers that can help with military moves within the United States and in international duty stations, so it might get difficult to figure out which company is best for your personally procured move.
The This Old House Reviews Team has researched and reviewed the best moving companies in the United States to help you determine which mover best suits you and your family’s needs.
7 Best Moving Companies for Military Moves
After in-depth research and review, here is our list of the best moving companies for military moves:
- International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
- American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
- Moving APT: Best Customer Service
- JK Moving Services: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
- Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
|Superlative||Star Rating||BBB Rating|
|International Van Lines||Best Full-Service Mover||B|
|American Van Lines||Most Experienced Mover||B-|
|Moving APT||Best Customer Service||B|
|JK Moving Services||Most Customizable||A+|
|North American Van Lines||Best for Claims||A+|
|Allied Van Lines||Best for Vehicle Relocation||A+|
|Safeway Moving Inc.||Most Customer-Oriented||A+|
|Coleman Worldwide Moving||Best for International Moves||A+|
International Van Lines
- Our Take: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
- State Availability: 50
International Van Lines (IVL) is our top pick for a full-service mover. The company offers help for armed forces moves locally, long-distance, and internationally. Full-service options include packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, specialty services for pianos and antiques, and storage solutions.
The company also states that it is willing to work out a military discount for most of its military moves, as much as 10–15% off. You simply need to ask about a discount when obtaining a quote from IVL.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers specialty services for difficult items like artwork, antiques, and pianos
✔ Provides multiple contents protection plans
✔ Offers partial-service moves to help cut cost
✘ Has received mixed reviews depending on location
✘ Does not provide sample pricing
IVL creates either a full- or partial-service moving package based on your budget and needs. The company offers a full-value protection plan if you want comprehensive insurance for high-value items. IVL also provides storage service through third-party providers. IVL services.
International Van Lines quoted us a general price range of $4,200–$6,150 to move from the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. This includes loading services and all transportation.
If you want to see what sort of discount International Van Lines may give your personally procured move, we recommend you fill out this short form.
Our Take on International Van Lines
International Van Lines is an excellent option if you want a well-rounded full-service mover for your military move. The company provides a comprehensive selection of services, such as packing, unpacking, transportation, loading, unloading, and furniture assembly and disassembly. Its specialty services are a great addition to your move if you have difficult items such as antique furniture to transport.
To get an accurate idea of what International Van Lines can do for you and your family’s relocation, complete this easy-to-use form.
Learn More: International Van Lines Review
American Van Lines
- Our Take: Most Experienced Moving Labor
- State Availability: 48 (does not service Alaska and Hawaii)
In operation for nearly three decades, American Van Lines is an experienced moving company that stands out for its well-trained moving crews. All members of AVL moving crews are full-time employees, not contractors. Crew members must complete ongoing certification courses in a variety of areas, including how to handle fragile items such as antiques and bulky items such as elliptical machines. American also provides military moving packages aimed at providing an efficient and streamlined relocation experience.
Pros & Cons
✔ Delivers moving shipments seven days a week
✔ Includes short- or long-term storage for free in its military relocation plans
✔ Offers the Extraordinary Value Plan to provide more comprehensive coverage of fine jewelry
✘ Charges an additional fee to guarantee a delivery window
✘ Does not include pricing information on its website
In addition to packing and loading services, American Van Lines provides add-on options to help you create the military moving plan that fits your needs. Optional services include vehicle shipping, GPS shipment tracking, and dismantling and reassembling of all types of pianos. American can also store your belongings briefly or indefinitely at one of its secure facilities. The company’s storage locations are monitored 24/7 by surveillance cameras and include climate-controlled vaults. American Van Lines services.
American Van Lines provides binding estimates—the exact amount you can plan to pay for your move—only after conducting a virtual home assessment. For this reason, you can’t get general pricing information online or over the phone. However, AVL did give us a rough estimate of $2,900 to move a two-bedroom home from Beaufort, South Carolina, to Quantico, Virginia.
To find out more about American Van Lines’ military moving packages and prices, take this quick online questionnaire.
Our Take on American Van Lines
We like American Van Lines for its ability to provide careful attention to fragile and high-value pieces. This can give you some added reassurance that your personal belongings will arrive safely at your new location.
Get started on your free moving quote from American Van Lines by visiting the company’s website.
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
- Our Take: Best Customer Service
- State Availability: 50
Unlike the other providers in this guide, Moving APT is a broker. This means the company functions as a liaison between customers and pre-screened professional movers. Moving APT maintains one of the largest networks of independent moving companies in the country and can match you with one that is best equipped to handle your military move at your preferred price point.
Moving APT provides customer support even after connecting you to a mover, serving as a touchpoint for any questions or concerns. The company will also check in with your selected mover to make sure the process is moving smoothly and on schedule.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides military discounts
✔ Utilizes a network of 2,500 independent moving companies across the country
✔ Is available around the clock for customer support
✘ Does not disclose military discount rates or other rebates on its website
✘ Has frequent pop-up chat boxes on its website, which can make navigation tedious
Since Moving APT operates such a large network of movers, it can provide both traditional full-service moving packages and a long list of add-on options. Customers can choose to customize their relocations with optional services like vehicle transport, appliance disconnection and reconnection, and long- and short-term storage. Moving APT services.
Moving APT has a moving cost tool on its website for generating an approximate price range for your move. For example, we used the calculator for a two-bedroom move from Quantico, Virginia, to Beaufort, South Carolina and received an instant quote of $2,772–$5,472.
Moving APT provides moving discounts to members of the armed forces, military veterans, and senior citizens. The company also has special pricing offers for moves that are booked well in advance.
Use this online calculator to get your free instant moving quote from Moving APT.
Our Take on Moving APT
Although Moving APT doesn’t actually do any of the heavy lifting for military moves, we think the company strives to go above and beyond when it comes to customer experience. This can be especially reassuring when planning a long-distance or cross-country move. The company helps reduce the amount of time you will need to spend researching movers by taking your information and sending you potential matches and pricing information. Since the company remains your sole point of contact throughout the process, you don’t have to worry about having to stay in touch with both Moving APT and your moving provider.
To find out if Moving APT can match you with the right military mover, answer this quick online survey.
Learn More: Moving APT Review
JK Moving Services
- Our Take: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
- State Availability: 50 States
JK Moving is a full-service mover that focuses on tailoring your moving package according to your budget and moving needs. The company has been a choice moving partner for the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Defense. JK Moving also allows customers the unique option to finance their moves. Some customers can get rates as low as 0% same-as-cash.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides 24/7 customer service
✔ Offers financing through Enhancify
✔ Has a user-friendly mobile app for GPS tracking and virtual surveys
✘ Only provides local moves in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
✘ Does not have online sample pricing
JK Moving offers many industry-standard full-service options, such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. JK Moving tailors your moving package based on information about your move and your budget during the quote process. Other standout features from the company include its mobile app and specialty services. JK Moving services.
Because JK Moving customizes each of its moving packages to each customer’s needs, it does not share much pricing information online.
The following factors will influence the overall cost of JK Moving’s services for your move:
- Your point of origin
- The total distance of your move
- The total size and weight of your move
- The date and time of year of your move
- Additional services you purchase
If you want to begin a virtual survey with JK Moving for an accurate quote, we recommend you complete this simple survey.
Our Take on JK Moving
JK Moving is another great full-service option for military families due to the company’s long history of dealing with government relations, including those involving the armed forces. If you are concerned about having all your moving needs met, then JK Moving might be the option for you given how the company customizes each of its moving packages. The company’s partnership with Enhancify to provide financing is another standout perk.
To see what sort of moving package JK Moving can create for you, fill out this online form.
Learn More: JK Moving Services Review
Allied Van Lines
- Our Take: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- State Availability: 50 States
If you are looking to take the family boat or family RV with you on your military relocation, we recommend Allied Van Lines. This is because Allied offers its own in-house vehicle relocation services. This is a rare perk in the moving industry as most companies outsource this service to other companies. Allied can transport vehicles such as cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, yachts, jet skis, motorcycles, and more.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers GPS tracking on all shipments
✔ Provides in-house vehicle relocation services
✔ Includes in-transit storage for up to 90 days
✘ Has received customer reviews that mention the claims department is hard to reach
✘ May charge higher prices than some competitors
Allied Van Lines provides a comprehensive selection of full-service and partial-service moving options. One notable option is its fragile-only packing option. This option has Allied’s movers pack any fragile, breakable, or high-value items. This is a great way to have your valuables protected while saving money. Allied Van Lines services.
Allied Van Lines requires a detailed evaluation of your belongings to provide accurate estimates. The company bases its overall cost on the total weight and mileage of your move. Pricing will increase if you add additional services such as vehicle relocation, labor, and storage services to your move.
Allied Van Lines states that the average cost of a long-distance move with the company is about $3,500. This is based on an average weight of 7,000 pounds, which is roughly seven rooms’ worth of belongings. This estimate also includes a traveling distance of 1,000 miles, which is roughly the distance between Chicago and Dallas.
To begin obtaining a detailed quote from Allied Van Lines, fill out this short survey.
Our Take on Allied Van Lines
Allied Van Lines is a great choice if you are looking to pair vehicle relocation with full-service options. The company works to cater to military moves with features like GPS tracking and labor certificates to show all its background checked employees. Allied’s 90 days of in-transit storage acts as a great safety mechanism in case things are not ready at your new location yet.
If you want to see how Allied Van Lines can help relocate your family’s vehicles, complete this online form.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
North American Van Lines
- Our Take: Best for Claims
- State Availability: 50 States
North American Van Lines brings comprehensive coverage plans and an easy-to-use claims process to your military move. If your family has expensive belongings to transport, then you may want to consider North American Van Lines as the company offers custom full-value release plans so you receive coverage adjusted to the actual value of your shipment rather than a predetermined amount. The company is a General Service Administration (GSA) approved carrier, and it provides door-to-door services in 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
✔ Detailed and transparent claims process
✔ Provides an extensive collection of online tools and resources
✘ Storage options may be limited based on your location
North American Van Lines provides industry-standard full-service moves with services such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. The company supplies the noteworthy service of assistance for installing appliances. Customers also get access to a wide range of online resources, such as relocation guides and moving checklists. NAVL services.
North American Van Lines gave us a quote to move a three-bedroom home from Fort McPherson, Georgia, to Fort Hood, Texas, for a total of $6,825–$7,540. This is just a ballpark estimate for a medium-sized load for this home.
The company also provides binding estimates through in-home and virtual surveys, which is a much more accurate way to plan for costs of your move. A binding estimate will not change due to unforeseen circumstances during the course of your move, unless your inventory changes significantly.
To schedule a virtual survey with North American Van Lines for a free binding quote, fill out this brief survey.
Our Take on North American Van Lines
Between the company’s binding estimates and custom contents protection plans, North American Van Lines pairs substantial financial security with reputable full-service moving options. In the rare instance that something does go wrong, you stay stress-free due to the company’s transparent, detailed, and accessible claims process.
To see what sort of contents protection plan North American Van Lines can make you, complete this short questionnaire.
To Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
- Our Take: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
- State Availability: 30
If you are looking to save money and handle everything other than transportation for your move, we recommend 1-800-PACK-RAT as the best overall self-service mover. 1-800-PACK-RAT provides portable storage container moves which add flexibility to your schedule and budget. If you desire assistance with loading or unloading, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s partnership with HireAHelper helps provide moving labor to its moves.
Be sure to check that PACK-RAT services your area, they currently only provide services 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.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves
✔ Has a wide range of online resources and tools
✔ Offers a price-matching policy with PODS
✘ Only has branches in 30 states
✘ Requires that bookings be completed over the phone
1-800-PACK-RAT offers self-service moves. This means the company delivers a moving container or containers of your choice to your point of origin. You load the container up with your household goods at your own pace, and you then notify the company when to pick up and deliver your container to your new home. You unload the container at your own pace, too.
You also receive options for short-term and long-term storage as either a standalone service or additional service for your move with PACK-RAT. This adds a layer of flexibility to your move in case anything goes wrong with your new home. 1-800-PACK-RAT services.
1-800-PACK-RAT quoted us a rough estimate of $1,800 to rent and move two 16-foot containers from Quantico, Virginia, to Beaufort, South Carolina. This includes delivery and pick–up, $10,000 in contents protection, and a no-cut security lock.
If you want to see how a three-bedroom home fits into 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers, complete this easy-to-use survey.
Our Take on 1-800-PACK-RAT
1-800-PACK-RAT is our top pick for self-service, personally procured moves (PPMs) or do-it- yourself (DIY) military moves. The company provides a 10% discount on its services for all active-duty service members, and it provides short-term and long-term storage solutions in case your military move is temporary. 1-800-PACK-RAT also offers professional assistance with services like loading and unloading due to its partnership with HireAHelper.
If you want a detailed estimate from 1-800-PACK-RAT for your PPM, fill out this online questionnaire for an instant quote.
Learn More: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review
How to Prepare for a Military Move
Moving companies often provide materials and tools to help you remember important steps to accomplish during a move. Some moving companies offer personal moving coaches, and others provide a moving checklist online.
Even with these resources, there are some important steps that you might miss when you are 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: Be sure to notify your internet provider, your 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 take 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 loss or damage claim for reimbursement.
FAQs About Military Moves
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.