Moving can be difficult and time-consuming, even if you only relocate a few pieces of furniture or an otherwise small load. A professional moving company can make your move easier and provide peace of mind that your items are being expertly handled. But with so many professional movers throughout the United States, it’s difficult to determine which are best suited for smaller moves.
The This Old House Reviews Team has researched and reviewed the top moving companies in the industry to help you choose the best one for your needs and budget. Based on our research, we created this guide on the best moving companies for small moves and compared their costs, services, benefits, and downsides.
7 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves
After in-depth research, we found the following to be the best small load moving companies:
- International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-service Mover
- American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
- JK Moving Services: Most Customizable Full-service Mover
- Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-service Mover
- U-Pack: Most Affordable
- PODS: Most Convenient
Compare affordable moving quotes in less than 30 seconds with MovingAPT.
|IVL||Best Full-Service Mover||888-375-6309|
|American||Most Experienced Mover||877-960-3186|
|Moving APT||Best Customer Service||855-910-1001|
|JK Moving||Most Customizable||571-487-8929|
|NAVL||Best for Claims||877-624-0912|
|Allied||Best for Vehicle Relocation||877-483-9424|
|PACK-RAT||Best Self-Service Mover|
International Van Lines
- Our Take: Best Overall Full-service Mover
- Availability: 50 States
International Van Lines (IVL) is our top pick for a full-service mover. The company offers full- and partial-service options for local, long-distance, and cross-country moves in 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 and Cons
✔ Provides specialty services for artwork, antiques, and pianos
✔ Offers custom moving packages based on your needs
✔ Offers multiple contents protection plans
✘ Outsources moves to third-party agents in Washington State, Utah, Oregon, and Montana
✘ Has received negative customer reviews regarding communication issues
International Van Lines allows customers to mix and match services to create partial- and full-service moves. The company also offers a full-value protection plan and storage solutions. IVL’s approach to creating moving packages, plus its large network of moving professionals, makes adjusting its offerings for smaller moves simple. Learn more about IVL’s services.
We received a quote from International Van Lines of $825–$1,650 to move a one-bedroom home from Dallas to Austin, Texas, in late September. This quote includes all transportation and loading services.
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 and unpacking, loading and unloading, furniture assembly and disassembly, and storage solutions. Its specialty services are a perk if you have difficult items to transport.
Get a Free Estimate: See what kind of moving package you can create with International Van Lines by completing IVL’s online form.
Learn More: International Van Lines Review
American Van Lines
- Our Take: Best Overall Full-service Mover
- Availability: 48 States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)
American Van Lines stands out for its top-notch movers, whom it thoroughly vets before hiring and trains to expertly handle your belongings. All the company’s moving crews must complete ongoing training and certifications for handling antiques, artwork, fitness equipment, and other high-value or fragile items. Designated piano crews can dismantle and reassemble all models of pianos, regardless of age or size.
Pros and Cons
✔ Offers a guaranteed delivery window for an extra charge
✔ Has climate-controlled storage units that are monitored 24/7 by security cameras
✔ Provides price matching
✘ Only serves the contiguous United States
✘ Will not provide a free moving quote online or over the phone
American Van Lines provides full-service moves that include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. AVL can also accommodate partial-service requests, such as fragile-only packing and DIY moves. Learn more about American Van Lines’ services.
American Van Lines does not provide free moving quotes on its website or over the phone, but we got a general price of $2,000 to move the contents of a one-bedroom home from Dallas to Austin, Texas, in early fall. The ballpark quote includes loading and unloading services plus transportation. Packing and unpacking are available for an additional cost. You will need to call AVL directly to find out the cost of your move.
Our Take on American Van Lines
American Van Lines is an experienced full-service moving company that may provide some added reassurance to anyone anxious about handing their belongings over to a moving crew. The company has well-trained, certified staff members that are particularly skilled at wrapping, packing, and loading bulky pieces, such as treadmills, pianos, and one-of-a-kind pieces, such as original artwork and antiques.
In our most recent survey of 1,000 people who had moved in the last five years, musical instruments and sports equipment were among the top three things respondents most worried would get lost, damaged, or destroyed during the move. With AVL’s expertly trained crews, you can rest easy knowing your large, fragile, and expensive items are in good hands.
Get a Free Estimate: Take this AVL’s online survey to get started on your free moving quote.
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
JK Moving Services
- Our Take: Most Customizable Full-service Mover
- Availability: 50 States
JK Moving Services provides a full-service moving experience that you can customize with the company’s add-on options. JK Moving makes customization easy through its user-friendly mobile app, on which customers can browse services, book appointments, make payments, and track shipments.
Pros and Cons
✔ Provides optional in-house financing
✔ Assigns a personal moving coordinator to each customer
✔ Offers around-the-clock customer support
✘ Does not provide local moves outside of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.
✘ Does not offer any pricing information online
JK Moving provides traditional full-service moving support for long-distance, cross-country, and international moves. If you prefer a more tailored approach to your relocation, you can select from JK Moving’s optional services and choose only those that fit your specific needs. This feature also allows you to create a moving package that stays within your budget. Learn more about JK Moving’s services.
JK Moving will not provide any pricing information over the phone and has no cost calculators on its website. However, based on our extensive research of online customer reviews, we found that JK Moving charges about $1,600 for one-bedroom moves of roughly 145 miles, or the approximate distance between Dallas and Austin, Texas. The company will give you a binding estimate after completing a virtual home assessment and reviewing your moving inventory.
Our Take on JK Moving Services
Although it can be pricier than other full-service moving companies, JK Moving is a great option for small, long-distance moves, since customers can customize their plans to include only the services they need. Additionally, JK Moving’s in-house financing option may be attractive to those who need assistance paying for their relocation or who want to pay for their residential move over time. Keep in mind that financing is subject to credit approval.
Learn More: JK Moving Services Review
Allied Van Lines
- Our Take: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- Availability: 50 States
Allied Van Lines could be a good fit for you if your small move includes shipping a car, boat, motorcycle, or RV. While most movers outsource vehicle transport, AVL uniquely operates its own fleet of car carriers. With AVL, you have direct access to the company that’s shipping your vehicle, so you can track its progress along with the rest of your small moving load.
Pros and Cons
✔ Provides up to $100,000 in insurance on vehicle shipments
✔ Offers mobile moving and storage containers that come with free loading and unloading assistance
✔ Has an innovative and accurate GPS tracking tool for monitoring shipments
✘ Provides limited customer support outside of regular business hours
✘ Does not give online moving quotes
Allied Van Lines provides two types of car carriers at two different price points. The cheaper option—an open carrier—transports multiple vehicles at once but does not provide any protection from potential damage while in transit. Enclosed carriers, while more expensive, are a great choice for those who want to protect their classic car, rare motorcycle, or high-value motorboat from damage while on the highway. Learn more about Allied Van Lines’ services.
Like many moving companies, Allied Van Lines does not provide any estimates through its website or over the phone. However, we got a general starting price of approximately $1,000 to move a one-bedroom apartment from Austin, Texas, to Dallas in late September. AVL will give you a binding estimate after completing a virtual walk-through of your home and a review of the belongings you plan to move.
Our Take on Allied Van Lines
Allied Van Lines has been in business for nearly 100 years, the longest of any provider on this list. That experience may provide some added reassurance that your car and other belongings will be in good hands while en route to your new home. The company’s Allied Express mobile containers may also be a good option for your small move. They are more affordable than full-service packages and come with complementary labor that you usually must pay extra for with other self-service companies.
Get a Free Estimate: Complete Allied’s online form for your free moving quote.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
- Our Take: Best Overall Self-service Mover
- Availability: 30 States and Washington, D.C.
Self-service movers may be better suited for smaller moves, and we find 1-800-PACK-RAT to be the best overall self-service mover. 1-800-PACK-RAT offers 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 and Cons
✔ Provides $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves
✔ Has a wide range of online resources and tools
✔ Offers three sizes of weatherproof and easily accessible containers
✘ Is only available in 30 states
✘ Does not provide online moving quotes or scheduling
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. The company delivers a moving container to your residence that you can load with your belongings at your own pace. Once loaded, you notify the company of when to pick up and deliver your container to your new home. You can then unload the container at your own pace. 1-800-PACK-RAT customers can receive short- and long-term storage as a stand-alone or additional service. This adds a layer of flexibility to your move. Learn more about 1-800-PACK RAT’s services.
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.
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, HireAHelper partnership, and competitive pricing. Customers can receive self-service pricing, partial-service options, and insurance on long-distance moves. These factors make 1-800-PACK-RAT a solid choice for anyone relocating with a smaller load.
Get a Free Estimate: See how this company can handle your small move by completing 1-800-PACK-RAT’s short survey.
Learn More: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review
- Our Take: Most Affordable
- Availability: 50 States, plus Puerto Rico
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 for a moving trailer. This way, you are only paying for the actual space your belongings require.
Pros and Cons
✔ Charges only for the container space you use
✔ Provides GPS tracking on your containers
✔ Offers competitive pricing for a self-service mover
✘ Only provides three days to load and unload belongings
✘ Only includes a service guarantee with the purchase of additional 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 in the moving trailer, which is perfect for a small move that requires limited space. U-Pack offers less time to load and unload than 1-800-PACK-RAT, but careful planning can save you money when it comes to using U-Pack. Learn more about U-Pack’s services.
U-Pack quoted us $1,141 for a ReloCube going from Dallas to Denver. 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.
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. Note that U-Pack will likely not help with any in-state moves, but the company makes a great option for long-distance moves.
Get a Free Estimate: To see how much money you can possible save on your self-service move, fill out this U-Pack’s short form.
Learn More: U-Pack Review
- Our Take: Most Convenient
- Availability: 46 States
PODS is another portable storage container company that could be an easy and affordable option for a small move. The company provides convenience when it comes to scheduling your move, offering 30 days for you to load and unload your moving containers. If you require additional time, PODS starts additional rental fees at $149 per month, which comes out cheaper than 1-800-PACK-RAT’s rental fees.
Pros and Cons
✔ Includes 30 days of container rental in the initial cost
✔ Has a transparent quote process
✔ Assists with moves in 46 states
✘ Has limited availability for last-minute moving requests
✘ Does not provide standard packing and loading assistance
PODS offers three moving container sizes: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. This adds plenty of variety depending on the size of your move. PODS may provide other services based on your location, such as loading and unloading, through third-party contractors. Learn more about PODS’ services.
We received a free quote from PODS to transport an 8-foot container from Dallas to Austin, Texas, in early fall 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 container rental, and $10,000 in contents protection. The second payment for four days of transportation is $760.42. The last payment for delivery to the new address and final pick-up is $139.
Our Take on PODS
If you value flexibility in your scheduling, we recommend PODS. Unexpected events can happen even with smaller moves, and PODS’ onsite 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.
Learn More: PODS Review
How To Prepare for a Small Load Move
Moving companies can often help you remember the steps needed for a successful move. Some moving companies offer personal moving coaches, while others provide a moving checklist.
Even with these resources, you may forget some important tasks when preparing for your move. Take these steps to ensure your move occurs with ease:
- Condense your belongings: We recommend making two piles as moving day draws near. In one pile, place items you can donate. In the other, place items you want to throw away. A few days before the movers arrive, take each pile to its respective drop-off location.
- Send proper notifications: Notify your internet provider, electricity and water companies, insurance companies, tax agencies, utility companies, post office, and the Social Security Administration that you’re moving.
- Create an inventory: Make a note of your items’ conditions and take pictures of them. These photos and notes will come in handy if you have to file a damage claim for reimbursement.
Compare the Top Small Load Moving Companies
To find the best moving company for your small load move, we ultimately recommend that you request quotes from several movers before making your final decision.
*BBB ratings are accurate as of September 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 points): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and/or international moves?
- Additional services (29 points): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
- Coverage (10 points): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
- Scheduling (7 points): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
- Trailers/containers (7 points): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
- Additional benefits (12 points): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
- Reputation (5 points): What rating does the company feature on popular review 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.