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10 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves (2024)

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Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 03/26/2024

Your small move deserves the same quality care, service, and expert moving team that a large relocation would receive, so you should hire a company that satisfies those criteria. We recommend International Van Lines as the best moving company for small moves. We recommend it because of its extensive partner network, which allows it to offer various moving services at competitive prices. American Van Lines is our second-best option because of its carefully vetted and licensed movers. We suggest Interstate Moving & Relocation Group if you value consistent communication from your moving company.

We pulled from more than 4,800 hours of research into the best moving companies to find the top small-load movers. We interviewed multiple industry experts, conducted a survey of 1,000 moving customers, and thoroughly evaluated and rated different moving companies’ service offerings, protection plans, and more using our detailed methodology. Learn more about our picks for the 10 best moving companies for small moves in this guide.

Key Takeaways:

Following our 4,800+ hours of research across 31 moving companies, we chose International Van Lines, American Van Lines, and Interstate Moving & Relocation Group as our top choices for small moves.
If moving long-distance, the cost of your move will depend on the estimated weight of your items. If your move is local, you will be charged an hourly rate. Based on the sample quote we attained for this article, a professional, one-bedroom move will cost around $2,264.

The 10 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

After analyzing protection plans, service offerings, and quotes, we found the following providers to be the best small-load moving companies:

American Van Lines: Best Overall Moving Labor
U-Pack: Most Affordable
Safeway Moving Inc.: Most Reliable Pricing
Moving APT: Best Customer Service
JK Moving Services: Best Specialized Packing
Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover

Compare the Top Small-Load Moving Companies

International Van Lines and American Van Lines are on our list because of their comprehensive service options and quality insurance coverage with full-value protection plans.

See how our top movers stack against each other based on these important factors. Our methodology scores movers out of 100 points based on service packages, insurance coverage, online reputation with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and more

Star Rating BBB Rating One-Bedroom Move Cost Service Model Link
International Van Lines International Van Lines
B $825–$1,650 Carrier VISIT SITE
American Van Lines American Van Lines
A $2,000 Carrier and broker VISIT SITE
Safeway Moving Inc. Safeway Moving Inc.
A+ $4,570 Carrier and broker VISIT SITE
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
B $1,500–$3,500 Broker VISIT SITE
Moving APT Moving APT
B $525–$1,549 Broker VISIT SITE
JK Moving Services JK Moving Services
A+ $1,600 Carrier and broker VISIT SITE
Allied Van Lines Allied Van Lines
A+ Contact for quote Carrier VISIT SITE
North American Van Lines North American Van Lines
A+ $1,000 Carrier VISIT SITE
1-800-PACK-RAT 1-800-PACK-RAT
A $1,552 Self-service VISIT SITE
U-Pack U-Pack
A+ $1,100 Self-service VISIT SITE
International Van Lines
Logo International Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
One-Bedroom Move Cost $825–$1,650
Service Model Carrier
VISIT SITE
American Van Lines
Logo American Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A
One-Bedroom Move Cost $2,000
Service Model Carrier and broker
VISIT SITE
Safeway Moving Inc.
Logo Safeway Moving Inc.
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
One-Bedroom Move Cost $4,570
Service Model Carrier and broker
VISIT SITE
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Logo Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
One-Bedroom Move Cost $1,500–$3,500
Service Model Broker
VISIT SITE
Moving APT
Logo Moving APT
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
One-Bedroom Move Cost $525–$1,549
Service Model Broker
VISIT SITE
JK Moving Services
Logo JK Moving Services
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
One-Bedroom Move Cost $1,600
Service Model Carrier and broker
VISIT SITE
Allied Van Lines
Logo Allied Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
One-Bedroom Move Cost Contact for quote
Service Model Carrier
VISIT SITE
North American Van Lines
Logo North American Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
One-Bedroom Move Cost $1,000
Service Model Carrier
VISIT SITE
1-800-PACK-RAT
Logo 1-800-PACK-RAT
Star Rating
BBB Rating A
One-Bedroom Move Cost $1,552
Service Model Self-service
VISIT SITE
U-Pack
Logo U-Pack
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
One-Bedroom Move Cost $1,100
Service Model Self-service
VISIT SITE
Company Star Rating BBB Rating Estimate Info Visit Site
4.9
B $2,500–$4,300 VISIT SITE
4.4
A $3,200–$3,500 VISIT SITE
4.2
A+ $6,300–$7,500 VISIT SITE
4.4
B $2,800–$4,000 VISIT SITE
4.4
B $2,968–$5,668 VISIT SITE
4.7
A+ $7,550 VISIT SITE
4.8
A+ $4,730–$5,380 VISIT SITE
4.5
A+ $4,700–$5,350 VISIT SITE
4.7
A N/A VISIT SITE
3.8
A+ N/A VISIT SITE

*For a move between Dallas and Austin, Texas, unless otherwise noted
**BBB ratings accurate as of January 2024


What Should I Know About Small-Load Movers?

You should know how to calculate the cost of a small move, what kind of insurance is available, and the different moving service options before booking a mover.

The total moving cost for a studio apartment or one-bedroom home usually depends on distance, total item weight, and time of year. A small move with professional service costs around $2,264 or more, based on the quotes we gathered for this guide.

Keep in mind that most long-distance movers charge you based on the estimated weight of your belongings, but some other companies will charge you hourly for a local move within the same city. Summer is peak moving season, so moving during this time is more expensive. However, moving during off-peak times can get you 10%–25% discounts. Lastly, additional services such as packing, unpacking, and storage come at an extra cost.

Moving insurance is a type of coverage that protects your belongings while a moving company transports them from one location to another. This insurance ensures your possessions are safeguarded against potential damage or loss during transit.

The most basic coverage required by federal law is called released value protection, which provides minimal protection at no extra charge. It compensates items based on their weight rather than their value.

Full-value protection is a comprehensive option where the moving company is responsible for repairing, replacing, or reimbursing the full value of damaged or lost items. You can purchase additional coverage from an insurance provider separate from the moving company if you want even more protection.

There are three main options for small moving services. The most comprehensive and expensive one is a full-pack service where you pay a moving company to pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack your belongings. Alternatively, you can go for a partial pack, where you pack some of your belongings but hire the movers to deal with more difficult items.

The self-move option involves renting a moving truck and moving everything yourself without additional moving services. You can also rent a container that involves a mover delivering it to your original home for you to fill up. They then return to pick it up and deliver it to your new home for you to unload. Self-service is an ideal option for a smaller move because it usually matches its budget and needs.


Our Reviews of the Best Small-Load Movers

International Van Lines

Best Service Offerings
4.9

International Van Lines (USDOT #: 2293832) is a great choice if you want full-service options for a small move. The company offers a range of moving services, such as packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, furniture assembly and disassembly, and storage solutions. The company’s specialty services can come in handy if you have difficult items to transport.

Additionally, International Van Lines (IVL) provides various options for contents coverage and third-party insurance plans. The company provides approximate hourly rates for local moving on its local moving service page, which can help you estimate the cost of a smaller-scale move with this provider.

How We Scored International Van Lines

IVL scored 4.9 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. IVL received our highest rating due to its comprehensive list of basic and add-on services and its wide service area. The company also received high marks for its excellent Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and its provision of moving services. However, it lost some points for not offering a rental truck option and financing.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): IVL offers one of the most comprehensive service selections for small moves, including all options for full-pack, partial-pack, and specialty services such as crating for artwork and antiques.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): IVL scored high here because it offers more than three different insurance coverage options. You can pay top dollar for full-value protection or opt for less expensive partial-value release plans.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): IVL’s scheduling and quoting are simple and easy with multiple communication methods, including email and phone.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): IVL lost some points in this area because it doesn’t provide financing or any do-it-yourself (DIY) moving methods, which would be ideal for a small-load relocation.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): IVL holds a positive reputation across online review sites, and it has only featured one crash report in the past two years, with a majority of its trucks passing federal inspection and staying in service.

Pros and Cons

Pros Services small moves in all 50 states Offers custom moving packages based on your needs Offers multiple contents protection plans Cons Outsources moves to third-party agents in most states Has negative customer reviews regarding communication issues Website features annoying pop-up ads

Small-Load Moving Services

You can use IVL for full-service packing for smaller moves, and the company offers several add-on services ideal for difficult moves, including the following:

  • Bulky item relocation
  • Large vehicle shipping
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Piano moving
  • Temporary or permanent storage

Cost

A standard quote process with IVL involves an in-depth phone estimate or in-person consultation. We recommend you undergo an in-person consultation as it helps make the initial estimate more accurate and allows you to easily get any questions answered quickly.

We used IVL’s online moving cost calculator to generate the following sample quote. This quote is more generalized, and we would need to undergo an in-person consultation to get a more accurate, binding estimate.

  • Sample quote: $825–$1,650 (one-bedroom move from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: 25%
  • Payment accepted: Cash, cashier’s check, credit card (deposit only), money order

Reputation and Reviews

The quality of service IVL provides can vary depending on your location and the local agents operating in your area. IVL has an A rating on the BBB but isn’t accredited. Reviews mention prompt service, but some customers have reported inconsistent quality depending on the partner companies used.

American Van Lines

Best Overall Moving Labor
4.4

American Van Lines (USDOT #: 614506) stands out for its top-notch movers. This provider thoroughly vets movers before hiring and trains them to handle your belongings carefully. Also, the company’s well-trained, certified staff members are particularly skilled at wrapping, packing, and handling all types of household goods. This and its expedited service options make it an excellent choice for small moves. American Van Lines offers expedited service between major cities, which could make your small move a quick process.

Note: American Van Lines is not available in Alaska or Hawaii

How We Scored American Van Lines

American Van Lines scored 4.4 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. It provides a complete range of services, including small-load moving options.

The company received positive marks for its service offerings and extensive moving valuation coverage options. It lost points for its lack of customer-oriented options and up-front transparent pricing.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): American Van Lines scored high due to its comprehensive service packages. You receive specialty services from highly trained moving professionals and can decide between a partial-pack or a full-pack small-load move.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company scored high here because it offers multiple levels of insurance coverage to match your budget and needs.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): American Van Lines lost some points in this area because it only offers scheduling via phone. Many other movers offer online scheduling and virtual consultations for smaller moves. The company also limits its customer service hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST on Saturdays. The company is closed on Sundays.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): The company features fewer additional benefits than IVL and doesn’t offer any financing or DIY moving options. It also doesn’t provide an online cost calculator or up-front cost information. Up-front quotes typically help a small move occur quickly.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): American Van Lines maintains a positive online reputation, but we found that some of its trucks fail federal inspections regularly. It also features a report of injury and five tows on its FMCSA profile.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers a guaranteed delivery window for an extra charge Has climate-controlled storage units that are monitored 24/7 by security cameras Provides flat-rate pricing Cons Only serves the lower 48 states Requires a full inventory for binding pricing Requires 10%–50% up-front deposit

Small-Load Moving Services

American Van Lines provides full-service moves that include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. The company can also accommodate partial-service requests, such as fragile-only packing and DIY moves. It also offers the following services for its smaller moves:

  • Military relocation 
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Temporary and permanent storage
  • White-glove relocation of artwork and antiques

Cost

American Van Lines doesn’t provide free moving quotes on its website or over the phone, but we called the company and worked with a representative to get a ballpark quote. The quote included loading and unloading services plus transportation. Packing and unpacking were available for an additional cost. The company representative was thorough when logging our inventory before they rendered pricing.

  • Sample quote: $2,000 (one-bedroom move from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: Up to 50% up-front
  • Payment accepted: Cash, cashier’s check, credit card, money order, and traveler’s check

Reputation and Reviews

The company has an A+ rating on the BBB, and its customer reviews score of 4.04 out of 5 stars indicates that it provides great service. Customers of American Van Lines have praised its pricing structure, but there have been some negative reviews mentioning price hikes and difficulties communicating with the moving crews.

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

Most Efficient
4.4

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (USDOT #: 3034100) partners with moving professionals to provide full-service or self-service relocation help for smaller moves. Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (IMRG) offers a range of moving resources on its website, including checklists and tips. We found its online moving guides for popular cities particularly useful, as it provided information on average moving costs and carrier partners in those areas.

You should be able to find the exact service profile you need if you’re planning a simple or small move. However, the services available may vary depending on your location, as they’re entirely dependent on the carrier partners in your area.

How We Scored Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

We scored IMRG 4.4 out of 5-stars. The company stands out for its service profile and flexibility, offering assistance with small-load moves. It also allows booking online or over the phone and provides moving checklists and guides for each stage of the moving process. However, it lost a few points because it doesn’t offer storage, truck rental, and financing options.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): IMRG is a broker that connects you with movers who can provide any moving service you want. The company offers full-packing, partial-packing, crating, and specialty services, and we also noticed that you can tailor these options for small moves.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): IMRG only provides two protection plans: a partial-value protection plan and a full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): IMRG schedules through both the phone and online. We like that the company provides clear communication between you and your connected movers during the moving process.
  • Additional Benefits (6 out of 13 points): The company provides a decent selection of extra benefits, but we did notice it doesn’t offer any DIY moving options, financing, and storage services. It’s surprising IMRG doesn’t help with storage services since it’s becoming a standard add-on in the moving industry and significantly helps during apartment relocation. 
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): IMRG maintains an overall positive reputation online. Our research also showed that its trucks routinely pass inspections and that there haven’t been any accidents on its FMCSA profile in the last two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides partner bios and moving resources on its site Offers an easy-to-use cost calculator Offers last-minute service Cons Brokers out all of its moves Requires 72 hours of notice for cancellations to refund deposits or charges 4% of your total cost Doesn’t offer weekend customer service

Small-Load Moving Services

IMRG’s service provisions are as extensive as its partners in a given area. Aside from packing, crating, and similar common services, it can provide container delivery and shipping for smaller moves. This type of move is ideal for packing smaller spaces. You’ll also have the option to hire third-party movers to help with associated labor if you book with one of its container movers.

Here are the other services you can book if you have an apartment or single-bedroom home:

Cost

You must complete a contact form online to get your fully optimized quote from IMRG. You’ll enter your contact information and basic information about your move. This will include your point of origin, destination, and home size.

We got a quick quote using IMRG’s online moving calculator to get a cost range. IMRG’s representatives later confirmed its price-matching capabilities and were able to log our inventory quickly.

  • Sample quote: $1,500–$3,500 (one-bedroom move from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: Up to 33%
  • Payment accepted: Credit card and check

Reputation and Reviews

IMRG is a moving broker that relies on the quality of its partner companies to provide good service. The company isn’t accredited by the BBB and only holds a B rating. Customers have praised the professionalism of the crews, but some have given negative feedback about bait-and-switch pricing tactics.

U-Pack

Most Affordable
3.8

U-Pack (USDOT #: 2946400) is a great option for smaller moves with its affordable pricing. U-Pack offers a unique pay-as-you-go policy for its moving trailer service. This option is perfect for small moves, as you can pay per footage for the moving trailer. This way, you only pay for the actual space your belongings take up. Note that U-Pack may not assist with any in-state moves (if it’s less than 150 miles), but it’s an excellent option for long-distance moves.

You can also opt for the company’s moving container services. This lets you pack and load a portable storage container, which provides a cost-effective solution for small apartment or condo moves.

How We Scored U-Pack

U-Pack earned 3.8 out of 5 stars according to our rating scale. We see it as an ideal option for smaller moves, but it also scored lower compared to competitors because of its lack of additional service options and 150-mile minimum. However, it offers some of the best pricing and quickest scheduling we’ve seen.

  • Moving Services (40 out of 59 points): U-Pack lost points here compared to other providers on this list because it doesn’t offer local moving services. This means you can’t use it for your small move if the overall relocation distance is less than 150 miles.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company keeps its protection plans simple, with one partial-value protection plan and one full-value plan.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): U-Pack lacks a bit of convenience as it only lets you finalize any scheduling over the phone rather than an online portal or email.
  • Additional Benefits (11 out of 13 points): The company does provide an excellent selection of extra benefits, given it’s tailored to more DIY and smaller moves. It also provides packing supplies and GPS tracking, but it doesn’t provide any financing options. 
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): Though U-Pack has a positive online reputation across popular review sites, we noticed a fair amount of its trucks fail FMCSA inspections. However, this issue is due in part to the company working with ABF Transportation, a massive freighting company.

Pros and Cons

Pros Charges only for the container space you use Provides GPS tracking on your containers Offers competitive pricing for a self-service mover Cons Only gives you three days to load and unload belongings Offers no local service (under 150 miles) Requires you to purchase additional services to access its service guarantee

Small-Load Moving Services

U-Pack offers its ReloCube moving container or a large moving trailer used by ABF Freights. You can pay for only the footage you 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.

Here are some of the other service options you receive with U-Pack for small moves:

  • Climate-controlled storage 
  • Loading and unloading (via third-party)
  • Packing and unpacking (via third-party)
  • Military moves 
  • Senior moves
  • Student moves

Cost

U-Pack quoted us for one of its ReloCube moving containers at $1,358. The company claimed this ReloCube provided enough space for items in a small apartment. We also got a quote for 5 feet in a moving trailer that cost $2,002, which the company suggested was ideal for a one-bedroom home.

U-Pack states that its prices are all-inclusive and contain no hidden fees. We also found that its ReloCubes and trailers are comparable in price, but that the ReloCube was usually cheaper.

  • Sample quote: $1,358 (one-bedroom move from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment accepted: Credit card, check, and PayPal

Reputation and Reviews

U-Pack has an A+ BBB rating with a 4.25 out of 5-star customer rating. Positive reviews mention quality drivers and containers. Negative reviews detail billing disputes and delivery date discrepancies. U-Pack has mixed customer feedback on Trustpilot, and we noted poor customer service as a common theme in many negative reviews.

Safeway Moving Inc.

Most Reliable Pricing
4.2

Safeway Moving Inc. (USDOT #: 3756000) works mainly as a moving broker throughout all 50 states. It operates primarily as a long-distance mover, but it does offer some options for smaller, local moves. Safeway’s flat-rate pricing makes it a favorite among budget-conscious customers who want full-service moving help. However, its deposit amount and that it brokers out some moves could be deterrents to some. Safeway’s flat-rate pricing and comprehensive offerings with all basic moving packages should interest those moving a smaller home over a long distance.

How We Scored Safeway Moving Inc.

Safeway earned 4.1 out of 5 stars. It offers a complete range of small-load moving services, including packing and storage, and provides online and over-the-phone quotes for your convenience. However, Safeway doesn’t offer additional benefits such as moving calculators or financing options.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Safeway acts as a moving broker, so it can connect you with any service your small move requires, including options for partial and full packing and specialty services.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): Safeway limits its insurance coverage by offering a single released value protection plan and one full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): We like that Safeway offers multiple ways to contact and communicate with its team. The company offers phone, email, and chat options. We found our interactions with Safeway easy and pleasurable and believe it can make your small move less stressful in terms of communication.
  • Additional Benefits (4 out of 13 points): Safeway lost substantial points in this area because the company can’t guarantee you receive shipment tracking, financing, up-front quotes, and other benefits many other providers offer. It also doesn’t offer any DIY moving methods, such as moving truck rentals.
  • Customer service (6 out of 12 points): Safeway falls into a pitfall many other brokers can fall into: a poor reputation due to the companies it brokers. We found that customers had mixed experiences with the company once connected with movers, and it also features higher-than-average issues on its FMCSA profile.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides flat-rate pricing for all moves Offers discounts for senior citizens Includes light packing and 30 days of storage in all quotes Cons Brokers out the majority of its moves Charges as much as 40% for deposits Features highly limited services for local moves

Small-Load Moving Services

Safeway offers a typical range of services that aligns with most full-service movers of its size. You’ll be able to arrange for packing, crating, antique moving, and more through this broker. Your small move will be in good hands, as the movers provided will be able to assist with furniture assembly and disassembly, junk removal, and more. You can receive the following additional services for smaller moves:

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Custom crating for fragile items
  • Moving assistance for senior citizens 
  • Temporary and permanent storage

Cost

You’ll have to call Safeway or fill out a quote form on its site to schedule an in-depth consultation. You’ll be quoted a flat rate for all services that you need. However, you’ll have to pay a hefty deposit to book your move. We noted that our moving representative was incredibly thorough when we got our quote. This provider can’t offer last-minute moving service, but you can be assured that your inventory will be fully logged and your service needs accounted for.

Here is a breakdown of the quote we received:

  • Sample quote: $4,570 (one-bedroom move from Austin, Texas, to Denver, Colorado)
  • Deposit: Up to 40%
  • Payment accepted: Cash, credit card, certified check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Safeway has a B- BBB rating, and some customer reviews state that the carriers it uses will use bait-and-switch pricing tactics. Nevertheless, most reviews are positive and commend Safeway for its high-quality service, detailed quote process, and extensive insurance coverage.

Moving APT

Best Customer Service
4.4

Moving APT (USDOT #: 2247863) offers speedy service, which can greatly assist small-move customers. It partners with more than 2,500 licensed carriers to handle an array of moving needs. Moving APT can help you with anything from local to cross-country relocation for your small move, including last-minute assistance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free move.

One of this broker’s strengths is its informative website, which offers company bios for its main partners, helpful moving resources, and quick cost-calculation tools to help customers get personalized quotes. We found several blog posts on the website particularly helpful, especially those related to moving to or from specific cities. These pages provide information on average moving costs and comparisons among Moving APT’s available partners.

How We Scored Moving APT

We scored Moving APT 4.4 out of 5 stars. The company lost points due to its lack of online booking and insurance options, which vary between its partner companies. We awarded the company more points due to its local and long-distance moving services, as well as its moving calculator and other online moving resources.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Moving APT is a broker that can connect you with movers that fulfill all standard small-load services, as well as specialty services like vehicle relocation.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): Moving APT offers a released value protection plan. It also offers full-value options, but we found that your specific coverage options vary according to what carrier you receive.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): Moving APT features a user-friendly and stylish website that you would think provides online quotes and scheduling, but you can only get in touch with the company over the phone.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): For smaller moves, Moving APT offers moving truck rentals, but surprisingly, it doesn’t offer packing supplies to help with a self-service move. The company also lost points here for not providing financing.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): Moving APT has a higher customer review score and response rate on the BBB than many others on this list, despite having no accreditation and only a B rating. Furthermore, the company’s FMCSA profile is spotless.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers a price calculator on its site Provides moving service to all 50 states Has a price-matching guarantee Cons Brokers out all its moves, leading to potentially inconsistent customer experiences Has received customer complaints about hidden fees and price hikes Features reports of hired movers changing the estimated price

Small-Load Moving Services

Moving APT’s partners provide full- and self-service moving assistance for small-load relocations. You can customize your small move with the following specialty options, such as crating and antique packing services. Here are the service options Moving APT provides:

  • Crating
  • Commercial moving
  • Piano moving
  • Specialty packing for antiques
  • Storage services

Cost

We used Moving APT’s cost calculator tool to get the sample quote below. You can complete its form in a few minutes. However, for accurate pricing, Moving APT must schedule a phone or in-person consultation with you. You should expect to receive calls from several interested movers after completing the form.

  • Sample quote: $1,500–$3,500 (one-bedroom apartment from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: Varies between partners
  • Payment accepted: Cash, check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Moving APT’s BBB page has a B rating without any accreditation, but it has earned an impressive customer review score of 3.53 out of 5 stars. Several customers have praised the company’s resources and quick quotes. However, it’s worth mentioning that some reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction with their customer service after booking.

JK Moving Services

Best Specialized Packing
4.7

JK Moving Services (USDOT #: 1065394) provides a full-service moving experience that you can customize with the company’s add-on options. JK Moving has a mobile app that makes it easy for you to customize your move, book appointments, make payments, and track shipments. It’s great for coordinating multiple moves and storing all documentation in one place. JK Moving is slightly pricier than other companies but perfect for smaller long-distance moves. It offers in-house financing, subject to credit approval, and provides personalized service packages for all relocation sizes.

How We Scored JK Moving Services

JK Moving earned 4.7 out of 5 stars. The company’s financing options and long-distance moving offerings stand out. Its lack of DIY moving offerings or a moving cost calculator knocked its final rating down slightly, but it remains a standout company for long-distance small moves.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): JK Moving provides comprehensive moving services that can be customized to fit your specific needs. It offers standard small-load full-pack and partial-pack options, as well as crating and specialty services for antiques and artwork.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company only offers two contents protection plans, despite providing more detailed financing options. It offers one partial-value protection plan and one full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): JK Moving offers both phone and online scheduling for a more in-depth virtual or in-person estimate process. Though this makes the company provide some of the most accurate estimates, it might be a lot for your small move depending on your needs.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): JK Moving stands out from other service providers due to its numerous additional benefits, such as financing programs, storage services, GPS tracking, and more. However, it doesn’t offer any online tools to help you understand its pricing.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): The company has received positive customer reviews online. Its FMCSA profile holds one injury and two tows, and it’s known to provide exceptional customer service and support.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides optional in-house financing for larger move bills Assigns a personal moving coordinator to each customer Offers around-the-clock customer support Cons Doesn’t provide local moves outside of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.Doesn’t provide local moves outside of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. Doesn’t offer any pricing information online Provides one of the longest quote processes we experienced

Small-Load Moving Services

JK Moving provides traditional full-service moving support for long-distance, cross-country, and international moves. You can select from JK Moving’s optional services and choose only those that fit your specific needs if you prefer a more tailored approach to your relocation. This feature also allows you to create a moving package that stays within your budget.

It also offers these services:

  • Government moves
  • International moves 
  • Information technology removal services
  • Shipment tracking 
  • Temporary and permanent storage

Cost

JK Moving won’t provide any pricing information over the phone and has no cost calculators on its website. We analyzed online customer reviews and found that JK Moving charges about $1,600 for one-bedroom moves of roughly 145 miles. We also called the company and got in touch with a JK Moving sales representative who shared that we could only get a binding estimate if we conducted a virtual or in-person survey. The company’s quote process is long, but it yields a more accurate and detailed quote. We confirmed the following quote is accurate:

  • Sample quote: $1,600 (one-bedroom home from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: $250 up-front
  • Payment accepted: Cash and credit card

Reputation and Reviews

JK Moving holds an A+ rating with the BBB and has received high ratings on various review platforms. JK Moving is known for providing excellent training to its movers and offering financing options. However, there have been some quality issues that have impacted the overall customer experience.

Allied Van Lines

Best for Vehicle Relocation
4.8

Allied Van Lines (USDOT #: 076235) could be a good fit for you if your small move includes shipping a car, boat, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle. Allied stands out from other movers because it operates its own fleet of car carriers instead of outsourcing vehicle transport. This means that you have direct access to the company that is shipping your vehicle, allowing you to track its progress along with the rest of your small moving load.

Allied Express mobile containers may be the way to go if you’re looking for an affordable option for your small move. They come with complimentary labor, which is usually an add-on cost with other self-service companies.

How We Scored Allied Van Lines

We gave Allied 4.8 out of 5 stars. It provides excellent small-load services for local, long-distance, and international moves. Allied lost a few points in our rating criteria because it doesn’t offer self-service moving options and financing.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Allied offers every moving service, including local moves, long-distance moves, international moves, vehicle shipping, and piano moving. Allied is an excellent option if you require a more comprehensive small-move service. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company provides various coverage options that can be customized to fit your budget and security needs.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): Allied contacts you through either phone, online chat, or email. We found the company’s website to be one of the more user-friendly ones we encountered.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): Allied doesn’t offer financing or moving truck rentals, losing some points for small moves. Additionally, its website doesn’t provide a moving calculator despite being well-designed.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): We found that Allied has a largely positive reputation online and it responds to over 90% of the complaints it receives on the BBB. The company’s FMCSA profile indicates fewer failed inspections than competitors, but it has reported more incidents of injuries, crashes, and required tows than other companies, with a total of 39 such occurrences as of January 2023. However, it’s worth noting that this might be due to the company’s large size.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides up to $100,000 in insurance on vehicle shipments Has an expedited program for small moves called Allied Express, which offers all-inclusive small-move pricing Has an innovative and accurate GPS tracking tool for monitoring shipments Cons Provides limited customer support outside of regular business hours Doesn’t give online moving quotes Its moving services can be higher than competitor prices

Small-Load Moving Services

Allied provides various services to simplify your small move. In addition to expert packing and vehicle transportation, it offers several customized options to suit your needs. One of these options is Allied Express, which is a moving container service with expedited shipping for smaller moves. With Allied Express, you have the flexibility to either pack and load yourself or request professional moving labor.

Allied also offers these services:

  • Corporate relocation
  • Crating for fragile items 
  • Packing supplies for sale 
  • Temporary and permanent storage
  • Third-party cleaning services

Cost

Allied Van Lines doesn’t provide any detailed estimates through its website or over the phone. However, we got a general starting price by speaking to a customer service representative. Our AVL representative also mentioned that they could only give us a ballpark estimate without a walkthrough of our home.

  • Sample quote: $1,000 (one-bedroom from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment accepted: Cash, certified check, check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Allied has more than 500 locations, but each location’s quality can differ significantly. You should scrutinize the local reviews of the specific location you’re interested in rather than relying on the nationwide consensus. The company’s headquarters BBB page has a poor rating of 1.1 out of 5 stars, but other Allied locations have better scores.

North American Van Lines

Best for Claims
4.5

North American Van Lines (USDOT #: 070851) is one of the oldest and most trusted moving companies in the U.S. today, with many of its local agents providing efficient small move assistance. North American Van Lines (NAVL) is an excellent choice for moves of any size. Its network of 500 local agents is highly skilled in providing relocation assistance for local, long-distance, and even international moves.

NAVL offers variable pricing structures, which make booking and final payments stress-free. Its pricing plans, including “not-to-exceed” and “bottom-line” options, are popular among those who are more budget-conscious or who want to avoid added fees. The professional movers at NAVL can help you with your local, long-distance, and international moves, no matter how small it might be.

How We Scored North American Van Lines

NAVL received 4.5 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. The company earned points for its wide range of full-service small-load moving options, including packing and storage assistance, across various distances. It lost some points because it only allows you to book services over the phone.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): You can receive all possible standard moving services with NAVL, including a combination of partial- and full-pack options. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): We like NAVL for its protection plans and insurance, so it scored high here. It offers a basic carrier liability protection program called No-Cost Released Value Protection as part of its full-valuation protection program. This option provides a minimum shipment value of $6,000 and a value of $6 per pound. Your shipment’s total weight is multiplied by $6 to calculate the coverage amount. This is significantly more coverage than the standard 60 cents per pound required by law.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): Some points were lost here because NAVL only offers phone communication. 
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): NAVL provides many of the additional benefits other movers offer, such as storage services and GPS tracking. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer any self-service options, such as moving truck rental or financing.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): NAVL is more than 90% responsive to complaints on its BBB profile, but the company has an alarming FMCSA profile. Its failed inspection rate sits at 27.3%, and it features 29 total crashes in the past two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides a single point of contact for all moves Has more than 500 individual locations that offer local and small-move service Has different pricing plans to suit all budgets and needs Cons Offers varied service options depending on your location Provides inconsistent quality at some locations, based on customer reviews we read on Yelp and the BBB Requires an in-home estimate for binding quotes

Small-Load Moving Services

NAVL offers numerous basic and add-on services. You can procure full-service packing or purchase packing supplies and handle this part of the move yourself. It also offers antique and specialty moving options if your small move includes specific valuables. Installation assistance for appliances and debris removal are also available.

Here are some of NAVL’s additional services:

  • Appliance installation
  • Debris removal
  • Packing supplies
  • Temporary and permanent storage 
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

NAVL provides binding quotes via virtual surveys or in-person consultations. The company won’t provide ballpark estimates over the phone without setting up an appointment. You can call to start the quote process, and you’ll be able to add a protection plan for your small move if desired. We spoke with an agent and received an average price that NAVL expects you to pay for a one-bedroom move.

  • Sample quote: $1,000 (one-bedroom move from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment accepted: Cash, certified check, money order, check

Reputation and Reviews

NAVL’s quality of service may vary depending on your location. The company’s headquarters has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB, but its overall customer rating is only 1.13 out of 5 stars. We suggest you review customer feedback for your local NAVL branch before booking services to ensure you make an informed decision.

1-800-PACK-RAT

Best Self-Service Mover
4.7

Self-service movers may be better suited for smaller moves, and we find 1-800-PACK-RAT (USDOT #: 1534531) to be the best overall self-service mover. 1-800-PACK-RAT offers three different sizes of portable storage containers, which are designed for small moves and are highly efficient. The largest container offered by the company can easily accommodate the belongings of a small two-bedroom apartment, making it possible for 1-800-PACK-RAT to deliver single-container service for your goods. The company has also partnered with HireAHelper to offer services such as loading and unloading, which can be really helpful for those who need assistance with their move.

Note: 1-800-PACK-RAT is available in 30 states and Washington, D.C.

How We Scored 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT scored 4.7 stars out of 5 via our scoring system. The company scored higher for a self-service moving container company because of its additional labor services and large coverage area. It lost some points due to its overall lack of extra benefits like GPS tracking, online resources, and a moving calculator.

  • Moving Services (50 out of 59 points): 1-800-PACK-RAT offers local moving options, unlike U-Pack, which makes it the ideal self-service option for small, local moves. You can also receive packing and loading services through third-party partnerships with PACK-RAT.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company offers multiple levels of insurance coverage other than the standard two options, so you can tailor coverage to match your budget and belongings’ value.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): 1-800-PACK-RAT allows you to schedule your move over the phone or online through its website, which earned it more points here.
  • Additional Benefits (7 out of 13 points): It offers some of the best self-service moving options, but 1-800-PACK-RAT doesn’t offer GPS tracking, an online calculator, and other extra benefits you receive with many other moving companies.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): 1-800-PACK-RAT has an overall positive online reputation and its FMCSA profile features few issues compared to other providers.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves Has a wide range of online resources and tools for efficient moves Offers three sizes of weatherproof and easily accessible containers Cons Only available in 30 states Doesn’t provide online moving quotes or scheduling Doesn’t operate on Sundays

Small-Load Moving 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. The company delivers a moving container to your residence that you can load with your belongings at your own pace. You then notify the company of when to pick up and deliver your container to your new home. You can unload the container at your own pace. This adds a layer of flexibility to your move.

The company also offers the following services:

  • Packing and unpacking (via third-party)
  • Loading and unloading (via third-party)
  • Short-term and long-term storage

Cost

We obtained a moving quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT using the company’s website to transport one of its 8-foot containers from Dallas to Austin, Texas, in about three months. This quote includes all transportation, delivery and pickup, a no-cut security lock, and $10,000 in contents protection. We found the online quote process to be easy and intuitive when we received this pricing figure.

  • Sample quote: $1,553 (one-bedroom from Dallas to Austin, Texas)
  • Deposit: $500
  • Payment accepted: Cash and credit

Reputation and Reviews

1-800-PACK-RAT maintains an A+ rating on the BBB site. Negative reviews mention longer transit times than expected. So, if you decide to choose 1-800-PACK-RAT, it’s advisable to be flexible. On the other hand, many customers appreciate the company for providing a cost-effective solution for relocation. Additionally, the company’s containers are praised for their high quality.


What Determines a Small Move’s Cost?

A small move’s cost depends on several factors, such as the mover, distance, item amount, time of year, and if you choose any add-ons. Most small moves are local moves, which moving providers consider to be within the same city or 50 miles of your original location. Many local movers charge an hourly rate for services rather than a weight- and distance-based quote.


How Do I Plan and Prepare for a Small Move?

Moving companies can often help you plan and prepare for a successful move. Some moving companies offer personal moving coaches to help guide customers through the process, while others provide a moving checklist. You may forget some important tasks when preparing for your move even if you have these resources.

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure your move goes smoothly:

  • Create an inventory list: Create an inventory list, note the condition of your items, and take pictures of them. These photos and notes will be useful if you file a damage claim for reimbursement.
  • 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 or get rid of. Take each pile to its respective drop-off location a few days before your movers arrive.
  • 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. Filing a change of address form with the post office is easy to do online or in person. Do this at least a couple of weeks before your move.

Choosing the right small-load moving company is crucial, so it requires thorough research and evaluation. You can choose the best moving company by doing the following:
Make a list of moving services you need: List all of the services you’ll need your movers to handle. For example, decide if you want full packing or only loading and unloading services. You may also need to consider vehicle shipping if you plan to fly to your new state. This step should enable you to narrow your list to three or four moving companies.
Read customer reviews: Read real testimonials for your top options. Even the best national moving companies have locations in some areas that provide subpar service. Google Reviews, Yelp, BBB, and social media are great sources for customer feedback. Note positive and negative trends to inform you how a mover treats its customers. Research location-specific reviews to ensure the quality of service in your area.
Check for proper licensing and credentials: Make sure your top choices are registered with the FMCSA with all required state-level licenses and permits to operate where you’re moving from and to. Confirm that the companies and their drivers have valid operating authority records and insurance to cover accidents or damages. This protects you against rogue or fraudulent movers.
Get quotes and evaluate them to find the best price: Obtain binding moving estimates from your top three choices. Reputable moving companies offer binding or not-to-exceed estimates after an at-home visit to review your belongings. Be wary of lowball estimates that may indicate a lack of experience or attempts to raise the price later.

What Are My Small-Load Moving Options?

Moving companies offer different service models for transporting your belongings across state lines based on your requirements and budget. Some of these options are more ideal for small moves than others, such as container shipping and DIY moves. Understanding the differences helps you choose the best solution.

  • Full-service movers: This option involves trained moving crews who will pack, handle, and transport all your household items to your new home. They’ll bring packing materials, pack boxes with your belongings, load the truck, drive to your new location, unpack, and even provide basic furniture setup. This service is convenient but more expensive.
  • Local movers: You may be able to hire a local moving company instead of a big national company. These movers typically provide all the same services as full-service movers, but you might get a more competitive rate.
  • DIY moves: This option involves renting a moving truck from companies like U-Haul and packing and driving it yourself. This is the most budget-friendly option but requires a lot of physical effort, such as packing, lifting heavy furniture, and driving long distances. Also, there is a greater risk of damage without professional help.
  • Container shipping: This option involves renting a secure container that will be driven across the country and delivered to your new address. Containers are ideal for long-distance moves where you can load and unload your items in stages. However, you still need to handle packing.
  • Freight: This type of service is best suited for moving specialty items such as vehicles, oversized furniture, or heavy machinery. Freight transport providers have the necessary equipment to securely transport large and awkward items, such as flatbeds, car haulers, or box trucks.

Our Conclusion

International Van Lines is our top pick for small-load moves because it can tailor its moving packages to your specific requirements. The company maintains a good reputation and level of service found with local movers despite being a large-scale operation.

American Van Lines is a great second choice if you need to move quickly between major cities because of its competent crews. In addition, if you have valuable or fragile items such as antiques or artwork, American Van Lines can provide specialized care. You should also consider Interstate Moving & Relocation Group if you need a quick quote for a last-minute move.

Ultimately, we recommend getting quotes from at least three moving companies before booking.


FAQ About Small Moves

What is the most affordable moving company for smaller moves?

U-Pack is the most affordable moving company for smaller moves. Self-service moving companies are generally more affordable than full- or partial-service movers.

What is considered a small move by professional movers?

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

How far in advance should I book small-load movers?

We suggest booking your movers at least two months in advance, but you’ll want to check with your moving company.

Do I get a discount by sharing a moving truck?

Many moving companies offer expedited service at a lower rate when your shipment is in a trailer with other moves. There is no defined discount for this service, but you’ll typically pay a lower rate than if you booked with a mover that shipped your goods on its own.

How long does it take to pack a one-bedroom apartment?

Most professional movers can pack a one-bedroom apartment in a few hours. Packing at your own pace at one to two boxes per day after work will allow you to be completely packed in a few weeks.


Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling, trailer and container options, additional benefits, and reputation to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

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