How To Choose the Best Local Mover Near You
Taking a few steps before settling on a moving company helps ensure you choose the right one. Consider the following factors during your research:
Your Moving Service Needs
Check that the moving company offers all the services you need. Full-service movers typically offer loading, unloading, packing, and storage. Some movers only operate locally or long distance, so make sure they cover your moving distance.
License and Insurance
Moving companies must comply with licensing requirements. Local movers need state-level registration, often regulated by the state's Department of Transportation or a separate entity. Companies must have active registrations with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves. You can check licensing status on the FMCSA website using the company's U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and motor carrier operating authority (MC) numbers.
Additionally, consider the moving company's insurance coverage. Released value protection covers 60 cents per pound per article. Moving companies offer this insurance for free, so it's an economical option if you don't have too many valuables. On the other hand, full value protection covers the repair or replacement value of lost or damaged goods (with some applicable limits) and is available for an additional charge.
Experience and Customer Reviews
A moving company with extensive industry experience is more likely to provide exceptional service and a hassle-free moving experience. However, a newer company can also provide good service, so it's important to research each company's reputation.
Read customer reviews and testimonials to gain insights into their professionalism, reliability, and affordability. In addition to sites like Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau, you can check social media sites like Reddit. Look for mentions of lost or damaged items, how the mover handled liability claims, and punctuality. FMCSA snapshots provide other useful information, such as the company's safety record.
Get multiple quotes from different moving companies at least six weeks before your move to compare pricing. Gather quotes that include all services, fees, and additional costs to avoid surprises later. Don't be swayed by the lowest quote alone; consider each mover's overall value and reputation.
Types of Moving Services
Basic residential moving services include these:
- Local moving: The exact distance radius depends on the company, but it generally covers moves within the same state or a few hundred miles.
- Long-distance moving: This service is for moves that cross state lines.
- International moving: These movers handle the complexities of relocating to another country, including customs clearance and international shipping.
- Packing and unpacking: You can save time and effort by having professionals pack your belongings using quality packing materials and then unpack them at your new home.
- Storage: Storage services provide a secure place to store your items temporarily during the moving process or for the long term.
Many moving companies also offer several specialty services, such as the following:
- Art and antiques moving
- Furniture disassembly and reassembly
- Junk removal
- Piano moving
- Vehicle shipping
Tips for a Smooth and Stress-Free Moving Experience
A successful move requires planning, organizing, and preparing. We've compiled a list of tips that cover essential aspects of the moving process to make your move as straightforward as possible.
Create a Moving Checklist and Timeline
Make a list of each task you need to do for your move and establish a timeline. This helps you stay organized and on schedule throughout the moving process, which should reduce the likelihood of last-minute stress or overlooked tasks.
An example timeline with an eight-week preparation period might be as follows:
- Eight weeks out: Begin researching movers and collecting quotes, take an inventory of your belongings, and start packing less commonly used items, such as books and out-of-season clothing.
- Six weeks out: Book a mover and downsize if necessary. This can involve disposing of, donating, or selling items. Your mover may also offer junk removal services, which can be useful for disposing of bulky items like furniture.
- Four weeks out: Notify utility companies and the United States Postal Service (USPS) of the move and continue packing.
- Three weeks out: Plan to use up and eliminate perishable items in your fridge and pantry. Plan your meals for your moving week.
- Two weeks out: Arrange child or pet care and time off from work if needed. Pack more common household items.
- Moving week: Finish packing. Pack a suitcase of clothes and the essentials you'll need immediately after the move.
- Moving day: Prepare payment for the movers and pack any leftover items.
Declutter and Organize
Before packing, declutter by selling, donating, or discarding items you no longer need. Decluttering reduces the volume of possessions you have to move and unpack. Organize your possessions by putting similar items that may be scattered around your home in the same place. This allows for a more efficient packing process.
Start Packing Early and Label Boxes
Gather packing supplies in advance, such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Begin packing early, starting with infrequently used or nonessential items. As you pack, label each box with its contents and designated room, and make an inventory. This system makes unpacking easier and provides a reference in case of damage or loss.