Packing for a big move can be more complicated than it first appears. It’s not just gathering packing tape, moving boxes, and moving blankets. You also need to consider small, fragile items, account for large items like mirrors, and decide if any of your items require custom crating.
There are many professional movers that offer packing services in addition to loading, transporting, and unloading your belongings for you. But not all movers and packers fulfill the exact needs or budget you have in mind.
We at the This Old House Reviews Team have conducted extensive research on the best moving companies in the United States. This guide will help you determine which packing and moving companies best suit your budget and specific packing needs.
5 Best Packing and Moving Companies
The following providers are the best packing and moving companies on the market:
International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
International Van Lines (IVL) handles almost every part of your move for you. Since 2003, IVL has provided full-service and partial-service moving packages with options such as furniture disassembly, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and furniture reassembly.
IVL allows you to have control over your packing experience. For example, you can either opt to have the company professionally pack your items, including custom crating, or you can save money by choosing to self-pack while IVL’s movers handle all the loading and transportation.
International Van Lines provides its packing and moving services for both local and long-distance moves in all 50 states, as well as 180 countries.
Pros & Cons
Read about some of the benefits and downsides to using International Van Lines here:
✔ Offers specialty services for difficult items such as artwork, antiques, recreational equipment, and pianos
✔ Offers contents protection plans with an adjustable coverage cap
✔ Allows customers to mix and match packing services
✘ Sometimes acts as a moving broker based on your move’s location
✘ Customer reviews mention the difficulty in communication at times
With IVL, you mix and match your moving package based on your moving needs and budget, including packing needs. Some notable packing options include IVL’s full-pack services, partial-pack service, and custom crating.
- IVL Full-Pack: Full-pack provides the most hands-free moving experience. If you opt for this service, IVL will pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack all your items for you.
- IVL Partial-Pack: Partial-pack allows you to save money as you pack and unpack most items yourself, but IVL will wrap and pack glass furniture tops, TVs, mirrors, lamps, china cabinets, and all upholstered furniture. IVL’s movers will also handle all the loading, transportation, and unloading for you.
- IVL Custom Crating: Custom crating is a great service if you own challenging items that may not fit into a standard box. IVL will professionally pack items such as antiques and artwork in custom wooden boxes designed to secure these items for safe transportation.
IVL offers two moving coverage plans. Its full-value protection plan comes with either a $500 and $1,000 deductible. You also pick a coverage cap that covers the total value of your belongings. Unless you pick a full-value protection plan, you receive IVL’s limited liability coverage for 60 cents per pound per item. Learn more about IVL services.
We received a ballpark quote from International Van Lines to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to San Diego for a total of $4,200–$6,150. This quote only includes all transportation and loading services. Adding packing services would place the price closer to $6,150.
Free Estimate: IVL Quotes
Learn More: International Van Line Review
American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
American Van Lines (AVL) focuses on providing highly experienced and skillful movers to your packing services. AVL only hires full-time, back-ground checked employees rather than the standard of contractual labor. The company invests further into its workers, who have an average of 10 years of moving experience each, by training them in specialty services at a facility in Pompano Beach, Florida.
AVL provides custom crating and custom boxes for packing services. This includes mattress boxes, mirror cases, wardrobe boxes, and other specialized packing supplies. AVL’s movers are also capable of disassembling, crating, and moving any antiques or pianos you own.
American Van Lines provides its services in every state except for Alaska and Hawaii.
Pros & Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of American Van Lines:
✔ Offers custom crating and custom packing solutions
✔ Features highly skilled workers with an average of 10 years of experience
✔ Offers a price-matching policy
✘ Requires an up-front deposit that may range between 10%–50% of the total cost
✘ Limited pricing information online
American Van Lines provides highly skilled labor for almost all parts of your move. Service includes furniture disassembly, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and furniture reassembly.
If you have difficult or challenging items to break down and pack such as a Peloton or other gym equipment, a piano, or priceless antique furniture, then AVL is a great choice.
AVL provides two options for moving coverage and valuation. Its Released Value plan provides coverage per pound per item at 60 cents. Though it is technically free, you must sign a specific statement on your bill of lading to receive it. Its Full Value Protection plan provides coverage based on the declared value of your items. Learn more about American Van Lines services.
AVL wants to provide only accurate pricing that does not greatly change or feature hidden fees. Because of this the company only offers binding estimates through either in-home or virtual surveys. The company does provide some pricing information online on its moving cost page, though. AVL estimates that moving a three-bedroom home (or 10,000 pounds), including some packing services, from Dallas out to San Diego would cost about $7,739.
Free Estimate: American Van Lines Quote
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
We know that vehicle relocation is a common need. In fact, we surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 47% of them required a vehicle to be shipped alongside their move. Movers do not always understand the importance of this service as it is common to outsource transporting a vehicle to another company.
Allied Van Lines acts as a carrier for many of its services, and this includes vehicle relocation services. Allied provides direct communication with the employee transporting your vehicle and GPS shipment tracking.
The company also provides plenty of packing services, such as full-pack services and crating. Notably, Allied features a fragile-only packing service. This service lets you save money as you pack most of your items and Allied packs any difficult or fragile items you own.
Allied Van Lines is available in every state and 130 countries. Similar to IVL, Allied is both a carrier and moving broker, so you might receive a partnered company for a local move. Because of this, Allied is a better option for long-distance moves.
Pros & Cons
Compare some of the pros and cons of Allied Van Lines below:
✔ Offers in-house vehicle relocation services
✔ Partners with the Salvation Army to help donate unwanted items
✔ Offers fragile-only packing services alongside custom crating and full-packing options
✘ Customer reviews mention difficulty reaching the contents protection claims department
✘ Might be more expensive than some competitors
Allied Van Lines offers a variety of full-service moving options. Similar to IVL, Allied provides full-packing services, custom crating, and partial-packing services.
It also offers a fragile-only packing service. With this service, Allied will handle any difficult items or rooms, such as your kitchen, while you pack the rest on your own. This is a great middle ground between full-service and partial-service packing.
The company also sells packing supplies, and it offers a DIY, portable storage container service called Allied Express.
Allied offers moving coverage with its Basic Liability Protection plan, which provides a maximum of 60 cents per pound per article should your items get damaged or lost. This plan is free of charge, but you must mention it in writing to Allied. Allied Van Lines also offers an Extra Care Protection plan. This plan is based on the declared value of your items. Learn more about Allied Van Lines services.
Allied Van Lines provides binding estimates, which is a price that does not drastically change during your move despite unexpected events or setbacks. To obtain a binding estimate, you must conduct an in-home or virtual survey with Allied. Allied provided us a ballpark quote to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to San Diego with an average amount of items for $7,649–$8,453. Packing services would place the price closer to $8,453.
Free Estimate: Allied Van Lines Quote
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
North American Van Lines (NAVL) provides many industry-standard packing options for a full-service mover. Services include full-service packing, fragile-only packing, and assistance with self-packing via a personal move coordinator and NAVL’s online packing tips blog.
NAVL also provides further support for your packed items through its detailed and accessible claims process. The company provides access to claims forms for both domestic and international movies all across its website. It also uses two separate customer support lines for domestic and international moves to further streamline the claims process.
NAVL provides packing and moving services in all 50 states and 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of North American Van Lines:
✔ Detailed and transparent claims process
✔ Offers assistance with installing appliances
✔ Wide assortment of online tools and resources, including packing tips
✘ Available agents may be limited based on your location
✘ Storage options can be limited based on location
NAVL offers many popular full-service packing and moving options. On top of packing and crating options, NAVL also helps install appliances. It also offers debris removal, such as getting rid of empty boxes. This helps the unpacking process go by faster.
NAVL also provides custom contents protection plans through its detailed Valued Inventory Forms. These forms help you determine the appropriate level of coverage for your belongings, and you then create a coverage plan with a NAVL representative based on this information. Learn more about NAVL services.
Similar to Allied, NAVL uses binding estimates to provide accurate pricing that does not get greatly altered. It also requires that you conduct an in-home or virtual survey to obtain one. North American Van Lines quoted us to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to San Diego for around $7,620–$8,420.
Free Estimate: NAVL Quote
Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
JK Moving: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
JK Moving has always aimed to provide a great customer experience since its founding in 1982. This focus includes its packing services. JK Moving assigns you a personal moving coordinator who will create a moving package around your specific needs and budget. This includes services, such as packing, crating, specialty services, packing supplies, and more.
The company also offers the rare perk of financing your packing and moving services. Through a partnership with Enhancify, JK customers can receive rates as low as 0% same-as-cash on their moves.*
For long-distance moves, JK Moving is available in all 50 states, but the company only helps with local moves in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. JK Moving also supplies assistance for international moving.
*Subject to credit approval
Pros & Cons
Check out some of the perks and drawbacks to JK Moving:
✔ Provides customer service 24/7
✔ Offers financing through Enhancify
✔ Customizes packing services based on your needs
✘ Does not provide online pricing
✘ Local moving services are only available in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
A JK Moving personal moving coordinator collects information about your moving needs and your budget during the quote process. This way, you receive a moving package that meets all your packing needs.
With JK Moving’s full-service packing, the company’s professional movers and packers wrap and pack everything for you. This includes inventory-tagging every item. You may also opt for fragile-only packing, in which you pick the items you want JK Moving to professionally handle. The company also handles furniture disassembly when requested or needed. Learn more about JK Moving services.
JK Moving customizes each and every one of its moves. Because of this, the company does not provide any pricing information online. It also means that it uses binding estimates to avoid drastic changes or hidden fees in your quote. The following factors influence the price JK Moving provides you:
- Where your original home is located
- The overall distance of your move
- The size and or weight of your move
- The date and the time of year of your move
- Additional services you purchase
Working alongside the company, we were able to obtain a ballpark estimate from JK Moving for a two-bedroom home (or 10,400 pounds) going from Atlanta to Chicago for $7,521. This includes furniture disassembly, wrapping and padding, loading, unloading, and full value protection.
Free Estimate: JK Moving Quote
Learn More: JK Moving Review
What to Look for in a Packing and Moving Company
It can be challenging to research each moving company’s website to determine which company is right for you. There are a few important, universal factors to keep in mind when comparing top moving companies. To help you keep those major factors in mind, we have listed them here:
Figure Out Which Type of Move You Want
Take some time as you research to figure out which type of move you and your family might want. You should think about what you value in a moving service and what you are willing to do in order to effectively determine which type of move you should undertake.
Full-Service Moving Companies
If you are looking to have a moving company handle as much of your move as possible, then we recommend a full-service moving company like International Van Lines or JK Moving. Full-service moving companies pack and unpack belongings, and they might train their movers in transporting fragile items like antiques.
Self-Service Moving Companies
Another important factor to consider when hiring a packing and moving company is the company’s available moving insurance or liability coverage. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires all licensed moving carriers to hold at least limited liability. This covers items at 60 cents per pound per item.
If someone else will be packing your items for you, we recommend you consider companies that offer additional coverage options.
What Impacts a Move’s Cost?
There are many factors outside of packing services that influence the overall cost of a move. Most moving companies adjust their prices according to the same factors.
Some of these factors change according to whether the move is a local move within a city or a long-distance move that exceeds roughly 100 miles. Local moves tend to base the cost on hours worked, while long-distance moves focus on the weight of the shipment and distance traveled.
These most common factors impact the overall cost of hiring a professional van line:
- Location of your original home
- Date and time of your move
- The overall distance of the move
- Truck parking access
- Truck size used
- Truck driver’s hours
- Hours worked by moving labor
- Fuel used during the move
- Amount of portable storage containers used
- Size/weight of your move
- Additional protection plans you purchase
- Additional services you purchase
Packing and Moving Companies FAQs
How much does it cost to have someone pack for you?
If you are hiring professional packers for a local mover, you can expect it to cost between $20–$50 per hour per packer. If you are obtaining packing services for a long-distance move, your cost will be based on the size and weight of your move.
What will movers not pack?
We recommend you check with the packing and moving company you pick to check and see what items they refuse to handle, but common items include:
- Lighter fluid
- Propane tanks
- Nail polish remover
- Cleaning chemicals
- Paint thinners
What does full packing service mean?
Full packing service refers to when the movers pack everything for you. Partial packing service refers to when the movers pack items you wish not to pack yourself. Self-packing refers to when you pack everything yourself, but a professional moving company handles other parts of your move.
Additional Moving Guides
- Best Cheap Moving Companies
- Best Moving Companies for Small Moves
- Best Interstate Moving Companies
- Best Moving Companies for Antiques
- Best Moving Companies for Apartments
- Best Moving Van Companies
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 review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Our Reviews Team reviews reputable companies from all across the nation, and we have a full-time researcher who collects (and regularly updates) more than 100 specific data points from each company. We perform in-depth research and compare each company on key factors such as cost, services, availability, and trustworthiness.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.