As your home sale comes to a close, another hurdle looms around the corner: The Big Move.
You’ve set up those reminders to “schedule movers,” but you’d like to avoid another typical moving day disaster this round. No more dealing with guys who show up late, damage your high-end furniture, take an extra-long lunch, and in the end hand you a bill that far exceeds the initial estimate.
And the risks are real: According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Affairs, over 4,000 moving fraud complaints were filed in 2017, with the average loss claim of $8,000 from hiring a bad mover.
Horror stories abound, like the (now out-of-service) Texas-based moving company that agreed to help a retired member of the U.S. Navy move, then jacked up the price from $2,700 to $6,700 after the truck was loaded. When the customer tried to negotiate, the company essentially held his belongings hostage.
Because we want you to end your home sale on a high note, we’ve done some of the legwork for you and rounded out the best and most reputable moving companies. We compared companies across the country based on their experience, awards, Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, and online reviews.
Then, we sorted them by the type of move you’re undertaking, whether it be local, cross-country, full-service, or DIY with the help of a truck. HomeLight can’t guarantee any operation’s level of service, and we encourage you to vet each recommendation further. But, based on our extensive research, these 9 top moving companies are worth your consideration.
Your top moving company for local, full-service help: American Van Lines
In business since 1995, American Van Lines is a dependable, consumer-trusted choice for local, full-service assistance nationwide.
A member of the American Moving Storage Association (AMSA)—which is known for its long history of consumer advocacy and improving industry standards—American Van Lines also has a ProMover designation, an initiative launched by AMSA in 2009 to help consumers differentiate between authentic movers and those running a con operation.
Ranked as one of “America’s Best Customer Service 2019” in the Moving Services category with a 4.5 out of 5-star overall satisfaction rating from BBB-accredited website ConsumerAffairs, American Van Lines offers a wide range of services for local, long-distance, corporate, military, international, business, storage, and piano and antique moves.
Although many moving companies charge by the hour, American Van Lines offers a Flat Rate Pricing System, which includes disassembly and reassembly of your furniture, packing, and specialty moving for fragile items. Locking in a rate at the beginning helps you avoid sticker shock, and you can rest assured the cost won’t change at any point, offering you “peace of mind throughout the entire relocation.”
Your top moving company for a cross-country move: Colonial Van Lines
A family owned and operated business with over 50 years of experience and over 200 service agents in their network, Colonial Van Lines is equipped with the right resources for your long-distance or cross-country move.
As a full-service moving company, Colonial Van Lines handles your belongings with the respect, care, and attention they deserve, especially considering the anxiety you’re likely feeling about your cross-country move.
For example, the company has a network of professional movers and packers who are experienced in the process, promising every customer “professional care, reliability, cost-effective services, efficiency, and friendliness.” Whether you need short- or long-term storage services or just a smooth and straightforward cross-country move, Colonial Van Lines handles all the details.
With a 4 out of 5-star satisfaction rating, customers appreciate the company’s professionalism and its ability to set transparent expectations regarding price and process at the onset, based on the dozens of reviews we pored over. In fact, over 70% of verified customers “said they were happy or satisfied with their experience or would recommend Colonial Van Lines to a friend.” Rated as one of the nation’s top moving companies and undertaking at least 19,000 moves a year, Colonial Van Lines also has a B+ from the BBB.
The company’s service offerings are customized depending on the size and distance of your move, and you’re assigned a personal relocation assistant so your experience—from initiating a booking to delivery at your new location—is seamless and conducive to your needs.
Customers can also use Colonial Van Lines’ app, an industry-first moving service tool, to get in touch with moving specialists, take photos and videos of your items to obtain an accurate estimate, order moving and packing supplies, and use a built-in moving checklist to streamline your experience.
As a bonus, Colonial Van Lines partners with Move For Hunger, “a non-profit that provides hunger relief by delivering unwanted non-perishables to food banks via relocation companies.”
Think about all the non-perishable foods you’ll likely leave behind on moving day and the impact they can have on local families in need. All you need to do is set aside your unopened nonperishables, and Colonial will deliver them to your local food bank.
Your top moving company for a shipping container: U-Haul
Unlike a DIY move, which means filling up your own vehicles and driving them from Point A to Point B, shipping containers involve a company delivering containers to your home.
You load the containers with your belongings, the company picks up the containers and ships them to your new home or a nearby storage facility, and you unload it from there. The biggest perk of using a shipping container is that you don’t have to do the driving, which can be stressful if you’re not used to handling more than a sedan. Though you should note that using a shipping container is generally more expensive than a truck rental.
Based on our research of the competitors in this space, we think U-Haul’s U-Box Containers for Moving and Storage offers a few advantages worth noting. For one, the company’s been in business since 1945 and has 15,000+ locations across the U.S. and Canada.
Earning top sustainability awards from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Alliance to Save Energy, Platts, and Valley Forward for U-Haul as a whole, the company’s U-Box service in particular is an excellent choice if:
- You live in a smaller space because you—not the shipping company—will be the one to load and unload your belongings.
- You need flexibility to store your belongings in a U-Haul facility if you’re in-between moves (a monthly rental fee applies).
- You don’t feel comfortable driving a large moving truck.
The U-Box containers are made of “premium, pest resistant plywood, which provides your belongings with a stable and chemical free environment to store and transport your belongings in” so you can rest assured they will be protected from mold, mildew, and the elements.
There’s also something comforting about using a service created on the shoulders of an iconic, well-established company that invented the DIY move. With a 3.53 average review rating from Moving 101, and the least expensive option compared to the competition, you can get a one-way quote online that includes the entire cost of your move, in one transparent format.
If you’re unsure how many shipping containers you’ll need, it’s best to overestimate. U-Haul will pick up any unused containers and credit you back the full cost.
Your top moving company for when you just need a good ole’ truck: Penske
- The most up-to-date fleet of trucks to ensure driver safety throughout your relocation.
- Outstanding customer service reps who are knowledgeable, kind, and want to get you the best deal possible.
The company was founded in 1969, so it’s got some clout in the transportation services industry. With more than 308,000 vehicles, over 745 service locations, and more than 2,400 truck rental locations in North America, it “became the first company ever in North America to put an electric commercial vehicle into its fleet”—cementing its reputation as an organization that continues to invest in the latest technology.
With a myriad of customer and industry awards under its belt, from supplier and logistics to sustainability and innovation, the company also has an A+ rating from the BBB and a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on reviews.org, a digital resource in reviewing and testing home- and tech-related services.
Penske has five vehicle options—a cargo van and a 12-, 16-, 22-, and 26-foot truck—depending on the size of your home.
If you’re unsure what size you’ll need, you can use the Penske Truck Wizard. With illustrations of furniture and household items, and a user-friendly design, it’s an easy digital tool to help you visualize your belongings and how much space they’ll require in order to get you the most accurate quote.
Your top moving company for transporting your car from A to B: Ship a Car Direct
Getting your car from New York to California can be a real pain if you don’t want to drive it.
Of course, you can ship your car but with that comes concern over nicks and dents.
Where other car transportation services don’t cover the cost of damage, Ship a Car Direct’s Damage-Free Guarantee program means that “in the very rare case of damage, the carrier’s insurance will cover it. If they don’t, we’ve got your back.” What does this mean for you? Peace of mind, security, and confidence.
Since the broker launched in 2008, originally under the name Honesty First Auto Transport, customers have flocked to its reliability, honesty, transparency, and fair prices.
With an A+ rating from the BBB and an overall 4.8 out of 5-star rating, Ship a Car Direct’s customer service and FAQ user videos—delivered directly from the owner Michael Strickland—offers customers a personal perspective that eases any concern or anxiety over damage to their car.
Ship a Car Direct takes great measures to ensure your experience from point A to point B is a smooth one for your conscience and car.
For example, all of the company’s car carriers are pre-screened for required licenses, insurance, and hidden fees, leaving you with peace of mind that your car will be in safe hands. Every order comes with $500 in added insurance, free of charge to you.
If you need assistance, the company is available at flexible hours, via phone or email, to answer any of your vehicle transportation questions. One common concern, for instance, is whether to choose an open carrier or enclosed carrier for your car; if you’re unsure, the company can walk you through the pros and cons depending on your type of car, the distance traveling, and your budget.
Plus, Ship a Car Direct doesn’t require an upfront deposit.
Your top moving company for an international move: International Van Lines
Operating since 2000, International Van Lines primarily began as an international moving and logistics company. Handling 10,000 moves a year and providing overseas moving to over 180 countries, with availability in all 50 states, it ranks as one of the best companies in the industry.
With a 4.5 out of 5-star overall rating from Move.org, an expert-driven and research-based recommendation guide on moving and storage companies, the company offers moving services worldwide—thanks to more than 3,200 global partnerships.
When you choose IVL for your international move, the following service offerings are included:
- Furniture assembly and disassembly
- Loading and unloading
- Pads, blankets, ties, and straps to secure and protect your furniture
- Moving items up or down one flight of stairs
- Tolls, mileage, fuel, and taxes (unless otherwise noted)
- Liability protection ($0.60 per lb. per article)
If you have pricey or treasured items, you can purchase full-value protection “which covers damage to your belongings at a higher rate per item.”
Additionally, other than the basic professional moving services you’ve come to expect, IVL has specialty offerings—like cranes—to lift heavy furniture or oddball items from your home.
The keys to finding a dependable and professional moving company
We’ve given you some ideas of where to start your search for top moving companies based on the research and information available to us. But we recommend you do your own homework before signing any paperwork.
Beware of the red flags of moving company fraud, like initial quotes that seem too good to be true. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Protect Your Move website offers an educational—and downloadable!—checklist of your consumer rights and what to be aware of before, during, and after the move, and how to report if you’ve been victimized.
Generally, you should look for:
- Transparent rates (whether they’re flat fee, by the hour, and any extra charges)
- Positive reviews from websites such as ConsumerAffairs
- Accessible and reliable customer support
- Number of years in the business
- Licensing from the U.S. Department of Transportation
- Membership at professional industry associations such as American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)
- Proof the company is properly bonded and insured
Alternatively, if a company’s information is hard to find, its representatives can’t answer your questions, the estimate isn’t aligned with others you’ve received, or if something just isn’t sitting right with you, then follow your instincts.
There’s no reason why you should have any doubts about the movers you ultimately hire.
Header Image Source: (Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock)