Moving Company FAQs

  • Introduction

    If you're moving locally, or at least within the same state, you'll want to hire a reputable local moving company to get the job done safely. Interstate movers are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but local moving companies often only have to comply with state regulations; it may be beneficial to learn the licensing process in your state in order to find a company you can trust. Another good way to ensure that your selected moving company is properly licensed is by looking through our top picks.

    If you're moving across state lines, you won't just have to verify that a company is licensed locally. They'll need to have the legal authority to operate in any of the states you'll be crossing. Many local moving companies partner with van lines to make sure they can pass regulatory hurdles and can facilitate your move smoothly, no matter the distance.
  • What is considered long-distance moving?

    Generally, if a move is over 400 miles, it's considered a long-distance move, but the definition varies between moving companies. Some consider a long-distance move to be one that takes the cargo across state or international borders. There are significant differences in cost and regulatory clearance between a long-distance move and a local move.

  • How far in advance should I hire movers?

    Hiring a mover at least four weeks in advance ensures that a variety of reputable options will be available. In some regions or during the summer when movers are busier, it's recommended that anyone looking for a licensed mover arrange the booking two to three months from the moving date.

  • Do you pay movers before or after?

    You may be asked to pay a small deposit before your move, but payment in full happens after the move is complete and your possessions are inside your new home. This ensures that the movers complete the job to your satisfaction before getting paid.

  • How much does a moving company cost?

    On average, the cost of a local move (intrastate or under 400 miles) is around $1,250. This includes labor, fuel, insurance, and several other factors. If a move is considered to be long-distance, it will likely be around $4,900, with a wider variance based on the specific demands involved.

  • How much do I tip movers?

    Based on the performance of the movers and the difficulty of the job, you should tip anywhere between 5% and 20% of the total cost of your move. Most people recommend tipping in cash at the end of the final day of the move.

  • How much is it to rent a moving van?

    The cost to rent a moving van without a crew to assist in the move depends on the size, the length of the rental, and the distance it is being driven. The average cost of renting a van ranges anywhere from $100 for a local move to $2,000 for long-distance.

  • What happens if movers break something?

    Most moving contracts specify the amount of insurance that exists to provide repair or replacement costs for possessions broken during the move. If the movers break something, the next step is to contact the moving company to start the claims process.

  • Is it worth paying for full-value protection?

    If you purchase full-value protection insurance for your move, you'll pay a small percentage of the total value of the items being moved, making the movers liable for the full value of anything broken. The alternative is released-value protection, in which damaged items are reimbursed at a preset rate (less than $.60/lb). Based on your mover's terms, you may decide that full-value protection is worth the extra investment.

  • Will my homeowners insurance policy cover damage during moving?

    Homeowners' insurance can cover items damaged during a move, but not always. Fire and theft are usually "covered perils," so if something is stolen from the moving truck, it may be covered by your home insurance. If something is damaged by a member of the moving team, it may not.

  • Do movers need to be licensed?

    Local movers need to follow the rules and regulations of the city and state in which they're operating, while interstate and long-distance movers need to be licensed and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

  • How much should I save up before moving out?

    Before moving out or to a new residence, you should have at least three months of living costs saved up for unexpected circumstances. Make sure to consider the cost of living in the area you plan to move to compared to where you live currently.

  • What should I clean before moving in?

    Ideally, an entire space should be cleaned thoroughly before moving in, but some areas are more important than others. For example, the kitchen is difficult to thoroughly clean once your appliances are moved in, and it's easier to clean the fridge/freezer before it's turned on.

  • When do I need to change my address when moving?

    To guarantee that your change of address goes into effect soon after you move, you'll need to notify the post office, the IRS, and the tax agency in the state of your new address at least two to four weeks before the date of your move.

  • What should I do with plants when moving?

    While some local moving companies may agree to move plants, it's not something that most movers — especially interstate — will do because of regulatory concerns. It's recommended that you find a secure place, like your own vehicle, and transport them yourself.

  • What kind of moving estimate should I look for?

    There are three types of moving estimates.

    • A binding estimate, the price you're quoted will be the price you pay.
    • A non-binding estimate may increase or decrease based on the final weight of the move.
    • A binding-not-to-exceed estimate puts a cap on the total cost of the move, regardless of the weight.
    Many people like the transparency of a binding estimate, but unlike a non-binding or binding-not-to-exceed estimate, there's no chance of paying less for a lower-than-estimated weight.

  • How can I prepare my cats for a move?

    It's recommended that before moving day, you start to get your cat comfortable with their carrier so that they tolerate the travel time. Before they arrive at their new home, put out their food and water, litter box, and bed to keep them comfortable around objects that are familiar to them.

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