First things first: you have to decide if you will be hiring professionals to handle your move for you or if you're taking a more hands-on approach (or a mix of the two!).
Are You Moving Yourself?
Maybe with just a little help! You can choose to do absolutly everything on your own or take a hybrid approach (self-service moving), where a company delivers a truck or container to your old and new residences, but you are responsible for packing and moving your belongings.
Are You Hiring Professionals?
You can hire someone to handle your entire move - packing, delivery & unpacking - for you. This option is more expensive but in some cases, for example, a long distance move with lots of large, heavy items, is worth it to leave it to the pros.
You can enlist the help of family & friends (or even hire the college kids down the street) to assist in packing, loading, unloading or perhaps even driving the rented truck! Be sure your helpers are up to the task – not everyone can take the dryer down 3 flights of stairs or drive a 20-foot rental truck on a busy freeway!
Renting a Truck
Most of us don’t own a vehicle with the capacity to move our entire home in one trip. That should be your goal when renting a moving truck. You can view our rental truck section for more information, including guidelines for how much truck you’ll need.
Moving to a new home is a big undertaking and staying organized is key to your success! View our Moving Checklist to help plan your move.
Pack it Up!
Your big decisions are made and now it’s time to pack! Get Packing Tips.
On your moving day, you’ll want to be sure to:
- Have your moving inventory compiled and ready. Review our Packing Tips for suggestions on this process.
- Give your movers (pals or pros) specific instructions on getting to your new home and what you want done once you get there.
- Make sure your entire moving party has a contact number for you and vice versa.
What to Ask
Here are some good questions to ask your friends & family about their referrals:
- Were they on time?
- Were they professional and courteous?
- Was anything damaged?
- Did you encounter any issues with the company? If so, were they handled to your satisfaction?
Do an Initial Screening
Screen potential moving companies by checking the Better Business Bureau or the American Moving & Storage Association. You can also call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 to see if there are any complaints against your moving company. Consumer advocacy sites such as movingscam.com or ripoffreport.com can also help determine if you’re considering a less than reputable company.
Additional Information for Interstate Moves
Federal law requires any interstate mover to provide you with a copy of the U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” This guide is the official rule book of the interstate moving industry. (You can download a copy at fmcsa.dot.gov.)
Getting an Estimate
Be sure to get a written cost estimate from each company you’re considering and make sure you know exactly what each estimate covers. Remember that not all estimates are binding, so your final costs may differ slightly if you don’t ask for a binding estimate or a binding not-to-exceed estimate.
On your moving day, you’ll want to be sure to:
- Get a written copy of the inventory list from your movers.
- Give the movers specific instructions on getting to your new home.
- Get a contact number where you can reach the movers during the move.
How Much Will It Cost?
Several factors that can influence cost are:
- Size: The more stuff/rooms/weight you have to move, the more cost to move it.
- Distance: How far you’re going impacts the cost of the move, and in some cases, the companies able to serve you. Check to see if the company offers services to your new destination.
- Time: Moving during certain times of the year, like over the summer, could impact how much you’ll pay.
- Appliances: Movers can disconnect & reconnect major appliances for you, but there may be a charge to do so. Ask the company up front if you’re interested in having these services performed for you.
- Specialty items: Special items that are big and unwieldy (for example, a piano) can incur an extra charge. Mention these items up front to get an accurate quote.
What to Expect During the Estimate Process
A representative from the company will come out to your home to go over what needs to be moved. Be very thorough in showing all your belongings and describing moving conditions (staircases, exceptional distances from the curb, etc) as these things can influence your estimate. You’ll want to get estimates from at least 3-4 companies. Shopping around can help you save money and find the right company for you moving needs. You should also be collecting information from this visit including:
- The company’s full name and any other names under which it does business.
- The company’s address, phone numbers, and e-mail and website addresses.
- Names and contact information for the company’s references.
- USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.