Tips & Guides

How to Find a Moving Company

By Bri Hand | May 4, 2022
Two movers from a professional moving services company help move a couch.

Whether you’re moving locally or out of state, you’ll want to find a moving company that checks all your boxes and is willing to do the heavy lifting (literally). But finding a moving company is a lot like finding the perfect date—you have to figure out whether they have a successful track record, how much time they’re willing to commit, and whether they’re capable of handling your heavy baggage. Hiring movers includes calculating moving costs, ensuring it’s a trusted moving service, and more. 

This guide explores how to find a moving company to ensure your belongings are cared for and make it to your final destination in one piece. 

Step 1: Deep dive into reviews

When you walk out of a new restaurant still salivating over your heavenly roast pork and gushing over your waiter’s friendly demeanor, it’s likely the first thing you want to do is tell your friends about it. 

Likewise, if you found your food to be tasteless and the service inadequate, you want your friends to know that, too.

It’s the same when finding a moving company. People rave about the good ones and mince no words when it comes to the bad ones. And when it comes to your own moving experience, you want to find the most reputable moving company. That being said, you can begin your search by:

  • Asking around: There’s a good chance that people you know have hired professional movers in recent years. Few things are as trustworthy as the word of a friend, so ask around your current neighborhood for moving company recommendations. 
  • Checking online: Online review forums might seem like a playground for angry people who were ghosted by the manager, but you can find sincere reviews on online forums, too. Identify reviews that appear balanced, fair, and honest. Some forums will even have verified reviewers that you can rely on to provide valuable feedback.

Use the data you’ve collected to put together a preliminary list of at least three companies you think you can trust and might want to hire. Having options will come in handy when it’s time to get estimates.

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Step 2: Identify required licenses and permits

Once you’ve compiled a list of candidates to hire, you’ll want to check that your chosen companies have the required licenses and permits to perform your move. Whether it’s a local moving company or a cross-country one, there are permits and licenses required for each professional mover. 

This is where things can get confusing, as the particular licenses and permits your movers need will depend on your specific move, what state you live in, and where you’re moving to. Here’s what to know:

  • Interstate moves: If you’re planning an interstate move, the movers you hire will need a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Companies that are licensed by the FMCSA are issued a special number by the U.S. Department of Transportation, called a U.S. DOT number. 
  • In-state moves: If you aren’t leaving the state, your moving company may not need a U.S. DOT number. But they may need other licenses and permits. For example, in Illinois, all movers-for-hire must be licensed by the state’s commerce commission, but they don’t need a U.S. DOT number. Iowa, on the other hand, requires a license from the Iowa Department of Transportation and a U.S. DOT number.

Unfortunately, there are companies out there that will mismanage your belongings, take advantage of you, or even rip you off. That’s why it’s so important to only work with movers who have the proper licenses and certifications. It’s the best way to protect yourself against common types of moving fraud, like: 

  • Fake movers who steal your belongings
  • Movers who refuse to hand over your belongings until you hand over more cash
  • Bills that are substantially higher than the quoted estimates 

It’s also a good idea to check whether the moving company you’re hiring is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. The bureau’s website lets you access a list of accredited movers and check the complaint histories of individual companies. So, finding reputable moving companies that hold permits and licenses is an easy way to ensure you’re receiving the best service.

Step 3: Ask for estimates

So, you’ve put together a list of promising moving companies based on the recommendations of friends and online reviews. You’ve checked that those companies are properly licensed by your state or the FMCSA and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Now, it’s time to start getting estimates. 

So, how much does moving cost? It’s common practice for moving companies to quote you an estimate for the cost of your move, even if the company isn’t totally above board. But according to the Better Business Bureau, the best moving companies will base their estimate on an in-person visit to your home. Additionally, be sure to get the estimated moving quote in writing so that you’re protected against surprise charges and fees later on.

How much should I expect to pay?

An estimate means nothing if you have nothing to compare it against. That’s why getting quotes from at least three different companies is so important. It’s also beneficial to have a ballpark idea of what you can expect to pay so you know whether an estimate seems too high or too low. 

The cost of your move will depend on several factors, including the number of rooms in your current home, how much stuff you have to move, and whether you’re moving in or out of state. The number of movers your job requires will also play a part. According to Forbes, here’s what the national averages look like:

  • Short-distance moves: For moves within 100 miles, the average price range for a two-person moving team is $800 to $2,150.
  • Long-distance moves: For moves across state lines or across the country, the average price range is $2,200 to $5,700 with a two-person team.

Some moving companies charge a flat rate that covers the entire cost of your move. Other companies charge by the hour—anywhere from $25 to $50 per hour, per mover, according to Forbes.  

Aside from loading your belongings into a moving truck and relocating them in your new home, many moving companies offer full-service move options that may include:

  • Packing 
  • Unpacking
  • Moving specialty items 
  • Large furniture disassembly 

As you probably guessed, these services aren’t free. Forbes reports that the average cost for a full-service mover starts at $2,300.

Do I need to tip my movers?

It’s customary to tip the men and women who manage your move. Generally, you should tip each mover $20 per every four hours of work. But you should also take into consideration things like: 

  • The difficulty of your move 
  • The quality of the work 
  • The punctuality and efficiency of the movers

What to expect on moving day

While a local move might be easier than a long-distance or international move, there are some things to expect on moving day. The success of your move isn’t only up to the movers. They’re responsible for making sure your belongings get from your current home to your new one without incident, but there are things you can and should do to help them along with the moving experience. 

Here’s what to do: 

  • Make room: Make sure that your movers have enough room to get everything out of your home and into the moving truck without hurting themselves or damaging your home or belongings. Keep doorways and stairways free of obstructions, and make sure the crew has a conveniently accessible place to park the moving truck. This applies to when they’re moving containers or boxes as well.
  • Wrangle pets and kids: If you have little ones running around of the two- or four-legged variety, be sure to keep them occupied and distracted during the move so they don’t get in the way. Consider arranging for child and/or pet care during your move.
  • Be courteous: Being friendly to your movers can go a long way to making sure your belongings are well taken care of during your move. Take care not to micromanage the movers or get in their way. You can also offer them refreshments like cold drinks, snacks, or sandwiches. 
  • Stay close: Do your best to stay out of the way while your movers work. However, don’t stray too far from your apartment or their truck. Your movers may have questions or unexpected concerns that need your attention. Find things to do while they work, like cleaning rooms as they empty or double-checking that you’ve packed absolutely everything.

How long your move will take should have been discussed when you received your estimate. Refer to your payment agreement if you think the move is taking longer than it should, especially if you’re paying by the hour. 

Rent with Landing for a hassle-free move

Finding your perfect match in a moving company requires detailed planning. But when you find the best moving company for you, it’ll feel something like fate.

That is, unless you rent with Landing. With an ever-growing network of premium, fully furnished apartments in some of the best cities in the country, we’re simplifying not only the renting process but the moving process as well—all you need to bring are your clothes! You can skip the hassle of signing a moving contract, finding a reputable moving company, and the actual moving process and have everything you need right at your fingertips from the moment you walk through your front door.

Interested in living with Landing but want some help covering the costs of a moving company? For a limited time, we are offering up to $2,500 to help you start living with Landing. All you have to do is tell us about your expected moving costs, book a flexible stay with us, and provide receipts from your move, and a credit will be applied to your account over the next 12 months. 

Click here to save money on your moving company and other moving-related expenses.

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.