A few months ago, I got a very confused and frantic phone call from a friend of mine who was moving from Chicago back to Virginia. She was looking for a good moving option that would be ideal for her situation, but was completely overwhelmed by the slew of options available and had no idea which option to choose.
Moving industry has been evolving for years and when it’s time to move (whether locally or interstate), there are enough moving options available to paralyze you from making a decision.
So, I decided to write this article in the hopes that I can make it a bit clear for someone in a similar situation.
The first thing we’ll look at is the type of moving companies that you’ll come across and then we’ll go into the different moving services these companies offer.
Let’s dive into it.
Types of Moving Companies by Category
Residential Moving Companies
As the name suggests, residential moving companies are the moving companies that specialize in moving household items/ When you’re buying or selling a house or moving out because your lease is up, these are the moving companies you’ll be using. Residential movers are the most common form of moving companies you’ll come across.
There are 3 types of residential moving companies
Local Moving Companies
Also known as intrastate movers, local moving companies help you relocate within a 100-mile radius and charge on an hourly basis. Hourly rates can vary from $40 – $75 per hour. Hiring two labors could cost somewhere between $80 and $130 per hour.
Local moving companies don’t need a USDOT number to operate but definitely must have a State license as they are under the authority of state laws and regulations of the state they operate in.
Things to check when hiring a local mover:
- Are they properly licensed
- The estimate has no hidden costs
- Are they trustworthy and how is their track record
Long Distance Moving Companies
Moves that exceed 100-mile distance are long-distance moves. To move long distances, or interstate, a company must have a USDOT number from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Otherwise, it is illegal. The cost is calculated based on the total weight of your stuff and the distance to your new location.
Your belongings are to travel interstate. And for this, the mover must be experienced and have all the proper operating licenses and permits. Experienced companies guarantee the utmost safety of your luggage and confirm they reach home in perfect condition.
Things to check before signing on the dotted line
- No negative client feedback
- Website seems authentic with all information
- Contact address is correctly mentioned
- No dubious past
- Open to negotiations
- Capable to handle specialty items
- Properly licensed
International Moving Companies
Moving internationally is much more complicated and tedious. Not only are you sending your belongings to a new country, there are new laws and customs obligations involved that need to be adhered to. In such a case it would be best to hire an international moving company. This is because shipping your household goods by air or by sea involves a lot of paperwork and the process is complicated.
The 3 significant factors that decide international moving costs are:
- The volume of the shipment
- The mode of transportation
- The distance to the new location
Before you finalize the international moving company,
- Compare the quotes
- Read customer reviews
- Check the exact services offered
- Confirm the potential for international moving
Commercial Moving Companies
Commercial moving is more complicated and expensive than home moving. To move an office, more planning is required and laborers must be properly trained to perform the task. This is because special equipment and vehicles need to be moved and the cargo can be sensitive and valuable. For commercial moving, the company needs to be trustworthy to handle sensitive documents such as data records of your employees.
Also, moving might impact the office function and the task should be done within a short span, preferably within minimum possible working hours. Apart from that, packing electronic equipment such as computers and MFP’s (multi-function printers) necessitate special packing techniques. So, the best is to leave this job to experienced professionals.
The complexity of the task makes the office moving expensive. As specialized services are involved, the final quote will be pricey. The average cost for the relocation of an office will be about $1.20-$2.40 per square foot of the facility for moving and about $0.90 per square foot for the packing of office equipment.
Moving Container Companies or You-Pack-They-Drive
As the moving industry evolves, new ways of moving are being introduced, and moving using moving containers is the latest entrant in the space.
What are moving containers, you ask?
You must’ve seen big metal containers while driving around that say PODS or ABF-Upack on them. Usually these containers can be spotted in people’s driveways. These are moving containers.
The container company drops off these containers outside your house and then you load it with all your belongings at your own pace. Once you’re done, just call the company and they’ll pick it up and deliver it to your new house. Hence the name You Pack they Drive.
The biggest benefit here is that you can take your time loading and unloading the items. You don’t have to do it all in one day.
Another benefit is that if you need to store the items somewhere while your new house gets ready to move-in, the company will just hold the container until you’re ready. No need to open the container and move items in a storage unit and then reload them when you need them delivered. Your items stay safe and secure in a locked container.
Auto Transportation Companies
To move your car to the other side of the country, hire a professional car moving company. While picking one, confirm these points:
Once you are confirmed about these, you need not worry as the car will reach in perfect condition. Before handing over the car for transportation, check out these points
- Tires are fully inflated
- There are no leaks
- A car battery is fully charged
- All papers are perfect
Specialty Moving Companies
These are moving companies that specialize in moving unique and speical items. Things like art, pianos, antiques and even pets. Basically anything that requires special attention and care during relocation should be handled by these specialized moving companies.
Below is a list of some Speciality Moving Companies
- Art Movers
- Piano Movers
- Pet Movers
- Antique Movers
Small Moves Moving Companies
This is a new category of moving companies that has gained popularity within the last few years. A lot of times you’ll come across a situation where you’ll need to ship only a few items from one place to another.
You just bought a sofa set online from someone and need it shipped to your house. Your kid is moving off to college and wants to take their bedroom set with them. You’re moving to a new apartment and only have a few boxes and a bed to take.
In cases like these where the load is too small for a moving company to handle and too big for Fedex or UPS, you’ll need to hire a small moves specialist to ship your items.
Types of Moving Companies by Types of Moving Services they offer
Full-Service Moving Services
This is more commonly known as the white-glove moving service. Such companies take complete ownership of the entire process, from the start to the end. You are relieved from the anguish of finding a truck, calculating the quantity of luggage, loading, and unloading, and finally keeping everything at the place at your new home. Instead, the professionals will handle it and all you need is to sit back and watch them doing.
If you aspire to go for a full-service mover, there are several players in the industry offering multiple services. Do remember that everyone does not serve the same menu and you need to analyze the service list of every company to understand if the services offered fit to you.
If you decide to hire a full service moving company, request for an outline of the services they offer, to see what it covers and what it does not. Start by comparing some full service moving companies. That way, you will know exactly what to expect come moving day.
Partial Moving Services
As the name suggests, partial moving companies will help you with the different tasks involved in the process of moving. Unlike the full service moving services option, where they handle every aspect of the move, here you can manage some parts of moving yourself and hire professionals for other tasks.
Let’s take a look at some of these tasks you can outsource
Moving Labor Services – Loading and Unloading Help
Instead of asking favors from your friends, consider hiring professional loading and unloading help.You choose to pack household items all by yourself. And for help, friends are there. Fair enough!
But, how to load everything in the truck?
A moving labor company could be the answer. These professionals are adept in loading and unloading goods and can be of great help if you don’t want to be lifting those heavy pieces of furniture. They can do the task in little time.
But remember, their services do not go beyond loading and unloading. You’ll still need to arrange for a moving truck by renting it and then driving it. Also, you’ll need to arrange for someone to unload the truck at your destination.
Generally people prefer to pack things like their kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms on their own, but if you’re not up to the task or just prefer a professional to do it, hiring a packing service could be the way to go.
Professional packing services are proficient in this task and can help you with wrapping the items and getting the right moving and packing supplies. The advantage here is the quality of packing materials and special care given to each item to prevent any damage during transit.
Instead of spending time first scouring for moving boxes, bubble wraps, packing tape etc., and then wrapping kitchen utensils and pantry items, you can let the professional packers handle it all.
Keep in mind, all this will come at a cost obviously. So, be sure to check the prices for packing services.
NOTE: Make sure to keep a detailed inventory list of all your items and number all the boxes to make sure no box goes missing during the move.
You-Pack-They-Drive Moving Services
Moving using moving containers is the best example of this type of moving service. Portable moving containers are the latest entrants in the moving industry. Recently surfaced, a portable moving container is a big shift from the conservative moving pattern.
Unlike the traditional ways of moving, here you don’t need to hire a truck. All you do is to take a container on rent from one of the moving container companies. Companies like PODS, ABF-UPack, ZippyShell drop off a portable storage container at your doorstep and you load it at your convenience.
Once done, you call up the company which will pick it up and deliver it at the destination. Hence the name, You Pack They Drive. This is gaining popularity for convenience and better pricing.
NOTE: When going for this option, you may also opt for loading and unloading service option to help you load the container. Be sure to compare prices with a full service mover to make sure you’re getting the best option.
Special Items Moving Services
Most houses will have items that require special care while handling. And certain sentiments will be attached to those items. You do not want anyone to handle them generously, carelessly, and unprofessionally.
Hire a special item moving service to move such items to your new home. There’s no scarcity of professionals to handle delicate items. Maybe they charge high but emotions are more valuable than money.
Some of the special items are:
- Piano, guitar or other music instruments
- Art and Paintings
- Antique pieces
- Idols and statues
- Special gifts
- Crockery items
- Aquarium with fish
Truck Rental Services
You don’t have much to move and the budget is tight. Hiring a full-service mover is not a good option and it seems like an overkill.
What do you do?
Renting a moving truck could be a good fit for you.
This option could be very cost effective (especially for local moves) but keep in mind that all the headache of moving tasks falls on you. Packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading will all be on you and your family. All you get is a truck!
This about covers all the different moving options available today and I hope after going thru these you should be able to make a decision on which option is the best for you.
Portable Moving & Storage Services
In the past few years, a new type of moving service has surfaced. Different from the traditional ways of moving, where you either hire a mover that brings a moving truck or you rent a moving truck, these moving services offer a great amount flexibility and convenience. Companies like PODS, ABF-
UPack, ZippyShell drop of a portable storage container at your doorstep which you can load at your convenience and pace. Once you finish loading, just call the company and they’ll come pick it up and deliver to your destination. This type of moving service is gaining popularity because of the added convenience and better pricing. Compare portable moving & storage rates and see for yourself.