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Our team aims to provide accurate, helpful, and transparent information to those planning a full- or self-service move. We researched dozens of moving companies and, with the data collected, created in-depth review standards to rate moving companies on key factors.
How We Research Moving Companies
We researched and analyzed dozens of full- and self-service moving companies and formulated a rating system based on several factors, including packing options, pricing, and reputation. We also identified customer pain points based on our customer-review analysis, proprietary consumer surveys, and interviews with former and current moving professionals.
Speaking directly to a representative at each company, we determined the number of packing options available, the coverage provided, the types of moves available (long-distance, local, and international), and any extra perks offered, such as mobile apps, moving checklists, and 24/7 customer service.
We also gathered pricing data from all companies and determined whether they provide ballpark estimates or binding quotes. Finally, to determine reputation, we evaluated companies based on their rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Key Factors We Considered to Review Companies
We determined seven key factors to compare moving companies. Each factor has an assigned point value that adds up to a total of 100 points. Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale. All of the providers we review receive a 5-star rating based on the following criteria:
Distance Covered (15 Points)
Service range was a primary consideration when we rated moving companies. Providers that offer local, long-distance, and international moving services scored full points in this category. The definition of a long-distance move varies depending on the provider and local regulations, which can affect how long-distance moves are billed.
Package Options (27 Points)
Service options make up our most heavily weighted rating category. Moving companies that provide true full-service relocations rate highly on our scale. We broke service options down into nine subcategories:
- Packing and unpacking: This pertains to movers’ basic packing and unpacking services. No antique or fragile packing is implied in this category.
- Loading and unloading: Nearly all moving companies offer this service in some form. Full-service movers offer it as an included basic service, while container providers often partner with moving labor providers to offer loading and unloading services. We gave equal credit for both service models.
- Furniture assembly and disassembly: Basic furniture assembly and disassembly is included in many movers’ baseline moving packages.
- Crating or fragile packing: Crating and antique or fragile packing is an in-demand service for antique and luxury moves. It requires trained movers and specialized labor.
- Vehicle shipping: We gave equal credit to companies that directly provide vehicle shipping and those that broker it out to third-party carriers.
- Debris removal: Many luxury movers offer debris and junk removal. This service often includes floor plan arranging and other catered options.
- Moving supplies: Most movers serve as packing supply vendors. Customers can pay for packing services along with supplies, or they can do their own packing with purchased boxes, packing paper, and tape.
- Storage services: Nearly all movers we reviewed provide some storage, and some providers offer a month of free storage. We gave points to any companies that offer storage as an add-on.
- Other specialty services: Add-ons such as floor plan arrangement, cleaning, picture hanging, and appliance and electronic installation fall into this category. Movers that provide specialty services rate highly on our scale.
Extra Benefits (18 Points)
Some moving companies offer benefits outside of their direct moving services. If offered, most movers provide the following options for free with any moving package. The providers that offer these additional benefits gained high marks on our rating scale.
- 24/7 customer service
- Financing options
- Mobile app
- Moving cost calculator
- Moving checklists (in article or PDF form)
- Move tracking
Quote Type (8 Points)
Pricing transparency is a key component of a positive moving experience. Easy-to-understand estimates help clients make informed decisions on which mover to book.
- Binding: Binding estimates explicitly state that they are binding. Binding estimates also list out services to be rendered, with set costs for each basic and add-on task that your movers have agreed upon. Binding estimates fall under the 110% rule, which means that a mover may never charge more than 110% of a binding bottom-line price when your goods are delivered. This means that, if you have a binding estimate for $5,000, your mover may not legally charge more than $5,500. Note that binding estimates are often rendered based on the estimated total weight of your goods. This means that binding estimates can shift once your goods have been loaded and weighed on the truck. We gave full points to providers that offer binding estimates.
- Non-binding: Non-binding or ballpark estimates typically don’t spell out that they are not binding. Company representatives should inform you of this up-front before rendering a pricing figure. Non-binding estimates should have services broken down by cost, similar to binding estimates. However, rates are subject to change between quote day and moving day.
Coverage Offered (7 Points)
Moving companies are required to provide released liability coverage (60 cents per pound per item) for lost or damaged goods. Most companies offer a form of valuation coverage beyond this that will cover the full value of your goods. The additional cost of this valuation plan is typically between 3% and 6% of the total value of your goods. For example, $10,000 of coverage would cost between $300 and $600 and would last the duration of your move. Moving providers that offer fully customizable moving coverage received full points. Providers that offer coverage with imposed coverage caps received fewer points in this category.
Availability (5 Points)
We rated our top moving companies based on state availability. State availability is a primary factor for clients planning long-distance or cross-country relocations. Moving companies that cover 40 states or more earned full points in this category.
Customer Service (20 Points)
General customer service ratings can be difficult to define by a few metrics. We used each company’s BBB rating as a key component in this category. BBB rating considers a provider’s complaint response rate, making it a valuable consideration.
Moving companies can only offer quality service if their vehicles are in working condition. We utilized data from each moving company’s profile with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to see which providers were at or below the national average for out-of-service percentage. Companies that had more trucks on the road (by percentage) received our top rating in this category.
This methodology guides our rating process. We aim to compare every aspect of a moving company based on the factors our readers find most important, such as packing options, customer service, and more.
Your moving needs and budget determine the best moving provider for you. Our team recommends pulling three quotes from different providers to compare service offerings and pricing. Read our list of the best moving companies nationwide to start planning your move.