If Bellhop operates in your area, it’s probably one of the best moving companies near you. Its prices are fair and reliable (though they can run high for long-distance moves), it background-checks its moving crews, and it has outstanding customer reviews. However, the company only serves about 60 cities, and its menu of moving services is a little sparse compared to other movers we recommend.
2023 Bellhop Moving Review
How does Bellhop compare to other companies
Bellhop is a great choice for local and long-distance moves, though its services and availability are both more limited than the industry’s very best movers. Here’s how Bellhop stacks up against its competitors:
Bellhop doesn’t offer packing services, so you’ll need to box all your boxable items like clothing and dishes before your movers arrive. If you don’t want to pack your boxes yourself, though, you can hire a packing service to do it for you. Similarly, if you need your car shipped to your new home, one of our favorite auto transport companies can help with that.
How much does Bellhop cost?
Bellhop’s prices run a smidge higher than average, especially for long-distance jobs. There’s an upside, though: the company offers binding estimates. This makes its pricing more reliable than companies that advertise low prices and then add extra costs on moving day. We’ll take a higher cost that’s reliable over a low quote that’s subject to change any day.
Bellhop has two pricing models, one for local moves and one for long-distance moves.
For local moves—which the company defines as moves under 50 miles—and moving labor, Bellhop charges an hourly rate. For moves over 50 miles—what the company calls long-distance moves—it uses a flat-rate pricing model, which is based on how many movers and trucks your move requires.
Additionally, Bellhop has a three-hour minimum for local moving jobs, so even if your move only goes an hour or two, you’ll pay for three hours. If you hire Bellhop for moving labor around your house—help staging your home, for example—or to load a truck you’ve rented separately, the company has a two-hour minimum for these jobs.
Typical pricing factors like when you move, fuel costs, location, when you book, and what moving supplies you need can also influence Bellhop’s prices.
To give you a rough idea of how much moving with Bellhop can cost, we got a few over-the-phone quotes.
Moving quotes from Bellhop
|1-bedroom apartment||Brooklyn, NY to Manhattan, NY (13 miles)||$199/hr.|
|2-bedroom home||Chicago, IL to Aurora, IL (41 miles)||$229/hr.|
|3-bedroom home||Pittsburgh, PA to Philadelphia, PA (304 miles)||$4,010 (1 truck)|
$6,090 (2 trucks)
|3-bedroom home||Los Angeles, CA to Austin, TX (1,378 miles)||$8,250 (1 truck)|
$14,000 (2 trucks)
Data as of 3/29/2022. Pricing quotes requested for moves four months in advance.
Typically, local moves cost between $550 and $2,000. So if the local moves we requested quotes for only took three to eight hours, Bellhop’s quotes would be on par. And since the company doesn’t offer packing services, you’ll pack everything before your movers arrive. While this unfortunately means more work for you, it will save time—i.e., money—on moving day.
Long-distance moves generally cost $2,000–$12,000, though higher prices aren’t unheard of. This makes Bellhop’s long-distance prices a little high, like we said. But there’s actually a good reason for Bellhop’s high long-distance prices: Bellhop doesn’t split loads. This means that when you move with Bellhop, your stuff will be the only load in your Bellhop truck(s).
Many long-distance moving companies split loads between various customers along the same routes to keep costs low. And while this practice does make your move cheaper, there are two significant drawbacks to splitting loads:
- The delivery crew makes stops to pick up and drop off other people’s belongings, so your move can take longer.
- The risk is low, but there’s always the possibility that your belongings might get mixed with—or damaged by—another customer’s boxes or furniture en route.
So while Bellhop’s use of dedicated trucks inflates its long-distance prices, it makes your stuff safer and helps it arrive quicker. Overall, we think dedicated trucks are worth the cost.
Bellhop’s cancellation policy
Forty-eight hours after you book, Bellhop requires a 10% deposit. To illustrate, if your estimated cost was $6,000, your deposit would be $600. You can cancel free of charge anytime before paying your deposit, but your deposit is nonrefundable after you’ve paid it.
This might not always be the case, though. One customer service representative we talked to said that, in some cases, Bellhop might refund your deposit if your move is still several months away.
To avoid betting against the company’s official policy, though, you shouldn’t book until your move is set in stone. This might mean you end up paying more since moving prices go up the closer to your move date you book, but it still beats losing a hefty deposit.
What to know about Bellhop
Bellhop is only available in 24 states
Compared to other moving companies we recommend, Bellhop has a pretty limited service area. The company is only available for moves in these 24 states (and Washington, DC):
- New York
- North Carolina
Between these states, Bellhop services over 60 major cities. To see if Bellhop is available in your area, check out Bellhop’s locations page.
If you live in a state where Bellhop doesn’t service—or you’re moving internationally—hire International Van Lines instead. It’s the very best full-service moving company in the industry, and it’s available in all 50 states.
Bellhop is a highly-rated local mover in many cities
Bellhop may not service every city, but it’s a popular mover in the cities where it is available. According to customer ratings and reviews, Bellhop is one of the best local movers in each of these cities:
In customer reviews from all over the country, people praise Bellhop’s punctuality, efficiency, and professionalism. No wonder it’s so well-liked.
—Elizabeth B., Bellhop Customer, via Yelp
Now, Bellhop’s customer reviews aren’t without the typical handful of complaints regarding damage, pricing, and late deliveries. But Bellhop uses these reviews as an opportunity to display its dedication to customer satisfaction. A Bellhop representative replies to negative reviews on Yelp to thank customers for feedback, offer advice, and try to make things right.
This level of commitment—even to past customers—is a great quality in a moving company, and we wish more movers took the time to patch things up with their dissatisfied customers.
Bellhop’s moving cost calculator is imprecise
Bellhop’s website includes a moving cost calculator to give customers some idea of what their move might cost, but this handy tool has three significant shortcomings:
- It can only be used to calculate the cost of a local move.
- It’s very imprecise.
- It might lowball you.
When you use the tool, it only asks you to provide your starting location—not your destination—and very general info about the size of your home. This allows the tool to spit out a rough price quickly, but the information it asks for isn’t specific enough to give you an accurate estimate, and it shows.
Here’s how the tool’s quotes compare to the over-the-phone quotes we requested:
Cost calculator quotes vs over-the-phone quotes
Cost calculator quote
Bellhop’s over-the-phone quote
|Brooklyn, NY to Manhattan, NY (13 miles)||$616||$199/hr.|
|Chicago, IL to Aurora, IL (41 miles)||$725||$229/hr. (Estimated to take 5 hours)|
Data as of 3/30/2022.
Since the New York move had a three-hour minimum, you’d only pay the tool’s quote if your movers finished within the minimum time. The good news is that Bellhop prorates its hourly rates down to the minute, so even if your move went a few minutes over, you’d still pay the projected price, but it would be close.
The difference is much greater for the Chicago move. The representative we spoke to estimated that move would take five hours total. Five times $229 is $1,145, so the tool’s estimate is several hundred dollars short in this case.
Despite the tool’s shortcomings, we like that Bellhop provides it so customers can quickly get insight into pricing. But you shouldn’t budget for your move based on the price it gives you. Call Bellhop to ask for an over-the-phone estimate or—better yet—schedule an in-home estimate if you want a price you can actually bank on.
Want to get an accurate estimate for your Bellhop move?
Bellhop features and services
Bellhop at a glance
|Broker or carrier||Broker|
|Carries basic insurance|
|Availability (# of states)||24|
|Average customer service rating||4.3 / 5|
|Years in business||12+|
Data as of 3/28/2022.
Bellhop’s moving services
Now that we’ve given you an idea of Bellhop’s unique features and how it compares to industry-leading movers, here’s a comprehensive list of all the company’s moving services:
- Local moves
- Long-distance moves
- Government and military moves
- Hourly moving labor
- Loading and unloading
- In-home moving
- Event setup and cleanup
- Office relocation
- Free packing supplies included
- Extra packing supplies available for purchase
Long-term Bellhop review
Before changing its name to Bellhop, the company used to be called “Bellhops” and “Campus Bellhops.” When a moving company changes its name, it can be cause for concern. Moving scams often rebrand and change their names to be completely different so they can avoid the repercussions of scamming customers. However, Bellhop’s name change is such a small adjustment that it doesn’t raise any red flags.
Customers only made two formal complaints against Bellhop through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the last two years. This is an impressively low number of complaints. Several other full-service movers with locations nationwide accrued a dozen or more complaints in the same period.
Bellhop makes up for its small handful of deficiencies with great customer service, fair pricing, and reliability. And you don’t just have to believe us. Check Bellhop’s customer reviews in any city where it operates, and you’ll be met with an overwhelming number of satisfied customers. A track record like that speaks louder than anything we could say.
If Bellhop is in your area, you should absolutely request a free quote for any local or interstate move you’re planning.
Ready to see what Bellhop can do for you?
Bellhop and full-service moving FAQ
Is Bellhop a legit moving company?
Yes, Bellhop is a legitimate moving company with proper licensing, hundreds of thousands of moves under its belt, and great ratings from customers in dozens of cities. We’ve also found that Bellhop is a great company to work for. On Glassdoor, its past and current employees give it an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Should you tip your movers?
As with most workers in the service industry, your moving crew doesn’t necessarily require a tip, though gratuities are always appreciated. If your moving crew does an exceptional job delivering all of your belongings in a safe and timely manner, why not reward that stellar service?
Exactly how much you tip your movers is also up to you, and since moving is so expensive, the typical 15–20% rule for tipping in restaurants doesn’t really apply. Imagine tipping 20% on a $12,000 moving bill. Yikes.
Instead, here are the tipping guidelines we recommend:
- If your move takes less than six hours, tip each member of your moving crew $20.
- If your move takes a full day, tip each mover $40.
- For moves that go longer than a day, tip each mover $50–$60.
And who said tips always have to be monetary? If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford cash tips for your crew, consider feeding them or providing them with cold drinks instead. Anything you can afford to show your appreciation will be welcome.
What can’t my movers move for me?
Each company has its own list of items that it won’t move for you, and sometimes the prohibited items are unique to that company. For example, Bellhop won’t move any items that exceed 300 pounds, while companies like American Van Lines will.
However, there are some things that no moving company will pack or transport. Here’s a short list of common household items that are always prohibited:
- Lighter fluid and other fuels
- Cleaning chemicals
Because each moving company has its own list of items that it won’t move, you’ll have to ask to see your moving company’s list of prohibited items ahead of time.
For a more comprehensive list of commonly prohibited items and tips on what to do with them, read our guide about things your movers won’t move.
To understand how Bellhop works as a company and give it a fair rating, we used a five-fold research approach:
- We gathered half a dozen over-the-phone quotes for moving services of various distances. We then compared these quotes to average prices in the moving industry.
- We called Bellhop’s customer service line in various cities to ask questions, verify information, and get a feel for the company’s customer service.
- We read through customer reviews for roughly 20 Bellhop locations to learn from real customers about the company’s services, pricing, and reliability.
- We verified the company’s licensing and operating status with the FMCSA.
- We reached out to the company directly for information about its history, services, special features, and licensing.
You’ve got a handle on Bellhop’s pricing and services now, so the next step is to get a quote and start planning your move. Use these resources to chart your moving day and ensure everything goes smoothly: