Our top picks: If you’re willing to do all the driving and heavy lifting yourself, renting a moving truck from Penske Truck Rental is the cheapest way to move long distance. If you’re moving locally, though, Budget Truck Rental is usually your cheapest option. If you want an easier move at a price that’s still manageable, get a moving quote from Zippy Shell.
The 5 Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2023
- : Cheapest long-distance moves
- : Cheapest local moves
- : Cheapest moving labor
- : Cheapest moving containers
- : Best full-service mover
Compare cheap moving companies
Avg. long-distance price
Avg. local price
Penske Truck Rental*
|Truck rental||Local and long-distance||$1,945||$328 + $1.29/mile||Get a Quote|
Budget Truck Rental*
|Truck rental||Local and long-distance||$2,080||$27 + $0.47/mile||Get a Quote|
|Hourly moving labor||N/A||$40/hour||$40/hour||Get a Quote|
|Moving and storage container||Local and long-distance||$3,880||$1,503||Get a Quote|
International Van Lines°°
|Full-service move||Local and long-distance||$9,140||$7,600||Get a Quote|
*Pricing info as of October 2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Local move prices are averages for moves under 100 miles.
**Pricing info as of January 2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.
°Pricing info as of March 2022. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.
°°Pricing info as of June 2022. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.
What should you look for in a cheap moving company?
Every service you need
When you’re shopping for a cheap move, your priority should still be to find a company that provides all the services you require. If you just go with the cheapest option available, you’ll miss out on services that would ease your move, protect your valuable belongings, and spare your knees from aching.
Before you decide which type of moving company to hire, decide how much work you’re able to do yourself, and be honest about what you might need or want professional help with, even if it costs extra:
- If you need professional packing services or loading help, hire a moving labor company or a full-service mover.
- If you’re okay with loading everything yourself, but you don’t want to do any driving, go with a moving container company.
- If you’re good with doing literally all of the work, rent a moving truck, load it yourself, and drive it to your new home without any professional help.
Prices for moving services fluctuate constantly, and they also vary by location, so the only way to know you’re getting a competitive price is to gather as many quotes as possible. Before you decide which company to hire, reach out to several movers for free quotes. Otherwise, you might end up paying hundreds, or even thousands more than you need to.
At Move.org, we extensively research prices for all moving services. Once you have a few quotes, compare them to the pricing data in our reviews to determine if they’re competitive.
You should also gather quotes from multiple types of companies. While moving truck companies are almost always your cheapest option, you might be surprised by how affordable moving and storage container companies and even professional movers can be. You’ll never know what’s out there unless you gather multiple quotes.
While you’re getting quotes, look for companies that offer moving discounts. A good promotional deal can put even the most expensive moving services within reach. You can start discount hunting by checking out our list of the best moving discounts.
Affordable binding estimates
Binding estimates are the gold standard of trustworthy pricing in the moving industry. If you get a written estimate that clearly says the word “binding” on it, your price won’t go up as long as you include everything on the moving inventory you submit to your movers.
If your estimate isn’t binding, your price can—and often will—go up at any time, even on moving day. So even if a binding estimate is a bit higher than some of the instant quotes you’re seeing, you’ll probably get a cheaper move from the company that gave you the binding estimate instead of the ones that are only offering instant quotes.
Companies that don’t offer binding estimates might not necessarily be moving scams, but since their pricing isn’t reliable, it’s best to avoid them if possible.
Speaking of moving scams . . .
Watch out for moving scams
Unfortunately, the moving industry is plagued by scammers, so customers have to be vigilant when hunting for a bargain. Moving scammers prey on unsuspecting, budget-oriented customers by offering unrealistically low quotes and then holding their belongings hostage for exorbitant prices.
This is why you should be wary of incredibly low moving quotes. If a company’s price sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. On the other hand, you might just be getting a great deal from a trustworthy mover. Use our guide to spotting moving scams to tell the difference.
That said, at Move.org, we thoroughly vet every company we recommend, so you can trust the low prices from any company on this page.
Penske Truck Rental—Cheapest long-distance moves
Penske is the best moving truck company in the business, and it provides the lowest rates for long-distance truck rentals. (If you’re moving locally, skip to our section on Budget .) On top of its great rates, Penske offers a huge selection of seasonal and year-round discounts, so you’re all but guaranteed to get a low price when you rent a truck.
Why we recommend Penske
It has plenty of discounts
Penske doesn’t just offer second-to-none pricing for long-distance customers. It also has a healthy assortment of discounts that can make an already cheap rental truck even more affordable.
Now, most of Penske’s year-round discounts are only available to certain people like college students, military personnel and veterans, and AAA members.
However, Penske also offers a rolling selection of seasonal promotions that anyone can take advantage of. These seasonal discounts typically knock around 10% off your price, though we have seen them run higher. Also, Penske is almost always running one of these deals, so you can usually find a great deal on a Penske truck.
It has optional help-for-hire moving labor
There’s no disputing that renting a moving truck for a DIY move is your cheapest option, but it’s also the least convenient since it requires that you do all the work yourself. Which is why we like that Penske partners with Simple Moving Labor to offer assistance with the heavy-lifting your DIY move will entail.1
Of course, this moving service costs extra. However, renting a moving truck and paying for a few hours of professional help is still far cheaper than hiring a full-service mover.
Plus, you get the benefit of knowing your stuff is being safely handled by professionally-trained movers instead of just your friends who, despite their good intentions, are more likely to drop and damage your stuff.
Ready to get the ball rolling on your affordable move?
Penske is our favorite truck rental company, which may be surprising since U-Haul is basically the only moving company with a household name. So what gives? Well, we’ve found that U-Haul lags behind Penske in a lot of important ways, including long-distance pricing and customer satisfaction. You can read all about it in our Penske vs. U-Haul review.
Budget Truck Rental—Cheapest local moves
If you’re moving locally and you’re going full DIY to save money, you won’t find a cheaper moving option than Budget Truck Rental. Its low local prices, huge selection of discounts, and dirt-cheap mileage rates make it our number one choice for affordably moving across town.
Why we recommend Budget
It has a low mileage rate
Between Penske, U-Haul, and Budget, Budget’s mileage rate—the price you pay for every mile you drive during a local move—is the cheapest by far.
Here’s how mileage rates from these moving truck companies compare:
|Company||Budget Truck Rental||U-Haul Truck Rental||Penske Truck Rental|
Data as of October 2020.
If you’re just moving up the street, you might not really notice the difference in these mileage rates. However, if you’re moving one city over or you need to make multiple trips, you’ll be glad you went with the company that charges the least per mile.
It has a large selection of discounts
Like Penske, Budget also has an impressive assortment of deals and discounts. In fact, Budget’s selection of discounts for customers in certain groups is even larger than Penske’s.
On top of its student and military discounts, Budget also cuts deals for police, firefighters, and EMTs as well as members of some organizations like the Motor Club of America and AARP.
Lastly, Budget—not to be upstaged by Penske in the discount department—also offers promotional discounts for all customers, and we’ve seen these deals run as high as 20% off.
Want to see how cheap your local move can be?
TaskRabbit—Cheapest moving labor
If you want a little help loading, unloading, or packing for your DIY move, you can use TaskRabbit to find someone who will come over and help for an hourly rate. The company operates as a marketplace for labor of all kinds like home repairs, furniture assembly, and—you guessed it—moving labor.
What to know about TaskRabbit
It’s your cheapest option, not your best option
TaskRabbit is kind of like Airbnb. It’s a place where anyone can list what they’re good at (or what they think they’re good at), and you can hire them for odd jobs at an hourly rate. The bad thing is that many people for hire on TaskRabbit are amateurs, just like most hosts on Airbnb have never professionally run a hotel.
Luckily, TaskRabbit allows you to see how positively every individual is reviewed, so you can choose not to hire contractors who consistently disappoint their clients.
Still, if you’re looking for professionally trained moving labor, you should probably go with HireAHelper instead. While there aren’t professional credentials required for moving labor, HireAHelper does let its contractors list their professional licenses so you can find pros in HireAHelper’s network.2
That said, TaskRabbit’s average hourly rates are about $70 cheaper than HireAHelper’s. If budget is your sole concern and you don’t mind hiring an amateur, give TaskRabbit a try.
It has limited availability
However, TaskRabbit only has contractors in about 35 states total, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have to procure moving labor from one of its competitors. Like, say, HireAHelper, which is available in over a thousand cities.
Need help with your move?
Zippy Shell—Cheapest moving containers
DIY moving in a moving truck is a huge hassle no matter how much money it saves you. And one of the worst parts is driving hundreds—if not thousands—of miles in an unruly moving truck that’s packed to the ceiling with everything you own. Luckily, if you rent a moving container from Zippy Shell, you can skip the whole driving gig.
When you move using Zippy Shell’s moving and storage containers, you load them yourself and then Zippy Shell delivers them for you. It can even store them for you before delivering them if necessary.
And here’s the best part: renting from Zippy Shell for a long-distance move only costs about double what renting a moving truck does on average, and it’s often much less than half the price of hiring full-service movers. This makes Zippy Shell the best option for budget-conscious customers who still want their move to be convenient.
What to know about Zippy Shell
Its prices are well below the competition
Like we said, Zippy Shell is the most affordable moving container company. Zippy Shell’s average price of $3,484 is about $400 cheaper than the overall average for the moving container industry.
In fact, Zippy Shell’s prices are so low that they sometimes compete with rates for moving trucks. In our pricing research for moving containers and moving trucks, Zippy Shell’s rates for some moves were lower than prices from moving truck companies for moves of similar distances. This was especially true for moves of several thousand miles.
This means that, in some instances, you can actually get the convenience of a container move while getting a price that’s comparable to that of a moving truck. You could even pay less!
Of course, this does come with a large caveat. Zippy Shell’s prices are only lower than moving truck rates in some cases. On average, Zippy Shell’s rates are roughly double that of truck rental companies.
So, what should you do with this information? If you want to get the best price for your move, don’t just default to renting a moving truck and doing the work yourself. You should at least get a quote from Zippy Shell to determine if the company can offer you a better price than your local U-Haul location.
Moving using a container is unconventional, to say the least, and you might not know what to expect from your container company. To get up to speed, check out these resources about using moving and storage containers:
It’s only available in 28 states
The bad news is that Zippy Shell isn’t very widely available. The company only operates in a little over half of the country. Here’s a complete list of the states Zippy Shell services:
|West||CA, CO, ID, NV, OR, UT, WA|
|Midwest||IL, IA, MI, MN, OH, WI|
|Northeast||MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA|
|Southeast||AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, TN, VA|
Zippy Shell location information as of 6/15/2022.
This means you may be unable to take advantage of Zippy Shell’s low prices. The good news is that there are other moving moving container companies with low rates and more locations. If Zippy Shell doesn’t service your state, give PODS or 1-800-PACK-RAT a try:
The best part is that both of these companies offer discounts to Move.org readers. PODS, our top moving container company, will give you a 10% discount on your move when you use promo code “MOVEORG.” You can get also get 10% off your first month of storage using the same promo code with 1-800-PACK-RAT.
Ready to book your moving containers?
International Van Lines—Best full-service mover
We’re going to come right out and say it: hiring a full-service mover like International Van Lines is never your cheapest option. Not even close. However, it is the best way to move if you want to skip all the intense labor and driving.
When you hire a full-service mover, the company takes care of literally everything. It will send a professional crew to load all of your stuff into a moving truck, drive it to your new home, and unload it for you. If you pay extra, the company will even handle things like packing, furniture assembly, and electronics installation.
So, while it will cost you several thousands of dollars, you’ll get what you pay for in terms of convenience and safety for your belongings. Even if you aren’t sold on hiring a professional mover, it’s worth your time to get a quote. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be as expensive as you fear.
Why we recommend International Van Lines
It does it all (literally)
If there’s a service you need for your move, IVL offers it. Here’s a list of everything IVL can do for you:
- Local, long-distance, and international delivery
- Professional loading
- Professional packing
- Furniture assembly and disassembly
- Storage services
- Car shipping
- Transport for specialty items like pianos and hot tubs
- Junk removal
Now, it’s probably abundantly clear at this point that you’ll pay extra for all of these services. The good news is that working with IVL means your move is fully customizable. You can tailor your service to fit your needs exactly, and you’ll only pay for the services you use.
So while hiring IVL isn’t cheap, it’s the best value for your money.
It’s the best of the best
If you’re going to shell out for a full-service mover, you might as well go with the best, and International Van Lines is our very favorite moving company. IVL’s comprehensive menu of services, transparent pricing, worldwide availability, and award-winning customer service make it the best full-service mover in the business.
Want to see how much moving with IVL would cost you?
Best cheap moving companies
Other cheap moving companies we recommend
Recap—How to keep moving costs low
It’s an unfortunate fact that every dollar you save while moving will require extra effort on your part. This makes renting a moving truck your most affordable option, while deluxe service from a professional moving company is the most expensive.
- Rent a moving truck. While it’s the most affordable, it’s the least convenient option—you do all the work yourself.
- DIY truck rental + hire labor. OR rent a container. You can lighten the load of a DIY move by hiring a moving labor company for a few hours or by renting a moving container (so you don’t have to drive the moving truck to your new home). Both of these options are relatively affordable and don’t leave all the work to you.
- Mix and match. Create a custom cocktail of affordability and convenience by choosing various moving methods. For example, you could hire professional movers to deliver all of your biggest and most expensive furniture for you while you drive a truck filled with your boxes of books, dishes, and clothes.
There’s no law that says you have to go all-in on one moving method, and getting creative can help you save money on your big move. We also recommend moving during the off-season (fall and winter months), donating or selling things you don't need, and finding your own packing supplies.
Move.org identifies the moving industry’s best and most affordable companies by using a four-fold research approach:
- Comparing prices.We constantly collect fresh pricing data to stay abreast of industry trends and average moving costs. Most of our pricing info is gathered through mystery shopping to ensure we’re getting the same quotes as actual customers.
- Checking government databases. To ensure we only recommend trustworthy companies, we routinely check every moving company’s credentials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Customer satisfaction research.We check our recommendations and claims about every company against actual customer reviews on various review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp. If we notice concerningly high volumes of complaints about a company, we’ll let you know in our reviews.
- Outreach. Part of our research involves contacting moving companies directly with surveys about their services and pricing.
Best cheap moving services FAQ
While we do not recommend that you try and save pennies on your move, International Van Lines, or IVL is our recommendation for best prices given their transparent pricing, industry expertise, and free storage options.
Renting a moving truck and doing all the work yourself is usually the cheapest way to move, though getting a moving container from a company like Zippy Shell can sometimes be cheaper. PODS, which is more widely available than Zippy Shell is particularly a convenient yet affordable alternative for local moves. If you’re moving long distance, we recommend renting a truck from Penske. Its long-distance prices are the best in the business. If you’re moving locally, Budget is usually your cheapest option.
Hiring a full-service moving company is the most expensive way to move. However, it’s also the most convenient. If you can afford it, full-service movers are worth every penny as long as you hire a trustworthy company with a reputation for good customer service.
Short of just driving the car, the cheapest way to get a car from point A to point B is to tow it behind your moving truck or another vehicle. While it’s much less convenient than paying for professional auto transport—and it’s a lot riskier for your car—renting a tow trailer or a tow dolly and hauling your car yourself can be hundreds of dollars cheaper.
Best moving companies by state
Now that we’ve pointed you to the best cheap moving companies, we wanted to make sure you’re set for moving day. Read these guides to prepare for everything your move will require: