The 5 Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2021

Move.org compared hundreds of quotes and services from dozens of full-service movers, truck rental companies, hourly labor companies, and moving container companies to find the most affordable movers in the business.
Cheapest long-distance moves
penske
Penske Truck Rental
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$1,136.50 avg. rental price
  • Icon Yes  Light
    You do all of the work
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Available in 49 states
Cheapest local moves
budget
Budget Truck Rental
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
$1,054 avg. rental price
  • Icon Yes  Light
    You do all of the work
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Available in 48 states
Cheapest moving labor
taskrabbit
TaskRabbit
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1
$40 avg. hourly cost
  • Icon Yes  Light
    You pay extra for help with the work
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Available in 61 cities
Cheapest moving containers
upack
U-Pack
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$2,610 avg. container price
  • Icon Yes  Light
    You do half of the work
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Available in all 50 states
Best full-service mover
internationalvanlines
International Van Lines
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8
$4,891.63 avg. move price
  • Icon Yes  Light
    You do none of the work
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Available in all 50 states
Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on October 25, 2021
12 min read

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 quote from U-Pack.

Cheapest moving companies

  1. Penske Truck Rental—Cheapest long-distance moves
  2. Budget Truck Rental—Cheapest local moves
  3. TaskRabbit—Cheapest moving labor
  4. U-Pack—Cheapest moving containers
  5. International Van Lines—Best full-service mover

Compare cheap moving companies

Company
Service type
Distances serviced
Avg. long-distance price
Avg. local price
Wesbite
penskePenske Truck Rental*
Truck rentalLocal and long-distance$1,945$328 + $1.29/mile
budgetBudget Truck Rental*
Truck rentalLocal and long-distance$2,080$27 + $0.47/mile
taskrabbitTaskRabbit**
Hourly moving laborN/A$40/hour$40/hour
upackU-Pack°
Moving and storage containerLong-distance only$2,610N/A
internationalvanlinesInternational Van Lines°°
Full-service moveLocal and long-distance$5,000$4,565

*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 August 2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.

°°Pricing info as of April 2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Local move price is average for 140-mile moves.


What should you look for in a cheap moving company?

Every service you need

When you’re shopping for a cheap move, find a company that provides all the services you’ll 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:

Competitive prices

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 or not.

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 full-service movers can be. You’ll never know what’s out there unless you gather multiple quotes.

Exclamation
Keep an eye out for discounts!

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 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
Penske Truck Rental
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Unbeatable prices for long-distance moves
Pro Bullet Unlimited mileage for one-way rentals
Pro Bullet Guaranteed reservations
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Fewer locations than U-Haul

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 service costs extra. However, renting a moving truck and paying for a few hours of professional help is still far cheaper than 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?

Info Box
What about U-Haul?

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

budget
Budget Truck Rental
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cheapest local moving prices
Pro Bullet Lowest mileage rates
Pro Bullet Help-for-hire available
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Fewer locations than U-Haul

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:

CompanyBudget Truck RentalU-Haul Truck RentalPenske Truck Rental
Mileage rate$0.47/mile$0.99/mile$1.29/mile

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 if 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?

Bullhorn
Prepare for your truck rental

Using a moving truck for a local or a long-distance move is never easy, but you can make it easier with proper planning and preparation. Use our guides to loading a moving truck and planning a DIY moving road trip.


TaskRabbit—Cheapest moving labor

taskrabbit
TaskRabbit
Our Rating
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cheap hourly labor
Pro Bullet Tons of services
Pro Bullet User-friendly mobile app
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Amateur workers
Con Bullet Limited locations
Con Bullet No phone number

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. This company only features professionally trained contractors, so you’re much more likely to get white-glove service from a HireAHelper worker than from someone you found on TaskRabbit.

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

TaskRabbit is only available in about 61 cities across the US. Luckily, these are all major cities like Boston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

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?


U-Pack—Cheapest moving containers

upack
U-Pack
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5

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 U-Pack, you can skip the whole driving gig.

When you move using U-Pack’s moving and storage containers—U-Pack calls them ReloCubes—you load them yourself, but U-Pack delivers them for you.

And here’s the best part: renting from U-Pack is only about twice as expensive as renting a moving truck on average, and it’s often less than half as expensive as hiring full-service movers. This makes U-Pack the best option for budget-conscious customers who still want their move to be convenient.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cheapest moving containers
Pro Bullet Excellent customer reviews
Pro Bullet Durable metal containers
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Long-distance moves only

What to know about U-Pack

It has a pay-for-what-you-use policy

U-Pack’s pay-for-what-you-use policy takes the guesswork out of booking. With most moving and storage container companies, you’ll pay for every container you book, even if you don’t use one of them. This means that you need to be conservative with how many containers you reserve.

With U-Pack, you don’t need to worry about this problem. If you book more ReloCubes than you need, U-Pack won’t charge you for the ones you don’t use.This frees you from painstakingly measuring and re-measuring all of your belongings to guarantee you only book the space you need and not a single cubic foot more.

That said, if you book fewer ReloCubes than you need and decide to get another one on moving day, you’ll end up paying for the container itself as well as an extra delivery charge. Worst case scenario, there might not even be another moving container available at the last minute. Use the sizing info in our guide to moving containers to ensure you reserve enough ReloCubes. 

It only accepts long-distance customers

The only bad thing about U-Pack is that it won’t accept moves under 150 miles, so you can’t move locally using a ReloCube. Don’t despair, though. These moving and storage container companies accept local moves, and they’re all far cheaper than hiring professional movers:

Ready to book your moving containers?


International Van Lines—Best full-service mover

internationalvanlines
International Van Lines
Our Rating
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8

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 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 full-service mover, it’s worth your time to get a quote. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be as expensive as you fear.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Worldwide availability
Pro Bullet Plenty of discounts
Pro Bullet Unparalleled customer service
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Most expensive option on this page
Con Bullet 25% deposit required at booking

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

  1. Penske Truck Rental—Cheapest long-distance moves
  2. Budget Truck Rental—Cheapest local moves
  3. TaskRabbit—Cheapest moving labor
  4. U-Pack—Cheapest moving containers
  5. International Van Lines—Best full-service mover

Other cheap moving companies we recommend


Recap

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.


Methodology

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 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.

Cheap moving FAQ

What’s the cheapest way to move?

Renting a moving truck and doing all the work yourself is the cheapest way to move. 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.

What’s the most expensive way to move?

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.

What’s the cheapest way to transport a car?

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.

Read our guide to towing vs. shipping a car to learn more. You can also check out our guide to shipping a car for cheap to learn how you can get professional auto transport without going broke.


Recommended resources

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:

People also asked…

Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.