Colonial Van Lines Review

We got quotes, toured the facilities, and went through the customer journey to review Colonial Van Lines as one of our top picks for long-distance moves.
Best custom experience
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6
  • pro
    Thorough hands-on training for Colonial moving employees
  • pro
    Packing, unloading, and furniture assembly are available
  • con
    No in-state moves
Katherine McEntire
Jun 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

Colonial Van Lines specializes in a full suite of moving services for long-distance moves between states conducted by experienced drivers and movers. It offers a wide range of long-distance moving services, including loading and unloading items, disassembling and reassembling furniture, transporting, packing, and storage, even for specialty items like antiques and art.

One of our favorite things about CVL is its emphasis on educating its customers and employees. From the moment customers call in to get a quote to movers putting the final box in place, Colonial offers knowledgeable support for the whole process.

One of our favorite features about Colonial is its intensive training for moving employees. Its employee training facility, Colonial Van Lines University includes a staged two-bedroom home where new hires get hands-on—and scratch-free—training with delicate and high-value items, customer service, and safety standards.

As a member of the American Trucking Association, Colonial is at the forefront of keeping its drivers informed and highly trained. And with hundreds of glowing reviews, it's no wonder Colonial has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

However, while Colonial Van Lines can be a lifesaver for those big cross-country moves, it does not service in-state moves and requires a deposit of around 40% to secure your move.

Pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro Highly trained movers and drivers
pro Full suite of moving services
pro Personalized solutions
pro Clear breakdown of costs upfront
con
Cons
con Does not service in-state moves

How much does Colonial Van Lines cost?

Cross-country full-service moves aren't cheap, no matter which service you choose. However, we were able to get some ballpark estimates from CVL to get a pulse of its pricing for different kinds of moves.

Moving from Utah to New York for a three-bedroom home cost around $9,000. Regional moves for the same size home cost around $5,500 (think Minneapolis to Des Moines, Atlanta to Nashville, or Philadelphia to DC).

After chatting with a Colonial Van Lines representative, they consider the weight, milage, origin, and destination locations, plus any extra services you need to produce a final binding quote. This means that the number they give you from the start is what you can expect to pay once the move is complete. If you find a lower quote from a qualified competitor, Colonial will match that price.

Type of move
Rooms
Avg. estimate
Learn more
Cross-country move3 bedrooms$9,000
Regional move3 bedrooms$5,500

Information current as of publish date.

After chatting with a Colonial Van Lines representative, they consider the weight, milage, origin, and destination locations, plus any extra services you need to produce a final binding quote. This means that the number they give you from the start is what you can expect to pay once the move is complete. If you find a lower quote from a qualified competitor, Colonial will match that price.

"I have moved several times, both for personal reasons and work related. Colonial exceeded expectations with their rates, communication, timeliness, care of packing and overall professionalism. I would highly recommend Colonial to anyone looking to move."
- Don M, Better Business Bureau 5/28/2024

How Colonial Van Lines compares

Company
Deposit amount
Discounts
Learn more
Icon Yes  DarkUp to 40%
Icon Yes  DarkMilitary, Repeat customers, Corporate
Icon Yes  Dark25%
Icon Yes  Dark10% Move discount, Military, Senior
Icon Yes  Dark30–40%
Icon Yes  DarkAAA members, Military, Seniors
Icon Yes  Dark25%
Icon Yes  DarkN/A
Icon Yes  Dark25%
Icon Yes  DarkEarly reservation, Tariff discounts

Information current as of publish date.

See where Colonial Van Lines ranks in our Best Long-Distance Moving Companies roundup.


The Colonial Van Lines process

Before you start your long-distance move, it helps to understand how the process works with Colonial Van Lines.

It all starts with a quick call to Colonial Van Lines or filling out the online contact form. This initial contact allows Colonial to get some details about your move. Information like your prospective move dates and the zip codes for your origin and destination are needed so the moving specialists can create a quote.

From there, they can help you take inventory of your home, or you can use Colonial's estimator app to get a count for yourself. Once all the necessary information is collected, you'll receive a binding estimate for your move. CVL has a team of quality assurance pros who check every customer's move for the finer details, ensuring that the load they're transporting matches the services they're offering.

Light Bulb
What is a binding estimate?

A binding estimate is an agreement between you and your long-distance mover that they will only collect the amount you were quoted for. However, if things change and you need more or fewer services, you can adjust this estimate as needed prior to your moving day.

 

If you happen to find a lower quote from another qualified mover, Colonial is ready to match that price—demonstrating its commitment to fair and competitive pricing.

When you're ready to proceed with service through Colonial, a deposit for your move is required. This usually amounts to around 40%, but the company offers discounts for repeat, corporate, and military customers. If something changes, you can cancel service for a full refund up to five business days before your move day.

Finally, it's time to get ready for the big day! You can pack up your home or add packing services for all your stuff or just specialty items.

Like what you heard so far?

Colonial Van Lines features and services

Colonial Van Lines offers long-distance moving across the country and within regions. It serves all 48 states in the continental US. Along with those transport services, you can opt for extras like storage and packing during the onboarding process.

Here's a snapshot of Colonial Van Line's moving services:

  • Short-term and long-term storage
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Full coverage insurance
  • Auto shipping
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Trash and debris removal
  • Specialty item moving and packing
  • Crating
  • Electronics installation

The only drawbacks we could find were that Colonial does not offer in-state moves (like from Houston to El Paso, for example) and does not serve movers heading to or from Alaska or Hawaii.

Info Box
Why no in-state moves?

It all boils down to licensing.
Long-distance movers need one kind of license to move across state lines but they need individual licenses to move within state borders. While Colonial Van Lines can move within a few states, it's not the case across the board.

Extensive employee training

Moving families and businesses across the country isn't a simple task. The logistics and lifting alone take steady hands and strategy. That's why Colonial sends all its employees back to school at Colonial Van Lines University.

Movers and drivers spend two to four weeks of intensive training at Colonial Van Line's training facility which includes a two-bedroom mock home. There, they learn the best techniques for packing, lifting, and caring for everyday and specialty items.

If you have specialty items like pianos, antiques, or large pieces of art that need special care, it's covered in CVL's coursework during this training. Even experienced movers new to Colonial go through the CLVU course.

Customers can also benefit from these training courses! We found quick courses for preparing valuables like dressers, chairs, appliances, books, fine china, and clothes.

Video: Colonial Van Lines behind the scenes tour

Play Video

Colonial Van Lines customer service

From free quotes and discounts for repeat, corporate, and military customers to the mountains of helpful information on its website, Colonial Van Lines knows the importance of customer service—and it shows.

If you have quick questions or just want to compare Colonial Van Lines to other long-distance movers, you can ping the instant messenger on the Colonial website. Phone lines and email assistance are also available if you can't find what you need in Colonial's extensive FAQ, blog, or other resources for move preparation.

But our favorite feature about Colonial's customer service is the dedicated Account Manager service. This is your moving guru, your guiding light through the whole process. If you have questions, comments, or something you want to change, adjust, or drop, they're your single source for customer service. No confusion, no waiting on hold.


Our recommendation

Colonial Van Lines is a full-service long-distance mover that specializes in cross-country and regional moving. For the last 50 years, it has served residential and corporate customers across the US. Some of our favorite things about Colonial are its dedicated account manager to guide you through the move and the extensive training all its staff earn as soon as they join the team.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a deposit—up to 40% of your total moving quote—but this is in line with industry standards. Though Colonial is a long-distance mover, it does not serve most customers moving within the same state.

Want one of the best long-distance moving companies around?

Colonial Van Lines FAQ

Check out their full FAQ page to learn more about the long-distance moving process.

Is Colonial Van Lines a broker?

No. Colonial Van Lines is a long-distance moving company that provides its own trucks and movers. Colonial trains all employees, from the people who pack up your valuables to the person who answers the phone when you call for information. We've seen Colonial's offices, call center, and training facilities.

Is Colonial Van Lines legit?

Yes. From our interactions with the company, tours of its facilities, and experience with Colonial Van Lines, we can say it is a legitimate long-distance mover.

It depends. If you paid for extra services like packing, all you have to do is be present when they pack and unpack your things. Otherwise, most professional movers expect to arrive at an already packed home and load items into the truck. If you have specialty things like large mirrors, antiques, or bulky items, you may be able to get help packing them before they're loaded.

One advantage of using professional movers is insurance - that is, if you opt for that service. All credible long-distance movers like Colonial will offer insurance for your items in case something is broken or damaged when it arrives. That said, if you pack items yourself or skip coverage, you're unfortunately stuck with a broken item.

We'll let Colonial Van Lines answer this one,
"A binding moving estimate is a contract that details the exact cost based on the services you request at the time of the estimate. If you select this option, your final charges will not decrease if your final weight is less than originally estimated. If additional services are requested or required at the time of your move, the total cost will increase to accommodate the changes."


Methodology

We conducted intensive research to identify the best moving companies for long-distance moves and local moves, in addition to container moves, truck rentals, and hourly moving labor. During our searches, we:

  • Compare pricing transparency. We gather quotes, check for binding estimates, and read customer reviews about pricing to ensure each moving company’s prices are trustworthy.
  • Review accreditation. We check every company’s records in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s database to confirm companies are properly authorized to transport household goods.
  • Go mystery shopping. We review every company’s website, pose as customers in calls to companies, and read customer reviews to analyze every company’s moving services, transit protection, and customer service. We also interview actual customers to learn how their moves went from start to finish.
  • Perform site visits. We invite moving companies to our headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT, to share data and expertise. We verify the information they provide by comparing it to data gathered through independent research and interviews with other movers.
  • Set up regular reviews. We routinely repeat this process to update our recommendations to reflect current data and trends. We also revise each review annually and make updates throughout the year.
Katherine McEntire
Written by
Katherine McEntire
Katie is a multi-media journalist who has worked with publications like AARP, TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews, and she’s the YouTube personality and expert for SafeWise.