How to Hire a Mover

Julia Campbell
Nov 01, 2022
Icon Time To Read8 min read

At a glance

Hiring a mover isn’t simple, and moving can be expensive if you aren’t careful. Also, some moving companies are just better than others, and a few are nothing more than scams. That’s why it’s important to plan and gather more information before you actually hire your mover.

We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how to hire moving help, but here’s a quick rundown:

Keep reading to get a comprehensive walk-through for hiring your mover.

Understand the types of moves

Before you hire a mover, you need to decide what kind of move you’re going to do. Depending on how much stuff you’re moving, the distance you’re traveling, and your budget, certain move types make more sense than others.

We break down different moves in our DIY vs. professional moving article, but here’s what you can expect with each type of move:

Compare full-service, moving container, and truck rental moves

Type of move
Moving container
Truck rental
You load
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
You drive
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Best for
Large or heavy loads or long-distance moves
Mid-sized loads or Budget-conscious movers
Small loads or thrifty movers
Average price range

Full-service moves

pro Most convenient option
pro Pro-level service at every step
pro Customizable add-on services
con Most expensive option

With a full-service move, you hire professional movers to load and unload your belongings and drive them to your new home. Most of them will even disassemble, protect, and reassemble your furniture as part of your move. And if you’re willing to pay extra, many full-service moving companies can also help you pack (or unpack) and set up your multimedia and electronics, too. Some can even ship your car for you.

Look for companies like American Van Lines that offer flat rate pricing, meaning you pay a flat rate—and then get access to a wide range of moving services. AVL's premium services include bulky items expertise, piano moving, and packing materials.

Full-service moves are the most expensive option, but they’ll serve you best if you fall into any of these categories:

  • You’re on a time crunch.
  • You have a lot to move.
  • You’re moving long-distance.
  • You have valuable belongings you want professional help with.

The best full-service moving companies

Moving company
Highlights rating
Best premium services
4.5 out of 5 stars
Best long-distance moving company
4.9 out of 5 stars
Best budget company
3.6 out of 5 stars
Best for customizable services
4.8 out of 5 stars
Best for customer reviews
4 out of 5 stars

Our Best Interstate Movers list outlines which companies are some of the best in the game for full-service moves—and which we recommend.

Moving container moves

pro No driving required
pro Mid-range prices
pro Easy to transition to storage
con You have to load and unload yourself

A moving container company transports your belongings from your old home to your new home—you just have to do all the loading and unloading yourself. While this might be better for customers who only trust themselves to lovingly handle their record collections, personal libraries, and valuable antiques, it’s certainly less convenient than a full-service move.

That being said, hiring a reputable container company is also quite a bit cheaper, and if you’re looking for something more affordable than hiring a full-service moving company and more convenient than doing all the work yourself, then moving with a container company might be perfect for you.

PODS, one of the nation's trusted moving container companies, offers convenient scheduling, affordable moving services, and a discount worth about $400 for the average move.

If you need to store your belongings after the moving container company picks them up, you can also work with the company and pay them to hold onto your container until your new home is ready.

Here’s when a container move is ideal:

  • You don’t want to drive a moving truck long-distance.
  • You’re on a budget and can load your container yourself.
  • Your timing is flexible—you can load up over the course of several days.

The best moving container companies

Moving company
Highlights rating
Best overall
4.6 out of 5 stars
Strong containers
4.5 out of 5 stars
Low prices
4.1 out of 5 stars
Excellent reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Nationwide availability
3.9 out of 5 stars

To learn which container companies we deem top-notch, check out our list of the Best Moving Container Companies.

Truck rental moves

pro Most budget-friendly
con Least convenient
con Most liability if something goes wrong

If you’re down to take the reins on packing, hauling, loading, and driving a moving van to your next locale, renting a moving truck for your move is the cheapest option. The only way to pay less would be to make multiple trips in your car (which we don’t recommend). 

While this is the most affordable option, it’s also the one that puts the most responsibility on your shoulders. For the other two move types, if the moving crew accidentally damaged any of your belongings, the company might cover the cost of repair or replacement. If you’re in control every step of the way, you’re on your own if something breaks.

And, as confident as you may be in your packing and driving abilities, you probably aren’t a professionally trained mover. Things are at least a little more likely to go wrong than they would in the hands of the pros.

Here’s when it would make the most sense to go the DIY route:

  • You want to save money.
  • You’re comfortable packing and driving your own truck.
  • You have a smaller load.

The best moving truck rental companies

Moving company
Highlights rating
Best overall
4.5 out of 5 stars
Best local prices
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most availability
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most truck sizes
3.1 out of 5 stars
Best for quick moves
3.1 out of 5 stars

If budget is your biggest concern, renting a truck from a company like Penske, which offers low prices (and many discounts), is your best bet. Check out our Best Moving Truck Rental Companies to see which companies are best for DIY moves.

Light Bulb
Want to lighten the load?

If you want to save as much money as possible, but you also need some help packing and loading, we recommend renting a moving truck and hiring some moving labor. This will obviously cut a little extra out of your budget, but it’s still cheaper than getting a full-service move. And professional help will ensure your move goes quickly and smoothly.

Set a budget

Moving costs by move type

Type of move
Price range

Full service


Moving and storage containers


Moving truck rentals


Full-service moves are the most expensive option, but their convenience can certainly outweigh their higher cost. Container moves will save you some cash, but you’ll get your workout in for the day when you load your container.

Truck rental moves, of course, are the cheapest option. But depending on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you have, and the value of the items you’re moving, they aren’t always the smartest financial option.

For instance, if your dining room table breaks during your move, you’d be at least partially covered if you went with a full-service move since every full-service moving company is required to cover up to $0.60 per pound of your shipment (basic valuation coverage). You can also pay extra for more comprehensive coverage.

With moving truck rentals, your items aren’t guaranteed protection. So even though you’d be paying more for a full-service move it might beat paying for a brand new table if yours broke during a DIY move.

It’s easy to want to pick a move type based solely on budget, but keep in mind that sometimes truck rental moves can be more expensive than you think, and in some instances container moves might be cheaper. Check out our moving costs breakdown to learn more about common—and unexpected—costs.

Consider middle-of-the-road prices

Full-service moves don’t have to cost a fortune. As you shop around, look for companies that offer middle-of-the-road prices. You can also cut some costs by skipping add-on services like professional packing.

Decide which add-on services you need

Additional moving services are available à la carte. They’re less common in DIY moves, but some moving truck rental companies still offer these options.

  • Packing: For partial, full, or even special-item packing (if you have a valuable family heirloom that needs extra protection, for example).
  • Custom crating: For antiques or valuable pieces of furniture, like mirrors or art that won’t fit into a regular moving box.
  • Loading: For hauling that six-person sectional or a heavy armoire, especially if you can’t incentivize your friends with pizza and beer.
  • Electronics installation: For your built-in sound system or pricey TV.
  • Unpacking and maid service. For those of us who don't have the energy to unpack and clean after a move.
Give ‘em a ring

If you’re interested in a moving company, always call and speak with a representative. In our experience, representatives provide more detailed answers to questions over the phone than a website will.

Research and shop around

Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time to research and pick your moving company. We’ve broken down the process of selecting your moving company in three steps:

  1. Research moving companies
  2. Get multiple quotes
  3. Book your move

1. Research moving companies

Once you know what kind of move you want, look for companies that have good customer reviews, offer the services you need, are in line with your budget, and work in your area—some moving companies might not have a service footprint where you live.

Use our Best Interstate Moving Companies list to compare top-rated companies' availability and service offerings. We also review dozens of companies that aren’t mentioned in that list, so be sure to look for our review of any company you might hire.

Lastly, find customer reviews on third-party sites like Yelp and Google Reviews instead of just reading the customer reviews that companies share on their websites; those are always cherry-picked and don’t fully reflect actual customer experiences. Look for a healthy mix of positive and negative reviews to get the most accurate picture.

Here are a few red flags to watch out for when you’re reading customer reviews:

While every moving company will have at least one or two scathing customer reviews, it’s important to take these with a grain of salt. If most of a company’s reviews are positive, that’s a good sign, even if one or two disgruntled customers say the company is terrible.

Of course, if an overwhelming majority of customers speak badly about a company, it’s probably best to steer clear.

2. Get multiple quotes

Before you make any decisions, go online or call around to get quotes from several moving companies—whether you’re going with a full-service, container, or truck rental company—so you can compare prices.

Some full-service companies even offer over-the-phone estimates so you can avoid an in-home visit and still get a ballpark estimate. Keep in mind that you won’t know exactly what your move will cost until you submit an inventory or do an in-home inspection of your belongings, but a ballpark estimate can still give you a rough idea of your final price.

You can learn more about getting estimates and quotes in our guide to moving estimates.

How many estimates should you get?

A good rule of thumb is to get at least three estimates from three different moving companies so you can compare prices. This will help you to find the best possible price, and it will also help you lower your price if your preferred company offers price-matching.

3. Book your move

After you’ve done your research and chosen your preferred company, you can book your move. Most companies allow you to schedule estimates online, but you’ll almost always have to call to book.

Keep in mind that even if you book your move for a specific date, not all companies have hard-and-fast reservations. Some offer expedited shipping or guaranteed pickup, but remember that unpredictability is the name of the game in the moving industry.

For example, most companies—especially moving truck rental companies—are limited by the customers they’re currently helping. If another customer’s move takes longer than expected, the equipment and staff you reserved might be delayed.

Ask questions

Hidden fees and vague timelines are common pitfalls in moving, but asking the right questions up front can help you know what to expect and prevent unexpected hiccups.

Use these questions to guide your research:

  • Do I want an over-the-phone ballpark estimate?
  • Do I need insurance?
  • Do I want to pack myself or pay someone else to do it?
  • Do I have fragile items that need to be specially packed?
  • Do I need custom crating?
  • Do I need moving supplies?
  • Do I want to track my shipment?
  • Do I need help disconnecting and reconnecting my appliances?
  • Do I have specialty items like a piano or trampoline?
  • Do I need movers to disassemble and reassemble my furniture?
  • Do I need to move something heavy or bulky like a washer/dryer?

Once you know what kind of help you need, we recommend you choose a moving company based on how its services align with your needs and your budget. Get a feel for your options by getting several estimates and then use those to decide who to book with.

Recommended resources

Ready to get the ball rolling? Here are our picks for the best full-service moving, moving container, and moving truck rental companies:

People also asked. . .

If you’re still stumped, here are some related FAQs to help you in your research.

Joe Roberts also contributed to this article.

Julia Campbell
Written by
Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell is a full-time writer who knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to planning a hassle-free move. Having moved seven times in the past five years, she draws from her own experience and industry expertise to help you avoid her biggest mistakes (like that time she thought she could get away with packing her dishes without wrapping them first).