making first long distance move- how to find moving companies?

lauriecApril 21, 2011

Hi, this is our first long distance move, I figure there are GW'ers out there who have done this before and have tips on finding a good moving company -we're interesting in having house packed and moved - from PA to NC

thanks for any tips!


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You might check consumer's Guide. Also whatever you do get everything in writing. Rules have changed as insurance also. We have a pretty good one here--North American Van Lines. The one thing that will help is to really downsize what you are moving--that is will it fit, do I really need/want it, is it older and would it be cheaper to replace it. Mainly larger furniture, appliances.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Personal references are good. So is Angie's List.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:33PM
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You also might want to get three bids and let each company know you're comparison shopping. Meeting each rep might also give you a good idea of the professionalism (or not) of the business.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Might want to borrow this from your library first:
"Complete Idiot's Guide to Smart Moving"

Also check out this website for what NOT to do!

"The number one question receives is "Can you recommend a good moving company?". If the answer to that question was easy, then there wouldn't be a reason for maintaining a web site called (see our article "How to Find a Reputable Moving Company" for more information)."

A link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:20PM
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When we moved across country 10 years ago, I looked up an old Consumer Reports, which rated Paul Arkin the highest, so we went with them.

But most important advice I got was to make sure you get a "binding estimate"; otherwise,companies will first low-ball the estimate to get your business, but then suddenly discover higher weight costs after all your stuff is loaded on their truck. Also, only the driver works for the moving company; all of the workers were local day hires.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:59PM
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For sure take a look at and do a lot of reading on their forum. They give lots of good tips, endorse a number of moving companies, and warm about scams. We're moving from AZ to NM in 2 weeks and I followed all their advice in finding the right company to move us.

Our move is complex due to high-value items, lots of antiques and paintings, and difficult access (15 miles dirt roads, tight turns and gates at the destination). The big moving vans can't access our new home and all the national moving companies wanted to use a "shuttle." That would mean loading a large van, then transferring all the items to a smaller truck to make the delivery. Totally unacceptable, as it's equivalent to moving twice!

We ended up choosing a local company with good reviews on movingscam. They're going to use two 24-foot trucks, no shuttle, for our move. You need to be really really careful what company you choose. The company we chose is $1,000 cheaper than the other quotes AND we're very confident they will do a great job: Camelback Moving from Phoenix.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:09AM
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as always, GW'ers have the answers. thanks so much, will check out all of your suggestions.



    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:39AM
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I've made several long distance moves over the years. The best thing I can tell you is read over every form you are given concerning the move careful BEFORE agreeing to or signing it. When in doubt about something ask for written clarification.
Most damage comes from putting stuff in storage or from being a part of a smaller load on a truck. Very often if the loads are small they will combine several households worth of goods on to one truck. IF you have only a small load I'd be inclined to look for one of those pack and go trucks they drop off and deliver to your house.
IF you can getthe bodies together on moving day I'd have a friend in each room watching the packers pack and to make sure things are getting the proper care they should. We always have randomly checked packed boxes to see what kind of job was being done. At least once we complained about the way things were being packed. The person who was packing was not wrapping things he was just dropping stuff into boxes. DH insisted that they went back thru and checked every box this one person packed. We found 10 out of the 12 boxes he packed were not done well. He was sent home we never saw him again. The head packer repacked the boxes himself.
My advice would be to ditch as much as you can however is comfortable with you. Donations, free signs, trash whatever.
Weight is usually the biggest factor in what you will pay so scale it down. If you even slightly dislike something and think you may replace it soon now is the time to do get rid of it. Go thru clothing and do a serious clean out of stuff you haven't worn in years. Clothes add lots of weight which many folks don realize so do extra linens that you haven't used in years.
No matter what date they tell you your stuff will be there at your new home you can almost count on it being late for one unforeseen reason or another. Out of five long distant moves not one of them arrived on time.
Take with you in your own car that which you can not do without, that which your kids or pets can not do without including important papers, meds, cellphones, chargers and personal items.
Good luck. It's a long process and it's hard on everyone involved, right up there emotionally with divorce and death in a family.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 5:44PM
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I've done several moves that were company paid. Allied Van LInes was good. Wouldn't use United again. They let drivers bump the packers due to seniority on the 2nd day of packing. Bad packing, lots of broken stuff. My most recent move I paid for myself so I whittled down belongings. I did all the packing myself and not one item broke (oh except for something the movers broke and acknowledged breaking). I used Allied Van Lines for the move. NH to VA, about 9000 lbs cost $3900. They wrapped and padded all furniture pieces. Though I had packed all the boxes it still took them a day to pack and load the truck. Truck left old house on Monday evening and was delivered Thursday morning in VA. Easy move.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Whatever you do, do NOT use U-hall. The truck you ordered will not be available, and 2 smaller trucks do not have the height of the bigger one, so all your stuff won't fit! You then have to go back 2 more times to get everything!

I think Mayflower is a good company. My sister in law transported Estate things from Southern California to Chicago with no problems. She said the truck was so big, she worried that it wouldn't fit on her road, but it did, and it all went smoothly!

Good luck to you! Ha! We still have 2 more U-haul trucks to go... Lesson learned!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 2:29PM
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"IF you can getthe bodies together on moving day I'd have a friend in each room watching the packers pack and to make sure things are getting the proper care they should."

There can also be a moving company guy "stationed" inside the truck to supervise the loading- usually the foreman.
As all the flurried activity is happening inside the house this guy is not watched by anyone and he would be the one poking into things he shouldn't be poking into.
Not saying thievery happens, but if it does it's usually this guy.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 6:35AM
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we had several company transfers, but when we retired, we had no clue who was good and who wasn't so we checked with the bbb, and googled for reviews
usually each office is individually "owned" as a franchise so the quality can vary from office to office
we found the people we chose to be "better" than the company transfer folks and there was an incredible price difference (one estimated almost double the other)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 8:05PM
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