In the U.S. today, more than 3 million people move across state lines every year. If you ask any of them, they will have one thing or the other to tell regarding their experiences and how they scale through the hurdles of packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking their items. The moving company you hire can either make the relocation smooth or a nightmare even though moving is never an easy task. Late delivery and having belongings held hostage by their moving companies are part of the over 4000 complaints from customers to the National Complaint Database last year.
There is no doubt; interstate move is not a local move that can be handled by the inexperienced mover. It requires more of professionalism, teamwork, required licenses, and much more. No one wants to fall a victim of moving scam and other related nightmares experienced by many consumers who were not informed about how it works. The truth is that; there are some moving services that specialize in interstate moves.
Professional interstate moving companies start coming to mind as the affordable option when you consider the cost of moving blankets, insurance, fuel, packing materials, possible damage to the truck and extra time off work even though it is understandable that your budget must come first. Moving Feedback aims to use this post to discuss all you need to know about interstate move and moving companies specialized in deliver such services. First and foremost, let’s define what an interstate move is. Read on.
What is an Interstate Move?
A move is said to be interstate when you relocate to a different state, or your move crosses a state line. To get your belongings across state lines, you will require the service of an interstate or long distance moving company. Another involvement in an interstate move within the same state is the possibilities of crossing international boundaries. Washington, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Oregon are the states people frequently move into.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is empowered to properly monitor interstate moves; which a mover must secure a unique number to operate across the state lines. Having a USDOT number and other more specific rules are criteria for long distance relocation. To ensure the safety of your move, every long distance moving company must satisfy the federal regulations.
Steps to a Successful Interstate Move
Take the following steps to hire professional movers who can do the moving for you and get your items to your destination safely without any issue. If you are planning to relocate from one state to another, even if it is just to cross a bridge to a new state, you will need these tips. They are as highlighted below:
1. Research your Options
This is the first step expected of every consumer who is planning to move soon. As soon as you decide you will be moving to a new place, begin your search. They are varieties of options available to you. Some moving company will allow you to book your move as early as 3 months ahead of the move while you can ideally book your movers at least a month in advance in some cases. Asking for recommendations from colleagues, family, and friends is the first line of action. Look up moving companies on the Better Business Bureau site where they are rated on numerous factors such as customers’ complaints and legal action against the moving company if you do not know anyone who recently completed a move.
It is very easy for fake moving companies to design an eye-catching site, hence, Google search may not help again. Yelp also has a lot of customers’ reviews on each moving company, feel free to check it out and pick the one with many success rates. Moving Feedback directory is an excellent section to get reputable and reliable mover.
2. Get Familiar with Moving Terms
Get familiar with the terms being used by moving companies as you begin your search. For example, the receipt for your belongings and contract used by transporters is known as “the bill of lading.” Other terms such as binding and non-binding quotes are some of the terms commonly used by movers. These terms may look or sound like an all-new vocabulary to come to people but you will surely come across many of them.
3. Vet the Moving Companies
Look deeper into each moving companies on the recommendation list you’ve received. The company’s US Department of Transportation DOT number and its Motor Carrier (MC) number, as well as its name, will be needed. Remove any moving company that doesn’t have either number from the list as they do not possess the license required to move property from one state to another.
At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, use each company’s D.O.T. number or M.C. number to search them one by one. Whether the company is a broker, freight forwarder or a carrier, it will be revealed by the result of the search. A broker hires a carrier for you at a price; a carrier is the moving company that you hire directly to move your belongings while a freight forwarder will use more than a carrier to move your belongings while taking responsibility for them. They sometimes escalate a smaller move into a larger one.
4. Insurance and Claim Management
Both the insurance data and most recent safety rating of any company you want to use will be provided for you by the Safety Administration’s website apart from understanding the type of company you are using. The number and type of complaints that have been filed against the moving company in recent years will also be provided for you on the website. Holding belongings hostage, loss and damage, weight disputes and many more are all included in the 14 complaint categories. Excessive complaints on a particular company about delays in delivery and frequent loss and damage claims should be avoided even though it is common for a moving company to have a few complaints.
5. Get In-person Estimates
Remember, this is an interstate move, ensure you contact up to five moving companies for cost estimates. A reputable company will send a representative for an in-home survey. Be prepared to call more places if your move is a local one as it is difficult to get in-home inspection and estimates for such move. Rather than rough estimates issued based on the number of bedrooms, an in-home survey representative will give you a clear idea of the amount your move will cost.
A flyer called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” will be handed to you by a moving company agent once they arrive your current home and they are legally obliged to. To get the most accurate estimates as much as possible, it is left to you to show them each of your belongings you will be moving to your new place. This includes items that are not in the home but outside such as garden equipment, strollers, boxes in off-site storage or basement, bikes and other junks kept under the bed. Items with extraordinary value such as antiques or artwork should be noted as you walk through your home and handled differently and/or insured at a higher rate.
Photo albums, medical files, car keys, and other items that have high personal value are recommended by movers to be personally transported by you. The moving company will reject pantry goods, cleaning supplies, alcohol, plants and other hazardous and perishable items as they will not transport them for you. Request for a detailed list of things they will not transport for you so you can decide on what to do with them.
6. Ask Questions
Ask how the estimate will be calculated as the representative is recording inventory of your possessions. Questions like what they charge for additional relocation services such as packing, moving heavy items like a piano or appliances, moving your items up or down the stairs, base fees, on what basis will the total cost be calculated (whether time, volume or weight) should be asked. Get information on whether the moving company will subcontract your belongings to someone else or they have their movers who will handle the whole moving process, and whether your items and other households will share a moving truck.
Also, get information on your type of movement such as direct (same crew handles the loading and unloading of your items) and indirect (both moving crew handling your belongings and moving trucks may be switched before getting to your new destination). How your belongings can be insured must also be made known by the moving agent. The minimum standard insurance on your belongings is Released Value Protection where if any of your items got lost or damaged, you will be paid around 60 cents per pound or the item’s weight.
Some best moving companies also offer full value protection at a price. Ensure you understand what the movers mean by replacement and note any exclusion while reading the fine print on this insurance policy. They might give you cash, replace with like item or repair the damaged item. Check if your insurance covers you or the homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance separately and compare the insurance cost to the moving company’s coverage.
7. Review your Offers
A written estimate whether binding or non-binding will be given to you immediately after the in-home survey. If issued a binding estimate, determines at the pick-up time that there are more services or belongings than previously estimated, they cannot charge beyond or below the stated amount. They will rather request you to sign before packing your belongings after revising the estimate on-site. A moving company can only charge up to ten per-cents more of the actual estimated price if the weight of your belongings increases after they are loaded into the moving truck. The original weight of the items can only be determined after loading into the truck and stopping at a weight station. While they weigh the belongings, request to be present with them to monitor it.
8. Book your Mover
Although the most important factor when comparing estimates is the price; however, it is advisable to take some time to determine which moving company has a history of better moving service by taking some time to revisit the complaint database. You may not want to hire the cheapest mover when you get to see the list of complaints about them. You can as well go with a partner’s recommendation, your gut or a friend.
An order of service which will contain terms of payment, insurance, delivery dates as well as pick-up and drop-off information from the mover will be issued to you after you have accepted the estimate. Avoid signing any incomplete or blank documents from any mover.
9. Prepare for Moving Day
Contact your moving company to make any adjustments in writing or confirm the details of your move as the pickup date is fast approaching. Everything you will need to live in the new home that will sustain you for about two weeks before the rest of your belongings arrive should be packed up before the date. Plan to supervise both the pickup and drop-off entirely even though it may take a day or more. An inventory list and a bill of lading will be handed over to you on the relocation day, before signing them, read thoroughly and hold onto them to compare during delivery.
What not to do when Hiring Interstate Movers
There are 8 things you should avoid when hiring a mover to move you across state lines. It may all seem obvious to you, but it will save a lot of time and stress later when you take proper inventory of your belongings as they are being unloaded from the moving truck. Below a list of don’ts when hiring interstate movers:
1. Don’t Hire a Company that only takes Cash
Ask your mover on how the moving fees will be paid. Moving companies that only request for cash might also run away with your belongings even though handing over some huge bills may not seem like a big deal. You need to be sure of the legitimacy of the moving company hauling your belongings because those items will be out of sight for a while when moving long distance.
2. Until all your Belongings have been Unloaded, don’t pay for the Move
Do not sign any paperwork if any boxes or item is missing as the move must be completed before you sign the paperwork. It will be much difficult to go to the company to say that something is missing after you had signed that you received all your belongings. Ensure a home inventory is conducted and be ready to count the boxes at least twice as your only shot at making sure all your belongings arrived safely and completely. You get some leverage with the moving company once your belongings are already in your new home and not on the truck even if there is an issue with the paperwork.
3. Don’t Sign Anything that you don’t understand
Long distance move such as interstate move is trickier compared to all other types of move. Ask questions when you need any clarification and ensure you read everything thoroughly. Ask the mover what additional fees mean and how they affect your move if seen on the list. Request to speak to the supervisor or manager if you are in doubt.
4. Do not Leave an Item of High Value with the Mover
Carry with you items that are critical such as your school records, passports, jewelry, accounting records, and other important items. To avoid losing any of your critical items, check out the complete list of items you do not need to pack and remove them from your essential belongings.
5. Make a Claim as Earlier as Possible
It is essential to unpack as quickly as possible after a move. Before fully unpacking, open all the boxes to ensure no damage has been caused to any of your belongings during the move. It is less likely for your claim to be accepted if not done immediately after the move.
6. Don’t Assume that the Movers Provide Enough Insurance
Ask your mover about insurance coverage. Any moving company you hire must offer you the option of purchasing standard insurance coverage according to the new federal rules. Ensure your belongings are properly covered and do not forget to ask if you need to purchase more policy as some are not based on value but weight.
7. Don’t assume your Mover isn’t a Broker
If your mover is a relocation company or broker, request for confirmation up front. Find out who will be moving your belongings if your mover is a broker. Conduct thorough research and investigation of both companies. Company has to tell you whether they are hiring another company to handle the move according to the law.
8. Don’t let the Mover Manage the Inventory List
When the moving company picks up your belongings and delivered them at your new home, ensure that you have someone both at the old home and new home. Proper inventory should be made of all your belongings that go on and off the moving truck.
How did we choose our Interstate Moving Companies?
We have handpicked some top interstate movers based on a number of factors. These factors are weighed before we decide on our top ten moving companies and they are categorized into three as follows:
- Firstly, we assume that older moving companies have a proven business model by considering the founding date and their dominance overtimes.
- Secondly, we rule out companies that are not registered and accredited by examining customer ratings on the Better Business Bureau.
- Thirdly, a raw and curved percentage was created for each moving company to help you compare them.
Understanding Estimates and Choosing the Right Interstate Moving company
It is not a bad idea if we discuss the estimate before diving into our favorite interstate moving company since moving cannot go without cost implication. Factors including the number of belongings estimated weight, and square footage of your home; the distance of your move, the actual weight and more help the company to determine moving cost using a customized estimate system. Getting multiple quotes from different movers helps to choose right.
These estimates will come in two forms:
- A binding estimate: Provided your situation does not change between estimate and move; this legal document binds both you and the company that issues it to a set price.
- A non-binding estimate: This option allows the moving company to legally increase the cost up to but not exceeding 10 percent but also gets you closer to the final price. Before you sign this document, ensure you ask the mover about extra and hidden charges so that you don’t get surprised on the move.
Asking questions whether a moving company estimate is enough or four is too many. We can conclude that before you make your final decision on which mover to hire, get quotes from at least four moving companies just like any other professional service.
Top 10 Interstate Moving Companies
Deciding on a particular mover for your move can be frustrating if you are moving long distance. If you put in your information for an estimate, you will not only get at least five calls a day from sales representatives of different moving companies, but you will also worry on comparing vague details and prices. We have compiled information on the top ten moving services that will get you and your belongings to your destination across the state lines. Below are picks:
1. Atlas Van Lines
Formed by neutral storage firms in 1948, Atlas Van Lines is an American transport company. This company has its presence in about 140 countries with over 500 agents worldwide. Atlas world group holds some shares of this company and also controls its operation. Atlas van lines based in Evansville in Indiana. This company hold the current position as the 11th largest privately owned company in the state and is as well the second largest interstate transport company in the United States of America. Atlas van lines are widely known for always putting customers’ satisfaction first with its efficient service.
2. Wheaton Worldwide Moving
This company located in Indianapolis, Indiana has about 250 authorized agents and is a reliable and reputable moving and storage company. The company first came into limelight in 1973 when it holds and complete some interstate commerce commission move for some star authorities. Wheaton eventually became a corporate sponsor for a non-profit organization for children suffering from life-threatening diseases known as Give kids the world after it has been named in the United States of America as one of the top 101 service companies. Alongside meals and attraction ticket, the company adds great values to this organization by providing reliable interstate moving service.
3. Allied Van Lines
With 85 years of moving experience, it is one of the largest moving networks in the moving industry. Whether you relocating to nearby states or long distance, Allied is very first best to handle your move. As a full-service moving company, it takes care of every moving service including packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, and other services as required. All these services come at affordable costs.
4. Two Men and a Truck
Mister Rogers always comes to mind whenever Two Men and a Truck pops up due its similar approach to interstate moves. Relocation can turn to a source of bad luck and poor customer service easily if care is not taken. So when you are willing to move with Two Men and a Truck, get ready to be treated gently and satisfactorily just like the way you would treat your grandma. This implies that this moving company have a great customer service together with the perfect delivery option, and thus; makes them one of our favorite moving companies.
5. Pricing Van Lines
By being just the best option for you and your business, this company is among the best in the United States that put in a lot of work in both local and interstate moves. The company is a leading company in the USA and is distinguished from the rest by many of their quality service deliveries. The company prides itself to proffer solutions to customers’ commercial and residential needs. Pricing Van Lines helps its customers in both short distance and interstate relocation services. The company doesn’t discriminate the size of a moving job – they handle it the same way and commitment.
6. Stevens Worldwide
Letting their reputation speak for itself is the unique attribute of this company. The company has earned its place as one of the best relocation companies in the country with more than 110 years in the moving business, and about 15,000 households moved every year. Their well-trained team of expert offers various types of relocation services that ensure the safety of your belongings during both transportation and delivery, as the company set out to meet your family’s household relocation needs and budget. The team at Stevens are focused on helping you and your family complete a stress-free relocation either a cross country move or interstate moves, packing and other related services.
7. Arpin Van Lines
The company is the only United States based family owned and operated moving and Storage Company that has remained successful in the business for more than a century having over 100 years of experience and a reputation of providing quality moving service to clients. “Creating Customers for Life” has always been the core philosophy at Arpin Van Lines; thus, making them a customer focused company.
When it comes to interstate move, Bekins cannot be overlooked considering their mode of delivering this service. If you want to move across the state lines with ease and on a budget, Bekins is the answer. The company simplifies every aspect of your move by tailoring your needs to their service.
9. North American Van Lines
North American handle interstate moves without making its clients feel the stress of relocation. With its more than 500 agents in North America alone, this company is one of the interstate movers that stood the test of time. North American Van Lines has more than enough moving truck and manpower to handle multiple interstate moves at the same time. If you are looking for a reliable mover, the company is second to none.
Mayflower is known for offering a wide range of moving services including interstate, local, long distance, and cross country moves. With the company’s 92 years of moving experience, Mayflower has completed a number of interstate moves for both residential and commercial clients. The company has over 300 agents across the country to deliver the same quality services.
How much does Interstate Move Cost?
Hiring a professional interstate mover that provides efficient and cost-effective service should be the focus of every consumer while moving from one state to another. You will not necessarily need to pass through the stress of packing up your items while trying to move to a new home if you hire a good and reliable interstate moving company, as it provides everything needed to make an interstate move an easy and stress-free one for their clients. Bear in mind that moving can really be a frustrating and stressful task. Getting an effective interstate company is non-negotiable but comes with a price.
You will come to agree that hiring a professional moving company is worth the money when you come to see the services that are being offered by most of them. You will not only save your money, but it also saves you time and stress. Considering the actual cost of an interstate move, typically, the number of belongings you are moving, together with the location you are moving to is the first thing to be considered when calculating your moving cost.
Based on the weight of 7400 pounds and a calculated distance of 1225 miles with other different relocation services needed, the American Moving and Storage Association stated that the average cost of professional interstate mover is estimated around $4,300. The local movement is actually cheaper than interstate or long distance move. Interstate mover charges you according to the weight of your belongings when traveling through state lines while local relocation charges you per hour.
How Moving Cost is Actually Determined?
The following factors as mentioned earlier determine the cost of an interstate move:
- The weight of your belongings: The weight determines the amount to be paid, so if you are moving a lot of items, be prepared to pay more.
- The distance between your current and destination home: This is a move that requires moving from one state to another; hence, you will definitely cover more distance than those moving within the same state.
- Labor and moving services: Another contributory factor to the cost of an interstate relocation is the labor cost from state to state and as well as additional services including packing, loading, etc.
To make your relocation a success, it will be helpful to put the factors as mentioned above into consideration when planning your relocation cost.
Cutting Cost during your Interstate Move
Due to some factors involving distance and weight involved in the move, interstate relocation can really be costly. Traveling a whole day or even days or covering a long distance is not necessarily needed in a local move and this makes it cheaper. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, about $4,300 is the average cost for an interstate move, but it may vary in some situation. Not all American citizens who need a moving company to relocate can really afford the cost.
Here are some tips on ways to reduce your interstate moving cost:
1. Pack yourself
Though you may hire a moving company for your move, it will not save you money when you hire a moving company to pack your belongings even though it will save you time and stress. You can use the remaining money to transport your belongings to the new destination. It is advisable to begin making plans to pack your stuff by yourself. The difference between packing rates differs from one moving company to other even though it is small, it will surely save few hundred dollars. Enlist the help of friends and family during packing to save you money.
2. Enroll with AAA
Special moving and storage discount may be given to those with AAA membership based on eligibility. Members of AAA that are contemplating relocating from one state to another receive good and full value protection from Atlas Van Lines for instance.
3. Reduce your Belongings
Your interstate move will be more costly if you are moving a lot of items. Reducing your household possessions by donating some and selling some, and use the money to replace them at your new home is the best advice to help you cut the moving cost.
4. Selecting the Right Move Date
The cost of your interstate move can be greatly affected by your choice moving date. It is advisable to go for a mid-week, mid-month move based on our research. So, it is highly recommended to miss a day work during the week to save some bucks. This is because a lot of movers will be available during this period and demand is low. A lot of people will also be waiting on the weekends to move to their new home; hence, opting for a weekend move could elongate the whole moving process. Movement is made more expensive during Labor Day and other public holidays; so avoid moving on such days.
We would love to hear feedback from you on how your move went regardless of which interstate moving company you chose from the list above. If you think a mover deserves a commendation after your move, review them here on Moving Feedback to help others. Have moved across the state lines before? Share your moving experience with our readers in the comment section below!