How to Find Last-Minute Movers

if you have to move last minute, it’s still not too late to hire a moving company last minute. Here’s what you need to know about hiring last-minute movers.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  6 min

The ideal move is one that’s budgeted smartly, planned early, and executed swiftly. Unfortunately, life has a way of throwing curveballs when we need it least. 

But sometimes, things happen on short notice, and that might mean relocation to a new home for you.

Whether you got a sudden job in another city or your rent spiked out of nowhere, the last-minute move is a fact of life. The good news: it’s more than possible to find last-minute moving services that are reputable and efficient. The bad news: many bad-faith actors in the moving industry are eager to take advantage of time-strapped, desperate customers. 

We’re going to break down the logistics of the stress-free last-minute move and how you can avoid common pitfalls on your way to a new location. 

Can You Book Movers Last Minute?

Moving companies are more aware than anyone of the benefits of an efficient last-minute move. That doesn’t mean all of them to offer this service. 

In fact, most moving companies require a minimum amount of time to prepare (usually a six-week minimum), while a few regularly handle last-minute moves. Due to the lack of time, you may still have to pack yourself or rent a moving truck. 

Common reasons why people today book last-minute movers include:

  • Hiring an unverified moving company that scammed or ghosted them
  • Getting a new job or promotion that requires a relocation
  • Getting accepted to a new school that requires a relocation
  • Going through a breakup or a divorce
  • Major rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Facing a natural disaster

Carefully review the website of your preferred moving company for details such as:

  • USDOT and/or MC number 
  • Insurance policy
  • Valuation coverage
  • Free estimate
  • Storage services

How Far Ahead Should I Plan My Move?

Ideally, a move should be planned as soon as possible. The sheer volume of details required to complete a successful move means just one mistake can set you back. 

If you find yourself needing to move in a year, for example, you should have at least four to five months to plan ahead. At the very least, have one month to gather up all the essential details. All successful intrastate and long-distance moves need: 

  • A free moving quote
  • Time to review a moving contract (try not to rush this part, even with your tight schedule)
  • Time to clean, pack, and label belongings
  • Time to call friends, family, or acquaintances for help
  • Plans for food, lodging, and fuel 

How Fast Can I Get Long Distance Movers?

This depends on whether or not you’ve done some of the work yourself, and how much you want to spend on the move. Same day moves still require packing, moving, and labeling your belongings, as well as exchanging money. 

If you can do most of the packing and cleaning yourself, contacting same-day movers is more than possible. There are useful apps today, such as GoShare, that can help connect you with professionals in the moving industry. This is particularly helpful if you don’t need the more elaborate services of a long-distance moving company.

If you do need more help with your emergency move, make sure to double-check whether or not your moving company offers these services. You may end up needing to hire emergency movers to handle extremely last-minute relocations. 

Full-Service Moving

This is the full package: they move your items and provide the ability to pack and label your belongings. 

The full-service moving service takes longer, however, and is more expensive than a basic move. This is an ideal choice if you have a large house, multiple-bedroom apartments, or complex equipment that needs a professional touch. You can likely skip this part if you live in a small apartment or don’t have many belongings. 

Storage Services

Do you have extra furniture or exercise equipment you won’t be able to unpack immediately? Ask your moving company if they also offer storage services. 

This will cost a little extra for most moving companies, but it gives you some wiggle room when unpacking in your new location. Proud American Van Lines and Safeway Moving Services are some of the exceptions, offering one month of free storage for all interstate moves. 

Furniture Moving

Not all furniture is created equal. Avoid surprise fees and ask your moving company upfront if they have any furniture they don’t move. 

If you need help breaking down furniture and packing it up, make sure to mention it when requesting your estimate. Professional movers should inspect your apartment or house in person so they can be as accurate as possible. A moving company that provides an estimate over the phone is a red flag that could lead to low ball pricing.

How Can I Find Last Minute Movers Near Me?

Finding last-minute movers takes a little doing, but once you know what to look for, you’ll have no trouble. 

Yelp is one of the best ways to vet your local movers to see if any of them are last-minute movers. Make sure to double-check for verified, recent reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask questions (people are usually all too happy to help!). 

The BBB (short for Better Business Bureau) is another useful way to verify the professionalism of a business. They’re a private, nonprofit organization that analyzes businesses and charities for transparency purposes. They keep track of everything from legal business names to recent customer reviews. 

TripAdvisor is another helpful resource you can use to cross-reference your local moving company.

What is the Cheapest Way To Hire Movers?

If you’re tight on money as well as time, consider whittling down your costs by asking for basic moving services. This means doing most or all of the packing, cleaning, and labeling by yourself. 

Doing this ensures the rest of the work — transporting, loading, and unloading — will be left to the moving service. While professional packers are a very useful service if you don’t have the time, they can cost between $100 to $10,000 depending on the size of your move. They can charge by a flat fee rate or by the hour, though they can also shift prices depending on the season.

Use your discretion to determine if this is the right option for you. A cheap move can be better in the short term, but it can also be much more stressful. 

How Much Notice do I Need to Give Movers?

How last minute is your move? The more time you can give movers, the better: they still have an entire process to get through before they can help out. 

If your move date is the same day, it’s still possible to reach out to movers and get assistance. You’ll only have a handful of hours to compare estimates, review contracts, and verify each business. Don’t be surprised if moving companies turn you down, as many tend to be wary of same-day moves due to the lack of preparation. 

How Much Will Movers do Last Minute?

This part can’t be overstated: all moving businesses have their exceptions and additional fees. 

There is no one-size-fits-all on this part, so call your preferred moving company and ask for their exceptions. It helps to know that more complex equipment that might involve an extra fee include:

  • Breaking down and transporting exercise equipment
  • Transporting alcohol and wine

What are Hidden Fees I Should Know About?

Nothing makes a last-minute worse than a hidden fee that throws your budget out of balance. While some hidden fees are due to neglect on behalf of the customer, others can be red flags that the business you’ve hired isn’t legitimate. 

Common hidden fees that emerge from a lack of research include:

  • Not checking the valuation policy on your belongings
  • Non-binding estimates that change after the initial assessment

Hidden fees that are often a red flag include:

  • Down deposits for moving services
  • Odd fees (such as charging for the story your apartment is built on)
  • Constantly changing estimates

What Red Flags For Last Minute Moving Should I Know About?

When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to fall prey to surprisingly good news. Lackluster moving services are all too happy to take advantage of this, so be careful. 

It’s difficult to get an in-home estimate at the very last second, but if you can? Do so. Over-the-phone estimates are notoriously inaccurate and increase your chances of a low ball estimate, which can surprise you with hidden fees down the line. 

Even with a last-minute move, your moving company should still provide you with a contract and ask questions about your belongings or moving insurance. Attempting to rush this process is a red flag, and there’s no shame in seeking out a different service if you don’t feel right.

Learning how to find last-minute movers sounds like nothing but stress. This can be the easiest part of your transition when you’re aware of what to look for. 

Any moving company you choose should, at the very least, be verified by the FMCSA with a USDOT number and/or MC number. They should also have a transparent website that details their services, insurance, and valuation policy. Make sure to read your contract thoroughly and request an estimate, so you aren’t whiplashed by surprise costs.

While moving rates have slowed down a little, around 30 million Americans still pack their bags for greener pastures every year. Learning how to find last-minute movers is one of the best skills you can have nowadays. 

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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