The Different Types Of Moving Companies

There are different types of movers you can use based on your needs and budget. Let’s dive in to the different types of moving companies and which one you should choose.

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

Moving is an exciting time for most people. It is a time to welcome new changes and a new chapter in their lives. This could be a new chapter of starting a business, starting a new job, starting a family, moving to college, etc.

But beyond the excitement, there is some amount of stress and confusion that comes with moving. Some of it has to do with finding the right mover and some have to do with preparing for the move. There are different types of moves for different occasions. Long-distance moves, for example, need work and a lot of people have not undertaken them before.

Do you know what the different types of moving companies are and which one is right for your move?

Depending on if you want to DIY the move, or hire professional movers, there are different options you can choose from.

How should I choose the right type of mover?

There are hundreds of moving companies in the USA. So narrowing down the ones that best fit your needs requires a little bit of shrewdness. Here is how you do it:

  • Determine what type of moving service you want. Is it full-service, rent a truck, rent a moving container, specialized move, or other?
  • Look for movers that can offer you the move you want (above) and are located in your city. A mover located three states away will do you no good.
  • Check that the mover can transport your furniture to the final destination of your choice.
  • Look at their customer reviews and ratings online. Do they have a good reputation?
  • Engage them about your needs. Gauge their level of concern, attentiveness, and customer service.
  • Ask about licensing and insurance.
  • Shortlist 3 to 5 companies and ask for quotes.
  • Make a decision based on all the above factors.

What is the most affordable way to move?

How much moving companies charge really depends on how much stuff you have, how far you are moving, and the date of your move. A lot of times, professional moving companies will give you a cost estimate based don’t the cubic feet of the home you’re moving, the total weight of your boxes, or depending on how many boxes you have. The only way to get an idea of how much your move will cost is to reach out to the  company you want to work with and ask for a moving estimate and ask them about their pricing model. 

The rule of thumb is that the more you do on a move the less you get to pay.

So a DIY move where you do everything is the cheapest. With such a self-service move you rent a truck, pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack by yourself. But such a move is not practical, nor possible, for many Americans.

The next most affordable way to move is where you have a moving company handling the hauling part of the process only. That is, you pack, load, unload, and unpack by yourself. The mover only drives to your residence and then hauls your furniture to your new home.

Moving containers are also becoming quite an affordable moving option.

What are the different types of moving companies?

Not all movers do the same thing. Sure, they all transport home or office furniture from point A to point B. However, different professional movers handle different niches of the market.

The different types of moving companies are:

Local moving companies 

Local movers, also called intrastate moving companies help people move short distances. As the name suggests, they handle localized moves within a state, usually within a given city or town. A good example is metro movers that only handle moves within a given metropolitan area.

In industry terms, local movers are those that handle relocations that cover less than 100 miles. Local moves are not complicated to hire for since there are usually plenty of local moving companies to choose from in your area. Their rates are also lower compared to other movers. They charge by the hour and the going rate will depend on the town or city you’re in.

Long distance moving companies 

Long-distance movers, also called Interstate moving companies or cross country movers, handle moves that traverse state borders. Their moves can be described as city to city, state to state, region to region, or coast to coast.

Interstate movers charge depending on the volume of goods that you need to be transported. Additional moving costs such as packing or unpacking may apply. These moves can take days or even weeks to complete depending on the distance being covered.

Interstate moving companies have to abide by various strict federal regulations. And due to the complications that such moves entail, you must select your interstate mover carefully. Make sure they are experienced in such moves, are well insured, and have a good reputation.

International moving companies

If you are looking to relocate from the USA to another country then these are the type of movers you need. International movers handle relocations by air, sea, rail, road, or a combination of these modes. Air transport is the most expensive, followed by road, then rail, then sea.

International moving companies are heavily regulated due to the risks and protocols that international relocations must abide by. But luckily, most international moving companies are well versed in all these formalities.

Moving brokers 

Moving brokers are a bit different from other moving companies. This is because they do not carry out moves themselves. They do not employ movers and nor do they own fleets of moving trucks. Moving brokers sell your move to actual movers that own trucks and other freight transportation equipment.

Moving brokers are intermediaries between the client and freight companies or movers. They bridge the gap by bringing the two together.

While some moving clients might think brokers are not good or unnecessary, they actually do help. Thanks to their large network of movers, they help link clients with special moving needs, urgent moving needs, or complicated moves. Most moving brokers deal with freight and they are often paid a negotiated commission of the whole transaction.

Full-service movers 

These are movers that handle every aspect of the move for you. They will pack, load, transport, unpack, and even install or arrange your furniture for you. Some full-service moving companies even go the extra mile and offer post-moving cleaning services, pet moving, and even car transportation.

Full-service movers give you the utmost convenience when it comes to moves. You just have to show up at your new address and let them handle everything else. But all this comes at a cost. A full-service move can cost you several thousand dollars extra depending on the various packages you sign up for.

Other types of moving services:

The moving industry has evolved over the last few decades. Today you have the choice of selecting what aspects of a move you want to handle by yourself, and which ones you need professional help with. And that is where these different types of moving services come in:

Packing services

Don’t need any help hauling your furniture or loading and unloading it? No problem. All you need is packing services to fill in the blank and you are good to go. With packing services, you get charged per hour. And the average prevailing rate is around $75/hour. 

The way it works is that the packers come the day before moving day and prepare your furniture for moving. Be sure to discuss if the packing rate includes the packing materials. Also agree on who should bring the packing supplies to avoid last-minute inconvenience.

Truck Rental

If you are confident that you can haul your furniture but all you need is a truck then this is your type of moving service. This is as DIY as it gets and it’s also one of the cheapest ways to move. But remember that transporting your household goods is a big job with many risks, especially if it’s a long-distance move.

Rental trucks are hired per hour or per day. Check that they are fully insured and serviced beforehand.

Moving containers 

With this moving service, the company in question delivers a secure container or pod to your address on an agreed date. You then get to pack and load the provided container at your own pace and with privacy. When ready, call the company to come to collect and transport the container to the agreed location. A lot of people use these pods as storage containers while they are preparing for their move, or during the moving process. 

Moving containers are an affordable way to move. It’s secure, convenient, and safe. It’s also perfect if you need to buy time before relocating or before moving into the new home. A lot of local and interstate moving companies also offer storage services for an additional fee. 

Freight companies 

These companies will transport your freight (bulk goods) via air, sea, rail, or road. The bulk goods can be transported in crates, containers, or pallets. The freight companies will either collect the goods from a specified location or provide a drop-off point.

Freight companies will rarely offer packing or loading services. You may need to engage another company for that. In most cases, freight companies are ideal for long-distance moves and international moves.  


And now you know the different types of movers there are out there. Are there any that you had no idea about? Hopefully this quick run-down brings some clarity to your search for a moving company.

Are moving companies reliable?

The truth is that there is no outright answer to this question. For the most part, moving companies are reliable. This is something that needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If you do your research into movers or ask around, you will realize that there are reliable movers in the industry and there are some not-so-reliable ones. And this is not unique to the moving industry. It is the case in any industry you delve into, be it the food industry, retail industry, and so forth.

Obviously, you want to find a reliable moving company that will provide you with a smooth, stress-free move to your new location and gives you great value for your money. The trick is to carry out your due diligence when looking for one. Always make sure the company you’re working with has a registered USDOT number, is registered with The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  and is a certified household goods mover.

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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