Moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco is considered a long-distance move, but certainly, it’s more affordable than moving cross country. If you are looking for a moving company to help with your relocation, you can find movers and packers in various price ranges to assist you with your transition.

How do I find the best mover for a reasonable cost going from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

Moving services within the State of California are regulated by the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services, which has rules to protect consumers from fraud, overpricing, and other dishonest practices. Before you engage any express moving company, check the BHGS website to ensure that the mover has an up-to-date license. Also, look for positive or negative reviews at the Better Business Bureau. The BBB collects ratings and complaints about companies in all industries.

It’s important to obtain several estimates when you are planning a move. The movers will come to your house or apartment and walk through with you, looking at everything you want to ship, including the furniture, clothing, dishes, garage contents, and other storage. That visual survey determines how much the shipment weighs and how much the move should cost. Other factors that influence the price include things that add to the labor. For example, if you have stairs or an elevator, the mover will add a charge. If the truck isn’t able to park within a certain distance of the door, you will pay a “long-carry” fee. The mover will provide you with their tariff, which outlines all potential rate enhancements, along with their written quote. In California, movers must provide estimates that have a “not-to-exceed” price. This rule is great for consumers because it gives you the assurance that you won’t be facing an unexpected demand for more money when your shipment arrives at your new home. The mover can’t charge more than the agreed-on price unless you both sign a change order.

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Also, be aware that in California, verbal estimates are not allowed. It may sound obvious, but it’s never a good idea to sign a blank document—if a moving company asks you to sign an estimate that isn’t filled in, you don’t know what you are agreeing to. The company can put in any number, and you are obligated to pay it. Most movers are reputable and won’t try to scam you, so remember to check their license status and complaint history. A moving company is also required to supply you with a copy of a publication titled Important Information for Persons Moving Household Goods (within California), which you can also find on the BHGS website. This document contains useful information about the regulations that moving companies are bound by in California.

How much will it cost to move from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

The cost of the move will depend on how much stuff you are moving, and what services you need in addition to the transportation of the shipment. Aside from the stair and elevator charges already mentioned, one of the standard charges is for heavy items. If you have a pool table, hot tub, or even a large armoire, hutch, or desk, you may find that the movers add a charge for moving a large, bulky item. Adding a packing service will add to the cost of the move as well. Some people prefer to pack for themselves, as it gives you the chance to sort through your closets and storage and discard or donate the things you don’t need. It’s a great time to declutter and eliminate moving items that are no longer needed. But keep in mind that when you do the packing, the movers are not responsible for damage to the packed items unless the carton is damaged as well. As a result, you may want to consider having the professionals do some packing work, at least for fragile items.

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Speaking of damage, what about insurance?

Insurance, correctly referred to as valuation or liability, is a widely misunderstood topic in the relocation industry. The carrier’s charge for your move includes protection against loss or damage of up to 60 cents per pound per item. That limit won’t go very far if anything you are moving is lost or broken, so movers offer two high levels of coverage in California, but if you want the added protection, you have to pay for it. Actual Cash Value is the first choice, which covers the current value of an item, determined by its price when it was new, how old it is, what value you declared for it, and what condition it was in when it was packed. Full Value protection is a higher coverage level, which offers replacement coverage of any item that is destroyed or lost. This coverage will come at a higher cost. It is up to you to declare your shipment’s value and itemize any items of extraordinary value (defined as over $100 per pound.) The mover will state the cost for both the Actual Cash Value and Full Value coverage options and any applicable deductibles.

Some actions on your part may limit the carrier’s liability, even if you purchase the additional insurance. An example is the packing mentioned above, so think about having the mover pack precious items or be vigilant if you pack them independently. If you pack anything on the list of items that are not allowed in moving trucks (like flammable, hazardous, or explosive articles) and one of those things causes damage, the mover will not be liable for the damage caused.

When the delivery arrives at the destination, examine the receipt that your mover wants you to sign. Don’t sign a document that says your shipment is intact and undamaged. You can strike that language out and initial where you edited and then sign the receipt. You can’t be sure the contents are in good condition until you look at each one. It’s a good idea to review the delivery contents as promptly as possible, but you do have nine months following the delivery to file a claim.

If you need to file a claim, you must first pay the freight bill. Typically, you will pay the invoice upon delivery, but the company will ask you to pay them first if there are outstanding charges. If you don’t, the moving company may not consider the loss or damage claim. Your claim should be specific and supported by as much detail as possible. If you have a photo or video evidence of the item’s condition before the movers loaded it, this will be helpful. If you have receipts showing what you paid for something, that is good support for your claim. If the damaged article is in a box that you packed, keep the box and the packing to demonstrate that you did the work correctly, and show how the box was damaged. Your claim should specify the amount of reimbursement you are asking for each lost or damaged item. Remember to keep copies of all correspondence with the carrier. Hopefully, they can resolve your claim quickly and satisfactorily.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at

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