Finding a local moving company at the last minute in the D.C. area is stressful, but probably more because of whatever has made you need a same-day mover. You won’t have as much trouble finding a good mover as you might think, so follow these helpful tips and take a deep breath. D.C. has hundreds of moving companies, and you can find a great one to help you with your move today.

How do I find a same day moving company in D.C.?

The reason for the last-minute requirement may or may not matter, but it probably influences the size of the move you are planning at the last minute. Perhaps you just need a few boxes moved or one couch that you are donating to your nephew. On the other hand, maybe you are “that guy” who has known for a month that you had to move today but simply hasn’t gotten around to scheduling a moving company. Or you did schedule a moving company, but they didn’t show up. There are plenty of reasons why you might be in this predicament.

Still, you need a mover, a good one, right now. Your first instinct is to do an internet search, and that gives you a lot of names but nothing to help you sort out the good from the bad. Here are a few ideas to help you narrow it down.

Look for a mover that is licensed

Moving companies that conduct interstate moves (pretty much all moving companies in the D.C. area are going to go across a state line in the course of business) need to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. FMCSA is part of the Department of Transportation, and it regulates all interstate commerce. FMCSA watches out for consumers and tries to help protect you against moving company and moving broker fraud. You can look on the FMCSA website to make sure the company you are considering is appropriately registered and check its safety record and claim history.

Check with the Better Business Bureau

Like FMCSA, the BBB is concerned about the increasing levels of fraud in the moving industry. BBB collects reviews from consumers about their experiences with moving companies (and other organizations) to help the public avoid common scams.

Get a written estimate

Even though you are rushed, don’t commit to a moving company until they come to your house or apartment and look at your belongings. That is the only way they can tell you with certainty how much work it is going to take and how much it will cost. A verbal description over the phone or a list sent online isn’t adequate unless the move is minimal and straightforward.

If the move is small, look for a company that has a lower minimum

Local movers usually bill by an hourly rate. For example, moving the contents of a two-bedroom apartment might be estimated at 4 hours at a rate of $100 an hour. That’s fine and entirely fair. But if you are moving a bed, desk, chair, and ten boxes from one studio apartment to another, and the mover has a four-hour minimum; you are going to pay too much.

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What if I need to move one or two items?

If your same day move is minimal, you probably want to look for a specialty mover. Perhaps you are moving something large that requires specific handling or special attention. You may want to consider calling a local retailer or repair shop that handles that sort of item (pianos, for example, or pool tables) to ask for referrals to specialty moving companies. If your small move is for everyday items, you may pay more because of a minimum, as mentioned. Look for a company that is eager for the opportunity, and perhaps it will negotiate. Don’t lower your standards and choose an unlicensed mover. You don’t want to take the chance that something will do wrong if you select an unprofessional business for your work. You could end up with unintended liability.

Can I get a company to move today if I haven’t packed?

The answer to this question depends on how big the move is and some luck in mover availability. It’s possible that you may find a good company with flexibility in their schedule and can provide the labor to do a packing service and load your shipment on the same day. Movers are skilled at packing since they have much more practice. The good news is they can get through it more quickly than we can, and they can prepare boxes very securely, so what gets packed is well-protected. Perhaps you can get some friends to help out and all work together to pack some things yourself while the movers get started with the loading. If you didn’t plan ahead for moving supplies, you could use linens and clothing items to pack dishes and to place between picture frames and other fragile items as you put them into boxes. One advantage of contracting with movers for the packing is they know which things can’t go in the moving truck. If you have any of the prohibited items, you will need to dispose of them or arrange for someone to take care of that for you. The list of excluded materials includes flammables like lighter fluid and kerosene, gasoline and charcoal, propane tanks, aerosols, and paint. Also, hazardous materials, including bleach, ammonia, pesticides, and even nail polish, are not allowed.

Will a same day move cost more?

Move pricing depends on demand more than how far in advance you schedule the work. It’s possible that if you are looking for a mover to add your job to an already busy day during high season, you might pay extra. Peak demand for moving services runs from April through September. If you are looking for a mover during that time, you may have difficulty scheduling one on short notice, and you might have to pay more. But if you are looking for a mover during the off-season, you may be fortunate and find a good company with time available, happy to have the work to keep the staff busy.

Local moves (usually under 100 miles) are typically priced by the amount of time the company thinks it will take to complete the job. The mover will come to your residence and look at what is being moved, ask questions, and provide you with a written estimate of the cost of the work. This estimate might be binding or nonbinding. A binding estimate is a firm price that won’t increase even if it takes longer than forecast. A nonbinding estimate is not guaranteed, and if the work takes more time, the price will be higher. If you have time to get more than one estimate, you should. It is always best to compare prices and to have more than one option from which to choose. A mover that knows you are in a hurry might be taking advantage of you by not giving you a competitive price.

Similarly, movers price long-distance moves according to the weight of the shipment and the distance to travel. You are less likely to plan a long-distance move than a local one on the same day, but it is possible. These estimates can also be either binding or nonbinding, and you must understand which one you are getting.

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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