San Francisco Movers And Packers

SF Moving And Packing Companies

packing a box

Are you looking for a moving company in San Francisco for your cross-country move? Whether you are about to embark on an interstate relocation or a local move, finding the right company to support you is essential.

How do I find movers and packers in San Francisco?

First, determine what services you are going to need. If you are unfamiliar with moving jargon, knowing some of the key terms will help you interact with the vendors.

  • Binding Estimate: A binding estimate is a price quote that will not change. It is based on the physical survey of household items, converted into the anticipated weight, plus accessorial service costs.  Moving companies are permitted to charge a fee for the preparation of a binding estimate. The company must deliver your shipment if you pay 100% of the amount of a binding estimate plus the cost of impracticable operations in an amount not greater than 15% of the total bill.
  • Bulky Article Charge: Moving companies can assess extra charges for large items, including pool tables, pianos, hot tubs, and exercise equipment.
  • Carrier: Moving company or freight hauler.
  • Crating: Building of wooden boxes to protect fragile items during transport. Frequently, crating is necessary for artwork.
  • Inventory (sometimes called Cube Sheet or Table of Measurements). A list of goods to be moved. This list is the basis for the weight estimate. The mover should base the inventory on a physical survey of the household items designated to move. That visual survey is required by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves and by the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services for moves taking place within the State of California.
  • Flight Charge: An additional charge for a mover to carry items up or down flights of stairs.
  • Full-Service Moving: When a moving company performs the entire moving process from start to finish for the customer. This service includes providing materials, packing, loading, transporting, unloading, unpacking, and clean-up. It may also include rubbish disposal, furniture arranging, and storage.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is an agency within the Department of Transportation regulating moving companies.
  • High-Value Articles: Household items that have a value of more than $100 per pound. You must specifically note these for proper insurance coverage.
  • Household goods: Contents of a residence, items to be moved.
  • Impracticable Operations: Conditions that prohibit a moving company from completing loading or delivery with their standard equipment or that require additional labor. The moving company will delineate these terms in their tariff and may add applicable charges to the final invoice.
  • Long Carry Charge: An extra fee applied when a mover carries goods a long distance from a residence to the moving truck or vice versa. The applicable length and the charge are identified on the tariff.
  • Non-Binding Estimate: A non-binding estimate of the moving cost based on the estimated weight of household items and any requested accessorial services. The final bill is determined by the correct weight and any added services. A visual inspection of the household goods is the basis for the estimate. The mover must deliver the shipment if the customer pays a maximum of 110% of the non-binding estimate and any charges for impracticable operations (subject to the 15% limit of the total invoice.)
  • PBO: Packed By Owner. Designates when a customer packs goods, which can affect liability.
  • Peak Season Rates: Quotes for moves during high demand times for moving companies, usually during the summer.
  • Quote: The price of services offered to a moving customer.
  • Storage-In-Transit (SIT): Temporary storage of your shipment before delivery for a variety of reasons. It can result in additional charges.
  • Survey: Visual inspection of items to be moved. The basis of the inventory and estimate. FMCSA requires the survey to be in person in most circumstances.
  • Tariff: List of all fees and rules a moving company observes. It will include all accessorial services and restrictions on what the company will transport.
  • Valuation: A valuation is the declared value of a customer’s belongings.  This amount limits the liability of the moving company. The estimate provided by the moving company will offer the consumer a choice between valuation levels.

How much does it cost to hire a mover?

The best way to answer that question is to obtain several estimates. The average cost for a long-distance move of a three-bedroom house full of goods is $4,300, but average means that half are more, and half are less, and that rate covers a distance of 1,250 miles. That price is for an essential move, not full service. If you have bulky furniture or need additional assistance, or even if you just have a lot of stuff to move, your rate will likely be higher. Small moves, from one apartment to another, will be less costly than the more complex state to state moves. Some of the choices you make can make a move more affordable if that is the goal.

Should I do the packing myself?

Packing is an excellent way to save money when moving. If you have the time to sort through what you are moving, you can cut down the cost in two ways: first, by reducing the amount of weight in the shipment, and second by paying less in labor costs.  Here’s a pro tip: clothing and linens are cheap packing protection for your dishes and other breakable items; use t-shirts and socks to protect fragile items, and you can save money on bubble wrap and packing paper. Newspaper works well also, so start keeping it in advance. If you engage the movers to pack for you, they won’t dispose of or donate anything; they will pack everything. One thing to keep in mind is that they are professionals. They can get the job done quickly, and they know how to protect your valuable items from damage. Also, movers may not accept liability for something damaged in a carton that you packed, unless they damaged the box. If you are doing the packing, ask your mover if you can borrow some of the wardrobe boxes that make moving the closet contents easier.

Do I need to pay extra for insurance?

It is a good idea to consider the valuation options carefully when moving in San Francisco. The mover’s basic coverage does not provide a substantial level of reimbursement if anything in your shipment is lost or damaged. $0.60 per pound that the Released value option provides is not multiplied by the weight of the entire load; it is limited to the weight of each individual item or carton. That means that your 20-pound flat-screen television is valued at $12.00, which is certainly not enough to replace it. Even a nice suit, which may only weigh a couple of pounds, is worth far more than the reimbursement you will get if it is lost or destroyed. The cost of the Full Value coverage may seem like an unnecessary expense unless it turns out that you need it. No matter which level of coverage you choose, verify that you understand the limits, deductibles, and exclusions. Any item of “extraordinary value,” which is defined as over $100 per pound, must be identified separately on the inventory.

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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