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If you are looking for a moving company to assist you with your home relocation from one part of town to another, you may be wondering about the best way to go about it. The good news is that you don’t have to send your important personal belongings off on a long journey out of your supervision, wondering if your stuff will show up on time or ever. Moving locally is much less stressful than moving long-distance but choosing a mover still takes some attention.

How do I find the best short distance mover near me?

Keep in mind that local moving companies are regulated by the state they operate in, so if you aren’t moving across a state line, the mover isn’t subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules. That doesn’t mean your mover won’t abide by those regulations anyway—they probably will, but you do have to be more cautious to ensure that you aren’t mixed up with a shady operator. Many states have regulations similar to the federal rules governing interstate movers, but some have none, so you have to check. But here’s a tip: a moving company that is honest and wants your business will follow your lead when it comes to some of these things, like in-person surveys and written estimates, so even if it isn’t required, ask for it anyway. If the mover refuses, find another mover.

Always ask around when you are starting your search. Someone you know may have had a recent experience with a moving company (good or bad) that they can share with you. If you obtain some referrals, check the company out. If the mover does any interstate work, FMCSA will have helpful information on its database, showing if the company is appropriately licensed. It will also have data on their safety record and any consumer complaints. Also, look at the Better Business Bureau website. There you can read reviews of moving companies written by consumers who have used their services.

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If you don’t know anyone who has moved recently, you can look online. You will find many local and national companies that will respond to your inquiry. In addition to moving companies, you will likely hear from move brokers. Brokers do not perform moving services. They act as intermediaries between consumers and movers. A broker will talk to you about the services you need, provide an estimated price, and then find one or more movers who will agree to do the work at the price offered. There are legitimate brokers, and there are some disreputable ones. Be careful if you are working with one. A good one can save you some time and possibly find you an excellent price. A shady one may end up costing you both time and money.

Most moving companies are small businesses. Local movers might be independent operations, unaffiliated with any larger organization (a genuine Joe and Sons business model) or a franchise of a successful national company, operating with some support from the parent. Some local movers are also agents that work on their own and are also aligned with a national chain, giving them certain privileges when conducting interstate or long-haul transports. All these structures serve the customer well, particularly for a short distance project.

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What should I look for when choosing a company for a short distance move?

When you are ready to interview movers, invite at least three to submit estimates for your project. Consumer advocates recommend that you get in-person estimates. This action is required for interstate moves but may not be necessary for a local job in your area. Still, it is the best approach for a couple of reasons. It’s the best way to get an accurate assessment of how much work is involved in the move, which will allow the mover to give you the most realistic price. It also lets you meet at least one representative of the company you are about to trust with your furniture and other stuff and decide if they are trustworthy. Finally, if a mover isn’t willing to come to your house or apartment to give you an estimate, that may be a sign that they aren’t as thorough as you want them to be. Since there are plenty of service providers to choose from, choose a different one.

When the mover comes to do the survey, be prepared with your questions. Be ready to show them any items you aren’t moving (perhaps you are disposing of some furniture or discarding some stored items.) You can talk over what should be included in the move and any logistics that could influence the price. If you have stairs or an elevator in your current or destination home, that may add to the move’s cost. The mover’s representative will let you know what factors increase the price. For a local move, the company may calculate the price as an hourly fee. For example, the company may estimate that it can complete your job using one truck with three men over 7 hours. If they offer you a $250 per hour price, the charge will then total $1,750.

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Make sure that you get a written estimate and that the forecast states what it includes. Does it add the driver’s time to arrive at your current residence and return to their office after the move is complete? Some states allow local movers to add on a driving fee, but they might not charge you for this at the same hourly rate as the loading and unloading. Similarly, if you engage the movers to pack your dishes, books, clothing, and other items, is the hourly charge billed at the same or a lower rate? Will some of the workers be packing while others are loading? These are essential questions that will influence the final cost of the move. Most important, find out if the estimate is binding or nonbinding. A binding estimate is a guaranteed price, which means that you don’t have to pay extra if the job takes longer than the company forecast. A nonbinding estimate isn’t guaranteed, and if the work drags on, you are responsible for the hourly rate as long as it takes to finish.

The lowest estimate is not always the best one to select. If the bid seems too good to be true, it might be. Particularly in the case of a non-binding estimate, a shady company might demand a higher payment on the day of the move. One way to avoid this is to conduct references before you choose a vendor. Ask for some recent customers’ contact information, and call to talk with them about their experience with the mover. If they are not fully above-board, they might be unwilling to give you this information, and you can move on to another choice of mover. It is also a good idea to ask the company about its liability coverage—both protection for your shipment and its workers’ coverage. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you incur a loss to your possessions, but you also don’t want to be responsible for an injury to or damage by one of the moving company employees. The reputable mover will have ample protection and can show you their insurance certificate.

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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