The 8 Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

You don't always need a large truck and crew to get the job done.

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best moving companies for small moves
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Despite its name, small moving is anything but a small task. Relocating the contents of your apartment, studio, small home, or only a portion of your belongings can be just as complex as any other type of move. Whether you're moving across the neighborhood or to the other side of the planet, the size of your move is just one small element. The best moving companies for small moves understand that the size of your move has no bearing on its importance to you.

In fact, because your move is limited in quantity, small-move specialists can offer extra attention and customization to meet your moving needs. The best ones offer long lists of service options tailored for small-move customers. To help you decide which is best for you, we researched the best small-move companies based on ability, availability, and service options.

Best Moving Companies for Small Moves in 2023

Best Overall: North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full-, partial-, and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? No 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Provides guaranteed small-move pricing with its Blue Express service

  • Pays you back $75 per day if it misses your moving deadline

  • Offers full- and self-service moving to all 50 states and 130 countries

Cons
  • A cancellation fee applies if you cancel your move more than three days after signing the contract

Why It Made the List

If your small move is taking you to another state, North American Van Lines can get you there with its Blue Express service, the company's solution for long-distance or interstate small moves. The company offers seven moving container sizes, ranging from 17 to 225 cubic feet, one of which will be delivered right to your home. Once there, you can opt to hire the company's packing and loading crew to fill it, or you can load it yourself. North American will then pick up the container, store it if necessary, and deliver it on a guaranteed delivery date. If the company fails to deliver when specified, it'll cut $75 per day off your price until you receive your belongings. 

Blue Express is available in all 50 states through North American and its agents, and the personal move coordinator that comes with your move can offer guidance throughout the process. For larger or local moves that don't qualify for Blue Express service, North American offers variable pricing options, including binding, custom, and not-to-exceed quotes. Additionally, North American offers military, senior, and student discounts. However, keep in mind that you'll have just three days after signing the contract to cancel your plans without owing a penalty fee.

Best Last-Minute Mover: Bellhop

BELLHOP logo

BELLHOP

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 28 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Partial- and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? Yes 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Offers instant price quotes for last-minute move requests

  • Can provide same-day moving services in some situations

  • Offers a loading service even if you rent a moving truck from another company

Cons
  • Paying a 10 percent deposit is necessary to secure your service request

  • Canceling your move more than two days after signing the order will cost part of your deposit

Why It Made the List 

A small move can require just as much planning and organization as a large one. But, if you need to move in a hurry, Bellhop may be your answer. The company maintains a flexible schedule and can work odd hours to accommodate your last-minute moving needs. In some cases, Bellhop can even provide same-day service, and its website offers instant online pricing so you can shop quickly. Additionally, if you have a rental moving van but lack the time to pack and load your possessions, Bellhop has a team of background-checked loaders and packers who can do the job on short notice. 

Though Bellhop is easy to use when it comes to booking, its cancellation policy is a little tricky to navigate, so the more confident you are of your moving details, the better. You'll need to put down a 10 percent deposit of your estimated moving cost to secure your moving date, and if you need to cancel more than 48 hours after signing the deal, it'll cost part of your deposit. Canceling within 72 hours of your moving day will incur a $200 penalty fee.

Best for Long-Distance Moves: U-Pack

U-Pack logo

U-Pack

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Partial- and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? No

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Available in all 50 states for long-distance moving

  • Choose from moving containers or full and partial truck moving

  • You'll only have to pay for the portion of the truck that you use

Cons
  • Full-service moving options are outsourced

  • A variable-rate cancellation fee applies to moves canceled within seven days of your move

Why It Made the List 

If you're looking for a more hands-on approach for your small move, U-Pack has you covered with its storage and moving containers called ReloCubes. They're small enough to fit in a single parking space, making them a convenient option for those living in homes or areas with limited driveway or parking space. And for small long-distance moves, the company is available in all 50 states.

However, just offering a container delivery and drop-off service nationwide is hardly enough to get on a list of the best small movers. For that, something special is necessary. In addition to its 6'x7'x8' ReloCubes (you can order as many as you need, by the way), U-Pack also offers full or partial truck moving. With the service also available everywhere, you can choose to occupy as little as five feet of a container, the whole thing, or as much as you need for your stuff. You'll only pay for the portion of the trailer that you use. 

U-Pack's container and truck service, though, is only available as a DIY moving solution. However, the company can put you in touch with one of its trusted partners if you wish to hire third-party packers and loaders. There is a $50 penalty for canceling your truck or ReloCube up to a week before your move and $150 if you must call it off on your moving day.

Best for Local Moves: 1-800-Pack-Rat

1-800-Pack-Rat logo

1-800-Pack-Rat

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 31 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Partial- and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? Varies

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Several discounts are available, including $25 off online-booked local moves

  • Company sells and delivers custom-order local moving supplies to your door

  • Can cancel up to two days before your move without penalty

Cons
  • A deposit is necessary for long-distance moving customers

Why It Made the List 

If your move is described as both small and local, you may consider hiring 1-800-Pack-Rat for its storage and moving container service. The company offers pickup, storage, and delivery services using its 8-, 12-, and 16-foot moving containers. 1-800-Pack-Rat's mid-size container is roughly equivalent to a 100-square-foot storage garage and can handle the contents of two or three rooms. 

Although the containers are excellent for any distance move, the company provides extra attention to local moves in the 31 states it serves. Plus, 1-800-Pack-Rat allows you to custom order complete kits of moving supplies that are specifically designed for the container you choose: Kits can consist of boxes, blankets, and mattress covers, to name a few things, and will be delivered right to your door. 

In case of any last-minute hiccups, 1-800-Pack-Rat offers a generous cancellation policy that allows you to change your mind about your moving date up until two days before your move without a penalty fee. However, paying a deposit is necessary for long-distance moving.

Best for DIY Moves: PODS

Pods Moving logo

Pods Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 44 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Partial- and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Specializes in drop-off and pickup services designed solely for DIY moving

  • 30-day rental period can be extended indefinitely at an additional cost

  • No penalties for cancellations made before 4 p.m. the day before container delivery

Cons
  • Full-service packing or loading is only available through third-party partner companies

  • Paying a deposit is necessary for container delivery

Why It Made the List 

Perhaps the best-known name in storage and moving containers is PODS, an acronym for Portable On-Demand Storage. Founded in 1998, PODS now services 44 states—all except Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming—with its 8-, 12-, and 16-foot containers. The 8-foot container is perfect for those moving out of studios or just moving a single room. When your container is packed and ready to go, your goods will stay well protected and safe within the impact-resistant walls of the weather-resistant, steel-framed containers.

In case you're wondering how the company remains an industry leader in the DIY-move category, it does so by focusing only on delivering, storing, and transporting containers—the rest is up to you. However, if you need some help packing and loading your belongings, PODS can connect you with one of its recommended third-party companies to provide the service. 

The company makes it easy to change your moving plans if you need to by offering penalty-free cancellations until 4 p.m. the day before your container is scheduled to arrive. Additionally, if you need your container for more than 30 days, you can extend the length of your storage time with a monthly fee. Remember that you'll need to place an initial deposit to confirm your delivery date.

Best Personalized Services: JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full-, partial-, and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Receive same personalized options as large-move customers

  • Seven days of free climate-controlled storage for small moves

  • Offers third-party financing on its website

Cons
  • Long-distance and interstate moves require a $250 deposit

  • Only non-binding estimates are provided

Why It Made the List 

Few are shocked to learn that quantity has little effect on complexity when it comes to moving. JK Moving Services knows that and treats every long-distance and interstate move it performs with the same personalized service regardless of the job size. Your small move comes complete with a personal move coordinator, full-service moving (including reassembly), and a virtual tour price estimate. JK Moving also offers climate-controlled storage for its clients in all 50 states, and storage for your small move is free of charge for up to seven days. 

JK Moving only offers non-binding estimates when it prices out your move, so include as many details as possible with your move coordinator to avoid surprises afterward. To schedule your move, JK charges a $250 deposit to confirm the date. Keep in mind that local moving services are only available in a few select cities. If you need payment options, customers can apply for financing through Enhancify, the company's third-party lending affiliate, on the JK Moving Services website.

Best Moving App: Colonial Van Lines

colonial van lines logo

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 48 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full-, partial-, and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Moving app provides assistance throughout your move

  • App and moving assistants provide accurate pricing estimates

  • Company website offers helpful moving information and checklists

Cons
  • A deposit is necessary to secure your move dates

  • Cancellations must be made within three days of signing the work order to avoid penalty

Why It Made the List 

Your small move doesn't have to be shrouded in mystery. Colonial Van Lines, as they say, has an app for that. The app and online features provide helpful assistance for your move from start to finish to keep you informed and in control of your move. With it, you can order moving supplies, track your shipment, and check off tasks when they're complete. 

When you contact Colonial, you'll be in touch with a moving assistant who'll work with you through the app, where you'll give a virtual survey of your home to provide the most accurate price estimate possible. In addition to the app's flexibility, you can also find a wide range of useful moving information, tools, and how-tos on the company's website.  

You'll need a deposit to secure your moving date with Colonial, and a penalty fee will apply for cancellations made more than three days after signing on for services. Colonial is available throughout the contiguous 48 states, but you won't find company agents in Hawaii or Alaska.

Best for Specialized Moving: Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton World Wide Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 47 states
  • Packing & Loading Options: Full-, partial-, and self-service
  • Initial Deposit Required? No

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Offers specialized moving services to move almost anything

  • Offers a shuttle service for moving in and out of tight neighborhoods

  • Company provides your choice of non-binding, binding, and not-to-exceed estimates

Cons
  • No shipment tracking options are available

  • Portable container moving options aren't available

Why It Made the List 

Your small move may appear to be just another run-of-the-mill move. But that's really not likely to be the case. Every move, no matter the size, is unique. If your small move includes moving fragile, valuable, or unusual items, Wheaton World Wide Moving offers specialty service solutions of its own and also partners with third-party specialists to move pianos, autos, delicate furniture, or anything else that requires extra attention. Of course, Wheaton is happy to do simple moves too.

If you live in a tight neighborhood with limited street space, Wheaton World Wide also offers a shuttle service where a standard moving truck isn't allowed or simply won't fit. The crew will load your belongings onto a smaller vehicle and transfer them onto your moving van for transport to your new home. 

The company offers binding, custom, or not-exceed pricing options that are just as versatile as its other moving services. You won't need a deposit when you choose Wheaton. However, portable storage and moving containers aren't available for any size move, and the company doesn't provide a method of tracking your shipment. 

Final Verdict

Small moves can be a misleading moniker for a move that is of absolute importance to you as a customer, even though it may not be physically large. For that reason, you need a mover that can meet the demands of small moving and match the needs of its customers by being flexible and versatile while also providing service at a reasonable cost. North American Van Lines is the company that ticks the most boxes in that category. 

North American provides unique solutions for your small move by offering your choice of moving container or truck and flexible pricing options that include only paying for the space that you use. The company also offers discounted rates for groups that often require small moving and a guaranteed delivery promise that puts money back in your pocket if it doesn't make the grade.

Compare the Best Moving Companies for Small Moves

Company Nationwide Availability   Packing & Loading Options Initial Deposit Required? Type of Quote Tracking Feature?
North American Van Lines
Best Overall 
50 states Full-, partial-, and self-service No Binding or non-binding Yes
Bellhop
Best Last-Minute Mover
28 states Partial- and self-service Yes Binding or non-binding No
U-Pack
Best for Long-Distance Moves 
50 states Partial- and self-service No Binding or non-binding Yes
1-800-Pack-Rat
Best for Local Moves 
31 states Partial- and self-service Varies Binding or non-binding No
PODS
Best for DIY Moves
44 states Partial- and self-service Yes Binding or non-binding No
JK Moving Services
Best Personalized Services 
50 states Full-, partial-, and self-service Yes Non-binding Yes
Colonial Van Lines
Best Moving App 
48 states Full-, partial-, and self-service Yes Binding or non-binding Yes
Wheaton World Wide Moving
Best for Specialized Moving 
47 states Full-, partial-, and self-service No Binding or non-binding No

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Moving Company for Small Moves

Choosing a small-load moving company is anything but a little decision. Regardless of the number of belongings involved in your move, thorough planning, detailed logistics, and a lot of physical work are the keys to success. There are several factors to consider when deciding which mover to hire to ensure your small move goes off without a hitch. 

Verifiable

First and foremost, moving represents a significant investment of both time and money. For your peace of mind, you'll need to identify a moving company that you can trust while its crew is handling your entire collection of possessions. The best moving companies all have at least one thing in common: They are verifiable as professional organizations. Checking to make sure your potential mover is a legitimate partner in your move is priority number one. Look for the following traits before hiring any moving company. 

Address. Ensure the company has a physical street address, not a P.O. box or some other mystery location identifier. 

Valid Company. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to validate that the company exists as a real entity. 

License and Insurance. Ask to see a copy of your potential mover's license and proof of business liability insurance. It may seem silly to ask a business for this information, but a reputable moving company will understand your concerns and will have no problem providing the requested documentation. 

References. Ask for and check relevant and local customer references.

FMCSA. If you're moving out of state, check to see if your mover is listed and in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Moving Services

Although it's not unheard of to hire specialty movers for your automobiles or antiques, in addition to a separate company to transport the bulk of your other possessions, identifying one moving company that can perform all the tasks you need to complete simplifies the hiring and moving process. 

Whether you choose full-service packing and loading or you'd like to handle some or most of the move yourself, find a mover that can meet all of your needs. Can you trust your mover to also handle your fragile and valuable items and vehicles along with your everyday belongings?

Third-Parties

Many moving companies work with a network of independent agents to complete your small move. For example, when you hire a major-brand moving company, the truck and crew that arrive at your home on moving day may not be direct employees or even from the same company that you hired. 

Although brokering your move to a third-party company is standard practice in the industry, when you hire your mover, inquire about who will show up at your door. Third-party movers are respected and trusted by the company that uses them for your move. However, for your own reassurance, perform the same investigative diligence on the third party as you did to choose your mover.

Reputation

There are several ways to check the reputation of your potential moving company before contacting them for more information. Online consumer ratings platforms have become the go-to source for determining the overall performance of individual companies. Other sources for learning about a moving company include the BBB website and acquaintances that have recently hired movers. When checking online reviews, be sure to read at least a few good and bad reviews. Occasionally, a company's star rating only tells part of the whole story.

Price

There's more to the price of your move than the final invoice number you must pay. When gathering price quotes from various movers, choosing one that fits your budget is just part of the equation. Ensure that your mover's estimating and pricing method suits you as well. Many companies provide your choice of binding or non-binding price quotes and other pricing strategies. Choose the one that best fits your needs, and be wary of extremely low bids as they are seldom as good of a deal as they appear. 

Insurance Options

Every moving company must provide at least minimal insurance protection for your belongings. However, the bar is pretty low, and if something bad does happen to your stuff, you could be left with having to pay out of pocket to replace your worldly possessions. Choose a company that offers moving insurance protections over and above basic liability, and ensure the dollar amount of coverage is adequate to recover any losses or covers enough to satisfy your risk tolerance.

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Small Amount of Stuff?

There are multiple ways to get a small number of your belongings from points A to B. The total cost of your small move will vary based on quantity, distance, location, complexity, and how much of the work you intend to perform yourself. 

A move that includes a total weight of fewer than 2,000 pounds is generally classified as a small move, regardless of the distance it must travel. Local moves typically involve travel of less than 50 or 100 miles, depending on the policy of the mover you choose. 

Hiring a moving crew for packing, loading, and unloading your household items ranges from $25 to $50 per hour per crew member. The average cost to move 2,000 pounds of your possessions locally is $610, ranging from $400 to $1,000. To hire one of the best long-distance moving companies, you can expect to pay an average of $1,640, or between $800 and $2,500, for moves longer than 100 miles.

What's the Best Way to Prepare for a Small Move?

Preparation is key to experiencing a smooth and successful moving day, no matter the size of your move. Besides making a detailed moving checklist that outlines your action plan, follow these tips to ensure thorough preparation.  

  • Start as early as possible. As soon as you decide on an approximate moving date, start searching for your mover and making a plan. 
  • Donate, sell, or otherwise dispose of anything you don't want or need to take to your new home. Doing so will save both effort and cash. 
  • If you plan to do your own packing, purchase or acquire an adequate amount of moving boxes, packing materials, moving blankets, and other essentials.   
  • For DIY moving, you can choose to hire out difficult or complicated aspects of your move, such as packing and transporting fragile or unusually delicate items. 
  • Designate a drop-off or parking location at both addresses for your container or moving van that's safe, secure, and easy to reach. 
  • On moving day, keep a box of essential documents and personal care items with you instead of in your moving van or container, even if you're only planning a single-day move.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Considered a Small Move?

    A small move is a move that involves transporting less than 2,000 pounds of your belongings or the approximate contents of a studio, one-bedroom apartment, condo, or small house. However, moving companies vary somewhat in their definitions of small moves.

  • What Is the Most Affordable Moving Company for Small Moves?

    The most affordable moving companies for small moves are truck and supply rental outfits. While the single most affordable company will vary by your location, if you're looking to save the most amount of money, DIY moving using a rental truck is almost always the least costly option.

  • Is It Cheaper to Rent a Moving Truck Than Hire Movers?

    Financially, the cheaper option between renting a truck and hiring movers is the truck and DIY moving. However, remember that your time is valuable, and you'll spend more of it when renting a moving van than hiring a moving company to perform the job.

  • How Far in Advance Should You Book a Moving Company for a Small Move?

    Regardless of the size of your move, hiring your moving company needs to happen as soon as you know your moving date or at least an approximation of it to ensure you get on the company's schedule at the time you need.


    Moving companies often fill their calendars more than two months in advance, so the earlier, the better. However, as there are cancellations just like any other business, companies may be able to accommodate last-minute moving in the event that you need to relocate quickly.

  • Will a Moving Company Move One Piece of Furniture?

    Although many moving companies are simply too large to consider moving a single piece of furniture, many specialty movers, local movers, and smaller companies will be happy to transport a single item.

  • What Is a Hybrid Move?

    A hybrid move is any move that involves you supplying some of the labor while a moving company performs the rest. Unlike full-service moving where movers do all the work and you're only responsible for getting yourself to the new address, a hybrid move may require you to pack your belongings or load them into a container and unload them after your mover transports your goods.

Methodology

In order to compile a list of the best moving companies for small moves, our research team made dozens of customer service calls and enlisted the help of data collectors to fill in the blanks for more than 30 criteria points. These included nationwide availability, storage options, valuation coverage offerings, and customer support channels.

Each criteria point was assigned a weight, then grouped into one of six categories:

  • Customer experience (23 percent) 
  • Pricing/price transparency (20 percent)
  • Coverage and types of moves offered (20 percent)
  • Moving services (20 percent)
  • Insurance/protection (10 percent)
  • Reputation (7 percent)

Scores were calculated based on these weights, and companies were ultimately given a rating out of five stars. To ensure that the information presented is accurate, two or more data collectors verified the research. This page will be updated with any changes to the highlighted companies' offerings.

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