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7 Best Affordable Movers [2021]

Planning a move can be difficult, especially when you’re on a tight budget. But moving might not be as expensive as you think. In this guide, we’ll highlight the best affordable movers who can help you complete your move on a budget. We’ll also walk you through some ways you can reduce the cost of your move. Let’s dive in!

Best for Storage Services

SpareFoot

4.6
  • Provides self-storage services
  • Compare prices with other storage services by amenities, discounts, and more
  • Reserve storage space online

Best Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines

4.8
  • Provides Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
  • IVL is a Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker
  • Live Chat Option & A 24/7 Telephone Assistance Line

Best Moving Add-ons

American Van Lines

4.7
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving
  • Storage Options Available
  • Specializes In Fine Art, Antique, & Piano Moving

Most Affordable Moving Companies

  1. Most Competitive Pricing: U-Pack
  2. Best for Long-Distance: 1-800-PACK-RAT
  3. Most Convenient: PODS
  4. Best Full-Service Movers: International Van Lines
  5. Best Moving Add-Ons: American Van Lines
  6. Best for Military Moves: Safeway Moving System
  7. Best for Protection Insurance: JK Moving Services

Quick Overview

Here’s a snapshot of the most affordable moving companies and their typical costs. When looking for budget-friendly movers, keep in mind that moving container providers tend to be much less expensive than full-service movers. If you do decide to work with a full-service provider, you can reduce the cost of your move by limiting the add-on services you select and by downsizing your belongings before you move.

Before you book with any company, be sure to request free quotes from multiple providers. Comparing quotes is the best way to ensure you find a mover whose services and pricing best align with your unique situation:

Provider Quote Superlative Average Cost (Local) Average Cost (Long-Distance) Service Model
U-Pack Free Quote Most Competitive Pricing N/A (Long-distance only) $1,400 – $3,400 Moving container company
1-800-PACK-RAT Free Quote Best for Long Distance $300 – $600 $1,600 – $3,500 Moving container company
PODS Free Quote Most Convenient $350 – $650 $1,500 – $3,400 Moving container company
International Van Lines Free Quote Best Full-Service Mover $600 – $1,200 $2,015 – $3,445 Full-service carrier and broker
American Van Lines Free Quote Best Moving Add-Ons $500 – $1,000 $2,900 – $3,900 Full-service carrier
Safeway Moving System Free Quote Best for Military Moves N/A (Long-distance only) Call for a quote Exclusively a moving broker
JK Moving Services Free Quote Most Customizable Moves Call for a quote Call for a quote Full-service carrier and broker

* The prices listed are estimates for a two-bedroom move. Local move estimates are for less than 100 miles. Long-distance move estimates are for 400+ miles. Get a personalized quote from each company to determine the exact cost of your move.

1. U-Pack

U-Pack is a leading moving container company. They provide trailers and containers to clients who would like a little more autonomy in their moving process. If you’re willing to do the loading and unloading yourself, you can reduce your move cost significantly compared to working with a full-service mover. Their pricing model keeps costs low, and three-day loading and unloading windows allow for clients to structure their moves more freely.

Most Competitive Pricing

4.4
  • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Portable Storage Service at U-Pack Warehouse
  • Negligence & Catastrophic Liability Coverage

U-Pack Services

Only available for long-distance moves of 150+ miles, U-Pack offers two different container sizes: an 8’ ReloCube and a 27’ Trailer. They will drop the container(s) of your choice at your property, then allow you three days to load. You can do the loading yourself, or hire labor assistance. Once loaded, U-Pack will ship your container to your new home and allow you three more days to unload.

In addition to this basic service, the company also provides storage. If you need storage, you will load the container, and they will ship it to one of their storage facilities. They can hold your items for as long as you need—but you will not be able to access your belongings while in storage.

U-Pack Cost

The cost of moving with U-Pack is determined by the distance of your move and the space you use inside of the container. One of the best things about the company’s pricing model is you only pay for what you use. If you order a 27’ Trailer and only use 20’ of space, your total cost will be reduced to account for that.

To give you an idea of costs, here are some sample estimates we were able to obtain from the company:

Moving From/To Distance Home Size Cost
Miami to Atlanta 664 miles 2 BR $1,287
Miami to Dallas 1,310 miles 2 BR $3,165
Miami to Atlanta 664 miles 4 BR $1,971
Miami to Dallas 1,310 miles 4 BR $4,086

Request a free quote to find out what your move will cost with U-Pack.

U-Pack Service Area

U-Pack is available throughout the country, via a network of 240 service centers. As a reminder, U-Pack is only available for moves of 150+ miles across state lines. They do not provide local moving services. Proximity to one of the company’s service centers could influence your pricing.

Why We Like U-Pack

U-Pack’s “pay for what you use” pricing model keeps costs low. For those who would rather structure their own moving experience or are on a tighter budget, U-Pack is definitely one of the best affordable movers to consider. Even after hiring some labor help, you can reasonably expect lower costs than you’d find with a full-service mover.

2. 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT is another moving container provider. Unlike U-Pack, however, they are available for both long-distance and local moves. Though their pricing is slightly higher than U-Pack, they are still a great option when it comes to budget-friendly moving companies.

Best Long Distance Moving Container

4.5
  • 1-800-PACK-RAT is a Moving Container Company
  • 1-800-PACK-RAT Will Deliver a Portable Moving Container to Your Home
  • After You Load the Container, PACK-RAT Will Transport it To Your New Home
  • Available for Both Local and Long-Term Services

PACK RAT Services

PACK RAT offers three container sizes:

  • 8 ft: big enough for one room (404 cf)
  • 12 ft: big enough for a 2-3 bedroom house (620 cf)
  • 16 ft: big enough for a 4+ bedroom house (830 cf)

They will drop your container off at your property and allow you to load it yourself. If you need assistance, you can hire labor through their partner, Hire a Helper—or you can hire help through a third-party.

If you need storage, PACK RAT will allow you to store a container on your own property or at one of their secure facilities.

PACK RAT Cost

The main factors that will influence your cost with PACK RAT are your move size and move distance. We were able to obtain sample pricing from this provider:

Studio Apartment 2-3 BR 4+ BR
Local $175 – $550 $200 – $650 $350 – $850
< 200 Miles $500 – $950 $700 – $1,950 $1,050 – $3,500
300+ Miles $1,200 – $3,800 $2,400 – $4,650 $5,100 – $6,900

Request a free quote to find out what your move will cost with 1-800-PACK-RAT.

PACK RAT Service Area

1-800-PACK-RAT serves all 50 US states. The company has 60 facilities throughout the country, providing services directly to areas that are within 100 miles of a facility. For moves that are outside of this area, they will work with one of the partners to complete your move.

Why We Like 1-800-PACK-RAT

The company has very affordable options for both local and long-distance moves. Offering three moving container sizes provides plenty of flexibility. We also love that you can store the container on your own property for an extended period if you need to.

3. PODS

PODS is hands down one of the best moving container companies available today, offering both local and long-distance services. If you’re looking for the most affordable moving companies, PODS should definitely be on your list.

Most Convenient Service

4.7
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Services
  • Can Store PODS on Property or Storage Location
  • Customizable Moving Options Available

PODS Services

PACK RAT offers three container sizes:

  • 7 ft: big enough for one room (390 cf)
  • 12 ft: big enough for a 2-3 bedroom house (749 cf)
  • 16 ft: big enough for a 4+ bedroom house (1,008 cf)

Like the other container providers, PODS will bring the container to you and give you some time to load. You are free to load and unload yourself, work with any of their labor partners, or hire outside help. Each rental is for 30-days, so you’ll have plenty of time. Once loaded, they will ship your container and allow you time to move your belongings into your new home.

If you need storage, you can keep the container on your own property or ship it to a PODS storage center.

PODS Cost

Compared to full-service movers, PODS is one the cheapest ways to move long-distance. It is especially affordable for local moves as well. Here are some sample estimates we were able to get from the company:

Studio Apartment 2-3 BR 4+ BR
Local $200 – $450 $350 – $650 $300 – $800
< 200 Miles $450 – $800 $750 – $1,950 $900 – $2,100
300+ Miles $2,100 – $4,100 $3,000 – $5,000 $5,500 – $7,700

Request a free quote to find out exactly what your move with PODS will cost.

PODS Service Area

PODS is available for moves in 46 states across the US, whether you’re moving across town or across the country. To see if PODS has a facility near your home, click here.

Why We Like PODS

PODS is one of the most recognizable brands in the moving industry today. With three container size options and a 30-day rental period, movers have a lot of flexibility. Plus, with the ability to manage your own labor, PODS is one of the most affordable moving services, period.

4. International Van Lines

While moving containers are usually the cheapest way to move cross country, some homeowners prefer to work with a full-service company. While this can be more expensive, it is far more convenient—as the company will handle the entire process for you. If you’re looking for one of the best full-service movers in the industry today, International Van Lines is a great option. Their customer service, competitive pricing, and wide availability make them stand out.

Best Full-Service Mover

4.8
  • Provides Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
  • IVL is a Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker
  • Live Chat Option & A 24/7 Telephone Assistance Line

IVL Services

  • Local, long-distance, and international moves
  • Full and partial packing services
  • Custom crating
  • Piano moving
  • Storage services (long-term if needed)
  • Debris removal
  • Auto shipping

IVL Cost

Local and long distance moving costs are calculated differently when working with IVL:

  • Local: Local moves are calculated at an hourly rate of $50 per mover. The company recommends three movers for a typical two-bedroom move. Additional services like packing can increase your cost.
  • Long-Distance: Long-distance moves with IVL are calculated based on your move distance, weight, and any add-on services. You will typically be provided with a flat rate based on these factors.

We were able to get a preliminary pricing estimate for a move with IVL. A two-bedroom, 400-mile relocation would cost between $2,015 and $3,445. This range provides for varied inventory as well as add-on services like packing.

Request a free quote with IVL to find our what your move will cost.

IVL Service Area

IVL is available in all US states and over 180 countries. It acts as a carrier on the east coast, directly providing moving services. Elsewhere, it acts as a broker, contracting moves through its vetted partner companies.

Why We Like International Van Lines

IVL is a leader in the moving industry with a strong reputation for excellent customer service. This is the main reason why former clients continue to come back to them for moving help. While costs can add up as you include services with your contract, you can keep your move more affordable by opting out of add-on services. IVL’s pricing is competitive with other major full-service providers.

5. American Van Lines

American Van Lines has been in continuous operation since the mid-1990s and is one of the largest carriers in the United States today. As a point of pride, they advertise that their workers average 10 years of experience on the job. With its skilled workforce and an impressive range of add-on services, AVL will be well-suited to your move, no matter your needs.

Best Moving Add-ons

4.7
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving
  • Storage Options Available
  • Specializes In Fine Art, Antique, & Piano Moving

Their Services

Among full-service companies, AVL is one of the most affordable movers. You can select services a la carte to control costs and best meet your needs, including:

  • Local, long-distance and international moving
  • Military and commercial moving
  • Climate-controlled, secure storage
  • Antique moving
  • Piano Moving
  • Full or partial packing
  • Custom crating for fragile items

AVL Cost

Local and long-distance moves are priced differently when you hire AVL:

  • Local: You will pay an hourly rate of $30-$50 per mover, which can be impacted by your location and move time. Plan on hiring 2-3 movers for a two-bedroom home. Moves of this size typically take 3-4 hours.
  • Long-Distance: You will pay a fixed rate based on your move distance, weight, and any premium services you select.

We were able to get a few sample estimates for long-distance moves with AVL:

Moving To/From Distance Home Size Cost
Miami to Atlanta 664 mi 2 BR $3,886
Miami to Dallas 1,310 mi 2 BR $5,030
Miami to Atlanta 664 mi 4 BR $7,754
Miami to Dallas 1,310 mi 4 BR $10,321

Request a free quote with AVL to find our what your move will cost.

AVL Service Area

AVL acts as a carrier for moves in all parts of the country. Aside from three central hubs in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, they have several smaller locations distributed throughout the country to service a variety of moving needs.

Why We Like American Van Lines

American has the best selection of add-on services on the market today. This, along with incredibly well-qualified and experienced workers mean that your move is always in capable hands when you book with them.

6. Safeway Moving Systems

Safeway Moving Systems is one of the largest moving brokers in the US. Though their specialty is military relocations, they are equally skilled at handling commercial and residential moves. Transparent service and flat rate pricing rate highly with former clients.

Best for Military Moves

4.6
  • Safeway Moving is an FMCSA-Licensed Broker
  • Brokers Connect Clients With Local Moving Options at Advantageous Pricing
  • Select Locations Provide 1 Month of Free Storage Services

Safeway Services

  • Long-distance moving (residential and commercial)
  • Military relocations
  • Full and partial packing
  • Piano moving
  • Auto shipping
  • Basic furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Storage

Safeway Moving Systems Cost

Safeway doesn’t provide pricing information on their site. Due to the distribution of their partner company network, move prices can vary greatly with this provider. You should request a free quote from Safeway to get your own personalized estimate before booking.

Safeway Service Area

Safeway does not provide local moving services. They only handle long-distance moves across state lines. That said, they handle moves to and from all 50 US states. Regardless of your location, they can serve you.

Why We Like Safeway

Safeway’s pledges of transparency and flat rate pricing are major benefits. All moves with the company are 100% guaranteed. Additionally, packing and 30 days of storage are included with the pricing for all moves, which is unique in the industry. And finally, their partner companies are insured well above industry standards, ensuring a high quality of service.

7. JK Moving Services

JK Moving has been a mainstay in the moving industry for 40 years. They’ve successfully managed over 500,000 moves and are one of the best affordable moving companies among full-service providers. Their industry-leading protection options and well-trained workers make for a positive moving experience when you book with them.

Best for Protection Insurance

4.5
  • Long-Distance, Interstate, Local & Int'l Moves
  • 24/7 Customer Support & Great Mobile App for Customers
  • Low-Interest Financing Available with JK Moving partner

JK Moving Services

  • Local moving within the Washington D.C. metropolitan area
  • Long-distance moving to all 50 US states
  • Residential and commercial moving
  • GPS shipment tracking
  • Piano moving
  • Full and partial packing services
  • Climate-controlled storage
  • Financing options
  • Valuation coverage options

JK Moving Cost

We were unable to get a pricing estimate from JK. The best way to find out what your move will cost is to request a free quote. When getting an estimate, be sure to provide as much information as possible. The company will likely ask you to provide an inventory of your belongings, your move date, your move origin and destination, etc. The more information you can provide, the more accurate your quote will be.

JK Moving Service Area

JK provides local moving services as a carrier within a relatively small area (Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia). They are available for long-distance moves in all US states, acting as a moving broker.

Why We Like JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services has a long track record of providing excellent service. With the best valuation coverage options in the industry, well-trained employees, and a wide range of add-on services, your move with them will be one of the smoothest you’ve experienced.

Request a Quote

All the budget-friendly moving companies we’ve listed above are excellent options. To ensure that you book with the best movers for your unique needs, you should request estimates around eight weeks ahead of your move date. Doing so will allow you to properly evaluate your options and book with a carrier without rushing any part of the process.

Click the “Get a Free Quote” button for each company you’re interested in working with below:

Best for Storage Services

4.6
  • Provides self-storage services
  • Compare prices with other storage services by amenities, discounts, and more
  • Reserve storage space online

Best Full-Service Mover

4.8
  • Provides Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
  • IVL is a Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker
  • Live Chat Option & A 24/7 Telephone Assistance Line

Best Moving Add-ons

4.7
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving
  • Storage Options Available
  • Specializes In Fine Art, Antique, & Piano Moving

Best for Military Moves

4.6
  • Safeway Moving is an FMCSA-Licensed Broker
  • Brokers Connect Clients With Local Moving Options at Advantageous Pricing
  • Select Locations Provide 1 Month of Free Storage Services

Best for Protection Insurance

4.5
  • Long-Distance, Interstate, Local & Int'l Moves
  • 24/7 Customer Support & Great Mobile App for Customers
  • Low-Interest Financing Available with JK Moving partner

How to Find Affordable Moving Services

Just starting your research? No problem. Here are some key tips to help you find the most affordable moving services:

What to Look For

Here are some of the most important things to look for in a reliable mover:

  • Insurance. Movers are all required to carry multiple forms of insurance. Along with cargo or vehicle policies, the most important of these is workers’ compensation. This policy protects you in the event of a work-related injury during your move. Without such coverage, you could be held liable for damages. Along with this, movers all carry liability coverage for your goods. $0.60 per pound, per item is industry standard. The best movers will also offer valuation coverage options to supplement this.
  • Local Registration. Most states require some form of registration for local movers, which you should look up here.
  • Federal License. All movers must carry a valid USDOT number to operate across state lines. You can confirm a mover’s license and view their complaint history through the FMCSA database.

Before booking with any moving company, you should request proof of these insurance policies and registrations. Any reputable provider will expect this and will provide it when asked.

Cheapest Ways to Move

Your move method is the main factor that can increase or reduce your cost, more so than your shipping weight and move distance. Here are your main options, listed in order from least to most expensive:

  • Truck Rental: The total DIY option of renting a truck and doing the labor yourself is usually the most affordable and will allow you to have the most autonomy. You can hire moving labor help (for an additional cost) or simply load the rental truck on your own. Providers such as U-Haul or Budget will allow you to choose pickup and drop off dates and locations.
  • Moving Container: Moving containers present an intermediate price point for long-distance moving. With a moving container provider, you will be provided with a unit (or units), with loading and unloading windows on each end of the move. This is a great way to get some independence in your moving process while saving money and alleviating some stress. The main advantage of moving this way, instead of with a truck rental, is that you will not have to assume all liability for your goods or the container in transit.
  • Full-Service: Full-service moving cost is typically the highest. That said, the added convenience you will get can be well worth the cost for those who can afford it. You can keep your costs manageable by not using add-on services and by reducing the size of your move if possible.

Best for Storage Services

SpareFoot

4.6
  • Provides self-storage services
  • Compare prices with other storage services by amenities, discounts, and more
  • Reserve storage space online

Best Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines

4.8
  • Provides Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
  • IVL is a Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker
  • Live Chat Option & A 24/7 Telephone Assistance Line

Best Moving Add-ons

American Van Lines

4.7
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving
  • Storage Options Available
  • Specializes In Fine Art, Antique, & Piano Moving

Best for Military Moves

Safeway Moving System

4.6
  • Safeway Moving is an FMCSA-Licensed Broker
  • Brokers Connect Clients With Local Moving Options at Advantageous Pricing
  • Select Locations Provide 1 Month of Free Storage Services

Best for Protection Insurance

JK Moving Services

4.5
  • Long-Distance, Interstate, Local & Int'l Moves
  • 24/7 Customer Support & Great Mobile App for Customers
  • Low-Interest Financing Available with JK Moving partner

Affordable Movers FAQs

What do long-distance moving services typically cost?

On average, you can expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on your long-distance move. The main determining factors in your move’s final cost will be move method, shipment weight, and the distance you will be traveling.

What is the best way to save money on my move?

The easiest way to save money on your move is to do your own packing. Hourly labor costs for professional packers can add up rather quickly, and all movers who sell packing materials will charge markups. Begin doing this around eight weeks before your move date.

How far in advance should I book my move?

You should aim to book with a mover around six weeks before your move date. Doing this with a reputable provider will lead to less stress as the big day approaches. Especially during moving’s busy season (May through September) and in more populated areas, moving company calendars fill up quickly. You’ll want to get ahead of things.