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The Best Moving Companies for Military Members

Receiving a new assignment across the country—or even across the world—is one of the most exciting aspects of a life in the armed forces. Military moves require a unique level of precision, especially when it comes to customer care and pricing. 

Unlike a traditional residential move, military moving works within a designated price structure. Personally procured moves—known as PPMs—mean that you’re handling the move yourself within a budget determined by your rank, the type of move, and your dependency status.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to find GSA-approved movers that provide a reliable, affordable, and efficient transition that meets your military standards.

Best Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines

  • 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

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

Best for Protection Insurance

Safeway Moving System

  • 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

What to Look for in Military Movers

If you’re on the hunt for an excellent military moving company, you’re likely handling a PPM. This is not to be confused with a Household Goods Move (HHG) which is fully handled by a government-approved team of movers.

Personally procured moves are more ideal for large families, homes with fragile items, or simply for those who prefer to manage the transition on their own. Military families receive a stipend to cover 100% of relocation services up to a certain weight.

But here’s the trick—if you don’t spend your entire allotment, you get to pocket the rest of the cash. In other words, it’s financially and logistically important to find a service provider that:

  • Offer military discounts
  • Understand the PPM system
  • Have GSA approval
  • Understand the urgency of a cross-country military move
  • Offer weight tickets for reimbursement

Whichever method of moving you choose, you will likely either have a permanent change of station (PCS) move or temporary duty (TDY). PCS moves refer to active duty relocations of more than 20 weeks which TDY means you’ll be spending a shorter time there. Clearly, each type of move requires different services—such as storage, for example.

Let’s walk through the essential steps to finding the best movers for active service members.

1. Check Credentials

The government keeps a close eye on moving companies, requiring both federal and state regulations to practice as a household mover. Always start your search for a mover by completing a quick background check on two or three prospective companies. Here’s where to begin:

2. Consider Your Needs

You are not locked into hiring one specific type of movers for your PPM. For example, while full-service movers handle all the heavy lifting and driving, you may be willing to cut out some of the labor to handle it on your own. 

Working with a storage container or moving truck rental company often ensures lower rates and more flexibility. Here are the three types of companies to know.

Full-Service Mover

While these companies often cost the most money, they do take the guesswork out of the relocation process. Turn to these companies for long-distance moves, complex local moves, or relocations that happen last minute. 

In addition to loading, unloading, and driving the truck, full-service movers often provide:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Storage services
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly 
  • Motorcycle, boat, and car shipping
  • Full value protection against accidents
  • Moving coordination services
  • Specialty crating
  • Antique moving
  • Piano moving

Moving Container Company

These semi-self-serve companies are ideal for military relocations for several reasons. Not only are the costs a bit lower, but you can often transition your items into storage in between stations. 

Here’s how they work. The company drops off a storage unit in front of our house two or three days before the move. You are in charge of filling the unit on your own with the help of hired movers. The movers then pick up the unit and drive it to your new home.

When you receive your free quote from a moving container company, you only pay for the weight that you use. In other words, if you downsize your home and go under the allotted amount, you simply pay less for the pod.

Truck Rental Companies

Many active military members prefer to handle moves on their own, especially if they’re only moving a small apartment. If you’re looking to skip the moving team, rent a truck from a company like Penske or U-Haul. Your price comes down to the size of the truck, fuels, tolls, and overall distance. 

This DIY approach to moving is a great way to save money for both long-distance and loving moving needs.

3. Understanding Your Moving Quote

Military personnel can’t afford to deal with a company that wastes their time or money. The best military local and long-distance moving companies should understand the urgency of getting you to your new assignment.

When you reach out for a free moving quote, you’ll likely work one-on-one with a team member. The movers will then likely offer a virtual or in-person walkthrough of your home to provide either a non-binding quote—which is subject to change—or a more accurate and locked-in binding quote.

Signing Your Contract

Once you choose the right company for you, you’ll have the chance to reach and sign a contract. Never hire movers without completing a full contract. A contract is the primary way to avoid scams and financial issues down the line. You may also be required to show your moving contract for reimbursement. Your contract should contain the following:

  • Your binding or non-binding quote
  • Long-distance or local moving rates (how your quote was determined)
  • Payment schedule
  • Accepted payment methods
  • Your moving date
  • Delivery schedule
  • Cost of extra services like packing or use of storage facilities
  • Number of movers
  • Size of the moving truck
  • What to expect on moving day

Be sure to speak with your movers if the total cost of your move is unclear. Storage companies and movers have the right to change prices if you add more items to your inventory or request more services.

Best Full-Service Mover

  • 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

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

Best for Protection Insurance

  • 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

Most Customizable Moves

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

Most Competitive Pricing

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

The 4 Top Military Movers

While PPMs offer the option to work with your pick of moving companies, there are many that stand out in the moving industry. Some of the best local and interstate moving companies support military and veteran organizations, offer discounts, and prioritize military moves for last-minute relocations.

1. Penske

Of all the budget truck rental names, Penske goes out of its way to support military members and veterans. First of all, receive a 10% discount off your price by entering a military code.

The company also offers a dedicated call center specifically for military moves and specific questions. The customer service agents have specialized training in helping members and military spouses arrange relocations.

On top of all of this, Penske supports several pertinent organizations that help veterans, including Paralyzed Veterans of America, so you know your money is going to a good cause.

2. North American Van Lines

As one of the top long-distance movers in the country, North American Van Lines specializes in PPMs. The company has over 500 locations around the country and is approved by the GSA. Additionally, Veterans Advantage—a nationwide veterans benefits program—offers significant discounts for moving costs, full valuation coverage, and on services.

North American also:

  • Offer customizable services
  • Several levels of packing
  • Top customer reviews
  • Competitive pricing

3. U-Pack

This storage unit container company U-Pack is ideal for long-distance moves across the country. While they do not handle local moves, their prices are incredibly predictable and based on distance and the weight of your items.

Additionally, U-Pack notes that it has specific experience handling military moves. The company even provides common estimates on the cost of their past PPMs. You will also receive a weight ticket for military reimbursement.

And while U-Pack doesn’t specify the percentage, it does offer military discounts on top of its comparatively low prices.

4. United Van Lines

United Van Lines is another household name in moving that offers special care for military members and their families. The company offers both domestic and international moves throughout the U.S. and in over 150 countries. Additionally, United Van Lines is GSA-approved.

FAQs for Military Moving Companies

Will the military pay to move you?

If you’re reassigned to a new station, the military provides a certain level of financial or logistical assistance depending on your rank. For example:

  • The military will fully manage and fund a Household Goods Move (HHG), including storage-in-transit services
  • You can manage your own move and receive up to a certain weight of reimbursement in what’s known as a Person Procurement Move (PPM).
  • Unaccompanied baggage (UB) sends necessary items ahead to you as you wait for the rest of your household goods.
  • Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipment/Storage assistant with shipping one of your vehicles when sent out of the U.S.

Will the military move you themselves?

You’ll find a long list of military-approved moving companies for local, long-distance, and international moves. While some companies manage the move directly through the military—known as an HHG—you can also hire movers on your own for reimbursement for a PPM.

How much are military discounts for moving?

Top movers offer between a 10% and 25% discount for military moves. If you are a member of military discount organizations, you may be able to receive additional price cuts as well as special services such as packing, storage, and car shipping.

How long do military moves take?

While packing and loading your items into the moving truck should only take a couple of hours, the length of the move depends on distance. Cross-country movers typically take between two days and three weeks to deliver your items, so it’s important to have essentials packed separately for the interim.