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How to Move Out of State

Moving to a different state is sure to come with many logistical hurdles and some degree of uncertainty. Especially if you’re planning an interstate move for the first time, it can be difficult to know where exactly to begin. We’ve put together a convenient guide to make this easier.

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    Conduct a Thorough Inspection and Inventory of Your Home

    Around eight weeks before your ideal moving date, you should do a full walkthrough of your home. This should involve the following:

    Make Lists

    Make lists of all that you’ll need your movers to handle. This should include a full home inventory of all furniture and items to be packed, broken down by room. You should also make a list of any add-on services you’ll need performed by your movers.

    Declutter

    When conducting your inventory, you’re sure to come across a fair amount of items that you don’t plan on keeping. Arrange to take them to a local dump, have a yard sale, or sell them online, via Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or a similar forum.

    Set a Budget

    The costs below represent average move costs for relocations of varying sizes, from top moving companies across the US. Your long-distance and interstate costs will be largely determined by your unique add-on requirements, shipping weight, and the distance of your move. Use the following price points as a baseline to set your expectations before getting quotes from movers.

    1 BR 2 BR 3 BR 4 BR
    Local $1,200 $1,500 $2,000 $2,750
    250 mi $2,750 $3,800 $5,100 $6,000
    500 mi $3,100 $4,100 $6,000 $6,700
    1000 mi $3,500 $4,500 $6,400 $8,400
    2000 mi $4,300 $4,900 $6,800 $9,000

     

    Get Quotes from Movers

    Between eight and six weeks prior to moving day, you’ll want to reach out to several different moving companies in your area to get quotes for your move. Quotes are always offered at no cost to you and will help provide you with valuable insight into how well different providers will be able to accommodate your specific needs. Below, we’ve included some key criteria for vetting movers before booking with them.

    Evaluate Your Movers

    During an estimate, you should make it a priority to go over the service and inventory lists you’ve made with your moving company representative. You should also request proof of insurance and registration before proceeding any further in the booking process. Review the following before signing a contract with any mover:

    • FMCSA registration: Interstate moving companies must all be registered with the FMCSA. This governing body requires that all movers carry active MC and USDOT numbers, which can be used to look up a given mover’s complaint history and registration status through this link.
    • State registration: Most states will have their own governing body for moving companies, which regulate safety standards and pricing, and moderate client disputes. If your mover is part of a nationally recognized company, then you only need to check on the federal registration.
    • Workers’ Compensation: This covers you in case of a work-related injury during a move. If your mover doesn’t have this policy, you could be held liable for damages. 
    • Released liability coverage: This covers your goods if they’re lost or damaged during a move. The rate of $0.60 per pound, per item, is covered in your base moving price.
    • Valuation options: The above coverage won’t amount to much, relative to the value of most goods. Most movers offer valuation coverage at an additional cost if you feel that you need it.
    • Well-reviewed: Any mover you book with should have plenty of positive customer feedback. Look up reviews from multiple sources before committing to a move with any carrier.
    • Adequate service profile: During your estimates, you should review your service and inventory lists with your movers. Most movers offer similar services, but at varied abilities and price points. Going over this with a company representative can help you gauge whether they can help you.
    • Agreeable pricing: You’ll likely have to shop around before booking a move. This will help you to be sure that the combination of pricing and service profile is the best available to you.

    Book Your Move

    Between four and six weeks prior to your move, you should aim to have your move and move date confirmed with one of the providers you vetted. This should come with a contract and a copy of your estimate. If it doesn’t, you should ask for a written copy to be sent before you sign a contract for service. Per federal regulations, a mover can only charge you a maximum of 110% of a quoted price on a written estimate, unless your service needs or inventory change.

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Begin Packing

    You can begin packing immediately after the quote process is complete. This process should begin with out-of-season clothing, seldom-used cookware, older books, and all lightly-used goods in your home. Ideally, you should aim to pack a couple of boxes each day leading up to your move. Starting this far in advance, and breaking the work into short sessions, will make the process seem far more manageable.

    Label Your Boxes

    Be sure to thoroughly label all boxes that you pack, complete with contents and the room they should go to in your new home. This will help your movers to work independently and without your constant input, which will lead to a much quicker unload.

    Make a Floor Plan

    You should have a fully fleshed-out idea of what you want your new home to look like. Take measurements of all major furniture, while noting where you’d like for them to go in your new place. Use this information to label all furniture a few days before your relocation, for the benefit of your movers.

    Plan Your Trip

    You can expect movers in a fully-loaded moving van to travel at a maximum pace of around 400 miles per day when accounting for trucking log regulations and traffic. Your moving company will give you a delivery window of a couple of days for longer relocations. In the interest of being prepared for any possible scenario, you should pack your car for a longer trip than what you’ve been told.

    Book a Flight & Arrange for Car Shipping

    If you plan on getting to your destination as soon as possible, and waiting for your movers out in your new town or city, then you should book a flight and arrange for your car to be shipped as soon as possible. If you’re lucky, then your moving company also offers vehicle transportation as a service, which will make planning far easier.

    Book Accommodations

    If you opt to drive, you should map out a list of approximate locations where you plan on staying for each night you’ll be on the road. Find a few hotels or motels in each location to choose from. If you’re more exacting in your approach (which may be better in this case), then you should call ahead and book rooms for each night. Setting a definite itinerary will help ensure that you arrive at your destination on time.

    Plan Stops

    Especially if you’re driving all the way across the country, you may want to take a bit of time out to see tourist attractions and scenic locations along your route. Long road trips can be brutal and fatiguing, and this can be a great way to get your mind off of things.

    Moving Week Preparations

    Moving week is going to be the most stressful time during any relocation. The following are some of the steps you will have to take to be sure that it all goes to plan.

    Gather Essential & Sensitive Documents

    Identification documents, bank records, past tax returns and documents, and more should be collected into a folder, which should be put in your moving bag. They include:

    • Passports
    • Birth certificates
    • Identification cards
    • Your new lease or deed to your new home
    • Financial documents

    Cancel/ Start Utilities Services

    If you haven’t already done so, then you should call current utility providers and cancel service, effective on or the day after your moving date. Likewise, you should contact providers near your new home to set up service at your new address. Such services include:

    • Electricity
    • Natural gas or oil
    • Water and sewer
    • Internet and television service
    • Trash and recycling pickup

    Change Your Address

    Change your address via this link. There, you can set a date for your mail to be forwarded to your new address, so you don’t miss any essential letters or packages.

    Meal Prep and Planning

    Before packing the bulk of your kitchenware away, you should consider setting aside one of your free afternoons to prepare meals for the entire week leading up to your move. That way, you can immediately begin packing your kitchen, while leaving only essential utensils, dishes and in-use tupperware to be packed just before moving day.

    Ordering takeout for several nights in a row would be just as effective, but far more expensive.

    Plan for Accommodations for Pets and Small Children

    Having smaller members of your family underfoot during the actual move can lead to far more stress for all involved. Enlisting the help of a family member or close friend to keep watch over them could be invaluable in making the move a bit quieter and less hectic.

    Pack a Moving/ Overnight Bag

    Your movers will likely give you a delivery window for when to expect them at your new home. Plan for a trip of one to two days past whatever their expected delivery may be. Pack clothing and toiletries, along with plenty of water and snacks for the road. Your moving bag should also include your laptop (if you have one), phone and laptop charger, methods of payment for your movers, cash for tipping and other expenses, and any other personal items which could make your time on the road more pleasant.

    Finish Packing

    If all has gone to plan until now, you should only have a small number of boxes to pack. The night before your move, you should pack away everything but your bed linens and the essentials you’ll be putting into your moving bag.

    Moving Day

    Moving day should begin with a call from your movers, notifying you of an arrival time. This should give you a little buffer time to prepare.

    Conduct a Walkthrough

    When they arrive, lead your movers on a thorough walkthrough of your home. List any special items, and notify them of your labeling scheme for furniture and boxes. Once this is complete, they’ll begin loading your things.

    Inspect the Load-Up

    For most long-distance moves, your moving crew chief will keep a full bill of lading with an inventory for all goods handled by your movers. You’ll be supplied with a copy of this, and will be asked to sign your movers’ copy upon completion of the load-up. At this time, you’ll likely be asked to pay 50% of the estimated balance before your movers depart for your new home.

    Upon Arrival

    When your movers arrive, you’ll conduct a similar walkthrough. If you’ve labeled things well, and clearly name each room in your home (master bedroom, bedroom two, living room, etc), then all should go smoothly. If you find that all inventory has been unloaded to its proper place, then you’ll be asked to pay the remaining balance for your move.

    Unpack

    Unpacking takes most people many weeks to get through entirely, if not months. Start with the essentials in your kitchen and bedroom, along with any necessary items for work, and progress from there.

    Get Acquainted With Your New Neighborhood and City

    After getting somewhat settled in, you should make an effort to get to know your new community. Whether that means taking a walk or planning a night out to meet some new people, you’ve earned the relaxation at the end of a long move.

    Moving out of State FAQ

    How much should I tip my movers?

    For local moves, or locally hired moving labor, $5 per mover, per hour worked, is fairly normal for a tip. If you have had a dedicated crew throughout the process, then $40 per mover, per day on the road is about right. You’re under no obligation to tip but, if you feel they’ve done an excellent job, a tip is the ultimate compliment.

    Do moving companies change crews for longer moves?

    For the longest moves, many moving companies will have their direct employees help with the loading process, then hire local moving labor at the destination. In these cases, the crew chief and maybe one other direct employee (depending on move size) are the only workers to see them move through from start to finish.

    Do some movers provide discounts on storage?

    Many larger van lines and movers with a national presence will offer heavily discounted rates or a free month of storage for their moving clients. This can be of assistance if you have a gap between leases or are waiting to close on a home after move-out.