How to hire an interstate moving company

Make your move easier by weeding out items you don’t need. Host a yard sale or donate unused items. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Charles T.)

Make your move easier by weeding out items you don’t need. Host a yard sale or donate unused items. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Charles T.)

If you're planning to move across state lines, it can be more involved than packing boxes and loading them into a truck. When it comes to interstate moving, there are a few things you need to know.

Unlike intrastate moving, where each state issues its own set of guidelines, companies who move belongings from one state to another are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Because of this, interstate moving companies are legally required to:

  • Obtain licensing by FMCSA and display their U.S. DOT number in any advertising.
  • Provide arbitration if consumer complaints can’t be resolved amicably. It’s important to note that FMCSA doesn’t have authority to resolve claims against a moving company. However, if a problem arises, consumers can file a complaint against the mover by calling FMCSA at 888-368-7238. Documented complaints may trigger an investigation.
  • Give homeowners a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” brochure, so he or she is informed before the move.
  • Allow homeowners to review their tariff — a list of rates and charges — for a particular shipment.
  • Furnish an accurate summary of their complaint handling procedures, including a phone number.

Try to downsize before you move

To help make a long-distance moving experience less stressful and less expensive, take an inventory of all your items and consider donating some of them to a charitable organization.

Related: Best tips for hiring a professional mover

Moving companies charge a rate based on what they'll be moving, so having a shorter list will cost you less in the end. If you're moving large items, such as boats, motorcycles or even your car, you'll need to make sure that the mover specializes in transporting these items.

Vet your long-distance mover before you hire

When you hire a moving company to transport your household items across a long distance, reliability and reputation should top your list of priorities. A reasonable price is also important, so you'll want to get quotes from moving companies that pass your screening process and make it on to your checklist.

Related: The Angie's List Guide to Moving

Recommendations from family members and friends go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction. Online reviews for long-distance moving companies are yet another great way to track down a good fit.

Questions to ask your interstate mover

Before you actually get on the phone and call prospective movers, gather as much information beforehand from referrals, by visiting their websites, and checking online review sites like Angie's List. Learn about the companies, such as how long they have been in business, and check to see that they're licensed and insured.

Once you've prepared a list of moving companies, consider the following questions before making a hiring decision:

Click the video below to watch Angie's List founder Angie Hicks and a professional mover discuss three ways to save money on your next move.

Does the company subcontract any of their work out to other moving services? This is important to know before your precious items are on a truck halfway across the country. Do they take extra measures to properly protect fragile items from damage during transit?

How well-trained are the workers who will be packaging and moving your personal things? Do they offer the option of purchasing insurance to cover any potential damage to your things beyond a set amount? Most moving companies offer consumers a choice of options for extra insurance as protection against not only damage but also theft as well.

Get an in-person moving estimate

Once you've narrowed down your choices to a few moving companies, make appointments for their representatives to come to your home for an estimate.

Although general prices can be given over the phone, a reputable moving company will want to see all the items that you'll be moving so they can provide a more accurate bid.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originially posted on March 12, 2012.

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Moving to a new home doesn't have to be a daunting process. (Photo courtesy of Linda Erdely Pierce)
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Moving is stressful. Whether you plan to move out of state or down the street, these tips will help you with packing and hiring a moving company.


Im moving from Ocala Fla to Prescott Arizona and am more confused after checking out the long distance moving companies. Either their prices are $2000 more than others that I am looking at or the customer reviews say they are terrible. Im moving in 6 or 8 months and NO ONE wants to tell me an estimate of what my cost will be

A very informative article on moving. I have to relate this daily to all my clients that are looking for movers. It pains me to see my clients have a bad moving experience in their brand new home.

Moving to a new locality, city or country not only fills you with thrill and excitement of exploring a new place, but also brings along anxiety and tensions of packing and moving all your belongings. When you look around your house, you may find your home filled with different items, including furniture, beddings, kitchen equipment, home appliances, showpieces, clothes, accessories and more such items. Packing all of them in different boxes, according to their size and delicacy requires skill and proper tools. But now, with internet and the best moving companies at your disposal, you can easily keep all your tensions at bay.

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