For Cheaper Moving Options, Check Out These 9 Companies

Our top pick, Atlas Van Lines, offers a wide range of services at reasonable prices.

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Contrary to popular belief, hiring a more reasonably priced moving company doesn’t automatically mean that you’re sacrificing quality. You just need to find the right balance between experienced service and affordability. That’s where we come in, with your go-to guide to all the best cheap moving companies—plus tips on reducing costs throughout the moving process.

The best cheap moving companies are the ones that offer a range of moving solutions and plenty of flexibility, so you can save money while getting exactly the services you need. They may save you money with options such as DIY packing and loading or no-frills service without extra fees, while still offering key services such as tracking, short- and long-distance services, and customer support. You can further cut down on costs with pre-move choices like planning a move in the off-season, looking for free packing materials, and getting rid of items you don’t want to move.

Best Cheap Moving Companies of 2023

Best Overall: Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines logo

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Binding and non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Movers in all 50 states and over 15 countries

  • No deposit required upfront

  • Easy-to-use online tracking

  • Full, partial, and self-service packing options

Cons
  • Additional costs and fees may be incurred

  • Does not offer van or truck rentals

Why It Made the List

No matter how far or near you’re moving, Atlas Van Lines offers comprehensive moving services to make your moving budget go far. It provides a customer-friendly online tracking portal and services in all 50 states and several countries, in addition to a wide variety of affordable moving options to fit any preference, distance, or budget. With this breadth of options, it’s our top pick for finding ways to make your move both convenient and affordable.

From the start of the quote process, Atlas offers convenient options to customize your move. Clients can easily request a quote through a convenient app and virtual inventory. Once you’ve booked your move and chosen your dates, Atlas offers professional packing services, whether you want its team to pack up everything or just handle some of your fragile or specialty items. If you’re looking to save further, you can forgo the packing services altogether and handle it yourself—Atlas offers plenty of supplies for DIY packing, as well as storage options at your destination so that you can move in on your own schedule. 

The comprehensive customer portal streamlines all aspects of the process. You’ll have no trouble accessing features including easy communication with your movers, painless payment processing, progress tracking, and filing for any claims if necessary.

Best DIY Moving Company: PODS

Pods Moving logo

Pods Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 46 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Pod units can be used for both moving and storage

  • Calculator to help you choose between unit sizes

  • Flexible rentals and returns

  • Transparent pricing model without surprise fees

Cons
  • Customers can’t transport containers themselves

  • No tracking available

  • Full-service packing and loading not offered

Why It Made the List

When you’re looking for cheap moving rates, one popular option is to rent a storage container and pack it up yourself. PODS has become synonymous with this model, providing the containers and the transportation while the customer takes care of the rest. 

The process is simple, and the pricing is transparent. Start by choosing which of the three available container sizes (8, 12, or 16 feet) works best for your move, either on your own or with the help of the PODS calculator tool. From there, PODS offers straightforward rates for monthly container rentals, starting at $149 per month, plus fees for dropping off the container, transporting it to your destination, and picking it up when you’re completely done. You can get a quote online, although it is non-binding and may vary from your final costs.

For further savings, PODS has plenty of cost-reducing suggestions to keep your moving costs within your budget. Once you’ve rented your container, you’ll do all the packing and loading yourself, then have PODS transport and deliver it for you to unload. If you need a little extra time, you can also pay to have PODS store it until you’re ready to tackle unloading at your new home.

Best for Small Moves: Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Portable storage containers for easy small moves

  • Online portal for 24/7 tracking

  • Offers 90-day storage-in-transit options

Cons
  • Lacks 24/7 customer support or live chat

  • Online quote tool leads to call, not quote

Why It Made the List

For full, affordable service even for smaller moves, Allied Van Lines offers customers plenty of options for a move on any budget. It’s the best of both worlds: small-scale containers are available, along with large trucks and choices on full-service, partial, and self-service options. Plus, it offers some of the best storage-in-transit solutions and a 24/7 tracking portal, although its customer service options aren’t as flexible.

Small moves don’t typically need enormous trucks and resources, but many popular options for smaller moves involve a lot of DIY. Allied does offer more self-service packing and loading options, but if you’re looking for full service even for a small move, it offers that, too. Service is available across all 50 states and more than 130 countries.

The quote process at Allied is one of its less-stellar aspects. Although there is an online quote tool, submitting your information doesn’t get you an immediate quote; instead, it sets up a later conversation with a representative. It also lacks 24/7 customer support or a live chat feature. There are, however, convenient options like a virtual home survey to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need, within your budget.

Best for Long-Distance Moves: North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Binding and non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Available in all 50 states and over 130 countries

  • Most interstate moves take just 2-5 business days

  • Offers additional services for convenience

  • Real-time tracking

Cons
  • Few points of contact for customer service

  • 30-day limited window for claims

Why It Made the List

A long-distance move is a lot easier with the help of North American Van Lines. Its fast, reliable service can streamline long-distance moves in all 50 states and many countries, with most interstate moves taking less than a week to carry out. The company’s representatives can also help you move to over 130 countries worldwide.

The process starts with a free quote based on some basic information you provide, after which an individual moving specialist will reach out to coordinate directly with you to find a moving plan that best fits your needs and budget. Your specialist will also help figure out if you need any additional services (packing, furniture assembly, appliance installation, or vehicle moving), and which services do and don’t fit within your budget. From there, they’ll provide a final quote, with both binding and non-binding quotes available.

Throughout the entire moving process, you’ll be able to track your shipments in real-time, ensuring your peace of mind. Just be sure to keep a careful inventory once your items arrive: the company only offers a 30-day window to file reimbursement claims for damaged or missing items.

Best for Discount Moving: 1-800-Pack-Rat

1-800-Pack-Rat logo

1-800-Pack-Rat

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: At least 30 states; requires ZIP code check
  • Moving Options: Local and long-distance
  • Type of Quote: Binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No surprise or hidden fees

  • Easy storage space calculator

  • Frequent and varied discount offers

Cons
  • Storage locations only in 30 states and D.C.

  • Packing is DIY or outsourced to third parties

Why It Made the List

If you’re looking for a streamlined, no-frills approach to moving, then 1-800-Pack-Rat is one of the best cheap moving companies out there. Its budget-friendly approach means moving is a more DIY process, but its lack of extra fees and frequent discounts make it a great option when you’re looking for savings.

Getting a quote is straightforward: Just input your basic moving information on the company’s website, then get a quote emailed directly to you. You can also use their user-friendly online calculator tools to estimate the size and number of containers you need. Once you’ve accepted a quote, 1-800-Pack-Rat will deliver your container, let you pack at your own pace, then transport and deliver it to your new location, where you can unload it yourself or have it stored. 

The company currently has storage facilities in 30 states and Washington, D.C. This smaller service area is one downside compared to other companies that are able to offer full services nationwide and beyond. With that being said, however, the company may still be able to provide services in areas outside of those states. If you don’t see your location already listed on the website, you can still request a quote and talk to a representative to find out if there are options that can work for your move.

Best Customer Service: JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 24/7 customer support

  • Full-, partial-, and self-service packing

  • Offers vehicle relocation and specialty moving

Cons
  • Requires a deposit upfront

  • May incur additional fees

Why It Made the List

Moving is stressful enough, especially when you’re trying to do it on a budget. That’s why having plenty of customer service options, like the ones at JK Moving Services, can make such a difference in the overall moving experience. The company offers 24/7 customer service through a variety of platforms, including email and live chat, so you can get questions and concerns answered anytime. When you move with JK Moving, you’ll also get access to tracking and inventory options, allowing you to make sure all your items are accounted for every step of the way. Plus, you’ll have a personal move coordinator keeping everything in sync.

To get the ball rolling, JK Moving Services offers three options for quotes: a DIY virtual survey, a virtual consultation with a Move Consultant, or an in-home consultation. Once your consultant has all the information about your move, you’ll get offers for customized moving services anywhere in the U.S. to meet your needs and budget. Packing options vary and can be adjusted based on your preferences and how much you want to spend. You can take the DIY approach to packing, get an expert assist with a few fragile items, or have the JK Moving team handle it all. Your items can be delivered directly to your new home, or the company can store everything in a secure facility until you’re ready for move-in.

Best for Sustainability: American Van Lines

American Van Lines

American Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
  • Moving Options: Local and long-distance
  • Type of Quote: Binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Sustainable packaging options

  • Commitment to environmentally friendly practices

  • Last-minute moves with no additional fees

Cons
  • No self-service packing options

  • No live chat or 24/7 customer service

Why It Made the List

Cheap moving rates can still go hand in hand with sustainable practices, as American Van Lines proves. The company highlights its commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices at every step of the moving process. Along with customer-centric solutions such as sustainable packing options, the company is also dedicated to updating its fleet for energy efficiency and lower fuel consumption. It has forged partnerships with sustainable companies throughout its supply chain and works on a variety of new sustainability initiatives, with a commitment to introduce a minimum of three sustainability innovations every year.

American Van Lines offers a free quote, using an online form, followed by a quote over the phone in order to help you find the best moving options on a budget. Moving professionals will handle all the packing and loading—including specialty items—even on a tight schedule. While full-fledged self-service moving is not an option, the company does offer “discount” options that allow you to pack and prepare while the American Van Lines team just handles the loading and transporting portions of the move.

The company can manage fast and last-minute moves, with weekly “shuttles” to and from every major city in the U.S. One downside, however, is that it lacks 24/7 customer support. If you have a concern, your options are either to reach out via email or send a fax for a callback at a specific time.

Best for International Moves: International Van Lines

International Van Lines

International Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Contact for more information

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Service in all 50 states and over 140 countries

  • Full-service and self-service packing options

  • Virtual quotes within an hour

Cons
  • Requires an initial deposit

  • May incur more fees later on

  • Online quote tool does not provide instant quote

Why It Made the List

International moves need particular care and expertise. International Van Lines is one of the very best cheap long-distance movers, with decades of expertise in handling your move on your timeline and budget. The company serves up to 150 countries and all 50 states, with a wide variety of options, including door-to-door or port-to-port delivery. It also offers insurance options, tracking, and much more to make the hectic moving process as smooth as possible.

You can start your quote process online, where you will be connected with a representative to get more details and figure out which solutions are best for your situation and your preferred price point. The company’s team of movers will be as involved or hands-off as you’d like: Choose from self-service or full-service packing and loading, various delivery options, and more. You’ll need to put down a deposit to reserve your moving date, and additional fees may be incurred as the move gets underway. Double-check that your move is being handled directly by International Van Lines and not subcontracted out.

Best for Quick Moves: U-Pack

U-Pack logo

U-Pack

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long-distance, and international
  • Type of Quote: Non-binding

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Availability in all 50 states

  • Does not require initial deposit

  • Only pay for the space you use

Cons
  • Relatively small containers and only one size

  • Only a three-day window for loading and unloading

  • No packing services offered

Why It Made the List 

With flexible availability and an average transport time of two to five days, U-Pack is a great option for moves that need to happen fast. The company makes moving quick and affordable by putting more power in your hands. You do all the packing and loading, while it just provides the containers and transportation. This type of move gives you more control over how things are done while also saving you money on labor and time.

Customers can get quotes and make reservations either by phone or online, with a small discount offered for those who book online. Then, the U-Pack team will drop off your equipment anywhere in the U.S., allow you to pack and load on your own, pick it up, transport it, and give you another three days at your destination to unload. The tight schedule may not be right for everyone, but if it is, U-Pack is a great solution to help you streamline your move and save money by eliminating services like packing and in-home setup.

Final Verdict

Each of the companies listed here offers great affordable moving options, but Atlas Van Lines earns the top spot for its across-the-board excellence. With a wide variety of solutions, easy-to-use nationwide services, and reasonable rates, Atlas has the flexibility and expertise to take the stress out of any move while staying within your budget.

Compare the Best Cheap Moving Companies

Company Nationwide Availability Type of Quote Initial Deposit Required? Tracking Option?
Atlas Van Lines Best Overall 50 states Binding and non-binding No Yes
PODS
Best DIY Moving Company
46 states Non-binding No No
Allied Van Lines
Best for Small Moves
50 states Binding No Yes
North American Van Lines
Best for Long-Distance Moves
50 states Binding and non-binding No Yes
1-800-Pack-Rat
Best for Discount Moving
At least 30 states; requires ZIP code check Binding Yes Yes
JK Moving Services
Best Customer Service
50 states Non-binding Yes Yes
American Van Lines
Best for Sustainability
48 states Binding Yes Yes
International Van Lines
Best for International Moves
50 states Not available Yes No
U-Pack
Best for Quick Moves
50 states Non-binding No Yes

How to Save Money When Hiring Movers 

Looking for cheap moving rates isn’t the only way to save money on your move. You might be surprised at how small steps can add up to big savings

Get Rid of Anything You Don’t Really Want

Every item you want to move means a little more space and weight that you’re going to have to pay to move. You can reduce your moving costs ahead of time by streamlining your belongings to just the items you truly want or need in your new home. Once you’ve narrowed down the items you’re planning to bring, you can give away or donate unwanted items, try to make a little cash back by selling them online, or hold a yard sale to offset some of your moving costs.

Declutter Before the Movers Arrive

In addition to getting rid of extraneous items, get your house in order before the movers arrive to make the process easier. Moving is cheaper and more efficient when the movers aren’t dealing with a mountain of clutter, and you’re much less likely to have items lost or damaged in the process. You might even choose to “stage” items to either make packing easier (if you’re hiring a team to pack your belongings) or to make it easier for the movers to pick up and load your boxes if you’re packing them yourself.

Look for Free Boxes

Packing materials are an under-noticed cost when it comes to moving, but you don’t necessarily have to buy all your boxes. Instead, search online marketplaces where other people who have recently moved may be giving away their boxes. You can also ask local stores if they have any used boxes they could give you. Be sure to check and make sure any free boxes are sturdy and damage-free so that your items remain safe and sound.

Pack Items Yourself

While many moving companies do offer packing services, having movers pack everything will add to your bill. Instead, consider packing as many of your belongings as possible, and leave the most difficult packing to the professionals, if necessary. This has the added benefit of making sure that you know where everything is so your unpacking process will go more smoothly once you’re in your new home.

Get Creative While Packing

As you pack, look for ways to save space so that you can use fewer boxes. Consider “nesting” items inside each other (with padding and protection as necessary to ensure they can be transported safely) and fitting items carefully to maximize the space you have. Cutting down on packing supplies can save money, and having fewer boxes can allow you to save money by using a smaller vehicle or container.

Move During the Off-Season

The summer months (typically May through September) are the most expensive to move, since movers experience the highest volume of customers during that time. If you can make it work for your job, family, or other factors, schedule your move during off-peak months. You can usually get more competitive rates or even discounts during this time, and you might be able to get a shorter turnaround time, too.

Consider Shipping Some Items

Instead of including every item in your moving truck, van, or container, consider shipping some items to your destination. Items like books can be shipped via Media Mail for a flat rate, while some other items like clothes, bedding, and household linens may be cheaper to ship than to include in your moving quote. This can, in turn, cut down on the amount of packing material and the amount of shipping space needed, saving you time and money.

What Services Do Cheap Moving Companies Offer?

Less expensive moving companies tend to offer all of the traditional moving services you'd expect, just at a lower price point or with “discount” solutions. Depending on their business models, movers may provide container rentals, truck or van rentals, packing services, specialty or vehicle moving, transportation, storage, loading and unloading, and/or installation and setup services. 

The cheapest moving companies typically save money by streamlining services or offering DIY options as alternatives to having a moving team handle every part of the process. For instance, the same company might offer full-service packing and loading, or self-service solutions where the company only handles the actual transportation, with the self-service options shaving dollars off the final amount owed. For the most part, even low-cost moving companies will also offer insurance, valuation coverage, and claims support to ensure that your items make it safely or that you’re covered in case of accidental damages or losses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the cheapest way to move my stuff?

    It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but in general, moves get cheaper when you take on more of the process yourself rather than having the pros do it. Renting a truck, van, or moving container and doing all the inventory, packing, loading, and unloading yourself saves significantly on moving costs. Self-transport options are usually the cheapest of all, allowing you to just pay for container rental and mileage or distance rate fees; the next cheapest are typically self-pack solutions with professional transportation. If you do choose to take advantage of professional packing services as part of your move, some companies may offer lower rates for partial packing, where the professionals just handle the tricky items and you pack the rest yourself.

  • Can you negotiate moving prices?

    If you’re looking to get even better deals on your moving services, just ask! Many of the best cheap moving companies have special deals, offers, and discounts that they might not publicize all the time. It never hurts to ask if there’s any way to reduce the price, and companies will often work with you to find the best solutions for your budget, especially because they know that customers will comparison-shop and they’re hoping to get your business.

  • What day of the week is the cheapest to move on?

    If you’re looking for cheap moving rates regardless of which company you choose, consider moving on a weekday instead of on the weekends. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are less popular days to move since they’re in the middle of the week when people are at work or in school. This pattern often means you can get cheaper rates if you can make a weekday move work in your schedule, just as you can often get a lower price if you move during the off-season months of the year.

  • How far in advance should you book movers?

    To ensure that you’re able to book the exact dates you need, booking movers earlier is always better. The exact time frame for booking, however, depends on the season you plan to move and how far you’re moving. For short or local moves, or during the off-season (September/October through April/May), you should book at least a month or two ahead, although a handful of companies may be able to squeeze in a last-minute move if it’s short-distance or during a less-busy time. For long-distance moves or moves during the peak summer season, you’ll want to book at least three or four months in advance for best results, or even up to six months for international moves.

  • How much do you tip movers?

    Tipping your movers should definitely be factored into your overall budget, and the best practice is typically to tip in cash. The amount of tip may vary, based on how labor-intensive and how far the move is, and you should be sure to tip both the moving team at your old location and your new one if they’re different people. You can tip per mover, in which case a good rule of thumb is to tip between $6 and $12 per hour, per mover. Alternatively, you can tip in one lump sum to be divided among the moving team, in which case a good number would fall between 10 and 15 percent of the overall bill.

  • Are my belongings insured during a move?

    Your homeowner’s insurance policy covers your belongings while they’re in your current home and once they arrive at your new home, but the items may not be insured during the move. Check your individual policy to see what it says about moving. Some policies may have provisions for certain situations, such as theft or an accident in transportation, but not for others, such as damage done by movers packing and loading. You may also be able to purchase moving insurance, at varying levels of coverage, from your moving company or a third party, or file claims for items that are lost or damaged at the hands of your movers.

  • What items will a mover not move?

    Movers can handle a surprisingly wide range of your belongings, and many companies have specialized solutions for moving fragile or specialty items, antiques, or even vehicles. However, there are still some items that movers simply won’t take for one reason or another. Usually, these are either items that movers don’t want the liability of handling (sentimental items, high-value collectibles, money, and heirlooms), items with varying interstate and transportation laws (liquor or plants), or items that pose a hazard. A non-comprehensive list of these items might include the following, but you should check with your chosen moving company to get its complete list:

    • Cleaning supplies and household chemicals
    • Opened or perishable food items
    • Lawn, garden, or pool chemicals
    • Propane or oxygen tanks
    • Firearms or ammunition
    • Plants
    • Nail polish or nail polish remover
    • Liquor
    • Lighters or lighter fluid
    • Medicine or some medical devices
    • Personal documents
    • Sentimental items (family photos, jewelry, etc.)
    • Cash
    • Any flammable or explosive items
  • Can Uber help move stuff?

    While there are technically no policies against it, using Uber as a moving service doesn’t usually work well, even if you’re just moving locally. Uber drivers are individuals, not company employees, and they use their own vehicles, so they’re unlikely to have the space or resources (or be willing to take on the liability) for a moving job. You might be able to find an Uber driver willing to let you bring a box or two with you, but it’s not a practical option for a full-home move.

Methodology 

This list of the best cheap moving companies was compiled using more than 500 data points collected over a two-month span. Our research team reviewed nearly 20 companies, looking at services provided, customer support channels, quote processes, online tools, and more.

Weights were assigned to each piece of criteria evaluated, then used to calculate an overall score. In order to receive a high rating, companies had to perform well in a handful of categories, including but not limited to:

  • Types of services offered (10%)
  • Nationwide availability (10%)
  • Company reputation (6%)
  • Additional costs and fees (5%)
  • Online quote system (5%)
  • Packing options (5%)

The information presented here was accurate at the time of publication and confirmed by at least two data collectors. Verification was completed through customer service calls and live chat or email exchanges.

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