Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (2024)

Moving isn’t cheap, but there are ways to be savvy and stay on budget. Chief among those ways is shopping around and requesting quotes from as many moving companies as you can.

We’ve identified seven cheap moving companies based on our research of the best moving companies in the industry, so you’re already in the right place. We’ve also compiled a list of tips to help you save money and zero in on the best value for your budget.

We analyzed 52 companies’ services and customization options, valuation coverage options, reputation, nationwide availability and more to determine the cheapest moving companies. In addition, each category was evaluated for the quality and number of services available. This allows us to calculate our impartial score. Read our complete methodology.

  • 52 companies reviewed
  • 4,316 data points analyzed
  • 83 features we considered
  • 54 primary data sources used

Our picks

1-800-PACK-RAT: Best for cheap moves

Atlas Van Lines: Best moving company

North American Van Lines: Best for flexible pricing

Mayflower Transit: Best for large moves

United Van Lines: Best for liability coverage

Allied Van Lines: Best for full-service moves

PODS: Best for city moves

1-800-PACK-RAT: Best for cheap moves

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (1)

Star rating: 3.7 out of 5

Online quote: Yes

Deposit required: Yes

Services: Portable storage containers, packing, moving supplies, military moves

Why we picked 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT offers all-steel portable containers with advanced weather protection. The portable storage container company accommodates local and long-distance moves within the 34 states (and Washington, D.C.) it serves and allows you to plan your entire move online.

Additionally, 1-800-PACK-RAT offers online quotes that allow you to price your move instantly. In contrast, full-service moving companies have a more thorough and lengthy quote process. A $500 deposit is required five days before your move for long-distance moves. This amount will be credited toward the total cost of your move, which averages around $3,700.

Who should use 1-800-PACK-RAT

If you are moving with many valuables or need a flexible loading schedule, 1-800-PACK-RAT allows you to relocate on your terms. Don’t be deterred by the $500 deposit, as this deposit is applied to your total moving costs, which can help relieve stress on your budget by spacing out payments.


  • Three container sizes are offered for all move types
  • Take as much time as you need to pack
  • Containers are ground-level for easy loading


  • Service is limited to 34 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Doesn’t deliver on Sundays
  • Charges a $500 deposit due five days before your reservation

North American Van Lines: Best for flexible pricing

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (2)

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5

Online quote: No

Deposit required: No

Services: Local, long-distance and international moving, corporate relocation, packing, car shipping, furniture assembly

Why we picked North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines stands out for its flexible pricing. Not only does it allow you to choose your services and customize them to your needs, but it offers several pricing structures.

Its not-to-exceed pricing structure limits the total cost of your services, meaning you’ll never pay more than you’re quoted. If moving day is more efficient than expected, you can even pay less than your not-to-exceed quote. You can opt for guaranteed pricing, a binding estimate that won’t change, or customized pricing. This sets a guaranteed base price and adds any specialty services you select.

Who should use North American Van Lines

If pricing transparency is the most important part of the moving process, you should consider North American Van Lines. Its different pricing structures allow you to choose the best option for your budgeting philosophy.


  • Sets not-to-exceed pricing, which eliminates hidden fees
  • Mobile app and portal with customer support and GPS tracking
  • Can purchase services a la carte to customize your package


  • Bare bones website with limited info
  • Doesn’t offer online quotes

Atlas Van Lines: Best moving company

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (3)

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5

Online quote: No

Deposit required: No

Services: Local, long-distance and international moves, storage/storage-in transit, corporate relocations, military and government moves

Why we picked Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines is our highest-rated moving company due to its stellar reputation, diverse service offerings and decades of experience. While it doesn’t have storage facilities in all the areas it serves, it does offer storage-in-transit, where your items will be securely kept on the truck until they’re ready to be delivered. The company also has a vast network of business partnerships — through AAA, Verizon Wireless and the Association of Mature American Citizens — to help cut costs.

Who should use Atlas Van Lines

You should consider Atlas Van Lines if you want to work with a company that exclusively uses its own employees. While many full-service moving companies subcontract or broker services with partner carriers, Atlas Van Lines trains, background checks, and drug tests all its employees to ensure high-quality services.

That said, Atlas doesn’t top this list because it doesn’t provide online quotes or sample pricing on its site, which can be a deterrent if you’re hoping to quickly find out if it fits your budget.


  • Services local, long-distance and international moves in 17 countries
  • Robust customer portal with shipment tracking, billing and on-demand support
  • All drivers trained after passing a background check and drug test


  • Has to call back to give you a quote
  • Doesn’t have storage facilities in all locations

Mayflower Transit: Best for large moves

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (4)

Star rating: 4.4 out of 5

Online quote: No

Deposit required: No

Services: Local, long-distance international moves, corporate relocations, military moves, car shipping, packing, storage

Why we picked Mayflower Transit

Mayflower has the moving industry experience to service moves of all sizes and the resources to accommodate even small moves through Snap Moves. While Mayflower’s prices may not be the cheapest at face value, they include full-value protection, a la carte services, and binding estimates, which allow you to anticipate your costs and plan ahead. It ensures its binding estimates are right the first time by only providing a quote after an in-home or virtual estimate to survey your belongings.

It goes one step further than many moving companies by displaying sample prices for its full-service packages online, making it easier to budget for your move. For example, it offers a bare-bones package at $225 per hour, including $5,000 in full-value protection plus identity theft protection. Its higher-tier packages build on this coverage by increasing the full-value protection limits, adding debris removal services and more. These packages start at $425 and $725 per hour. The highest tier includes uncommon services, such as wall mount assembly for electronics and up to $25,000 in full-value protection.

Who should use Mayflower Transit

You should consider Mayflower if you want the comfort of a legacy brand name and an estimate that will remain the same throughout the moving process.


  • Includes full-value protection in all moves
  • Offers Snap Moves, a specialized service for small moves on a tight timeline
  • Can customize your package to meet your needs


  • Doesn’t service all moves with its own employees
  • Only offers quotes after a home or virtual inspection

United Van Lines: Best for liability coverage

Star rating: 4.2 out of 5

Online quote: No

Deposit required: No

Services: Local, long-distance and international moving, car shipping, packing, storage, military moves, corporate relocations

Why we picked United Van Lines

United Van Lines and Mayflower are owned by UniGroup, making them sister companies that pick up the slack for each other. United Van Lines stands out most notably for its included full-value protection, although it may raise its prices compared to competitors. Still, it provides extra assurance if your items are lost or damaged throughout the moving process.

Who should use United Van Lines

You should consider United Van Lines if you want extra insurance protection bundled into the base price of your moving quote or you want to take advantage of its uncommon add-on services, including debris removal after your move. It can also be a good fit for international moves because it has a broad reach in more than 150 countries.


  • Unique add-ons, such as debris removal and car shipping
  • Services more than 150 countries
  • Assigns a moving coordinator to each booking


  • Doesn’t service Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia
  • Requires advance booking in most cases
  • Doesn’t offer online quotes

Allied Van Lines: Best for full-service moves

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (6)

Star rating: 4.1 out of 5

Online quote: No

Deposit required: No

Services: Local, long-distance and international moving, portable storage containers, corporate relocation, storage, packing supplies, car shipping

Why we picked Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines offers a full range of moving services you can customize to your budget. While PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT only focus on portable container moves, Allied Van Lines offers those (through Allied Express) and traditional moving services, including packing and loading if you need them.

Who should use Allied Van Lines

Consider Allied Van Lines if you want the convenience of a full-service move and the peace of mind that comes with GPS tracking while your items are in transit. Allied Van Lines is tight-lipped about its costs because it wants to be as accurate as possible, so it’ll only provide a quote after a local agent comes to your home for an in-person survey of your property and belongings.


  • GPS tracking
  • Offers car shipping
  • Services include multiple move types, such as portable storage containers


  • Doesn’t provide quotes without an in-person survey
  • Doesn’t have 24/7 customer service

PODS: Best for city moves

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (7)

Star rating: 3.0 out of 5

Online quote: Yes

Deposit required: No

Services: Portable storage containers, on-site and facility storage, packing and loading assistance, car shipping, moving supplies

Why we picked PODS

PODS is a disruptor in the moving industry. It combines the cost-saving aspect of DIY moves with the convenience of professional driving and competitively priced add-ons. According to the company’s website, storage rental costs around $149 per month, plus about $75 for pick-up and delivery.

PODS containers come in three sizes — 8, 12, and 16 feet — to meet storage and moving needs of various sizes. You can use a PODS container for indefinite storage on your property or transport it to a secure facility or your new home. Unlike full-service movers or truck rentals, container moves allow you to load at your own pace.

Who should use PODS

You should consider PODS if you are moving or renovating and need roughly a month of storage. It’s also a good fit if you’re moving from an area for which other moving companies may charge a premium, such as a busy urban area without a driveway.


  • Free storage for 30 days
  • Offers transparent online quotes
  • Offers city services tailored for customers without a driveway


  • Doesn’t have shipment tracking options
  • 12-foot container limited to local moves

Our picks at a glance

Best for

Our rating

BBB score*

Deposit required


Cheap moves



Yes ($500)

North American Van Lines

Flexible pricing




Atlas Van Lines






Large moves




United Van Lines

Liability coverage




Allied Van Lines

Full-service moves





City moves




*Better Business Bureau (BBB) scores are accurate as of April 2024

What didn’t make the cut

You may notice that International Van Lines and JK Moving Services didn’t earn spots on this list, but they appear on similar lists. Both companies were narrowly beaten because their pricing tends to be substantially higher than competitors. However, JK Moving could be an option for those on a budget if they’re willing to take advantage of its financing resources.

How much does hiring a moving company cost?

The cost of hiring a moving company depends on several factors, such as the time of year, required services, the size of your move and any add-ons you select.

Local movers charge between $35 and $80 per hour per mover for a small move, but these rates can soar as high as $150 per hour for a larger move. Long-distance moves aren’t priced by the hour and you’re more likely to receive a flat-rate estimate. The national average for hiring movers sits around $1,675 for a full-service move within 500 miles.

What impacts moving costs?

No two moves are the same, so moving costs can vary dramatically from project to project. We’ve outlined the most common factors impacting moving costs.


The distance between your origin and destination locations is one of the main contributors to your move’s cost. Local moves will generally cost less than long-distance or cross-country moves.


Licensed moving carriers tend to include basic valuation, which covers $0.60 per pound of household goods. Basic valuation isn’t enough to cover the full replacement value, so supplementary insurance is often necessary, but it adds extra costs. You can expect your insurance costs to increase with your selected coverage limit.

Size of move

Simply put, large moves cost more than small ones because they require more labor. Consider the size of your home, the anticipated weight of your household goods and any household features, such as flights of stairs, that can add to your moving costs.


Some moving companies, like PODS, offer 30 days of storage for free when you book your move, but this practice isn’t industry standard. If you need storage services for a longer period, you can expect monthly rent to increase your total moving costs.


Moving companies charge a premium for packing supplies, but these are often specially designed to protect your items from damage. You can minimize these costs by providing your own packing supplies or using recycled materials.

Time of year

Demand is another major factor impacting moving costs. Moves from mid-April to mid-September cost more than moves at any other time of the year. To cut costs, consider moving during the off-season.

Type of movers

The type of moving company you hire significantly impacts your total costs. DIY or hybrid moves with a rental truck or storage container are more budget-friendly than full-service moves, in which your belongings are packed, loaded and transported for you.

What is the cheapest method of moving?

DIY moving is the cheapest method of moving. If you have a large van or truck and friends willing to help out, you can move for virtually only the cost of fuel and packing supplies. If you don’t have access to a large vehicle, you can still save with a rental truck, like U-Haul, or a portable storage container. With these options, you still do all the labor on your own, but you don’t have the size constraints of your personal vehicle.

When is the cheapest time to hire movers?

It’s cheapest to move on a weekday (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) between mid-September and late April. Moving during this time of year avoids peak moving season and moving on a weekday takes advantage of times when movers are less likely to be booked because many people have to work or tend to other obligations.

How to choose the best affordable movers

Below, you’ll find some tips to help you find the best movers for your budget:

  • Request several quotes: Don’t take the first quote you get. Request as many free quotes as possible to better understand your projected move costs.
  • Inquire about price matching: If you get a better quote from a different company, don’t keep it to yourself. Some moving companies will haggle or price-match their competitors if they discover they’ve been undercut.
  • Consider a marketplace or broker: Moving brokers and marketplaces accept bids from various moving companies to get you the best rate.
  • Do some or all of the move yourself: You can further reduce your moving costs and maintain control of the process by packing, loading or transporting your belongings yourself.
  • Ask for referrals: If you’re moving for work, you can ask your company or coworkers for recommendations within your price range. You can also ask your friends, family or local community groups who they recommend from their experiences.
  • Read reviews: Dig into every moving company’s reputation by checking customer reviews for common themes. Real-life customer experiences will give you more insight into a company’s performance than anything else.

How can I save money on moving?

You can save money on moving expenses in the following ways.

Choose a cheaper type of mover

If you get sticker shock after requesting a quote, consider downgrading your moving services to a more affordable option. If you started with a full-service mover, a rental truck or third-party labor is often more inexpensive.

Compare multiple quotes

Shopping around is vital to finding an inexpensive moving company. Request as many quotes as possible and compare services to zero in on the best value for your budget.


Decluttering anything you can easily replace in your new home can reduce the labor — and cost — necessary for your move. Consider donating, reselling or otherwise getting rid of items that may add to the volume of belongings you need to move.

Plan ahead

Booking far in advance may allow you to access more competitive pricing options. Start reaching out to moving companies as soon as you plan to move. Many moving companies have relocation coordinators or educational materials to help you check items off your to-do list and get organized before your move.

Research your options

Don’t discount anything before you look at your options. You may be able to save money moving by hiring for some parts of your move while doing other parts yourself. For example, you can save money by packing yourself without forgoing the convenience of loading labor or transportation help. You may also cobble together a full-service move by hiring third-party packers or laborers instead of booking all help through the same company.


Our independent rating system evaluated moving companies based on the factors below:

We awarded companies points for offering local, long-distance, international, full-service, self-service and carrier moves. Companies that offered the most options scored the most points.

We awarded companies points for offering packing and unpacking services, appliance disconnection and setup, auto and other vehicle shipping, junk removal and storage options. Companies that provided fragile-only, antiques, art and collectibles and piano packing scored additional points.

Companies that offer industry minimum valuation coverage scored the least points, while those that offer three or more options scored the highest number of points.

We weighted companies’ BBB scores, the number of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration complaints in 2022 and years of experience to calculate their reputation score.

Companies were awarded points based on the number of states they served. The more states they were available, the more points we awarded them.

We awarded companies points for online options like virtual assessments, moving supply calculators, GPS tracking and inventory apps. The more options a company had, the more points we awarded them.

Our editorial staff awarded companies points based on their expert assessment. No points were awarded for franchises, marketplaces or companies with inadequate websites. Negative points were given to companies without a U.S. Department of Transportation number. Companies that did not meet these criteria were awarded an additional point.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Budget moving services will vary from company to company and by move type. For a DIY move, you can expect your booking to include the rental truck or portable moving container you select, basic insurance and moving equipment. For a full-service move, you can expect your movers to handle all the labor, but you’ll need to pack your own boxes or pay extra for that service.

You can estimate your moving costs accurately by requesting quotes from several companies, using online calculators and taking advantage of in-home or virtual surveys of your moving project when a company offers it.

Cheap moving companies may have hidden fees, such as fuel surcharges, long-carry charges or fees for flights of stairs. You can avoid hidden fees by asking questions during the quote process and being upfront about any challenges movers may face at your property. Long-carry charges come up when movers can’t easily park near your home and flight fees can be unexpected if you don’t disclose stairs at your home.

You should book movers at least eight to 12 weeks before your expected move date. You may want to book even earlier if you’re moving during peak season, from mid-May through mid-September, or if you’re moving long distance.

You should expect to tip between 15% and 20% of your total move cost. You can tip more if you have specialty items or an extraordinary service experience.

Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored (2024)


Best Cheap Moving Companies 2024 | CNN Underscored? ›

What's the Cheapest Day of the Week to Move? The short answer to this question is that the cheapest day to move is on a weekday — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Simply put, most moving companies offer better rates during the week because they aren't as busy then.

What is the least expensive day to move? ›

What's the Cheapest Day of the Week to Move? The short answer to this question is that the cheapest day to move is on a weekday — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Simply put, most moving companies offer better rates during the week because they aren't as busy then.

What are the most reputable moving companies? ›

The top movers in our Best Moving Companies rating are Allied Van Lines, Mayflower, and Colonial Van Lines. These full-service companies also place in the top three for our Best Long-Distance Moving Companies and Best Interstate Moving Companies ratings.

How can I make moving less expensive? ›

5 money-saving tips for moving on a budget
  1. Declutter and donate. When looking for ways to save money on your move, start by asking yourself what you can get rid of. ...
  2. Get packing materials on the cheap. ...
  3. Run the numbers on professional movers. ...
  4. Run the numbers on moving yourself. ...
  5. Check your calendar.
May 8, 2024

What are the cons of moving companies? ›

Cons of Hiring a Moving Company

Higher cost than DIY: One of the primary drawbacks of hiring a full-service moving company is the potentially high cost, which may not be suitable for those on a tight budget. Various factors determine the overall expense, such as distance, the size of the move, and additional services.

What is the cheapest month to move? ›

Most Affordable Months (January – March & September – November): Take advantage of the off-season! These months offer the best combination of low prices and decent weather in many locations. You'll find movers more readily available and open to negotiating rates.

What month is the cheapest to hire movers? ›

So, when is the cheapest time to move? Scheduling your move from late September to April will save you the most money. This window of time avoids peak moving season in the summer as well as the high demand for movers in the fall, up to early September.

How can I avoid being scammed by a moving company? ›

Make your plans, do your research, and check a mover's permit well in advance of your move. Hire a licensed, BHGS permitted moving company that you have researched and vetted with various sources. Online reviews and postings are a great way to identify movers with an alarming pattern of problems you want to avoid.

How do I know if my moving company is reputable? ›

Research the company—check if the company is registered with the California Public Utilities Commission (for moves within California) or the U.S. Department of Transportation (for interstate moves); what types of services the company offers; how long the company has been in business; and the company's reputation for ...

Why do moving companies have a bad reputation? ›

Moving is an inherently invasive process that makes people anxious. If expectations are not properly set, or there is poor communication, this anxiety can quickly escalate into panic. The negative reputation of the industry is, at some level, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Is $5000 enough to move out? ›

The answer depends on various factors, such as your location, lifestyle, and personal circ*mstances. While $5,000 can be a good starting point, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the costs associated with moving out and living independently.

What is a reasonable moving budget? ›

You can usually expect local moves to range from $300 to $1,500, while long-distance moves can cost, on average, $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the move's size and distance. Don't forget to factor in additional costs like gas and tolls for transportation.

What is the best company for moving? ›

The 10 Best Moving Companies of 2024
  • Allied Van Lines: Best Price Quote Accuracy.
  • North American Van Lines: Best For Custom Options.
  • Mayflower: Best For GPS Tracking.
  • JK Moving Services: Best Full-Service Experience.
  • Colonial Van Lines: Best For Short- or Long-Term Storage.
  • American Van Lines: Best For Speciality Moves.
May 14, 2024

Can you haggle with movers? ›

You can negotiate with the company by sharing the lowest estimate you received. Ask them if they can match or beat that price. If it means winning you over as a customer, they just might give you a discount.

Are moving costs negotiable? ›

A: In short, yes, you can negotiate moving costs. How much you can save is going to depend on your situation, though. If you're moving to start a new job, ask your new employer about the costs they'll cover for your relocation.

What is the cheapest day to move a house? ›

If you're choosing your moving date primarily for financial reasons, then Sunday is the best day to move house for you. Book your removal company in advance and compare removal companies to ensure you're getting the best possible deal for your removal costs.

What is the best day of the week to move in? ›

In contrast, weekdays tend to be less busy, making them a better option for those looking to save money and avoid crowds. Based on our 90+ years of experience, the best day of the week to move is typically between Monday and Thursday.

What is the least popular moving day? ›

If you're choosing your moving date based on your working schedule, then for many, Friday will be the best day to move house. The least popular day to move is Sunday, with only 2.69% of people opting to move at this time.

What day is a bad day to move house? ›

Never move into a new home on a Friday, Saturday, or any rainy day in fact. You'll be plagued with bad luck.


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