The Best Moving Companies in California (2022 Review)

As one of the largest and most populous states in the union, California is sure to have plenty of options for both local moving and cross-country relocations. This wealth of options at your fingertips could, in some cases, seem overwhelming if you aren’t used to planning a move. We’ve done all the necessary research to make that more accessible to you. No matter the professional moving service level you require, you’ll find a viable solution here. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Who the best moving companies are in the Golden State
  • How to set yourself up for a stress-free transition to a new home
  • How much you should expect to pay for your move

The 7 Best Moving Companies in California

Our top recommended California moving companies for 2022:

Compare the Best Moving Companies in CA

Here, we’ve included a quick comparison of the best moving companies in California. You’ll find our rating, Better Business Bureau accreditation level, and basic pricing information. To learn more about each, read our provider summaries below.

Company Website Our Take Our Rating BBB Rating Local Cost Long-Distance Cost
International Van Lines Site Best Full-Service Mover 9.8 B $600 – $1,200 $1,900 – $4,900
American Van Lines Site Most Transparent Pricing  9.7 N/A $500 – $1,000 $2,300 – $5,300
Moving APT Site Most Moving Partners 9.6 B $2,500 – $4,800
JK Moving Services Site Most Customizable Moving Experience 9.5 A+ Call for a quote $2,500 – $5,500
Allied Van Lines Site Most Vehicle Shipping Options 9.4 A+ $750 – $1,350 $1,800 – $4,500
U-Pack Site Most Widely-Available Container Service 9.3 A+ N/A $1,200 – $2,200
North American Van Lines Site Best Pricing Options 9.2 A+ $750 – $1,350 $1,800 – $4,500

International Van Lines: Best Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines (IVL) is one of the most highly-regarded moving carriers and brokers in the U.S. today. They began handling domestic relocation services in 2004 and have since expanded to have one of the most expansive reaches in the industry. They operate through a network of qualified local agents to handle more than 20,000 moves per year, all backed by quality work and industry-leading customer service.

Best Full-Service Mover

  • Serving 50 states and 180 countries
  • Excellent customer service
  • One month of free storage

our rating9.8

Why We Recommend IVL

Despite contracting out many of their moves, International maintains an excellent reputation within the moving industry. Their partner companies are licensed and insured and can handle a wide array of moves and moving services. Above all, their clients rave about the open lines of communication that IVL maintains throughout all moves.

Pros and Cons of International Van Lines

Pros:

  • Available across the US and in 180 other countries
  • Their customer service features heavily in positive reviews
  • One month of free storage included in moves

Cons:

  • Limited locations in the US
  • Brokers out many of its American moves

Services Offered

International works through their extensive network of partners to provide clients with a diverse range of basic and add-on services, as listed below. Due to their primary focus as brokers, these offerings can vary from location to location.

  • Local, long-distance, and international moving
  • Packing services
  • Unpacking
  • Storage services (short-term and long-term)
  • Custom crating for fragile items
  • Debris removal
  • Auto transport
  • Piano moving
  • Air and ocean freight
  • And more

How Much Does International Van Lines Cost?

IVL’s rates are routinely among the most competitive in the industry. You can stage a two-bedroom move of under 250 miles for as little as $1,400 with them, which is decidedly at the low end for full-service moving.

Here, we’ve put together some sample rates for moves with IVL. Viewing these should help you set your budgetary expectations before getting free quotes.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $1,400 – $4,400 $1,900 – $4,900 $2,100 – $5,100 $2,400 – $5,400
4 BR $3,200 – $6,200 $5,100 – $8,100 $5,700 – $8,700 $6,200 – $9,200

Get a quote from IVL here.

American Van Lines: Most Transparent Pricing

American Van Lines brings more than 25 years of experience to each move they carry out. Though based in Florida, this nationwide provider has locations across the U.S. and can handle moves in all lower 48 states, including California. This provider’s flat-rate pricing, experienced movers, and range of additional services offered make them ideal for most moving needs.

Most Transparent Pricing

  • Flat rate pricing
  • Competitor price matching
  • Moving shuttles between major cities

our rating9.6

Why We Recommend AVL

American Van Lines’ flat rates come with some excellent options for clients with moving needs of all sizes. This company offers last-minute moving service at no additional charge, which is frequently featured in their customer reviews. Aside from this, they offer fairly regular moving shuttles between major cities. In California, these include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other major metropolitan areas, which can help drive down costs for you.

Pros and Cons of American Van Lines

Pros:

  • Flat rate pricing
  • Price matching available
  • Frequent moving shuttles between major cities

Cons:

  • Large deposits (up to 50%) often required at booking
  • Reviews mention spotty customer service at times

Services Offered

As a carrier, American Van Lines does not contract work out to other movers. When you hire them for a move, one of their crews will directly provide every moving service you could need. These include the following:

  • Local, long-distance, and international moving
  • Residential and commercial moving
  • Full-service or partial packing
  • Car shipping
  • Storage
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Antique moving
  • And more

How Much Does American Van Lines Cost?

American Van Lines’ flat rates, while not a rarity in the industry, are a welcome change for clients wary of hidden fees. Flat rates can lead to overall higher costs but help to alleviate any “sticker shock” when seeing the final bill. Here are some sample rates from past American Van Lines moves:

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $1,700 – $4,700 $2,300 – $5,300 $2,600 – $5,600 $4,200 – $7,200
4 BR $4,800 – $7,800 $5,600 – $8,600 $7,400 – $10,400 $10,800 – $13,800

Get a quote from American Van Lines here

Moving APT: Most Moving Partners

Founded in 1999, Moving APT is a brokerage with more than 500 local agents and 2,500 partners overall throughout the U.S. They grew from a small initial crew of just five workers and two trucks to a team of 30, which makes moving services accessible to all. You’ll find thorough breakdowns of movers organized by location and services on their website. All movers they partner with are fully licensed and insured, with up-to-date federal and local registrations, so you can rest assured that your move is in good hands with them.

Most Moving Partners

  • Profiles for most-used partners
  • Price matching and discounts
  • Large pool of moving providers

our rating9.5

Why We Recommend Moving APT

Moving APT’s operation exclusively as a broker grants them nearly unmatched versatility in the services offered. They also offer a price matching service to any client who can provide proof of a lower quote from a competing moving company. This mover also provides discounts for several groups, including veterans, senior citizens, and those who decide to book their move early.

Pros and Cons of Moving APT

Pros:

  • Their website includes full profiles of many of their most-used partners
  • Price matching and discounts offered
  • The number of affiliates equals great diversity of service

Cons:

  • Service quality varies depending on the local partner used for your move
  • Some negative reviews and FMCSA complaints report price changing by local agents

Services Offered

Moving APT’s service offerings will vary greatly from location to location, as their agents in each area will offer slightly different basics and add-ons. Here is a basic list of what you can expect from most Moving APT relocations:

  • Local and interstate moving
  • Residential and corporate relocation
  • Commercial and residential moving
  • Storage (one free month included with all moves)
  • Piano moving
  • Auto shipping
  • Packing services
  • Packing supplies (included for some moves)
  • Appliance connection services
  • Some furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • And more

How Much Does Moving APT Cost?

Moving APT does a great job breaking down their relative costs on their website. Per their data, a 1,200-mile move with one of their partners will cost around $4,300. Pricing can vary greatly between partners, and many reviews report that this broker’s local agents can change the service price at the last minute. You should get a quote from this mover to get a picture of your costs.

Get a quote from Moving APT here.

J.K. Moving Services: Most Customizable Moving Experience

J.K. Moving Services has been in the industry for more than 40 years and has assisted more than half a million individual moves. They operate as a carrier and broker and service moving needs throughout the lower 48 states. As a broker, J.K. works with various other professional movers for most relocations outside their immediate home base in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.

Most Customizable Moving Experience

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Financing available
  • Excellent insurance options

our rating9.4

Why We Recommend J.K.

JK Moving Services’ customer service throughout the booking process and during moves is what separates them from the pack. Their AI-assisted virtual estimate tool helps establish accurate pricing for clients in any location, which helps customers get on-demand quotes no matter where they may be. J.K. also provides GPS tracking for all moves, from pick-up to delivery, meaning you’ll always be kept up-to-date on the location of your goods.

Pros and Cons of J.K. Moving Services

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Financing options through Enhancify
  • Excellent value protection and coverage options

Cons:

  • Reviews vary across different regions
  • Their limited range for local moves

Services Offered

J.K. Moving Services can provide clients with the following services. Note that these could vary from place to place. Get a quote before booking to ensure that your movers have an adequate service profile for your needs.

  • Local moving in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.
  • Long-distance and international moving
  • Residential and commercial services
  • Packing (full-service or fragile-only)
  • Climate-controlled storage options
  • Furniture wrapping
  • GPS shipment tracking
  • Financing assistance
  • And more

How Much Does J.K. Moving Services Cost?

A two-bedroom, 500-mile move with J.K. will likely cost you $2,500 and $5,500, depending on inventory and service requirements. You should call to get a quote at least a month ahead of moving day to get a more concrete estimate for your move. Note that, with J.K., you’ll be afforded excellent financing options for your final total. This means that a J.K. move can fit most budgetary restrictions.

Get a quote from J.K. Moving Services here.

Allied Van Lines: Most Vehicle Shipping Options

Allied Van Lines has been in the industry for almost 90 years and is one of the most recognized moving brands in the country. Due to the size of their moving network, you’ve likely seen one of their distinctive trucks on the road at some point. This mover comes highly recommended, with a 96% satisfaction rating maintained through thousands of moves.

Most Vehicle Shipping Options

  • No hidden fees
  • Vehicle shipping is NOT outsourced
  • GPS tracking

our rating9.7

Why We Recommend Allied

Allied Van Lines is one of the top choices for large domestic shipments, including specialty vehicle transportation needs. Along with their leading range of services offered, they’re one of the most effective auto shippers. They never outsource these large shipping requests to a third party, which means you will have far fewer logistical hurdles as a customer.

Pros and Cons of Allied Van Lines

Pros:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Doesn’t outsource vehicle shipping
  • GPS tracking offered for all moves

Cons:

  • Reviews report negative experiences during the claims process
  • Elevated costs for longer moves

Services Offered

Allied provides the following leading services to their clients throughout the U.S.:

  • Local and long-distance moving
  • International moving
  • Packing (full-service or partial)
  • Unpacking
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Auto shipping
  • Boat and specialty vehicle shipping
  • Storage
  • Debris removal
  • GPS shipment tracking
  • Packing supplies
  • And more

How Much Does Allied Cost?

Allied Van Lines’ quoted rates are fairly reliable. Local moves will cost you a minimum of $500 to $600, as they charge four-hour minimums for such service. Here, we’ve included a breakdown of basic cost ranges for moves of different sizes. Note that when you plan a long-distance move with Allied, the shipping weight and volume will largely dictate costs.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $1,800 – $4,500 $2,400 – $5,400 $2,700 – $5,700 $4,400 – $7,400
4 BR $3,300 – $6,000 $5,700 – $8,700 $7,500 – $10,500 $10,900 – $13,900

Get a quote from Allied Van Lines here.

U-Pack: Best Overall Container Mover

U-Pack is our choice for the best container service based on their reputation with customers, pricing model, and wide availability. With more than 240 locations across all 50 states, U-Pack can provide long-distance moving assistance to clients everywhere. With “pay for what you use” pricing, theirs is a fairly unique service and cost structure, allowing customers to move at a fairly low price.

Best Overall Container Service

  • 240 locations nationwide
  • “Pay for what you use” pricing
  • 3-day grace period for loading/unloading

our rating9.3

Why We Recommend U-Pack

U-Pack’s three-day loading and unloading windows and pricing make them a fairly common choice among those just planning moves for the first time. Their trailer option is an outlier among container shipping services, as it can fit most three-bedroom homes. Even with this sizing option, you can hope to pay a far lower price than you would expect. For example, if you only use ten of the 27 feet of trailer space, then this is all you will be charged.

Pros and Cons of U-Pack

Pros:

  • 240 locations
  • The pricing model keeps costs low
  • Three-day windows for loading and unloading

Cons:

  • Finding parking spaces for units and trailers can be difficult
  • No local moving options (under 150 miles)

Services Offered

U-Pack’s sizing options make them an equally great fit for studio apartments and larger homes alike. However, U-Pack does not provide any local moving services, which could be a negative for some.

  • Choose from an 8-foot ReloCube or 27-foot trailer
  • Short-term and long-term storage at U-Pack centers
  • Moving help can be hired if needed

How Much Does U-Pack Cost?

U-Pack’s pricing structure and basic service offerings make them one of the best movers for anyone trying to work within a tight budget. Here is a breakdown of some of U-Pack’s recent average price points.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $600 – $1,600 $1,200 – $2,200 $1,600 – $2,600 $2,100 – $3,100
4 BR $800 – $1,800 $1,800 – $2,800 $2,800 – $3,800 $4,100 – $5,100

Get a quote from U-Pack here

North American Van Lines: Best Pricing Options

North American Van Lines is one of the most experienced and widely-respected movers in the business. After more than 85 years of experience, they’ve expanded into a nationwide network with more than 500 local agents spread across all 50 states. Whether your California move takes you from Sacramento to San Diego, New York, or Hawaii, they’ll be able to handle things directly.

Best Pricing Options

  • GPS tracking
  • Dedicated move coordinator provided relocations
  • “Not to exceed” pricing option
North American Van Lines salutes our service men and women this Memorial Day weekend, as well as organizations like the Gary Sinise Foundation that support these deserving heroes.

our rating9.2

Why We Recommend NAVL

North American is a nationwide mover whose pricing flexibility reflects the practices of a more local moving company. They offer “bottom line” and “not to exceed” pricing options, which help to give customers a greater degree of comfort when booking moves of all sizes. If you’re worried about running over budget, you can inquire about these features during your quote.

Pros and Cons of North American Van Lines

Pros:

  • GPS tracking available for all moves
  • A dedicated move coordinator is provided for all relocations
  • Variable pricing structure helps clients on most budgets

Cons:

  • Many reviews report difficult claims processes for damage
  • Specialty services can be based on local agent ability

Services Offered

North American provides its clients with the following services. Given the sheer size of their network, you should note that the availability of certain services will vary from location to location.

  • Local and long-distance moving
  • International moving
  • Packing and unpacking (full-service or partial)
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Debris removal
  • 24/7 shipment tracking
  • Appliance installation
  • Storage
  • Excellent insurance options
  • And more

How Much Does NAVL Cost?

North American Van Lines’ reputation partially hinges on its agreeable pricing model and easy-to-understand rates. Here is a more thorough breakdown of expected costs when moving with them.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $1,800 – $4,500 $2,400 – $5,400 $2,700 – $5,700 $4,400 – $7,400
4 BR $3,300 – $6,000 $5,700 – $8,700 $7,500 – $10,500 $10,900 – $13,900

Get a quote from North American Van Lines here

How to Choose a Moving Company

Selecting a mover can seem like a daunting task at first. You may not know what to look for or where to start the vetting process. In reality, there is a simple list of qualifications and traits to keep in mind, which will simplify this greatly. With all that we’ve listed here, you should be able to book a stress-free move. Feel free to request proof of registration and insurance when getting quotes from any mover.

Proper Registration

All California movers are required to comply with certain registration guidelines, whether they be at the federal or state level. If you elect to book your move with a provider that conducts interstate business, but is primarily based in C.A., then your movers will have to comply with the following:

  • FMCSA Registration: Interstate movers are all regulated at the federal level by the FMCSA. This governing body also requires movers to carry US DOT and MC numbers, which can be used to research a mover’s complaint history and registration status through this link.
  • CPUC: The California Public Utilities Commission is responsible for licensing all local and locally-based moving companies in the state. You can check the validity of this particular registration here.

Fully Insured

Movers have to carry multiple forms of insurance to operate within the U.S. legally. These include:

  • Workers’ Compensation: This essential insurance policy protects your interests in the event of a work-related injury during a move. Without such coverage, you could be held liable for damages.
  • Released Liability Coverage: This provides a small amount of reimbursement for lost or damaged goods during a move. At a rate of $0.60 per pound per item, you won’t be able to recover the full value of most goods. However, this is included in your base cost and can be supplemented with valuation coverage options from many movers.

Well-Reviewed

Third-party customer reviews are essential when evaluating any mover. It’s easy for a mover to make a good impression during a personal estimate, but these reviews will give you better insight into a mover’s conduct. Aside from BBB accreditation and associated reviews, you should look into consumer feedback from the following sources:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Social media

Full-Service Moving

This comes to mind for most people when moving of any kind is brought up in conversation. This type of relocation will come with the highest associated costs, but this will be coupled with the greatest amount of convenience. Moves with this service model can include everything, from basic loading and unloading to full-service packing, unpacking, specialty item moving, and far more.

Self-Service

Self-service moves can either entail renting a truck from a service like U-Haul or Penske or renting a container from a provider like U-Pack or PODS. In most cases, self-service moving means handling the loading and unloading of your own goods. The increased work on your end is the tradeoff for the lower price of your move.

Moving To California

In recent years, California has become one of the most-departed states in the U.S. This is owing mainly to the large-scale departure of businesses in the face of greater regulation, which has impacted the job market. This trend doesn’t hold across all industries and demographics, however.

When you move here, you’ll be afforded nearly unmatched access to the outdoors via the many national parks and world-famous beaches, with plenty of excellent ski resorts located inland. The tourism, forestry, agriculture, and tech industries thrive in California. Although it is always recommended that you find a job prior to moving anywhere, it will be far from impossible to find work here.

California Moving Costs

Here, we’ve broken down some average costs from many of our top providers. These price points are representative of actual data from recent moves. After reviewing these to set your budget, you should always pursue quotes and get written estimates.

Long-Distance 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
2500 mi $4,800 $5,100 $7,100 $10,000
3000 mi $5,100 $6,000 $8,750 $11,250

Best Cities in CA

If you’re looking to move to California and haven’t decided where you’d like to settle down, the following can provide you with plenty of the best aspects of life in the Golden State.

  • San Diego: San Diego lies immediately on the Mexican border while serving as a major port city. This makes it a prime example of the cultural melting pot that California is known for. The weather, nightlife, and abundant tourist and outdoor attractions make this one of the most sought-after locales in the entire country. The median home values are over $800,000, and average rentals will cost more than $2,700 per month.
  • Palo Alto: Palo Alto is often recognized as the birthplace of Silicon Valley. It is also one of the state’s richest and safest towns. This town of just 66,000 boasts some of the best schools in the state, plenty of green spaces and parks, and a number of highly-regarded dining and nightlife destinations. The presence of Stanford University and plenty of families gives the town a far more youthful, vibrant feel.
  • Irvine: It’s no surprise that another city with a substantial college presence has made this list. Irvine is home to 270,000 people in the heart of Orange County. With a year-round average temperature of 76 degrees and 16,000 acres of parks and open spaces, this city mixes outdoor recreation and standard urban life. The presence of UC Irvine and some of the best schools in the state make it a hub for young professionals and families alike. The median home price is over $1 million, meaning that renting may be the better option here.
  • Sacramento: The state’s capital city is worth looking at if you’re still hunting for a home. Though it doesn’t receive the same acclaim as the Bay Area or San Diego, it provides residents with a relatively (for the state) low cost of living and a more laid back, suburban atmosphere. Median home costs of $520,000 are relatively cheap for the state and, with the number of urban amenities you’ll have access to, should be considered.

Living in California

Here, we’ve listed a few key data points you should be aware of when planning a move to California.

  • Cost of living: Simply put, California is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. Across the state, you’ll pay nearly 50% more for day-to-day expenses when compared to national averages.
  • Housing: This accounts for much of the inflated cost of living. At 239% of the national average, California is only outpaced by Hawaii and Washington D.C. Here, you’ll pay an average of $2,500 per month for a two-bedroom apartment; these costs are elevated further in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
  • Weather: Weather patterns in California are incredibly diverse. From the desert to southern coastal zones to a more alpine climate further inland, California is impossible to typecast as far as weather patterns are concerned. High temperatures range from 87 degrees in July to a mild 54 degrees in January.

Final Thoughts

With all of the information we’ve provided, we’re confident that you’ll be able to book a move with relative ease. Whether you’re booking with long-distance movers or are planning an intrastate move, it’s important to begin the planning process far in advance. Around two months ahead of your moving date, begin researching providers in your area while conducting a thorough inventory of your home. If you line up quotes with different providers, you’ll be able to vet each provider properly you come into contact with and will ultimately make the right choice.

Moving Companies in California FAQs

What are the extra or hidden costs when moving?

Although it’s not a hidden cost, you should be aware that guaranteed estimates can change when you add inventory or services to a move. Remember to mention all services or special requests you could need to be fulfilled during your move estimate to avoid this.

What happens if my stuff gets damaged?

Unless you’ve purchased valuation coverage, you will be reimbursed at the industry standard rate of $0.60 per pound per item. Even with this, you’ll have to file claims fairly quickly with most moving companies in order to receive any payment.

How far out in advance should I book a moving company?

You should make every effort to book your move at least a month in advance. Doing this will ensure that you book with your company of choice and eliminate the chance of you incurring add-on fees.

What is considered a long-distance move?

In California, a 100-mile move within the state is often considered a long-distance move. At that distance, your move costs will be calculated based on move distance and shipping weight rather than an hourly rate.

House Method Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. We’ve done the homework for you and have researched several dozen moving companies so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your move. 

To make the most of our research, we developed a formula to objectively determine the best moving companies on a 10-point scale based on the following criteria:

  • Moving Services (3.0): Does the company offer international, interstate, or local moving services? Or all three?
  • Additional Services (3.0): Does the company offer additional services such as packing/unpacking or loading/unloading?
  • Insurance Coverage (1.0): What kind of moving insurance coverage does the company offer, such as released value protection or full-value protection?
  • Trailers and Containers (1.0): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer to customers?
  • Benefits (1.0): What additional perks does the company offer? Some examples: storage, packing, free boxes, moving truck rentals, financing, etc.
  • Scheduling (.5): How are customers able to schedule their move, online, through the phone, or both? What is the ease of the scheduling process?
  • Reputation (.5): What kind of ratings does the company have on popular review sites such as Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Trustpilot?

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