Moving Company Review and Rating Methodology

By Sean Donnelly

As an evaluator of home services, transparency to you, the reader, is always our chief concern. You’ll only be able to make the right decision regarding your upcoming relocation if you’re equipped with the right information. We’ve made it a priority to provide you with the latest industry data in order to make your selection process and moving experience a positive one. Read our affiliate disclosure for more information.

How We Rate, Review, and Compare Moving Companies

Moving is a difficult process. It is consistently rated as one of life’s most stressful events, for good reason. You’ll be uprooting your entire life and, if you’re moving across the country or across town, you’ll find it hard to devote energy to anything else throughout your relocation. Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, our moving content is designed with you in mind.

We use a defined system to rate all moving companies. If you’re looking for a hassle-free full-service mover, or are thinking of attempting a DIY move, all movers you’ll find here have been evaluated on the same ten-point scale, split among five key categories. Within that, we’ve broken our rating system down into 24 sub-categories and points of evaluation which are aimed to render the most comprehensive mover ratings that you’ll find.

Key Categories Within our Mover Rating Methodology

All of the movers whose services we evaluate are fully registered, insured, and carry requisite customer review profiles to be recognized at a national and worldwide level. Beyond being able to legally operate in a given state or locale, or to provide basic service, we’ve broken down our rating methodology into the following categories.

We’ve listed each main parent category, with all relevant data points and subcategories. We hope that this makes our rating process more accessible and straightforward so that you can book your next move with confidence when using our recommendations.

Transparency (3.0)

  • Easy access to all proofs of insurance and registration (1.0)
  • Visible listing of all company policies (0.7)
  • Quick quote feature available online (0.7)
  • Clearly-worded moving contracts provided (0.6)

Cost (2.5)

  • Average pricing is within industry norms (0.8)
  • Binding estimates offered (0.6)
  • Sample rates published online (0.5)
  • Easy-to-understand pricing models (0.3)
  • Clear delineation between basic included services and specialty add-ons (0.3)

Customer Service (2.0)

  • Positive customer reviews (0.9)
  • Defined hours for communication with company representatives (0.5)
  • Claims and disputes resolutions (0.3)
  • Mobile app for easy booking and GPS tracking for long-distance moves (0.3)

Services Offered (1.5)

  • Local moving, long-distance moving, and international moving (or all three) (0.35)
  • Specialty offerings (0.3)
    • Valuation coverage options
    • Crane service
    • Shuttle services
    • Home staging
    • Piano moving
    • Customs services (international movers only)
  • Military and government moving (0.2)
  • Short and long-term storage (0.2)
  • Full-service packing (0.15)
  • Packing supplies (0.1)
  • Crating services (0.1)
  • Debris removal (0.1)

Customization Options (1.0)

  • Fair pricing for added services (0.4)
  • A la carte service offerings (0.3)
  • Optimization of in-person quotes to fit each client’s needs (0.3)

Mover Transparency

If you or a friend or family member have hired professional movers, then you’ve likely heard about some moving-related horror stories related to poor communication, or total lack thereof. We consider a mover’s full disclosure of all policies, insurance coverages, and relevant documents prior to carrying out any relocation to be of the utmost importance. We’ve listed different components of moving company transparency here.

Registration and Insurance Accessibility

No matter your individual state’s moving company registration or insurance requirements, all movers you deal with should be able to readily produce proof of these during the estimate or quote process. For most companies currently in operation, this will amount to a dedicated website page that lists all pertinent information. Movers who readily supply this information rate highly for transparency by our standards. For long-distance moving companies, you can easily look up registration status and complaint histories through this link, by using their MC and USDOT numbers.

Company Policies

In the modern moving industry, all companies you have any kind of direct interaction with should have their own websites, with a dedicated webpage for all relevant moving policies. These include lists of banned items to pack in moving trucks, stated rates or state tariff regulations, and more.

Quick Quotes

Many moving companies are either developing or have implemented quick quote tools for moves of different sizes. While these ballpark estimates shouldn’t be taken as replacements for binding visual estimates, they make shopping around far easier for clients in a hurry.

Clearly-Worded Moving Contracts

All moving contracts should have clear and concise wording regarding what is to be covered in the base cost of your move, versus what will cost extra. Binding estimates and contracts should all have a clear delineation of all services to be rendered, with defined prices listed. Clients should be informed that any additional services will increase their bottom line for the move.

Moving Cost

Moving is a costly endeavor. We’ve analyzed move data from more than 1,000 different relocations of varying lengths by our top providers and beyond to help ensure that you’re well-informed. All of the movers we evaluate are judged according to the pricing data that we’ve collected.

Pricing Lines Up with Industry Rates

You’re sure to pay elevated rates during peak moving season in the warmer months. However, higher or exorbitant rates should not be the norm year-round. Our proprietary cost data is used to evaluate every moving company based on current industry averages. We know that having accurate cost data going into a moving quote can help you to save money on your upcoming move.

Here are the average costs for moves of different sizes, for reference:

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

Binding Estimates Offered

Especially for long-distance moves, binding or fixed estimates should always be on the table. Under this cost model, your move cost will not change unless your move inventory or service requirements do between the receipt of your estimate and moving day.

Sample Pricing

This is not a universal offering, but movers who provide this place themselves in an excellent position to build trust with clients. You’ll most commonly see sample cost figures listed for local movers, as average pricing is more reliable for short moves.

Pricing is Easy to Understand

In short, this subcategory is meant to keep movers accountable for their estimate practices, within the context of our rating system. Movers rate well by this metric when they consistently provide clients with succinct bottom-line pricing quotes after estimates. All estimates should ideally be given to clients via email, with all charges thoroughly laid out.

Clear Line Between Basic and Add-on Services

Any estimates you’re given should define your basic included services clearly. This same language should be reflected in your moving contract as well.

Customer Service Quality Between Movers

Moving is a service-based industry. As such, front-facing personnel and customer service representatives are incredibly important to the success of any provider. We’ve taken customer reviews from BBB, Yelp, Google, and social media into account when evaluating this category.

Positive Customer Reviews

Simply put, customer reviews are the most important single resource you’ll have when determining a mover’s ability to handle your relocation. If you have any doubts about a given provider’s practices or pricing, then these reviews should be a key indicator of quality.

Easy-to-Access Customer Service Representatives

If you have to contact your moving company due to a pressing issue during a move, you’ll want easy access to a live representative. Movers who adhere to their posted reachable hours via phone, and have a solid track record of quick responses to customer emails, rate highly for this quality.

Reliable Claims and Disputes Resolution Process

No matter how good your movers are, there is always a chance of damage or loss of goods during a move. A common point of contention between movers and clients is the process through which damage claims are resolved. All goods are covered at a base rate of $0.60 per pound, per item, which aligns with industry standards. Beyond that, certain movers offer valuation options for the full value of all goods handled during moves.

Whether movers reimburse clients after they’ve caused damage can sometimes be a different story. Timely claims resolutions are a key component of any mover’s customer service provisions. Ideally, any mover with a quality workforce will have minimal complaints lodged against them. However, the movers we’ve ranked well have positive histories regarding dispute resolution.

Mobile App for Booking and GPS Tracking for Long-Distance Moves

Mobile apps and associated perks are usually associated with larger van lines, but this feature is becoming increasingly more mainstream. Many movers are using these to optimize the moving experience, as such apps provide a central hub for accessing move information, contracts, GPS functionality, a customer service portal, and more. Such features can give you the ability to effectively communicate or feel in touch with your move, even during off-hours.

Services Offered

The more diverse a given mover’s service profile is, the greater the number of moving needs and clients they can assist.

Local, Long-Distance, and International Service Offered

Broadly speaking, these are the three main types of moves clients will be on the hunt for when looking for relocation help. Many of our partners offer all three, which makes for incredibly diverse service profiles.

Plenty of Specialty Offerings

Very few moves are totally straightforward. You’ll find that each relocation will come with a varied set of required specialty services. This includes piano moving, vehicle shipping, shuttle services for tough-to-reach homes, and far more. Hiring a moving company that is equipped to handle all that your move entails will make for a stress-free experience.

Military and Government Moves Offered

Military and government moves can, on occasion, require specific clearances from moving companies involved. This can include employing only background-checked workers, carrying special registrations, or similar requirements. Being able to provide high-clearance service factors into our rating process for any mover.

Full Line of Common Add-ons

Few moves are totally straightforward. You’ll likely want your mover to help with packing, storage, crating, debris removal, or a series of similar add-ons. Movers who offer the most diverse array of services rate highly on our best mover lists for the ease with which they’re able to cope with varied customer needs.

  • Short and long-term storage
  • Full-service packing
  • Packing supplies
  • Crating services
  • Debris removal

Ability to Customize

This is an aspect of customer service but deserves its own category within any moving rating methodology. Many moving companies view themselves as customer service professionals who are working in the moving industry, which means that client needs come first. Versatility in the face of varied client needs will make for a quality mover.

Fair Pricing for Added Services

Even if a mover provides a great number of added services, exorbitant rates for these can make customers feel hemmed-in during the booking phase of the moving process. Reasonable rates for packing are as follows:

Home Size Price of Packing Supplies
1 or 2-Bedroom Apartment $150 – $200
3-Bedroom Apartment $200 – $250
3-Bedroom House $300 – $400
4-Bedroom House $400 – $500
5-Bedroom House $500 – $625

 

Home Size Price of Moving Labor
1 or 2-Bedroom Apartment $500 – $600
3-Bedroom Apartment $600 – $650
3-Bedroom House $750 – $800
4-Bedroom House $1,000 – $1,100
5-Bedroom House $1,500 – $1,600

A La Carte Moving Packages

The most highly-regarded moving companies in the business allow clients to have full autonomy when picking and choosing the services they need. Having the ability to fully customize any move makes our shortlist for desirable traits in any mover.

House Method Rating Methodology

At House Method, our primary goals are to be a reliable source of information and to be totally transparent to our readers. With that in mind, we’ve developed the following formula to render objective ratings – on a scale of 10 points – for the moving companies we review.

  • Transparency (3.0): Communication and being fully straightforward regarding company policies and licensing are incredibly important. A given mover’s willingness to display these, to supply quick quotes, and to provide clearly-worded moving contracts all factor into the three points within this single rating criteria.
  • Cost (2.5): A mover’s cost relative to industry averages, as well as accessibility to cost data play a role in the customer experience as much as anything else. We know that being sure of what you’re paying – and being confident that you’re not overpaying – will ultimately make for a positive move. We’ve weighted cost factors accordingly in our ratings.
  • Customer Service (2.0): Establishing an easy line of contact with your movers during the booking process or during the move itself is a huge asset for any moving client. The stress of moving, in general, can be greatly eased by knowing you can talk to a licensed professional whenever you need to, which is why we’ve listed this as a key rating category. This is where customer reviews come into play; since the majority of complaints stem from poor customer service, feedback from BBB, Yelp, Google, and other review platforms factor into this criteria.
  • Services Offered (1.5): This rates lower on our priority list than many would think, simply due to the fact that many movers provide a similar line of services. However, breadth of service offerings does still vary to a degree.
  • Customization Options (1.0): Having the autonomy to fully customize your move should rate highly on any moving checklist. Here, we’ve taken moving package customization ability, as well as pricing for more involved add-ons. Steep pricing for such services can provide something of a soft barrier for clients looking to add to their move, and we’ve taken this into consideration.