12 Important Things You Should Know When Hiring a Long-Distance Moving Company

12 Important Things You Should Know When Hiring a Long-Distance Moving Company

Moving long distance can be an exhilarating, yet overwhelming, experience that marks a new life chapter. Whether you are relocating for a job, family or simply a change of scenery, careful planning and strategic decision-making are crucial for a successful move.

This all-inclusive guide aims to serve as your one-stop resource for every stage of the moving process.

From selecting a reliable moving company to packing your cherished clothes, transporting your leafy companions and ensuring your pets travel stress-free, we’ve got you covered. We even delve into the often-debated question of whether to move your appliances or invest in new ones.

Equip yourself with the essential knowledge and tips in this article and turn the daunting task of moving into an organized and manageable endeavor.

1. What is considered long distance for a moving company?

A long-distance move is generally defined by the distance between your current location (the origin) and your new destination. In the United States, many moving companies use the rule of thumb that any move over 100 miles qualifies as “long distance.”

However, it’s not just about the miles; crossing state lines also comes into play. Long-distance moves are typically categorized into two types: “interstate” moves, which cross state boundaries, and “intrastate” moves, which don’t cross state lines but still cover a significant distance.

This classification goes beyond mere terminology; it carries implications for the move’s pricing structure, its governing regulations and the licensing requirements for the moving company. For example, interstate moves fall under federal oversight, while intrastate moves are subject to state-level laws and regulations.

Always consult your chosen moving company to clarify how they define different categories of moves. Understanding these nuances will allow you to plan your budget better and be informed about your legal rights.

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2. What is the difference between local and long-distance movers?

While both local and long-distance movers aim to assist you in relocating your belongings, the scale and intricacies of their operations differ substantially.

Local moving companies are experts in facilitating short-distance moves, typically within a single city or metropolitan area. Normally charging by the hour, these companies often complete the relocation process in a single day due to the shorter distances.

On the other hand, long-distance movers specialize in transporting goods over more extensive geographical distances and employ a pricing model based on the weight of your belongings and the total distance they will be moved. Because of the logistical complexities inherent in longer moves, the entire process may span several days. These companies often deploy specialized equipment to handle the move and may offer services like real-time tracking of your belongings.

Given these differences, it’s imperative to carefully consider which type of service best aligns with your specific moving needs.

3. How does long-distance moving work?

The long-distance moving process begins with an initial consultation where the moving company evaluates the scope of the move and provides a cost estimate. Special requirements, like transporting delicate or oversized items, are discussed at this stage.

Once terms are agreed upon, you can pack yourself or use the company’s packing services.

On moving day, professional movers load your belongings onto a truck, often creating an inventory list for tracking. The truck then travels to your new home, which could be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Upon arrival, the movers unload your items, and additional services like unpacking and furniture assembly may be available.

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4. What should you look for in a long-distance moving company?

When selecting a long-distance moving company, focus on reliability, professionalism and transparent pricing. Verify the company’s credentials, including licensing and, for interstate moves, a USDOT number, which can be confirmed on the USDOT website.

Use personal recommendations and online reviews to assess the company’s reputation. Insist on a detailed, written estimate based on a physical or virtual assessment of your belongings rather than a rough quote. Ensure the company can meet your special needs, such as packing services, storage or vehicle transport.

Strong communication and customer service from the beginning to the end of the process is also vital for a smooth move.

5. What are some red flags to be aware of when choosing a long-distance mover?

Be cautious of red flags like requests for large cash deposits upfront, suspiciously low estimates or a reluctance to provide a written, itemized quote. Check the company’s credentials, including their USDOT number for interstate moves, and ensure they have a legitimate business address.

Unmarked or rented trucks and poor or unresponsive customer service can indicate subpar quality or scams.

6. How far in advance should you book a long-distance moving company?

To plan a long-distance move effectively, aim to engage a moving company at least two to three months in advance. This window allows you to compare estimates, confirm availability and handle other preparations.

Be aware that availability may be limited during peak moving times like summer, weekends and the beginning and end of the month, so early booking is advisable.

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7. How much does a long-distance move typically cost?

The cost of a long-distance move varies based on factors such as the distance between the origin and destination, the total weight of your belongings and any additional services, like packing. Costs typically range between $2,000 and $7,000.

To get a clear picture of potential expenses, obtain multiple estimates, either “binding” (for a guaranteed price) or “non-binding” (where the cost can change based on actual weight and services rendered). Always get estimates in writing to safeguard against unexpected charges.

8. What is the best way to do a long-distance move?

The optimal way to manage a long-distance move depends on your individual needs but generally starts with a detailed plan outlining your timeline, budget and checklist.

Hiring a reputable, licensed and insured long-distance moving company is critical. Be diligent about packing, use a comprehensive inventory system, and ensure you comply with all legal and administrative requirements if crossing state lines. Consistent communication with your moving company is vital for a smooth process.

9. What are the best packing materials and methods for long-distance moves?

Invest in quality packing supplies like corrugated boxes, bubble wrap, and heavy-duty tape. Use double-walled boxes for fragile items and label all boxes for efficient unpacking.

Begin packing non-essentials first and distribute the weight evenly among boxes. Create a “first night” box with immediate necessities, like toiletries and essential documents.

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10. How should I pack clothes for a long-distance move?

When moving long distance, vacuum-seal your casual clothes to save space. Use wardrobe boxes for delicate and formal wear and roll up everyday clothes to optimize space. Organize by season and function and keep a separate essentials bag for immediate use in your new home.

11. How can I transport plants when moving long distances?

Check state-specific agricultural laws about the types of plants you can bring. Transition plants into lightweight plastic pots a month before moving. Pack them in ventilated, cushioned boxes and plan to transport them in your vehicle, as most movers won’t handle plants. Upon arrival, unbox and water the plants and allow time for them to acclimate.

12. How should I handle pets during a long-distance move?

When preparing for a long-distance move with pets, begin by scheduling a pre-move veterinary check-up to update vaccinations and secure essential medications and medical records.

On the day of the move, keep your pets in a quiet, isolated area away from the moving activities. For the journey, use a well-ventilated, secure carrier and prepare a travel kit containing essentials like food, water, a leash, waste bags and comfort items such as toys or a blanket.

Make regular stops during the trip for exercise and bathroom breaks. Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle.

Upon arrival, set up a familiar space for your pet to help ease the transition to the new environment.

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Bonus: Should I move my appliances, or is it better to buy new ones at my destination?

Deciding to move appliances or buy new ones depends on various factors including their age, their condition and cost to transport versus replace them.

Older appliances or those nearing the end of their lifespan may not be worth the moving costs. However, newer or high-end appliances might be more economical to move.

Also, consider whether your appliances require professional disassembly and re-installation and whether they’ll fit and aesthetically align with your new space. Weigh these considerations to make an informed decision.


Moving long distance is undeniably challenging, but armed with the correct information and strategies, you can transform it into a rewarding experience.

From the initial planning phase to the moment you unpack the last box in your new home, this guide offers you a roadmap to each crucial milestone. It’s not just about moving your belongings; it’s about transitioning your life, plants, and pets to a new chapter.

As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that thorough research, meticulous planning and continuous communication with your chosen moving company are your best allies.

Equip yourself with these tools, and you’re not just moving — you’re moving confidently forward.

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