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Long-Distance Moving FAQs

December 30th, 2016 - 1:26 PM

Understanding your long-distance move

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first timer, some thought and preparation is required to complete a long distance move. And while every situation is unique, there are certain questions everyone asks about their move, such as:

  •        How do I choose the right company?
  •        How much will it cost?
  •        How do I begin packing?

No matter what your questions are, we’ve got the answers to help your transition go as smoothly as possible.

long distance moving


What is a long-distance move?

Every company will define a long-distance move differently, but typically they’re considered to be more than 300 miles and across state lines.   

When is the best time of year to move?

The best time of year to move depends on your circumstances and location (budget, job, weather, etc.) And while summer is usually the most convenient time for people to relocate, it’s normally the most expensive due to demand. If you have some flexibility in your schedule or are trying to stick to a budget, try planning a move during off-peak season (October-March) when rates are generally lower.  

Who offers long-distance moving services?

There are three types of services that provide long-distance moving options:

  • Truck rental This option means you complete the entire move by yourself (packing, loading and driving).
  •  Full-serviceThis type of company handles your move from beginning to end (packing, loading, transportation and unloading).  
  •  HybridThis option, also known as a “you pack, we drive” service — like U-Pack® — is a combination of the two. You do all the packing and loading, and then someone else does the driving.

       How do I know which service to choose? 

Moving your belongings to a new state can be stressful, but choosing the right moving service can make it less intimidating. Before you decide which company to use, do some research. Ask your friends, family and coworkers for their opinions. Then, check out what people have to say on consumer review sites like movingscam.comTMyelp® and the Better Business Bureau®. Once you narrow your options, ask each company these 10 questions.

How do I know if it’s a trustworthy company?

Dependable, professional and secure moving services should have:

  •        A motor carrier (MC) license number
  •        A department of transportation (DOT) license number
  •        BBB approval 
  •        Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) registration
  •        Insurance coverage

U-Pack is a BBB accredited business, and has moved more than 1 million families and individuals since 1997. Our primary transportation carrier ABF Freight® (DOT #082866 and MC #299107342) is one of the nation’s leading carriers, and is licensed by the FMSCA as an all commodities carrier — which includes, but isn’t limited to, household goods.  

Do I need an in-home estimate?

In-home estimates are only required with companies (usually full-service) that charge by weight. If you move with U-Pack, the price is based on how much space is used, not weight — which means no in-home assessment is needed. Instead, use these space estimator tools to see how much space you need to reserve.

What kind of paperwork is involved? 

Each company provides different documents important for your move. However, all companies should provide a Bill of Lading — a contract that acts as a receipt between you and the company.

How much does it cost to move long distance?  

Rates are usually based on three main factors:

  •         When you’re moving
  •         Where you’re moving to and from
  •         How much you’re moving

Because each company charges differently and everyone’s situation is unique, there is no set price for how much a long-distance move costs. The best way to determine the price is to call for an estimate or look online. See how much a move with U-Pack costs by getting a free quote

What is the cheapest option?

Typically, full-service movers are the most expensive since they complete the entire move for you. And while many people think truck rental is the cheapest way to go, they often forget to factor in additional costs like highway tolls, insurance, taxes and fuel (use our Rental Truck Fuel Calculator to see how much you can expect to spend on gas). So, if you’re looking for the cheapest way to move, consider U-Pack. Our quotes include the driver, fuel, sales tax, road tolls and liability coverage, and there are no hidden charges or fees.    

How much money should I save?

Depending on where you’re moving to and from (and which company you choose) your long-distance moving costs can vary. Start getting quotes early on so you can have a better idea about how much money to save before moving out of state.

How long will my move take?

This also depends on the moving service you use. U-Pack has average transit times of 2-5 business days while full-service movers average 2-4 weeks. Transit times for driving a rental truck are based on how far you’re moving and how long you’re willing to drive per day.

Can I move on short notice? 

Many traditional moving companies require 4-6 weeks advance notice, so it’s usually best to reserve as soon as possible. However, sometimes an immediate relocation is necessary (like for a job or ill family member).  If you need to move long distance quickly, U-Pack is usually flexible enough to accommodate on short notice (especially during off-peak season). Call a consultant today at 800-413-4799 to check availability.  

How do I pack for a long-distance move?

U-Pack offers helpful packing and loading resources to keep your move on track and to ensure your boxes and furniture stay safe during transit. Check them out:

Are there items I can’t pack?

To keep your possessions, the equipment and the driver safe, there are some items you can’t pack. These include all flammable, combustible liquid, explosive, perishable and compressed gas items. For a complete list of things not allowed in a moving truck, check out the U-Pack Do Not Ship List.

How do I know my belongings are safe?

The best way to make sure your belongings are safe is to choose a reliable and trustworthy mover that provides 24/7 tracking. Keep in mind that full-service companies are likely to commingle your items with other families — which means there’s a greater chance something could be lost. And with a rental truck, you’ll be making more stops along the way (to fuel up, eat and sleep) which leaves your items parked unattended. But, with U-Pack, your household goods are transported by an experienced carrier, and items are never commingled or transferred. Instead, we fill any remaining space with commercial freight headed in the same direction (which helps lower transportation costs for you). Your items and the commercial freight are separated by a bulkhead you install after loading.

How do I move my pets?

Since pets can’t be transferred in the moving equipment, you’ll either have to let them ride with you, find a pet shipping company (like U-Ship®) or move them by air transportation.  Check out this blog post for some tips on how to move long distance with pets.  

How do I move my plants?

Plants also can’t travel in the moving equipment because they won’t receive the proper care they need in order to survive. If you don’t want to leave them behind, read this blog post to learn how to move house plants from one state to another.  

Have other questions? 

Do you have additional questions we didn’t answer? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer right away! And if you’re ready to start planning your long-distance move, try U-Pack. Get a free online quote or call a U-Pack representative at 800-413-4799 to see how much your move will cost.