How to Find the Best Short-Distance Movers

By  //  December 8, 2022

Relocating to a new place is delightful but leaving your current home and taking all the stuff to a new house is challenging, stressful, and a time- and energy-taking process.

The good news: a short-distance move is typically less complicated and expensive than a cross-country move or transition to another state.

However, local moves have their own tricks and the choice of short-distance movers isn’t as easy as it seems at first sight. To opt for a cost-effective DIY move or rely on short-distance moving companies?

The guidelines below should help to find a trusted local moving company and explain what red flags to pay attention to while looking for a trustworthy moving service.

Moving Services: What type of moving do you need?

In the very beginning, you have to decide on a move type you prefer, a DIY move or full-service movers.

In fact, many people heard multiple stories about how expensive short-distance moving companies can be and they opt for truck rentals or portable containers. PODs (also known as moving containers) and truck rentals offer more flexibility with timing but require more physical work though.

However, pretty often local movers’ rates are budget-friendly and can compete with the total costs of some DIY moves.

To avoid misunderstanding, when you hire short-distance movers, you need to understand that a short-distance move typically means transition within the same state for no more than 50 miles. Otherwise, your relocation is counted long-distance.

The difference is not only in distance but in the payment system as well. Short-distance moving companies usually charge per hour based on the moving size.

Do Thorough Research on Moving Companies

Once you’ve decided to relocate, you face a quest of finding budget-friendly and reliable local movers. Use all sources of information, including friends, colleagues, neighbors, and Google searches.

Typically, information about national companies is widely available but local companies usually can offer better deals. 

Make up a list of short-distance movers operating in your area and begin filtering them out.  

Moving Companies Reviews                                                               

Once the list of movers is ready, read online reviews and ask people you know about their experience. Obviously, most companies publish testimonials to promote their services; however, the credibility should be verified.

For that, read reviews about the first-hand moving experience on third-party platforms. Recommendations from friends and colleagues based on their relocation experience are particularly valuable.

Check Licenses and Insurance

One of the vital aspects to check while searching for professional short-distance movers is their license and insurance. Nowadays scammers use promotions and ads of all sorts to humbug money out of people.

To filter them out and make up a list of professional short-distance movers, check their licenses. Licensing rules may vary from state to state but in most states, local movers must be registered with the State Department of Transportation.

Hint: Use the USDOT number to check the history of operations and some reviews and complaints about the service on the FMCSA platform. Companies with solid reputations post their USDOT numbers on websites as proof that they are fully legit.

Besides, reliable short-distance moving companies must have liability insurance. Actually, even reputable companies offer only basic (minimal) coverage. Hence, if you own many valuable items, you’d better purchase additional moving insurance.

Get Moving Quotes

When you use online calculators or request moving quotes, note the scope of services offered. The services included in the price might vary even among full-service companies: most short-distance movers provide boxes and other supplies, pack and unpack your stuff, and load and unload the truck.

Additionally, some movers offer storage services or special packing for antiques and valuables.

Once your list of candidates has been narrowed down, you can contact company representatives to clear up details or additional services required for your specific situation (for instance, you need to move a piano or large aquarium system, office move, etc.)

By clarifying questions you can also understand how customer care service operates and how responsive the staff is — not a minor aspect when it comes to home transition.

Red Flags

The transportation industry is represented mostly by honest and trustworthy companies. However, scams are still here and they are on the alert to grab fast money.

Being an informed customer is the best defense against moving scams. Hence, watch out for the following red flags:

■ Sight-unseen moving estimation. Moving costs depend on the weight and volume of your belongings. Companies that do not insist on on-site estimation aren’t trustworthy. The same applies to businesses that give a glance at your stuff with no questions or detailed inspection. Reliable movers will ask you many questions, for example, whether you plan to declutter and what furniture/kitchen items you are going to get rid of.

■ Regular name changes. If a company has in its history several name changes, you should find it suspicious. Always verify that short-distance movers are fully licensed and insured, and that the registered phone number is valid.

■ If a company representative asks for a large cash deposit, this is a big NO. Normally, movers don’t require deposits for local moves — you pay when your everything is delivered to the final destination. In some cases, a small deposit is required (for large office relocation or corporate move). If so, opt for payment via credit card.

■ Do not sign an empty contract. All details of your move must be specified, including dates, estimates, and extra fees.

■ The company insists that your stuff is fully insured. In fact, movers must assume liability for transporting things. However, most movers have so-called basic insurance that covers 60 cents/pound. Professional movers usually announce their liability so that you could buy additional insurance if required.    


Note that local movers can offer better rates than large national corporations that attract customers by the brand and a wider service offers range.

Obviously, local movers are more familiar with the area, state or city regulations, and parking slots.

Ask movers questions — they might offer discounts on specific dates given their high and low seasons (relocation in summer is more costly than in winter, weekdays rates are usually lower than weekends, and so on). Now you are ready to book the moving service.

Once you’ve followed the checklist above to discover reputable short-distance movers, there is nothing to worry about — pros carry out duties responsibly, taking care of your move all the way.