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Types of Moving Companies Explained

Friday, March 17, 2023
A smiling moving truck driver of the reputable moving company

Moving can be a daunting experience, especially for people over 50. You may be downsizing to a smaller home, relocating to a different city, or moving your business to new premises. In any case, the thought of packing everything up and starting over can be overwhelming. However, moving can be a smooth experience with good planning and preparation.

Choosing the right type of moving company is an important aspect of your planning. Some companies provide different moving services, while others specialize in a particular field. Whether you are relocating home or business, whether you are moving locally or internationally, whether you need a full service move or only a rental truck, there is a moving company that can handle the job.

The cost of relocating will depend on the type of the move and many other factors, discussed in more detail in our post on how much it costs to hire a moving company.

This article will help you choose the right type of moving company that provides the services that suit your needs and budget.

Residential Moving Companies

Residential moving companies help you move your household belongings from one place to another. The most challenging part of moving a house is loading and unloading large or fragile items. Professional movers have the equipment and experience to handle these tasks.

A reliable moving company will make relocating simple and stress-free. By choosing carefully, you can avoid a lot of worries.

Commercial Moving Companies

Commercial movers specialize in helping businesses move their offices or other commercial spaces. They offer services such as moving office equipment, furniture, files, and other items. Their staff is trained to handle sensitive documents and electronic equipment.

Many commercial moving companies are available 24/7, allowing you to schedule an overnight or weekend move to minimize disruptions during business hours.

Whether it’s a small shop or a large-scale organization, commercial moves are more complex than residential moves. They are also more expensive.

Corporate Moving Companies

While commercial movers organize the packing and transport of your office furniture and belongings, corporate relocation companies ensure the transition runs smoothly for your employees. 

Corporate movers step in when businesses decide to relocate, or to send their staff members to a distant branch. The company typically pays for all or some of the moving expenses.

Corporate relocation calls for detailed planning that allows employees and their families to move and settle in their new environment as painlessly and quickly as possible.    

Full Service Moving Companies

Do you want to hire a moving company that can handle everything? Full service movers will take it upon themselves to pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack your belongings. They will even disassemble pieces of furniture and assemble them again.

Full service movers typically provide all necessary materials, equipment, and labor. They do all the work for you. The full-service move is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive and the least stressful experience. This also tends to be the most expensive option.

Self-Service Moving Companies

Self-service moving companies offer a more affordable option if you don't mind doing some work. With a self-service move, the company only transports your belongings. You are responsible for packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking them. Some self-service companies may provide staff to load and unload the goods. 

DIY Moving Companies

Some companies provide rental trucks for people who want to handle the move on their own. You would typically rent a truck, load it, drive it to your new location, and unload it yourself. 

DIY moves can be the most affordable option but also require the most work and can be stressful if you're not used to driving a large truck. 

Local Moving Companies

Local movers, also called intrastate movers, operate within a single state. They specialize in moves up to 100 miles. They usually charge by the hour. Local move prices depend on the time it takes to complete the job. Some local moving companies may charge the fuel extra.

Local moves are almost always easier to plan and can be completed in one day.

Long Distance Moving Companies

A move that involves more than 100 miles is usually considered a long distance move. Long distance moves can be within a single state or across state borders. In the latter case, they fall in the interstate moving category.

Long distance movers typically charge based on the weight of your belongings and the distance of your move. Long-distance moving companies must have a USDOT number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

Long-distance moves require a lot of planning and preparation.

Interstate Moving Companies

When you relocate from one state to another, you need the services of interstate movers. These companies are licensed by the FMCSA and must follow federal regulations. 

Interstate moves do not necessarily involve long distances. Even if you move less than 10 miles, if you are crossing a state border, it’s still an interstate move. The cost of moving will depend on the weight of your belongings and the distance.

A group of Asian American friends talking to a nurse in a retirement village

International Moving Companies 

Relocating across international borders calls for specialized international movers. They must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) or the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These companies provide a range of services, including customs clearance. 

International moving companies typically charge based on the weight of your belongings and the distance of your move. International moves by sea are cheaper than by air. 

Some Moving Terminology Explained

Moving estimate or quote: Moving estimates can be binding or non-binding. With a binding estimate, the mover guarantees the total cost of the move in advance. A non-binding estimate means that the final price may fluctuate up or down a bit. 

Additional or accessorial services: Additional services can include packing, unpacking, disassembling, and reassembling furniture, as well as extra pick-ups or deliveries. These services are added to the cost of the relocation.

High-value articles: Inform the mover if the value of any item they transport is over $100 per pound. For such articles, it is usually necessary to take additional moving insurance.

Bill of Lading: This is the most important moving document. A Bill of Lading is a legal contract between you and your mover. It details the terms and conditions, such as the cost, insurance, services, and timeframes. Before signing the Bill of Lading, ensure it is accurate. 

Inventory list: The inventory list details all items moved. It is an attachment to the Bill of Lading. The movers should note the condition of each item. If the items were “packed by owner” (PBO), their condition will be marked as unknown. You need to carefully review this list.

Order of service: This document is also attached to the Bill of Lading. It recaps some information, such as the services you have requested and the pick-up and delivery dates.

Storage in transit (SIT): Your moving company can provide short-term storage, for example, if your new home isn’t ready. Terms vary, but SIT is usually limited to 180 days. You are responsible for the added charges.

A multiracial group of friends posing for a photo in front of a house after a move

Find the Best Type of Moving Company for You with Shyft

Are you planning to move across the city or to a different state? Or perhaps to another country? The decision to hire a local, long-distance, interstate, international or another type of moving company depends on your destination.

While some moving companies handle all types of moves, others specialize, for example, only in local relocation services. Choose the right moving company to ensure a smooth and stress-free move.

You can spend hours researching moving companies, reading reviews, and getting moving quotes, all the time being extra careful to avoid falling into the trap of a moving scam.

Or you can contact AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft. Shyft will connect you with a licensed and reliable mover at a competitive cost. All that in practically a blink of an eye, with minimal effort on your part.

AARP Moving Services powered by Shyft is designed for AARP members. Whether you plan to move to another country, across the U.S.A., or to a new neighborhood within the same city, Shyft understands that moving can be physically and emotionally draining, especially for people over 50. When you entrust your move to Shyft, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that professional movers will handle the whole moving process.

On top of that, you as an AARP member get an exclusive discount of up to $250. That’s up to $250 off every time you move, no matter where and how many times you move.

The handy Shyft checklist will help you keep track of all the tasks that need to be completed before, during, and after the move. Ask for your moving checklist now and start ticking off item by item!

Shyft has elevated the process of moving to a new level. As the first tech-driven moving platform, Shyft organizes your relocation in a contactless, no-fuss way. Everything is done digitally, without person-to-person interaction. In other words, there’s no need to have people come into your house and note your inventory. 

Shyft records all your possessions earmarked for relocation during a 30-minute video call. Just download the Shyft Next app for iPhone or Android devices and schedule a video chat with a Shyft representative online or by phone at 1-888-501-3181.

You will be assigned a dedicated Move Coach to oversee the whole process, from door to door.

During the video call, the Shyft representative - your Move Coach - will create an inventory list. All you have to do is point the camera on your device at the items you want to take to your new home.

Your Move Coach will also advise you about your options and approximate costs. 

The list your Move Coach makes during the video call is usually 95% accurate. You can add or remove items to make it 100% right. When the list is complete, it goes to a secure Shyft platform, where verified moving companies submit their offers. That way, competitive pricing is guaranteed.

Shyft will send you three or more top quotes. It is up to you to select the one that fits your needs and budget. Once you accept a moving quote, it becomes a binding estimate: the price is locked and cannot be changed unless you add or remove items, change the move distance, or fail to book your move before the quote expires. This means that you will know exactly how much you are going to pay. 

At any time during the relocation process, feel free to contact your Move Coach with any questions or concerns. Whichever company handles your move, your Move Coach will oversee the entire process, ensuring the same quality standards apply to all.

Shyft is available to you 24/7. Book your move now and claim your AARP member discount!

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