When moving across the country, the first thing you must know is that hiring a moving truck and driving that big moving vehicle across multiple state lines is not a good idea. Actually, it often turns out to be a bad idea because of the high DIY moving costs and increased risks when moving long distance without professional assistance.

As you can imagine, there’s a huge difference between moving 200 miles and moving 2,000 miles until you reach the new home. Be mindful that the move distance will not only determine the final moving price to a great extent, but it will also influence the way you assess the relocation risks before you move out.

Do yourself a favor and hire the services of long distance movers when moving over great distances within the country. Not only will you and your family feel safer, but you’ll know that your valuable possessions will be in good hands as well.

Read on to learn how to choose a long distance mover to help you out with your cross-country move.

Why hire a long distance mover?

Before you start preparing for your house move, it’s important that you take the time to think about how exactly you are going to handle the house moving project. To make an informed decision, you’ll need to take a closer look at several key points, the major one being the DISTANCE between Point A (the current home you’re moving out of) and Point B (the destination home you’re about to move into soon).

Theoretically, when the move distance between the two homes is greater than 100 miles, then you’re facing a long distance move. Therefore, when moving 500 miles, 1,000 miles or 2,000 miles across the entire country, then the upcoming move becomes not only increasingly complicated and challenging, but also rather risky and dangerous for everyone involved.

Long distance moving falls well outside the comfort zone of Do-It-Yourself moves due to a couple of main reasons: expenses and risks.

  • Self-move expenses. The cost of renting a moving vehicle of the right size and purchasing the required insurance is the first step. Then add the cost of fuel, road tolls, parking fees, meals, and lodgings along the trip as well. Factor in the cost of all the packing supplies and the price of renting or purchasing the necessary moving equipment (a moving dolly). Finally, set up a contingency fund because you never know what may happen on the road to your new home.
  • Risks and dangers. Driving a big rental moving truck across multiple state lines is a risky business, especially if you’ve never done it before. Each driven mile increases the risk of something bad happening on the road. Sustaining personal injuries or inflicting property damage are two other highly undesirable scenarios that will further complicate the risk assessment task when moving without using the services of a long distance mover.

When moving long distance across the country, the safest way to do it is to hire a long distance moving company that is:

  • legitimate (properly licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation);
  • reputable (high rankings and positive reviews left by customers who have used their services in the past);
  • trustworthy (membership in the American Trucking Association (ATA) and accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB));
  • experienced (years of professional experience in cross-country residential moving);
  • affordable (competitive moving company rates, including reasonable charges for additional moving services).

12 Important questions to ask your movers

How to find long distance movers

Before you can pick one of the best long distance movers for yourself, you’re going to have to find those moving professionals first. Here are the steps that will show you how to do just that:

  • Step 1. ASK reputable cross-country moving companies for long distance movers estimates. The easiest way to do it is to use our moving cost estimator tool.
  • Step 2. EXPECT to get contacted by properly licensed and insured long distance movers that will be able to service you along the route and on the date that you have specified.
  • How to choose a moving company

    A good moving company can make your life so much easier.

    Step 3. SCHEDULE a date and time when the pros will come to your home for a visual inspection of the things you have for moving, followed by the issuance of accurate cost estimates in writing.

  • Step 4. BE present at the actual on-site survey and use that opportunity to ask the long distance movers any burning questions you may have in store for them.
  • Step 5. SPEAK with representatives of the moving companies about which additional services or extra charges and fees will be needed for the successful completion of the house move. This is important as you have to be ready – both mentally and financially – to cover those expenses.
  • Step 6. GET the moving experts to provide you with written binding estimates after the in-house survey is over. You may get charged a small fee for the issuance of those binding estimates (non-binding estimates are issued for free) but their greater accuracy in terms of cost is well worth the extra charge.
  • Step 7. LOOK for personal recommendations of moving companies from people you can trust. Now that you have cost estimates from several long distance movers, it’s time to see whether one of your friends, co-workers or neighbors will be able to recommend you a cross-country mover they know to be trustworthy enough.
    After all, it’s not easy to entrust your valuable possessions to complete strangers, especially when each professional mover assures you that they are the best company there is.
  • Step 8. USE the broad reach of social media networks to hopefully get recommended movers from your circle of friends and acquaintances. And if, by any chance, none of your Facebook or Twitter friends can recommend any reliable long distance moving companies, maybe some of their friends will be able to do so.
    It’s worth noting that word of mouth is the best way to find a good long distance mover.

Once you have the names of several trustworthy long distance moving companies – both from the customized cost estimates and personal recommendations, it’s time to compare those professional movers in order to pick the right one for you.

10 Things to look for in a moving company

How to choose a long distance mover

You can’t and you shouldn’t pick a long distance mover at random because soon enough you’ll have to entrust your prized possessions to those movers. You really want to make sure you can trust the professionals you’ll be working with and the only way to do it is to research the long distance moving companies you’ve shortlisted.

Here’s how to compare moving companies so that there can be only one left in the end:

Check movers affordability (cost estimates)

It’s time to compare the long distance movers quotes you got. Without a doubt, the first thing you’ll pay attention to is the price of each estimate. As a result, it can be quite tempting to pick the cheapest quote and then contact the mover that supplied it. After all, one of your primary goals is to pay as little on your upcoming house move as possible, right?

While you can still pick the lowest bidder in the end, you shouldn’t do it before you do a more thorough research on all the moving companies you’re reviewing at that moment. In other words, price alone should never be the deciding factor in your choice, especially when you’re aware that there are some not-so-honest movers out there as well.

How to choose the right moving company

It’s critical that you know the moving cost in advance.

One tactic used by rogue movers is to offer a lowball estimate with the purpose of luring unsuspecting customers, and then increase drastically that price in the last moment when their “dependable” services have already been booked. So, to avoid getting scammed by dishonest moving companies, don’t just look at the bottom price but do your homework diligently to prevent serious troubles down the road.

Since you’re moving across the country, the long distance moving cost will be a flat fee based on the move distance, the total weight of the shipment, and the types of extra services performed by the long distance mover.

So, when comparing the cost estimates issued by top-rated long distance movers, you have to take a closer look at those additional services and their corresponding charges. At the in-home surveys, you should have already discussed the required accessorial services – packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly of large furniture, temporary storage, etc. – with the moving company representatives.

Additional services offered by movers

Check movers reputation (moving reviews)

How to choose a long distance mover? The next step in your hunt for reputable cross country movers is to check their online reputation among their worst critics – the customers who have already used their services. The best moving companies in the business know how important their reputation is so they try hard to keep offering quality services in order to improve their ratings and continue to receive positive customer reviews.

Once you’ve completed the affordability check, it’s time to head to the most trustworthy movers reviews websites (MyMovingReviews, Yelp) and read moving reviews about the long distance movers you’re considering at the moment. The overall ratings of the movers will be displayed as stars (1 star being the worst, 5 stars being the best). Also, the short narratives (testimonials) written by former customers will give you a sense of just how reputable, dependable, trustworthy, and professional those moving companies are.

Use customer reviews only as guidance to show you the better mover. In most cases, it can be tricky to compare movers through reviews because you’re likely to come across very positive reviews and very negative reviews about one and the same mover. Who will you trust?

Check movers reliability (extensive research)

It’s important to know just how reputable your long distance movers are before you hire them. However, it’s even more critical to also check how trustworthy those companies are in terms of licensing information and professionalism.

  • USDOT. Each interstate (long distance) moving company must be properly licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). When a cross-country mover meets the strict requirements set by the Government, then they are given a USDOT number as proof that that company is legitimate, thus safe to use.
    Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to see whether or not your movers have valid USDOT numbers.
  • How to choose the best moving company

    In your movers you should trust.

    ATA. The American Trucking Association (ATA) has a movers certification program called ProMover. Check the ATA website whether the long-distance movers you are researching are ProMovers as well. If they are, that means that they have passed successfully an extensive background check and have pledged to uphold the Code of Ethics set by the association.
    In other words, you should be able to trust ProMovers with your valuables.

  • BBB. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers accreditation to the best moving companies in the country as a sign that consumers can trust those BBB-accredited movers with their belongings. BBB has set their own Standards for Trust that moving companies must adhere to in order to be accredited by the Bureau.
    Check whether the long distance movers you’re researching are BBB-accredited.

Read also: How to compare movers

How to choose long distance movers: The concise version

Choosing a long distance moving company is not complicated by any means but it does require time for completing the must-do movers research prior to booking the services of the cross-country mover that you have found to be the best one for you.

Again, here are the steps you are advised to take (in a concise form) to pick a good long distance mover:

  • USE a cost estimator to get contacted by long distance moving companies in your area.
  • REQUEST in-house surveys for precise moving cost estimates.
  • COMPARE the received movers quotes. Pay special attention to the extra moving services and their prices.
  • STAY away from cost estimates that are too good to be true. Lowball estimates are often used by dishonest moving companies to lure in new customers.
  • CHECK how reputable movers are by reading customer reviews and comparing overall ratings.
  • CHECK the movers’ USDOT numbers as proof that they are properly licensed by the U.S. Government and adequately insured to operate legally within the country.
  • CHECK with the American Trucking Association (ATA) whether the moving companies you’re researching are ProMovers.
  • CHECK with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) whether the movers under consideration are BBB-accredited – an indicator of trust between moving companies and consumers.

Must-read: How much does it cost to hire movers?