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Last Minute Long Distance Moving | Fast & Safe

Published by Chris Townsend

Last Minute Long Distance Moving | Fast & Safe

How do I find Last Minute Long Distance Movers?

Last Minute long distance moving is always a challenge, and doing it on short notice is going to add to your stress and increase the chance of something going wrong. But even if you have a compressed schedule, a good move plan will result in a successful move. Don’t let the timing keep you from doing sufficient research to find an excellent moving company.

movers near

Because you have limited time available, ask around right away. If this move is at the behest of your employer, the company procurement or human resources department may have recommendations for you of same day movers that have done an excellent job for other employees or that offer a corporate discount. If the move is personal, ask family and friends for good or bad experiences. It’s just as helpful to know what company to stay away from as it is to get a positive review. When you find a reliable company, you've got half the moving battle sorted.

A reliable relocation company that offer long distance moving must register as an interstate mover with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation), which regulates moving companies and brokers. Even if your move does not cross a state line, an FMCSA registered mover is a good bet. You can also search the FMCSA database for information on company safety record and customer complaints. Check with your state for regulations if your move is intrastate and look for any issues reported to the BBB. Consider engaging a mover that is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), an industry organization.

Will a last-minute long-distance move cost more?

extreme emergency moving situations

It might. Several factors impact the cost of a move, and timing is among them. If your last-minute move has to occur during the high season of moving (April to September), it may not only cost more but be more difficult to schedule with a good moving company. Families often prefer to move during the summer months to avoid disrupting their children’s school schedules, which increases the demand for moving services during that time. In fact, 80% of moves occur during this time, and most of the activity is squeezed into the June through August interval. The worst day to move is the last Saturday in June. Most people want to move during the last weekend of the month when a lease ends, and combining that with the summer rush makes that the highest demand date of the year.

On the other hand, if your last-minute move happens to take place in mid- February, and can be scheduled for a Tuesday, you may not have to pay extra and find yourself with a bargain. You won’t know for sure until you start getting estimates. Even though you are short on time, you can’t afford to forgo the process of obtaining and comparing estimates. This process is not just to get the best deal, but to find the right mover. As you interact with the moving company personnel through the process of getting the estimate, you will find out if they are the upstanding company that you want to perform your move, and that you trust with your personal belongings. After all, you will not just be letting these people into your home; you will be trusting them to pack, load, and transport everything (almost) that is important to you, out of your sight and control, and take it to your next home. That’s a critical job and not one that you will willingly hand over to just anyone.

Approximate Moving Cost & Time Examples Within US

To / FromDistance2 BR3 BR4 BR
New York, NY to Dallas, TX1370 miles$3,897 - $4,868$5,825 - $7,752$7,752 - $11,588
San Jose, CA to Jacksonville, FL2342 miles$4,971 - $6,365$7,502 - $10,125$10,125 - $14,863
Charlotte, NC to Denver, CO1354 miles$3,783 - $4,815$5,734 - $7,584$7,584 - $11,167
El Paso, TX to Portland, OR1284 miles$3,662 - $4,658$5,545 - $7,427$7,427 - $10,783
Las Vegas, NV to Chicago, IL1517 miles$3,926 - $5,133$6,017 - $8,106$8,106 - $11,848
Columbus, OH to Washington, DC344 miles$2,372 - $2,978$3,518 - $4,672$4,672 - $6,769
Seattle, WA to Detroit, MI1929 miles$4,521 - $5,777$6,895 - $9,166$9,166 - $13,535
Baltimore, MD to Kansas City, MO958 miles$3,329 - $4,225$5,021 - $6,715$6,715 - $9,720
Tucson, AZ to Houston, TX935 miles$3,234 - $4,100$4,869 - $6,507$6,507 - $9,405
Omaha, NE to Milwaukee, WI426 miles$2,507 - $3,152$3,728 - $4,956$4,956 - $7,190

*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and other factors. Get a quote custom tailored to you.

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How do I choose the right mover at the last minute?

What matters more than exact timing is fitness. You can rest easy knowing that your possessions will be moved quickly and securely if you hire a reputable moving company. You will see in the estimation process that they are capable of and committed to fulfilling their role.

FMCSA regulations state that all movers will provide a written estimate to the customer, based on a visual inspection of the goods to be moved (with certain exceptions), unless the customer waives. Don’t surrender the requirement. You want to meet the company representative, and a physical walkthrough is the best way for the company to see what needs to be moved.

With the estimate, they will provide you with a copy of their tariff, a description of all the fees they can charge. The tariff includes services you may need at both origin and destination that you may or may not be able to control. Things you can control include packing, which is up to you. If you choose to have the mover pack your goods, it will cost extra, but it will save time, and they may require that they pack certain items to protect them adequately. Refusal can risk coverage. Services you may have no control over are called impracticable operations and include things like a steep driveway, which results in additional labor, or a shuttle. A shuttle means that the full-sized moving truck can’t be stationed next to the actual residence for some reason, and the shipment must be loaded into a smaller vehicle and shuttled to the property. This service adds to the labor cost.

Make sure you understand the tariff and the type of estimate you are getting. There are binding estimates and non-binding estimates. A binding estimate is an agreement that the price will not change unless the customer adds items to the shipment or adds services. The mover is confident that the estimated weight is correct based on the physical survey and presents the customer with an inventory (sometimes called a cube sheet). Everything on the list is included in the weight and is part of the shipment. A non-binding estimate is an approximation, rather than a commitment. The actual weight determines the final cost. This approach can be helpful if you are still unsure of what items you are going to move. Still, it offers an opportunity for the company to entice you to engage them by giving you a “low-ball” estimate and then charging you a higher price at the time of delivery. You can guard against this by comparing bids carefully and asking each vendor for assessments at several different weights to contrast the long distance moving estimates of each company to move a similar weight.

What if something goes wrong at the last minute?

Since you are planning your move at the last minute, there is potential for disturbance. Give yourself peace of mind by having a back-up plan. Be prepared for delays or detours. Your back-up might be to contact another mover you can contact on a same day notice or an alternate date. Perhaps you can move your household items into storage for a few weeks and stay in temporary housing. You may want to investigate the option of a self-move, either into storage or to the destination. A compromise possibility to research is a trailer which you can pack your goods into or hire someone to pack for you. This is similar to the portable units that you can have delivered for loading and transporting. Moving is subject to surprises, and the best way to respond is to be prepared.

FAQS About Short Notice Moving Requests

I need to move to another state today. Is it possible?

It depends on when this move is happening. Summer months are the busiest for movers, especially summer weekends. If you are trying to schedule your move during those days, it might be challenging to find a crew available on such short notice. On the other hand, if you’re trying to schedule a move during non-vacation months and weekdays, you can find movers who are available for same-day moving.

What is the usual timeframe that you require for advance booking?

For our regular services, we ask our clients to book local moves 2-4 weeks in advance, and long-distance moves 4-6 weeks in advance.

Does this mean my last-minute booking will cost more than your usual services?

Not necessarily. We ask for advance notice to guarantee the availability of our vehicles and our crew members on the day of the move. However, if our vehicles and moving team can take on your last-minute booking, the price may not go up by that much.

What factors can drive costs way up for last minute long distance movers?

We take unforeseen circumstances and unknowns into account when computing your moving costs. Because last-minute long-distance moving entails many circumstances outside our control, we may charge for those to ensure that any additional expenses incurred during the move will not delay the move.

Because of time constraints, I want to forego the physical inspection. Is this possible?

Although the customer is free to waive the physical inspection, we highly discourage this. A physical walkthrough is essential in computing your moving estimate. Without a physical walkthrough, you may find yourself overcharged for moving services. On the other hand, if the estimate is proven to be too low, you may find yourself with extra charges upon reaching your destination because of estimate inaccuracies.

I don’t have time to research potential movers. How do I guarantee that fly-by-night movers won’t scam me?

Even if you’re pressed for time, we do recommend researching potential last-minute movers. Last-minute long-distance moves are incredibly tricky, so you need a provider that is not only experienced but one with a good track record. If you are busy, you can check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA to see if they are legit long-distance movers. Since FMCSA oversees interstate commercial travel, you can also look at the provider’s safety record to see if they’ve been in any accidents or if there are customer complaints against them.

How do I guarantee that the move will happen on the same day I request it?

Typically, we only agree on last-minute long-distance moving if we’re sure we can pull it off. However, once we say yes to a job, we make sure that we get things done in one day, no matter what. If you want to guarantee that the move will go as planned, we recommend our complete services, including packing and loading. Our expert team of movers is skilled at packing and clearing houses in record time without sacrificing quality and item security.

This move is unexpected for me, and I couldn’t prepare for it financially. What is the best option for me if I’m on a tight budget?

If the move is unexpected and you need emergency moving services, the most basic service we can offer is a truck rental. While this service is the most affordable and recommended for people on a tight budget, it means you don’t have a crew to help you pack and load things. If you need to move on the same day, you can always ask for help from friends and family.

I don’t have a place to stay yet. Can I keep my items in storage instead?

Of course. Moves done on short notice are usually made because of an emergency, and you may not have settled things in your new home yet. If this is the case, you can keep your items in our storage facility while you’re figuring things out at your new location. Just remember not to leave any perishable items if you’re keeping your belongings in storage.

Are my items still insured even if I decided to book my move at the last minute?

As a professional and legitimate moving company, we offer insurance for all moves, even those done at the last minute. Keep in mind that our insurance only covers all services included in the Bill of Lading. For example, if you packed the items yourself and damaged an item due to improper packing, our insurance doesn’t cover it.

Can I waive my right to full insurance if I’m on a budget?

While it’s true that complete insurance protection can make your move more expensive, it is something we recommend to our customers, especially if you’re planning a long-distance move on such short notice. Last-minute moves are notorious for having many unknowns and unforeseen circumstances, so we recommend getting full insurance coverage to protect your belongings. Partial insurance is free; however, it only gives you 60 cents per pound per article coverage.

Do I have to pay when the movers arrive at my house?

Our traditional moving services require customers to pay at least a couple of days before moving day. However, for last-minute moves, you can pay once the move has been carried out successfully. Our onsite team will take care of payments at the destination point.

What items should I leave out?

For long-distance travel, certain items are not allowed onboard moving trucks and vans. These items include:

  • Pool chemicals
  • Scuba tanks
  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Household cleaners
  • Guns
  • Paints
  • Charcoal
  • Propane tanks
  • Pesticides
  • Motor oil
  • Batteries
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Fertilizer

I need to stay behind to donate or throw away stuff that I’m not bringing to my new location. Can I ask someone else to meet the movers at my new home?

Of course. Our expert movers can get the job done with minimal supervision. You can be sure that our crew will handle and transport your items to the destination as best as they can. If you can’t meet them there in person, simply leave your representative’s name and contact information with the moving crew. In instances where you can’t meet the team yourself at your new home, you can settle your bill once the items are fully loaded into the truck.

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Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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