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When to Book Movers

So, you're planning a big move. Whether you finally closed on your dream home, took a new job in a big city, or plan to move back to your hometown to be closer to your family, moving is exciting! It's the start of a new chapter for you and your loved ones, and you should look forward to the journey ahead. However, there are many tasks you'll need to plan for to ensure everything goes smoothly, from switching your services and researching new schools for your little ones to getting help with packing, shipping and unpacking.

For many people planning a big move, one question looms large: How far in advance do you need to schedule movers? Let’s look at how far in advance to book movers and take a deeper dive into how to prepare for different types of moves. 

For the best moving experience, it's recommended to book your movers ideally two months before your moving date. However, in a worst-case scenario, you should book at least four weeks in advance. Be aware that if you have only a month or less before your move, your choices of movers may be limited. Most reputable movers are booked out two to three months in advance.

Why Should I Book Movers Early?

Whether you're moving down the street or to a new state, you should prepare for moving day well in advance, which includes knowing when to hire movers. Partnering with a moving company will give you peace of mind as you make your preparations (not to mention access to free resources provided by the moving company that you can use throughout the relocation process).

There are many benefits to locking in a date with a top-rated moving company at least a few weeks or months in advance. Some of the benefits include:

Cost-Saving Advantages 

Many moving companies provide better rates, discounts and deals when you book in advance. These deals can help you save on the overall cost of your move and ensure you stay under budget. If you wait until the last minute and the demand is high for your desired date, you may pay more than you planned to.

More Time to Compare Estimates 

As with most financial decisions, try to avoid locking in a rate with the first moving company you get an estimate from. If you start shopping early, you’ll have plenty of time to compare quotes, read through the fine print and better understand your needs for your relocation.

If you rush into booking a mover, you may overlook hidden fees or pay for services you don't need. You’ll also deprive yourself of the opportunity to do more research on available moving companies. Don’t neglect to read customer reviews and testimonials or ask your friends and family for referrals! 

Navigating Peak Season

The peak season for moving is typically summer or late spring. If you plan to move during these months, availability may be limited, and you may need to book a few weeks earlier than you would otherwise.

Choosing Your Ideal Day

Weekends are a more popular choice for moving than weekdays. It makes sense: People work during the week and don't have time to focus on their moves. You'll want to book early to ensure you can lock in your desired weekend.

However, if you have the flexibility to move on a weekday instead, you may discover some cost-saving advantages. Weekday moves are typically cheaper than weekend moves — something to consider when comparing quotes. 

Customized Experience

Starting the moving process ahead of time allows you to slow down and consider your needs. Do you need help packing and loading or just unpacking at your new home? Are you going to relocate that boat, motorcycle or spare car, or is it time to sell?

Starting the process early will ensure you find a moving company that fits your budget and provides the services your relocation requires. A relocation specialist provided by the moving company can help you put together a customized, in-depth moving plan to ensure no detail gets forgotten.

Stay Organized 

The relocation process involves countless details and deadlines. If you hire a moving company at the last minute, you'll miss out on expert guidance, moving checklists and other invaluable resources your moving company may provide. Once you lock in a rate with your company of choice, most will assign you to a relocation specialist to help you plan and prepare for your moving date. They'll answer any questions or concerns and guide you through the process.

Secure Specialty Services

Not every moving company you get a quote from will offer specialty services, like shipping a boat to your new home or arranging storage for an expensive wine collection. When getting free estimates from different moving companies, address any specialty services you need in advance to ensure they can accommodate you. 

Peace of Mind

You can't put a price on peace of mind. Taking the time to book movers early can reduce stress and keep you on track for a successful move.

When Should I Book Movers?

So, how far in advance do you need to schedule movers? A lot depends on the type of move and the logistics involved. The moving company you hire to handle your personal belongings is arguably the most important factor in the moving process. Before booking, you’ll want to verify that they are insured, reputable and offer the specialty services you need.

Starting early is key. Here's how early to book movers depending on the type of move you’re planning:

Long-Distance Moves

Three Months Out
Long-distance moves are 400 miles or more, such as from Northern to Southern California. These are hefty moves that require a great deal of logistical planning and preparation. 

You'll want to start looking for a reputable moving company to work with at least three months before your desired move date. This will give you time to compare quotes and check the terms while providing the moving company enough lead time to start planning on their end. 

Local Moves

Two Months Out
Most local moves are a short distance from your current home, like moving from the city to the suburbs or downsizing to a condo a few blocks away. They are generally 50 miles or less, though the range can vary depending on where you live. 

Most top-rated moving companies can complete these relocations in one day or a weekend. While the short distance may lead you to believe these moves are more straightforward, the process still requires planning and preparation, so you'll want to look for a mover at least two months in advance. 

Interstate Moves

Three Months Out
A cross-country move involves moving from one state to another, ranging anywhere from 50 miles to nearly 3,000 if you’re going from one coast to the other. Interstate moves are similar to long-distance moves and require as much logistical planning and preparation.

These types of moves also require DOT and FMCSA authorization. These are government certifications that moving companies need to transport goods across state lines. To ensure the moving company you choose has the permits and licenses they need to meet federal, state and local laws, you'll need to book movers at least three months out. 

International Moves

Four Months OutInternational moves mean moving across national borders. The distance can be significant, and you may need to travel by plane or car. You'll also need to plan for customs and immigration to ensure you and your belongings can enter the country. 

If you're moving temporarily, you may want to look into storage solutions for the items you can't bring. Working with a moving company for an international relocation can give you peace of mind and reassurance. Their experts can give you tips and tricks for clearing customs and meeting VISA requirements while helping to arrange international shipping. To prepare for an international move with a moving company, you'll want to start at least four months in advance. This gives you time to plan, downsize and prepare for the journey ahead.

How to Best Prepare for Moving Day

There’s nothing like feeling well-prepared on the big day. A lot can happen throughout the moving process, from the moment you start packing until the last box is empty in your new home.

It can be daunting, but with a little planning, you can make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips to help you face moving day with confidence.

Start with a Set Budget

Before you start packing, set a budget to ensure your move is affordable and doesn't break the bank. Include quotes for professional movers, packing supplies, travel arrangements and other incidentals. You'll also want to set aside a small amount for emergencies that may arise during the moving process. 

Keep, Donate and Throw Away

Moving to a new place is an opportunity to declutter. Instead of throwing everything into a box, create three piles: Keep, Donate and Throw Away. The less stuff you have on moving day, the easier the entire process will be.

Create a Checklist

Think of your moving day checklist as a guide. It's there to remind you of everything you have to complete in the months, weeks and days leading up to the move. Include goals and deadlines to ensure nothing critical gets lost in the shuffle, like calling the utility company or transferring your children’s transcripts. 

Take Important Stuff with You

Essential paperwork, birth certificates, social security cards and other documentation should always travel with you, not your moving company. If you're driving to your new destination, you'll want to take some time to pack your car with essential items, including: 

  • A bag with spare clothes and toiletries 
  • Important documents 
  • Expensive jewelry or family heirlooms

Hire Movers with North American Van Lines

Whether you’re planning an international relocation or a local move, knowing how far in advance to schedule movers is a vital part of the moving process. If you’re looking for a reputable moving company and professional movers to help with your next move, North American Van Lines is here to help. 

Our professional movers and agents are top-rated for their ability to achieve a stress-free moving experience from start to finish. For over 90 years, we've been helping families, individuals and businesses successfully relocate across cities, state lines and international borders. With our team by your side, you can feel confident your move will be handled with the utmost care.

Contact us today for a free quote.