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Best Moving Companies in California

All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The moving experience is stressful enough. Add in traffic around Los Angeles or San Francisco, and it just might drive you mad. Why not let a professional mover such as International Van Lines handle the strain? Whether your California move is to a neighboring town or cross-country, a professional moving service can help make the process simpler and stress-free.

We researched and ranked the best moving companies by simulating quote processes, speaking to company representatives, and conducting analysis of hundreds of customer reviews. International Van Lines provides the best overall moving experience for Californians. If you have high-value items to relocate, you may want to consider American Van Lines. If California condo or homeowners associations will cause an issue for your move, we suggest Safeway Moving Inc. for its experience dealing with those situations.

California’s Top Moving Companies of 2024

Through rigorous research, we’ve identified the following seven companies as the top moving companies in California and created this guide to help you select the best provider based on service options and reputation.

Side-By-Side Comparison: Best Movers in California

Here is how the top California movers compare:

What Factors Affect Moving Costs in California?

If you’re undergoing a local move within roughly the same California city, your cost will depend on how many hours the movers work and how many movers your move requires. On the other hand, if your move exceeds 150 miles or goes across state lines, your cost is calculated based on numerous factors that go into a long-distance move.

Cost factors include the following: 

  • Any applicable toll charges
  • Distance of your move (measured in mileage and number of days a truck is needed)
  • Gas
  • Home accessibility (many movers charge extra for long carries)
  • Home layout, including narrow hallways and doorframes and number of staircases and stairwells
  • Moving date
  • Size of your move (measured in total weight of items)
  • Size of your moving crew
  • Special handling of large or fragile items

How Should You Prep for a California Move?

You should follow a standard time line for your California move. Whether it’s a local move within the Bay Area, or you’re moving from New York, Florida, or another East Coast home, here’s a time line to help you prepare for your California move:

  • Eight weeks before:
    Start taking an inventory of your home, room by room. Create lists of items you plan to keep and those you want to get rid of. Consider hosting a yard sale to dispose of unwanted items. Also, research movers in your area and schedule quotes with those who offer your needed services.
  • Six weeks before:
    Get quotes from movers in your area. Have your inventory lists ready to help your move coordinator give an accurate estimate. Begin packing between the six- and eight-week mark, and try to pack a few boxes per day. Start with nonessential or out-of-season items.
  • Four weeks before:
    Ensure your move is booked. Get copies of your moving estimate and contract. Contact your utility companies to schedule service turn-on and shutoff dates at your new and old homes. Don’t forget to file a change of address form with the post office. 
  • Two weeks before:
    Aim to finish packing. Arrange for child and pet care for moving day.
  • During moving week:
    Pack your clothing and kitchenware. Leave essential items unpacked until the day before your move to ensure you have enough to wear and eat. The day before your move, pack your bag for your road trip to your new home, which may take several days.

Our Recommendation for California Residents

Our top recommended California mover is International Van Lines because of its full-service options for Golden State moves.

American Van Lines is another great choice for long-distance moves to and from California with its experience relocating most high-end items. We always suggest you request quotes from at least three moving companies to understand their services better and whether they’ll meet your needs.

FAQ about California Moving Companies

How are moving companies regulated in California?

Moving companies in California are licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Household Goods and Services. Reputable, authorized movers will have a licensing number that is easily searchable on that government website.

What factors affect the cost of a California move?

If you have an interstate move into or out of California, the bulk of your cost will be based on the size, distance, and weight of your move. Other factors include, size of your moving crew, hours worked by the moving crew, time of year you are moving, special handling of large and/or fragile items, your home’s layout and any difficult access points (narrow hallways, steep staircases, etc.), any applicable toll and fuel charges.If you’re moving within the state, the bulk of your cost will be based on the number of movers required and hours worked.

How should I prepare for my California move?

There are multiple steps to take to prepare for your California move:
• Prepare your inventory list, making note of fragile and high-value items that will need extra care.
• Research moving companies and obtain multiple estimates in writing to compare costs.
• Determine if you will also need storage solutions.
• If you are moving cross-country and planning to drive, have your vehicle serviced to prevent a breakdown along the
• Declutter your home.
• Donate items you can’t pack or sell.
• Arrange for junk hauling if necessary.
• Gather all important documents—such as birth certificates, passports, financial, legal, and medical records—and pack them in a safe place to carry on your person during your move.
• Update your voter registration, vehicle registration and insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and pet registration.
• Notify important organizations (including the U.S. Postal Service), friends, and family about your relocation.

How We Chose the Top Moving Companies in California

We researched and analyzed dozens of full- and self-service moving companies and formulated a moving review methodology based on a number of factors, including package options, pricing, and reputation. We also identified customer pain points based on customer-review analysis, proprietary consumer surveys, and interviews with former and current moving professionals.

Speaking directly to a representative at each company, we determined the number of package options available, the coverage provided, the types of moves available (long-distance, local, and international), and any extra perks offered, such as mobile apps, moving checklists, and 24/7 customer service.

We also gathered pricing data from each of the companies and determined whether they provide ballpark estimates or binding quotes. To determine reputation, we evaluated companies based on their rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as their overall score on Yelp.

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