Moving small loads comes with its own set of challenges.
Moving a small load may be a big challenge.


  • When moving a small load across the country, your best option is to hire small scale movers to do the job for you.
  • Small move services incur small moving costs but you may need to wait for quite some time until your shipment is delivered.
  • To ensure a successful mini move, you need to get familiar with the specifics of small scale moving and find experienced and reliable small load movers to work with.

Moving is known to be a stressful, chaotic, and complicated process that can easily drain not only your nerves, but your bank account as well.

Even if we agree that this presumption is usually true, you need to concede that every moving scenario is unique and special and has its own peculiar characteristics. Moving across the ocean is very different from moving across town, for example, and moving your entire household is quite unlike moving a single furniture piece or a couple of boxes.

Your relocation needs and requirements will be different in every different situation, so you have to plan accordingly and prepare in the best way possible. To achieve this, you may need some expert help.

If you are faced with a mini move, it is our complete small moving guide that will be most useful to you – it will help you make informed decisions about your small moving options, find reliable small load movers, and organize a trouble-free partial relocation.

When do you need small moving help?

Even though full house moves are the most common type of relocations, you may be moving only temporarily (and may not want to take all your household items and personal possessions with you), or you may need to relocate the contents of a single room (a college dormitory room, for example), or you may want to move just one specific item (a set of furniture, a family heirloom, a large piece of equipment, etc.). In all these cases you will be moving small loads and will, therefore, need small move services to help you relocate your belongings.

Most moving companies offer small moving help, locally and cross country. Known as partial load moving or small scale moving, this is the ideal solution for people whose shipment is not big enough to fill in an entire moving van.

Cost Estimator

Enter route details for best prices

Save up to 40% off moving costs.
Save up to 40% off moving costs.

How Much do Movers Cost?

Save up to 40% on your upcoming move and get a quote from reputable moving experts.

As Featured On:

as seen in

How do small moving services work?

When relocating across the country, you will need professional moving assistance, even if you are only moving small loads. After all, you probably don’t have a suitable vehicle to transport your living room furniture set or your pool table, for example. Neither do you have the physical strength to lift and carry heavy household items or the experience required to safely move your cherished belongings.

Using small moving services is the best way to relocate your small shipment.
Not exactly the best way to move your partial load across the country, don’t you think?

So, hiring small scale movers to do the job for you is your easiest, safest and most efficient moving option. Most moving companies will be able to accommodate your needs and provide a quality service that is well suited to your particular situation.

Have in mind though that many professional moving companies charge a minimum weight (usually set to 2,000 pounds) for each household shipment when moving long distance or a minimum time (2-4 hours) for completing the job in the event of a local move.

Regardless of whether you meet those specific minimum requirements or not, you will be charged a minimum fee to have your small shipment transported to its final destination. In other words, you will be paying for weight that you don’t actually have or for time you haven’t used.

To avoid such unfair extra costs, you need to find movers that either specialize in small moves or include them in their standard services. This will allow you to save some money on your move while taking advantage of all the benefits of professional moving services.

Good to remember: A small move is estimated to be up to about 1,000 pounds. If your shipment falls below that weight mark, then yours is a mini move and you should consider using partial load moving services to your advantage.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of small move services?

Small scale movers provide a very advantageous option for moving small loads across the country – they offer quality moving services at a competitive price and favorable terms. On the other hand, mini moves can mean a lot of headaches for clients who have failed to take all the relevant factors into account. So, let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons of small moving jobs:

Small moving cost

What’s great about using specialized partial load moving services is that you will be paying only for the items you’re actually moving – there will be no minimum weight requirements or hidden costs to unfairly inflate the price of your move.

What’s the reason for the reduced relocation cost when moving small loads long distance, you may ask? It is simple enough – efficiency.

Movers strive for maximum efficiency in their job, so they make every effort (and wait as long as necessary) to fill any empty spaces in the moving trucks and transport several shipments going along the same moving route at once. This is especially true for long-distance moves when the movers have to load big trailers and drive them for many days across the country – in these cases, they want to “piece together” as many loads as possible in order to stay efficient. Moving a small load usually fits perfectly with this efficiency strategy.

It is the small moving cost that matters the most.
It all comes down to saving some money on your small move, doesn’t it?

So, when shipping a partial load you’ll be sharing the space in the moving truck with other customers’ items. This fact alone automatically means that you’ll be sharing the transportation costs as well.

Therefore, the final price of your small move will be based on the actual weight of your items and the relocation distance, not on some pre-set charges.

SEE ALSO: How to estimate the cost of moving

Good to remember: The small moving costs depend on the specific accessorial services you require as well. If you want your items to be delivered within a couple of days, for example, you may be charged an extra express delivery fee; if you need your items to be kept into the moving company’s storage facility for longer than necessary to perform the move, you will have to pay an additional storage fee; etc.

So, make sure you choose your desired partial load moving services wisely and find out about all the possible fees and taxes in advance (such as the fee for loading and transporting your small load to the mover’s warehouse where it will wait to be loaded onto a truck, for example), so that you don’t get surprised with unexpected charges.

To keep the small moving costs as low as possible, you are advised to:

  • Book your move early – this will allow for greater flexibility as you will be able to wait for as long as necessary for the movers to combine your shipment with someone else’s, so that you don’t have to pay extra for the exclusive use of the moving truck;
  • Move only what you really need – the more items you decide to relocate, the heavier your shipment will become and the higher your moving costs will soar;
  • Pack as much as possible by yourself – you can easily get hold of cheap packing materials and pack most of your belongings yourself, instead of paying the movers to do the job for you. However, if you’re going to relocate fragile items, family heirlooms, artwork, or other valuables, you are strongly recommended to hire professional packers– just to be on the safe side;
  • Prepare well and avoid possible difficulties that may result in extra charges – reserve a convenient parking lot for the moving truck, ensure easy access to your property and to your items, get everything ready for the movers, make every effort to prevent accidents and injuries on Moving day, etc.;
  • Choose trustworthy partial load movers to work with (see below for more details).

Big delivery window

While the reduced relocation cost is the greatest advantage of small load moving, its biggest downside is the time you may need to wait until your shipment is delivered to its final destination.

Flexibility is key when moving a small load. Most partial load movers can’t guarantee the delivery date.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply wait until your items arrive – it will take a bit longer but you’ll be paying much less, so this should work just fine for you.

If you’re pressed for time and want your shipment delivered on a certain date, however, you may have a hard time fixing that (yours is a small load, so the movers will want to combine it with other people’s shipments and will wait the truck to get full). In this case, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for the quick delivery of your belongings and, therefore, won’t be able to save on your mini move.

What to know when moving small loads?

To ensure a successful relocation experience when moving small loads interstate, you need to:

1) Find the best small load moving companies for your needs

Flexibility is key when moving small loads.
The movers will make sure their truck is completely full when transporting shipments across the country.

Many moving companies will provide you with economical and convenient options for moving your small load. To be able to choose the best movers for your particular relocation needs, you are advised to:

  • Get recommendations from family and/or friends who have recently moved and remained happy with the relocation services they have used;
  • Get several quotes for moving small loads. Contact a few small load moving companies and compare their offers in terms of price, quality of service (movers’ experience, available equipment, storage options, liability coverage, etc.), and convenience (timeframe of the move, available extra services and their rates, etc.). Use our free moving estimator to get your small moving costs calculated quickly and accurately;
  • Research your chosen small scale movers well. Check out customer reviews and performance ratings to learn of other people’s experience with your chosen movers, call the FMCSA’s safety violation and consumer protection hotline to find out the company’s complaint history, and verify the company’s USDOT number to make sure you are dealing with licensed and trustworthy movers (See also: How to protect yourself from moving fraud; How to avoid moving scams)
  • Discuss the details of your mini move with your chosen moving professionals (required extra services, pick-up and delivery days, liability coverage, handling requirements, transportation requirements, possible difficulties, etc.) and make sure all the terms and conditions you have negotiated (as well as the final moving costs) are clearly stated in the Bill of Lading. (Never sign a moving contact unless you understand and agree with all the clauses in it!)

2) Make a moving inventory

Even if you’re moving only a few household pieces or a couple of boxes, it’s strongly advisable to make a detailed inventory of the items you’re going to entrust to the movers.

Be sure to include a detailed statement of the current condition of every single item in your shipment, together with several photos – they will come in very handy in case you need to file a claim against your small load movers (should any of your items sustain damage or get lost while in their custody).

3) Label your items properly

No matter how small your shipment is, it’s still very important to label all the boxes and household goods with your name and any other relevant information (final destination, handling instructions, such as “FRAGILE” or “THIS SIDE UP”, etc.). This will help prevent losing your items or mixing them with other people’s items traveling in the same truck.

See also: How to label boxes for moving

4) Get adequate moving insurance

Discuss all the details of your mini move with your chosen small load moving company.
Are you sure this counts as a small load? Even if properly labeled and insured…

When shipping your partial load with a small scale moving company, you can rest assured about the safety of your belongings. Professional movers use specialized moving equipment and have rich experience in handling all types of household items and personal possessions. Besides, all moving companies offer moving protection and take responsibility for the goods in their custody.

If you’re moving valuable items, however, you may want to purchase additional moving insurance, just in case. You may also want to consider custom crating in order to keep your high value articles perfectly safe during transit.

Small scale moving offers a cost-effective and highly customized solution for moving partial loads across the country. All you need to do is get familiar with the specifics of small moves and choose the best small load movers for you. Or is it? Share your insights, future intentions, or past experience with moving small loads in the comments section below!

Ready to get a free quote for your move?

Answer a few questions, compare quotes and receive competitive price estimates.

Request a moving quote

More about the author


  1. I am moving 50 various size boxes from Webster NY to Three Riivers California. they are ready to be picked up from my garage in Webster NY. They need to be in California by September 27 or 28, 2013. Can you recommend the best and most reasonable way to ship them.

    1. I moved 20 household items from my garage in Irondequoit, NY to Sacramento, with a small load mover from Rochester — and a dining table leg was broken off and a china cabinet was roughed up. Would you recommend your mover?

  2. I have about 50 boxes (various sizes) and a few pieces of furniture and a few paintings. It all fits in about a 5x5x7 space (currently in small storage). They are my dear Mothers – and she would like them sometime in the next few months. Charlotte NC to Great Falls MT. She’s 83 and would like to use the stuff. Trying to find an inexpensive niche on a larger load with flexibile delivery to her storage unit/apt (depending on what occurs before delivery date on Her end). Can we get lucky with decent price and reliability?

    1. I have a similar, only smaller situation, from central Indiana to the Charlotte, NC area. Did you find a reasonable solution?

  3. Moving keyboard/TV/chair, and 3 boxes from Vancouver to TO. Any suggestions? Less then 400 pounds. Thanks!

  4. I have only 12 boxes, floor lamp, 2 mirrors which is the best way and cheapest way to get it to me from Orlando, FL?

  5. I want to move a marble statue 5 feet high that weighs approximately 1,500 lbs. from s. florida to long island NY in May.
    It must be put in my back yard. What kind of a mover do I need and what should it cost?

  6. I'm in the same boat and a moving company I called suggested Pakmail. I think I'm going for it. They will collect everything, get it on a palette, shrink-wrap it and get it on a truck. For a long-distance move of personal effects, I can't come up with a better option. It still won't be cheap, but…

  7. I need to move my son’s things, all in boxes — likely about 20 maximum — from Minneapolis to suburban NJ. We have great flexibility in terms of pick up and delivery, a two-week window or longer. Any suggestions on how to make this as cheap as possible? He’s moving for school, and keeping costs down is critical.

  8. Need to move kitchen table oval 42 by 42 with 16 inch leaf and 4 chairs to my daughter. from 66213 to 92122

  9. I just need to move some items from an outlet store a cross town about 5 m to my house
    Any suggestions?
    Tub surround
    Jetted tub
    New front door
    2 sets of patio furniture

  10. I have a sectional couch I want thrown away, we have dumpsters in complex. Then in the next apartment building over I need a few pieces of living room furniture moved to my place. Both on 2nd floors.

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you need help with your upcoming move? Call now +1 (800) 680-6439 +1 (800) 680-6439
Get a free quote and moving consultation. We are available 24/7.
Find Movers
Get a Quote
Click to call +1 (800) 680-6439*

*At MyMovingReviews we will connect you with a professional moving company. Please note that we may not be affiliated with and you may be speaking with another licensed provider.

Best movers nearby