What Do Different Move Types Mean?

If you’re new to moving or you’ve only moved across town, the different types of moves and how they’re charged can be confusing. For most movers, there are three types of moves, local, long-distance, and short-haul. Each of these are surprisingly different. Here is what you need to know about each.

Local Moves

A local move is a lot like it sounds. A local move is a job that is usually completed in a single day — packing and other circumstances might add a day to the job, however if you’re moving within a 3-4 hour drive from your old place, it’s still a local move.

Billing for local moves is relatively straightforward. Customers are charged by the number of hours the movers work plus packing materials. There may be additional charges for special handling of some items, including some bulky items such as pianos, and if a piece of furniture won’t fit through the door.

In most circumstances, the moving truck will be completely dedicated to you, meaning you won’t share space with another customer. For that reason, movers don’t usually inventory items for local moves (unless they’re going to storage). While Ninja Movers are very thorough, it’s a good idea for you to make sure they take everything from your home and that the truck is completely empty after delivery.

Long-Distance Moves

A long-distance move is one that can’t be completed in a day or two. Typically, this refers to out of state moves, but because California is so large, a move from the Bay Area to San Diego could also be considered long-distance, which can save you some money.

Because there are so many variables when crossing state lines, charging by the hour is impractical, so movers charge either by the weight of your items or the volume (industry secret: there’s a weight/volume ratio which is seven pounds per cubic foot). There are also charges for packing, materials, and other items such as carrying items far from the truck to your front door, bulky items, overnight storage, etc.

Unless your items fill up a semi-truck, you’ll likely share space with one or two other customers. Don’t worry, though, everything will be thoroughly inventoried and color-coded. Long-distance moves can take up to a few weeks because the truck will have to make several stops along the way.

A designated truck will ensure that your household goods arrive much faster, but as with chartering anything else, designated shipping is much more expensive.

Short-Haul Moves

A short-haul move is in the middle of local and long-distance moves. Short-hauls could mean traveling from the Bay Area to San Diego, but also to bordering states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. Short-haul moves can be charged by weight, volume, or in some cases, hours. As with other moves, you are charged for packing, materials, and special circumstances.

Short-haul trucks are usually dedicated, but if you can wait a little bit, there are often discounts for sharing a truck with others.