Best College Dorm Movers When Heading Off to School

From sit-ins and toga parties to studying and forming lifelong friendships, college can be one of life’s most memorable experiences.

Anyone who’s ever watched their parents drive away from campus for the first time will tell you that it can be exhilarating, heart-wrenching, and downright terrifying.

Emotions aside, getting furniture and personal items moved to a dorm, or off-campus apartment can be an expensive and time-consuming hassle.

Fortunately, parents and students have plenty of options regardless of budget, distance, and the volume of items you are moving.

Now let’s take a look at some dorm movers worth considering, but first, check out these helpful move resources –

  • Best professional movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. Hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews is key with so much at stake.
  • How much will your move cost? – Just enter your dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move into our move cost calculator, and the magic algorithms will do the rest
  • Best moving container companies – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks.

Renting a U-Haul isn’t necessarily the best option

Renting a truck and packing, lifting, and driving yourself is the default method for many DIY college moves.

That said, when you consider all the pros and cons, there are often far better options.

Truck rental prices on some well-traveled routes (like California to Texas) are shockingly high, and when safety, gas, insurance, tolls, and the hassle of driving are weighed in, going another route is often a no-brainer.

Full-service movers are convenient but pricey

Hiring full-service dorm room movers to pack and move your college-bound items is great if money isn’t a concern.

Of course, their services aren’t cheap, and most van lines have minimum weight requirements between 1,000 and 2,100 pounds.

So if you’re just shipping a dresser, a night table, and a few boxes, you’ll pay more than you should, and transit times can be maddeningly long on small interstate moves.

In addition, that 80-foot long tractor-trailer may not fit in your dorm’s tiny parking lot, which means you’ll probably pay an additional shuttle charge.

Getting to college via car, train, bus, or plane

For those who travel lightly, flying or getting to college by bus, train or car are feasible options.

Personal items can be checked or carried on, but you won’t be able to take furniture or bulky articles, and though buses and trains can be cheap, airline tickets generally aren’t.

Driving a personal vehicle or having mom and dad drive you in theirs is another time-tested moving alternative, but unless they own a van, pickup truck, or station wagon, you’ll be limited in what you can take with you.

Small move specialists are great for long-distance college moves

MiniMoves – hard to beat when moving a small shipment from one state to another

As small move experts, MiniMoves’ services are a good fit for college students moving a few items or the contents of a studio or 1-bedroom apartment.

MiniMoves provides free quotes and customer service representatives to help students choose the best option for their particular moving needs.

Other pros of using MiniMoves include –

  • Reasonable prices
  • Large national coverage area
  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Loading and unloading labor
  • Packing and unpacking services are available
  • No minimum move size (customers pay for exactly what they ship)

Click here for a free small move quote.

ShipSmart – another long-distance shipping option worth considering

ShipSmart is another big player in the small cross-country move niche, mainly because they’re part parcel delivery companies (like Fed-Ex and UPS) and part regular moving companies.

They specialize in shipments under 2,000 pounds, so if your college items include a mini-fridge, a foosball table, and six boxes of clothes and comic books, they’re definitely worth checking out.

ShipSmart pros include –

  • Affordable pricing
  • Flexible and convenient moving options
  • Door-to-door service
  • Customers can opt for curbside drop off to save money
  • Professional packing and unpacking services are available
  • Various insurance options depending on the value of your items

For a free moving quote, call ShipSmart at (866) 333-8018, and don’t forget to mention moveBuddha to get a 10% discount.

uShip – a convenient online shipping marketplace

Small shipments make up a large portion of the overall moving business, and the internet is the perfect medium for bringing customers and service providers together.

In short, as an industry leader, uShip is a company worth checking out for students moving small shipments to out-of-state colleges.

Competition keeps prices reasonable, and uShip does a good job of weeding out scammers by providing real customer reviews through its verified vendor system.

On the downside, the company is a transportation intermediary, or broker, which means the service providers on their website are strictly contractors.

This can translate into less control and poor service, though neither seems to be more prevalent than other companies in the moving space.

The pros of using uShip include –

  • Lots of service options
  • Large coverage area
  • The thorough carrier vetting process
  • Online bidding keeps prices reasonable

Shipping containers are all the rage in the moving business

Zippy Shell – smaller containers work well on college dorm moves

Zippy Shell’s containers are slightly smaller than the industry average, making them great choices when moving into tight areas like college dormitories.

The company isn’t as large as some of its competitors, so availability can be an issue, but the following pros make it a company worth considering –

  • Long-distance moves include 30 days of storage
  • Professional drivers transport your container so you’re free to snag a cheap flight or head out on a road trip
  • Their small containers fit into spaces that may be too small for larger ones
  • Customers can easily add labor for loading and unloading

Click here for a more in-depth analysis of Zippy Shell’s services and pricing.

Who doesn’t love a good smackdown?

Want a thorough overview of three of the top players in the moving container biz?

Want to save a few bucks in the process?

Of course, you do.

The truth is that there’s lots of competition in the moving container sector, and good deals abound for savvy value-conscious consumers.

From pricing, services, and coverage areas to individual pros and cons, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about U-Box, PODS, and U-Pack here.

Moving Labor Services are great for customizing DIY moves

Hire-A-Helper – another great choice for help moving

If you’re renting a moving truck or shipping container to college but would rather not do the heavy lifting yourself, Hire-A-Helper can help.

Customers can easily choose the services they need online. The company rises above many of its competitors in the following ways –

  • Call center in California for live support
  • Coverage in all 50 states
  • Lenient Covid-19 cancellation policy
  • Damage coverage comes with some moves but it’s important to note that you need to provide your own packing supplies and furniture pads or pay an additional fee. Packers and movers aren’t permitted to drive rental trucks customer’s personal vehicles.

Learn more about their dorm moving services, and get a free quote here. 

TaskRabbit – lots of options for students on the move

Though it’s not a traditional moving company, TaskRabbit’s services include a number of moving options.

Here we’re talking about packing and unpacking, hauling and delivery, connecting and disconnecting electronics and appliances, as well as disassembling and assembling home gyms, entertainment centers and Ikea furniture.

On the flip side, their services don’t always work well on long-distance moves, so they may only be an option if you or your child is attending an in-state school.

The pros of using TaskRabbit include –

  • An easy to navigate website
  • Reasonable prices
  • Last-minute and same-day services may be available
  • Customers can compare rates and reviews before buying
  • Contractor bios show tenure, availability, hourly rate, reviews, and the type(s) of vehicles offered

Just keep in mind that moving insurance isn’t available, and TaskRabbit only offers services in select metropolitan areas like New York, Portland, and Los Angeles

Frequently asked questions (faqs)

How much do movers cost for a dorm?

Depending on what, when, and where you’re moving, college moving services generally run between $300 and $1,200. However, long-distance full-service moves can cost much more.

How much do college movers charge per hour?

Most student movers charge between $25 and $40 per person per hour on local moves. Rates can be significantly higher in cities like Chicago and New York.

How long does it take to move to a dorm?

In many cases packing and moving the contents of a minimally furnished dorm room can be done in a few hours. This is assuming you have adequate help and a large enough vehicle to make one trip. You will also need to check with your campus housing to know if there is a specific window of time you are allowed to move within. If you live in off-campus housing, check that you can park a moving truck on the street to avoid fines.


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