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.

At the same time, any college student who’s 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 depending on their budget, distance, and the volume of items that need to be moved. Let’s take a look at some collegedorm room movers worth considering to help you streamline your moving process and start the school year off right.

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

Renting a truck and packing, lifting, and driving everything yourself is the default method for many DIY college moves. After all, with companies like U-Haul, you can get your packing materials and moving truck all in one place — and at a much lower cost than full-service movers.

That said, when you consider all the pros and cons, there are often far better options when it comes to college dorm movers.

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

Company Quote Rating Price
Safeway Moving
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starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
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American Van Lines
American Van Lines
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starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
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Mayzlin Relocation
Mayzlin Relocation
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starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
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Hiring full-service college dorm room movers — like some of the best interstate moving companies — 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 for packing services, and transit times can be maddeningly long on small interstate moves.

In addition, that lengthy tractor-trailer may not fit in your dorm’s tiny parking lot, which means you’ll probably pay an additional shuttle charge to get everything unloaded.

However, it may be a good stress-free choice in some situation. If you’re helping your kid move into an unfurnished house they’ll share with friends it can make sense to work with full-service movers. It also works well if they’re heading to a larger apartment that doesn’t come outfitted with dorm furniture.

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

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

Personal items can be checked or carried on, but you won’t be able to take furniture or bulky items. 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 how much you can pack.

With this option, you generally won’t be paying for extra packing or moving help, so this usually ends up being the cheapest route. You’ll only be paying to get yourself to college — something you’d be doing no matter what!

Small move specialists are great for long-distance college moves

Most college students don’t take that much stuff with them when they leave for their dorm — after all, many dorms come with beds, desks, and other furniture. If you’ll only be moving a few boxes and suitcases, renting a full moving truck can be overkill. Fortunately, there are several small move specialists and college dorm movers who focus on transporting smaller loads at a more affordable price.

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


MiniMoves specialize in small moves, making them a great choice for college students moving a few items.

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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)

ShipSmart – another long-distance shipping option worth considering


Call ShipSmart at (866) 333-8018 for a free quote. Mention moveBuddha to get a 10% discount!

ShipSmart is another big player in the small cross-country move niche, acting as a combination of parcel delivery companies (like Fed-Ex and UPS) and regular moving companies.

They specialize in shipments under 2,000 pounds, so if your college-bound items are limited to 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

Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 3.9 / 5

89% of users select this mover

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

They’re also useful if you need to ship a car. Many college kids take their vehicles to school — it makes it easier for them to work and come back home and see you! If you don’t want them to have to drive across the country, consider shipping their vehicle with a provider like uShip.

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 inconsistent service, though neither seems to be more prevalent than other companies in the moving space.

The pros of using uShip include:

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

Shipping containers are all the rage in the moving business

Company Quote Rating Price
U-Pack U-Pack Logo Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
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PODS PODS Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
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1-800-Pack-Rat Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
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Shipping containers are another viable option for both transportation and storage. Shipping container companies drop off their container at your property, after which you’ll have a set number of days to load your stuff. Once you’re ready, the company will pick up the container and transport it to your dorm room.

Some shipping container companies also offer short-term storage solutions. You can pack up the container and the company will keep it at its facility for a few months until you need it again. This is a great summer storage option for students who don’t want to deal with the hassle of loading and unloading a standard storage unit.

Zippy Shell – smaller containers work well on college dorm moves

Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Zippy Shell’s containers are slightly smaller than the industry average, making them a great choice 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. However, 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 where larger ones can’t fit
  • Customers can easily add labor for loading and unloading

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

Other moving container options

If you’re not worried about fitting a larger moving container in your dorm room parking lot, there are a few more moving container options to consider.

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!

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

For a truly stress-free experience, moving labor services can help customize your DIY move, providing the exact level of support you need. Basically, you get to pick and choose what you want help with, while still having the flexibility to take care of everything else yourself.

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

Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5

89% of users select this mover

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
  • Damage coverage comes with some moves

It’s important to note that you need to provide your own packing supplies and furniture pads or pay an additional fee. Also, their packers and movers aren’t permitted to drive rental trucks or your personal vehicle.


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.

This includes packing and unpacking, hauling and delivery, connecting and disconnecting electronics and appliances, and even 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’re 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’s services are generally focused on larger metropolitan areas in the states they serve.

Which college dorm room movers are the best?

As you can see, there are plenty of options for college moving and storage services. By considering your budget, the amount of stuff you’ll be moving to your dorm, and your moving timeline, you can find the best choice for getting everything to your new dorm room.

Not sure how much to budget for your college move? Use our moving cost calculator so you can compare your options and choose with confidence.

Frequently asked questions (faqs)

How much do collegedorm room movers charge?

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 dorm 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 when you need to move in. If you live in off-campus housing, confirm that you can park a moving truck on the street or at your housing complex to avoid fines.

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