Overall Opinion of National Van Lines: They are a well-established national moving company with full-service moving capability. The primary source of problems is items arriving damaged, particularly on state-to-state moving projects. Overall, they are an above-average option for local, long-distance, or international moves.
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Founded more than 90 years ago, the organization is headquartered in Broadview, Illinois. In an era when the majority of major national carriers have been acquired by large conglomerates, they remain a mid-sized company. They have a vast network of local agents across the U.S. in roughly 30 states.
- Local Moving: They have local agents that provide customized local moving services. All items loaded on the truck are added to a full inventory list. Customers are encouraged to ask about expedited services.
- Long-Distance Moves: Interstate and cross-country moving services are available nationwide.
- International Moves: They have secured licensure as a Federal Maritime Commission as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC). We are now also a certified Registered International Mover (RIM). Shipment tracking is available on all international moves, which are completed by air or sea. Those moving internationally are encouraged to select the Extended Protection Program to cover lost or damaged items.
- Commercial Moving: They offer customized relocation services for businesses of all sizes using movers that are all background checked. The operations team has expertise in logistics and they have handled many special projects for medical facilities, the hospitality industry, and more.
- Packing and Unpacking: They offer professional packing and unpacking services as part of their full-service moving programs for both residential and commercial customers.
- Specialty Services: They now offer services including piano and pool table moving, customized crating, and vehicle transport.
- Storage: Agents can offer temporary storage-in-transit services and warehouse storage options with climate-controlled unit availability.
- Government and Military Moves: They have many years of experience in meeting General Service Administration standards and regularly handle military relocations for the Department of Defense (DOD)
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The Good: Developed Great System for “Contactless” Estimates
The ReloQuote application was developed as a means of safely and accurately obtaining a quote while allowing for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The customer uses their phone or other video-capable devices to create an inventory. (see details below)
The National ReloQuote Smartphone Quote Process
The Bad: Too Many Complaints of Broken/Damaged Belongings
Although not an unusual problem in the moving industry, feedback indicates that National Van Lines has had many customer complaints stemming from items being damaged. In many cases, the quality of the packing material used was insufficient to protect delicate items from being broken.
- It appears they have an excellent process of conducting remote estimates using FaceTime technology
- The company is active in charitable causes including the Special Olympics and some environmental initiatives
- They are a viable option for “last-minute” moves on short notice
- Many reviews praised the national account sales staff
- Some of the local moving staff will package and move items hastily without proper TLC, which sometimes results in damage
- Many customers that decline to purchase additional protection coverage are unaware of the (meager) limits that apply to basic coverage
- They don’t have a local agent in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
- Some of the metro areas without a local agent include Buffalo, Rochester, Memphis, and Pittsburgh.
The website’s free quote platform doesn’t generate an instant or “ballpark” pricing estimate and requires speaking with a representative. The website does allow customers to make payments via credit card. Customer feedback suggests that many of the local agents are very competitively priced on state-to-state moves, although they don’t market themselves as a budget or value type of carrier.
Binding vs Nonbinding Estimates
National Van Lines typically requires that a company representative conduct an onsite survey before providing a fully binding estimate. This is necessary to determine key aspects of the move that may require additional resources. For example, local laws may prohibit large trucks from passing through certain areas; therefore, it may be necessary for the movers to use a smaller shuttle and make multiple trips.
Basic Carrier Liability is the required minimum coverage that pays 60 cents per pound per article for loss or damage that is provided at no additional cost. For example, a 150-pound piece of furniture that is damaged is only eligible for a maximum of $90 in compensation if it were lost or damaged.
Full Replacement Value is available for purchase and equates to repair or replacement cost at market prices. Costs can be lowered if a deductible amount is chosen and offerings will vary among the different local agents.
The headquarters location in Broadview, Illinois has more than 100 reviews on Google with an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5. Several people spoke positively about the customer service representatives on the 800# as being professional and polite. A few customers stated that items were handled recklessly during the move and had belongings damaged.
One of their local agents, Midwest Moving & Storage, which operates in the Chicago area had more than 240 reviews on Google with an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5. Many of the complaints involved lengthy delays in deliveries to destinations on state-to-state moving projects. A couple of customers stated that the staff doing the packing and loading seemed disorganized and lacked some of the basic supplies. A manager does respond to all of these comments (good and bad) and seemed sincerely interested in resolving problems.
One pattern that is evident in their reviews is that customer satisfaction tends to decline as the moving process progresses, particularly on interstate moves. For example, the initial estimate goes well and items are loaded efficiently at the origin location—then there are problems with responsiveness or delays in reaching the destination, etc.
On Yelp, National Van Lines has an overall rating of 3 out of 5 based on 140+ reviews. One customer explained that the cost to guarantee the arrival date at the destination was $775 (pretty costly). Lots of pictures are posted of items that were damaged during the move. One customer expressed satisfaction with the “contactless” estimate process that used FaceTime.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has National Van Lines as rated A+. They have received two complaints over the past year and 14 over the prior three years. Several of the complaints involved the claims process. Customers mentioned lapses in communication and that the compensation (coverage) was insufficient for the value of the items.
BBB Complaint Classification Summary
|Sales or Advertising Related||0|
|Warranties or Guarantees||2|
|Product or Service Concerns||5|
They are a sound organization with an impressive network of U.S. agents. The primary concern is that the quality of the movers is inconsistent among the local agents and too many items are broken. They are a viable option for full-service moving; however, purchasing upgraded insurance (coverage) plan is strongly recommended.