Behind the Scenes of a Long-distance Move

Aside from movers packing up a van and delivering belongings, the steps involved in a long-distance move can come as a surprise to many United Van Lines customers. Whatever your experiences or expectations, let’s just say there’s a lot more involved than simply going directly from Point A to Point B. 

Here’s a glimpse into how a typical move happens – along with some tips and techniques for making the experience as seamless and surprise-free as possible.  

We Go Where We’re Needed

Not every United Van Lines customer lives in a major metropolitan area or near an interstate. That’s why long-distance movers like us fall under the category of “irregular route carriers.” Because we go wherever people are moving to and from, we need to be as efficient as possible. Routes are carefully planned and mapped out to handle multiple loads, and to leverage our scheduling and shipments in order to service as many customers as we can.  

Customers sometimes like to track their belongings enroute – and occasionally their van is not where they expect it to be. Rest assured, that’s perfectly normal. Much like when you’re tracking a package sent by Amazon or UPS, it all comes down to logistics and efficiency. At United Van Lines, we encourage you to reach out to your Move Coordinator if you have questions or need a status update.

Van Space is Usually Shared

A 53-foot moving van has enough room to handle the contents of several typical households, so unless you have an exceptionally large home there will be more than one set of customer shipments in the van. For us – and really any major long-distance mover – it’s a matter of utilizing the equipment efficiently.

Let’s say, for example, that we have five customers moving out of California – with the furthest move ending up in Florida. The van driver would load these shipments and deliver them to customer homes in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia before they get to Florida. Or they may load one shipment in California, another one in Arizona, another in New Mexico, and then take it all to Florida. We rely on Transportation Specialists to bundle loads together in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

Why We Have Delivery Windows

United Van Lines leverages innovative technologies and nearly 95 years of experience to ensure that our long-distance moves happen as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, moving will never be an exact science, which is why most long-distance moves are scheduled to happen between predetermined delivery windows.

Here’s why:

Weather conditions and the occasional mechanical hiccup can happen. And when you consider that many vans are carrying more than one customer’s belongings, loading and unloading is another reason our delivery windows are flexible. 

As a reputable mover, United Van Lines drivers abide by Department of Transportation rules and regulations, which include standardized hours of service. Our drivers cannot be behind the wheel of their vehicle for more than a set number of hours each day – nor would we want them to be! 

Not all our customers’ belongings are moved exclusively in vans. Depending on the location and type of service, we also move shipments using containers and trailers, which have different delivery windows and timeframes.  

Tips for a Better Moving Experience

The further out you plan a long-distance move, the better – especially if it’s during the industry’s peak season months of May through August. Put time on your side by starting the process and getting moving quotes sooner rather than later. 

If the mover you’re hiring makes a bid or promises a delivery schedule that seems too good to be true, beware! Our industry has seen an influx of scam movers who pad costs after a van is loaded – and even hold belongings hostage. See our “Movers or Fakers?” checklist for tips on how to identify and avoid them.  

Whatever moving company you choose, take a moment or two to explore the content we have available on everything from setting up a to-do list to packing your belongings, settling into your new neighborhood as well as our guides to regional cuisines, cities, and national parks. 

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