Long Distance vs Short Distance Move; What You Need To Know

Every move falls into any of these two categories: long distance move, or short distance move. They are different and several things apply differently to them. Knowing what each of them entails will equip you with better understanding of some things that will be involved in your next move. And when planning a move, you must identify from the onset what kind of move it is; that is, you must be able to place your move under any of these two. Many decisions you will have to make will be guided by the kind of move you are making.


Here are things you need to know about each of these moves.

Long distance move

  • A move that crosses the state line. It is also known as interstate, coast to coast, or cross country move.
  • Moving companies that operate long distance moves are required to obtain license from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
  • Long Distance moves are charged based on the weight of the properties being moved and the distance being traveled.
  • Since the charge is calculated based on weight, the truck is first weighed before your properties are loaded into it and weighed after loading. The difference between these two weights form the weight of your properties.
  • A move may be within the same state, but cover a very long distance. For this, a mover will give you a short move charge, but add the linehaul charge on it (per mile charge).
  • When going on a long distance move, do not rely on oral quote. Insist on a written estimate, and do not sign a contract unless it is given. A written estimate, also called ‘tariff’, will specify all the services and their prices. It shows the cost of your move. Without it, it is easy for the mover to alter any oral quote they give you.


Short distance move

  • Short distance moves cover a short range, say within a city or between close cities, and within a state. A general consideration puts it at less than 450 miles.
  • The charge for a short distance move is based on the number of hours the mover will spend on the move.
  • Although you are being charged per hour, some movers operate by a linehaul charge, which means you will be charged per mile.
  • Local movers may have to obtain license from the state within which they operate.


It is important to verify with your mover the structure of their charges. Ask questions on anything you do not understand, and get clarity before signing the contract.

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