Our Big Bay Area Move: How to Choose the BEST Moving Company

We’ve officially moved! If you follow along on Instagram or caught my blog post announcing we bought our first home, this isn’t news to you. But gosh am I so happy to say we made it with all of our things into our brand new home – and that is all thanks to Clutter.

With our move on the horizon I went on a massive research spree, really hunting for the best Bay Area movers (plus any tips and tricks about packing and moving) that I could find. This has been our biggest move by far – our first “real adult” move! And wow did I learn a ton during the process.

I figured why not put together a blog post packed with moving tips, plus really give y’all the inside view of what it’s like to use Clutter – because they were a game changer.

bay-area-movers-clutter

bay-area-movers-clutter

The backstory of our move

We bought our very first home! And while our move is technically only about a half hour drive, WOW did it seem like the biggest stressor on the horizon. Our apartment had just become so (lol – pun intended) cluttered

The reality is that with the stressful closing process we had, plus the fact that we agreed to a “rent back” which extended our time in our apartment, we just really couldn’t afford to have any sort of stress when it came to moving. We have too many items we care about (including all of our work from home set up and lots of personal items we value). We really needed to find moving services that could not just get our items from point A to point B safely – but do it in a way that was low stress and low hassle.

Things to think about when choosing a moving company

Like I said – I shopped around hard. When it came to shopping for and getting quotes from various moving companies, I’ll admit I was looking for a handful of very specific things. Yes, I need my items to get where we’re going safely…but I also didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg to make that happen. There are a lot of options out there. Sometimes it’s hard to decipher who will actually get the job done well and who is going to cause you more of a headache than they’re worth. I went down the small, local moving company avenue. I also took a look through several larger, commercial moving options. During my search, I realized there are five primary things to really think through when evaluating a moving service.

Reputability & customer feedback

First and foremost – is the company you’re looking at reputable? Can you find reviews from past customers detailing their experience? Is that feedback good – both when it came to the quality/efficiency of the move as well as the overall feedback about the movers themselves? 

These things matter! You’re looking to hire a team to help move your most personal and important items.

Sort of along this vein, I also loved looking through reviews to see if customers noted that they had a great interaction with the movers and if the movers made the experience seamless. I cared about having a friendly, energetic team ready to dive in and help. Moves are stressful enough as it is and it mattered to me that we had a team that would keep things calm, positive, and efficient!

Competitive rates & rate transparency

Guys. Moving can get CRAZY EXPENSIVE! And here’s what really creamed my corn during our hunt: the rates were all over the place! It was fairly standard for moving companies to require a certain number of hours as a minimum, but wow was it wild to see the variety of rates and “special” fees (like for moving on a weekend). While it’s important to pay for a reputable company, it’s also important to make sure the quote you’re getting is fair and competitive.

And to be honest – the only quote I got that felt clear and transparent to me was from Clutter. The Clutter quoting process was like a breath of fresh air. It was very clear to me up front in their quote flow what the estimated cost of my move would be. No secret hidden fees. No “special weekend rates.” One hourly price, period.

Variety of services offered & more help if you need it!

Another thing to consider when searching for a moving company would be the breadth of the services the company offers. If we’re actually being really honest here – I legitimately had no idea there even were other options for services when I started to shop for our move. I literally had no idea someone could pack for us – like, talk about luxury! 

Except with a good moving company…it isn’t a luxury. It’s one of many services offered to take the stress out of your experience.

We’ll dive into Clutter specifically a little further down, but I can’t resist shouting them out here because Clutter’s services were very expansive. From moving and packing to storage (which is door to door, by the way) – Clutter beat out everyone I looked at when it came to the breadth of services offered.

Distance covered/regions served

I know this seems like a no brainer, but double check that the moving companies you’re looking at can actually travel the distance you’ll need. Our apartment was in San Francisco proper and we were moving just out of the city, so all my research was really focused on Bay Area movers, San Francisco movers, etc. There were a ton of Bay Area moving company options, but some of them did have limitations on mileage (or sneaky extra fees for crossing the bridge). So whether you’re doing short distance moving or long distance moving – just double check the distance covered.

Use of technology

It might just be the millennial in me, but gosh do I appreciate when companies utilize tech in innovative ways, particularly in “old school” industries that lack tech of any kind. The majority of moving companies we explored had no use of technology. This meant we’d have to try to describe how many items we had and also would likely have needed to pull out wads and wads of cash from an ATM for the day of – praying we had pulled out enough to cover the move plus tip. 

The use of technology in a very old school industry is where Clutter absolutely has innovated. I was able to get my quote online in under two minutes (no exaggeration). I also was able to snap pics on my phone and upload the photos of all my items so the Clutter team could properly estimate how many trucks and movers we’d need. And at the end of your move, Clutter is able to charge your card on file – meaning you really only would need to have cash to tip as you see fit. Or potentially even more convenient, you can actually tip digitally using the Clutter web app after your move!

bay-area-movers-clutter

bay-area-movers-clutter

The ins and outs of Clutter

Okay, obviously I couldn’t resist interjecting a few notes about Clutter along the way, but let’s really get into the nitty gritty here because Clutter is very different from any other moving company I took a look at.

The long story short? Clutter was the absolute best decision we made when it came to our move. I highly recommend.

How to get a quote from Clutter

There was no exaggeration in my earlier statement that getting a quote from Clutter literally takes two minutes. Really. They’ve timed it. And I know this sounds weird…but it was almost like playing a video game. To get a quote from Clutter, you simply head to the Clutter website and migrate through their quote flow. There are so many amazing designs and little graphics along the way, almost like working through a fun game (selecting your rooms, etc). 

How to book your move

Your quote is emailed to you shortly after completing the quote flow on the Clutter website and boom – you can book your move. All online. 

What makes Clutter different

Clutter utilizes tech in ways no other moving company does.

I know we touched on this earlier, but it’s worth noting again. Clutter’s use of technology when it came to the moving process wasn’t done in a showboating way – it added value to the move and actually made it more efficient. I loved how easy the online quote and scheduling process was. I also loved the ability to upload pictures of all our rooms, knowing that it meant we’d have a more accurate quote and also a team that knew what they were walking into on the day of.

Plus, I was actually able to track my movers on the day of my move! I was able to follow their journey, sort of like a Lyft ride.

Clutter is transparent with pricing.

Again, another item I mentioned earlier, but so unique and crazy important. Clutter was the only moving company I found that had one easy to understand and transparent rate. It’s very clear from the moment you get a quote how much you need to budget for your move – and there are no hidden fees or any “special pricing.” 

Clutter has a whole host of services – including packing services and materials!

San Francisco Bay Area moving is a new region for Clutter – but this is far from their first rodeo. Clutter has offered storage, packing, and moving services for a while now. Meaning whatever your needs are, you can do all of it with Clutter (such as temporarily storing your items before your move!). 

We specifically needed furniture moving and help moving some boxes, but if you’re in need of packing or storage, Clutter has a wide variety of services many moving companies don’t even offer.

Plus – Clutter actually has their own packing materials! Clutter has opened a number of stores inside of Walmart, with all the moving boxes, and packing supplies you might need for your move. Check if Clutter has a store at a Walmart near you

bay-area-movers-clutter

bay-area-movers-clutter

My top packing + moving tips & tricks

Don’t panic – picking the right moving company takes the stress out of it!

The reality is that there’s no need to stress about moving when you’ve chosen the right partner. Our move quickly turned from a high stress feeling of dread to a massive feeling of relief when Clutter got involved – because a company I trusted was getting it done.

Plus, you can totally outsource the most stressful parts of your move. If packing is what gives you a headache, let team Clutter step in.

Secure any permits you may need.

Okay, straight up, so few people in San Francisco seem to do their move the “right” way. I’ve seen loads of massive moving trucks double parked on busy streets lately. It’s the first born child, responsible side of me – but I paid for us to get the proper permit for our move. Our Clutter team was able to roll right into our reserved parking spaces instead of blocking traffic – which made the move less stressful for us and also for our team!

Make sure you’re stocked up on supplies.

Sometimes in the midst of a move, a box breaks or needs a little extra tape. Make sure to have extra supplies on hand. Or, if you’re like us and booked Clutter, the Clutter team will actually have packing supplies just in case. 

Again – I’m super into having a team on board that actually feels like they’re on my team and have my back.

Pack your liquids in your own vehicle.

We absolutely trusted our Clutter team to take the majority of our items, but packed any liquid items in our own vehicle just to make absolutely sure nothing could leak inside the truck during the move.

Better safe than sorry!

Budget for more time than you think you need for your move.

Straight up – our move took a couple hours longer than my husband and I expected – and this had nothing to do with inefficiency. We had way more stuff than we realized! We also really assumed our movers would just toss things into the truck, but there was a good deal of time spent wrapping, padding, and genuinely protecting our items. Our Clutter team was thorough – and we didn’t have a single item break during the move because of the extra care they took. 

I know with a move we all want it done quickly, but I’d recommend budgeting for a little more than you think you need because we definitely learned wow did we have way more to load into the truck than we thought! LOL! Hoarders over here…

Label every box for your own sanity.

Another tip that sounds simple, but makes a HUGE difference, is really accurately labeling every single box or item. After we got to the new home, we were on the hunt for very specific things we needed sooner than others (like pots and pans). Clearly labeling each box to know exactly what was inside helped us find essential items faster!

Sit back, relax, and let Clutter handle the rest.

Once we booked our move and completed our packing, we got to just kick back, relax, and let team Clutter absolutely crush our move for us.

And let me tell you. After a stressful 2020 – and a really stressful closing process – Clutter made our move a breath of fresh air.

Share your moving and packing tips in the comments below! And if you’re looking for Bay Area movers (or storage!) – obvi I recommend Clutter.

bay-area-movers-clutter

A big thank you to Clutter for crediting us our moving costs in exchange for this blog post. And of course, another big thanks to YOU the readers for supporting the brands that make Blondes & Bagels possible!

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