Jacob Beckstead
February 24, 2022
Article type:
Understanding Bailey's Moving
Applies to:
All Moving

My Moving Company Just Cancelled. Now What?

If you've booked a moving company and now they've cancelled last minute, don't panic (although I know it can be hard). This situation can be nerve-racking, but there's a way forward. Let's review the path to rectify this situation, step by step.

Start Here:

Before looking for your next options, write down or collect your move details for quick reference.

These are:

  • Your Origin
  • Your Destination
  • The move date (with any flexibility)
  • The weight or cubic feet of your shipment (supplied by the previous mover)
  • Your itemized inventory (supplied by the previous mover)

Do you have those handy? Then let's work on solving this.

#1 - Be Vigilant For Moving Scams

People are most vulnerable to moving scams when they are in a hurry. I know you're probably stressed out if you're in this situation but know that it can get much worse if you end up being scammed. So, take the steps now to quickly educate yourself to avoid scammers as you do the following.

To help, refer to this article about avoiding a moving scam.

But here are the brief, main points on how to avoid being scammed:

  • Avoid a move broker unless you have no other choice. Move brokers will collect payment and reassure you that they can find you a mover. The problem is, they often hire a low-budget mover who can put you in the same situation again. Even if they don't, move brokers are known to usually underestimate the scope of the move to show you a lower price upfront, but when the actual mover arrives and sees what needs to be moved, you'll have to pay a higher fee to reflect the actual cost of your move. This adds more stress, and you have enough. It will be tempting, but it's better to know the actual cost of your move upfront and avoid all that stress and the problems brokers can inadvertently or intentionally create by avoiding them altogether.
  • Research the mover before you hire them. Are they a broker? We just covered why that's not a great thing. How long have they been in business? How many reviews from other customers do they have? Has anyone you know ever used or heard of them? There are many scam movers who exist for mere months before disappearing and then showing up again under a new name. History, longevity, verifiable customers, and online presence help point toward more reputable companies.
  • Avoid deposits. Scammers often want large deposits before they load, which you will not likely get back when they don't show up or steal your belongings. If you mover needs a deposit to hold capacity, it should be modest. Deposits of 25% or more are red flags.

#2 - Search For Other Moving Companies

To start, be prepared: this step will require quite a few phone calls. You may want to enlist a few family members to start calling other companies to get it done quickly. When you call, begin the conversation by letting the company you're calling know your situation, that you're looking for a last-minute mover. After telling them when you need to move and your flexibility, you can give them your inventory list if they think they can service your dates.

Be aware that each mover might want to collect their own inventory list to make sure they're comfortable with the price they are offering.

In the end, this will take quite a few calls and time. If you're moving locally, you're likely to find someone who can help quickly. The further away you're moving, the more calls you'll need to make because fewer licensed movers can provide interstate transportation.

#3 - Increase Your Flexibility by Any Means Possible

While calling moving companies, you should also start looking at options for your moving timeline and creative move solutions to increase your flexibility around when and how movers could service you. In the end, drivers and trucks going from your origin to your destination are the two significant constraints moving companies have. Given these constraints, any flexibility you can provide might help you match up better with a mover.

Here are a few examples we've seen to help work around your situation:

  1. Could a mover pick up and store your belongings until they could ship them? Many movers can do a local pickup and store your belongings until they deliver them. If you're moving locally, this might not help because delivering your belongings to storage might not be much different than delivering them to your home, but it's still good to ask the mover if they think it can help get you picked up.

    However, this is a good possibility if you're moving long distances since truck capacity is the biggest holdup to moving your belongings across borders or state lines. In storage, at least your belongings are ready to be picked up as soon as capacity becomes available.
  2. Can your home closing or lease end be moved at all? Often, you can work out extra time with the buyers of your home or your landlord. It's not always possible, and it will usually cost extra money, but even a few days' extension might give you the flexibility you need to match up with a mover who can help you.
  3. Can you move your belongings to somewhere less constrained by time? It might involve renting a truck from a home improvement store or truck rental facility and moving items yourself to a storage unit or even the home of friends or family until movers can pick them up. It's expensive and frustrating, but if all other options have failed - it at least works to buy you some time.

#4 - Hang In There

I'm sorry you're in this situation; I know how painful it can be. I've worked personally with many friends and people calling me to help them through this. I walk them through this same list, and if Bailey's can help - we're always willing. We serve more customers who come to us from this situation than we'd like, and it's one of the reasons we're so passionate about teaching our customers more about the moving process and how to avoid common pitfalls.

In the end, it's difficult, but there's always some way to make it work. It will typically involve spending more than you'd hoped, but there's always a solution. Sometimes it's just harder to find and takes some creative ingenuity.

But You Might Also Be Wondering, "How Does This Happen?"

How does a moving company cancel a move at the last minute? That's a fair question. It typically results from a moving company promising you things that didn't match reality. For example, promising you a pickup when they didn't know how many trucks they had or how many drivers or crew were available. It's most common during busy times of the year. Moving companies are full of people who can make mistakes, like any other company. And it can happen to any moving company. Still, this scenario is more common among newer moving companies with less defined processes and procedures to help avoid these pitfalls.

However, whether the movers will cancel your move or deal with it internally is a crucial division among moving companies. Most moving companies with a long history in business got that way not by cancelling customers; they dealt with capacity constraints and found solutions. Sometimes those cost more money.

Reputable movers make cancelling a move the absolute last-possible option that is rarely used. The most surefire way to avoid your move being cancelled last minute is to hire a long-standing, reputable company that is upfront, honest and forthcoming about potential challenges down the road. Any moving company will have capacity problems at various times, but what they do for you when it occurs is what counts.