A moving company, removalist, or van line is a company that helps people and businesses relocate their goods from one place to another. Typically they use moving vans, but for international moves or where storage is required, they may use special containerised vans or shipping containers.
National companies are typically organized with local branches or affiliated agents. That affiliation may be in the form of a franchise, wherein the local agent is a franchise of a national company, or a cooperative, wherein the local agent owns a share of the national company. There are also many small independent moving companies who operate within any given local area. In the
Embedded within the moving industry are the services of truck / trailer / moving equipment rental companies and companies selling moving supplies for people who want to pack and move themselves. Then they use a professional mover to load a moving van, drive it to the new residence and then unload it there. Rental companies usually offer some training information for DIY movers who will be using their rental trucks, trailers or equipment to relocate themselves.
Some people obtain packing supplies with which to pack their household goods themselves in order to keep their moving costs down. A good source for free boxes is local grocery stores. These folks are called PBO's (packed by owner) by their movers. Because they are not trained to properly pack their things, damages are more prevalent with their shipments and invariably they become disputable after the move. This is a major problem within the industry.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 million people have moved annually over the last decade.
Household removals require careful wrapping and packing to avoid damage to furniture and effects, so many household policies do not cover goods in transit unless they are being packed, carried and unpacked by a professional remover. In the moving industry, when a customer packs and unpacks his own boxes it is referred to as PBO (packed by owner) and policies do not insure these goods. On PBO moves it can become a point of huge contention between the mover and the customer as to who is at fault regarding damaged items within a box. Was it packed improperly by the customer or did the mover mishandle the box?
The process of packing a van or container for a removal requires that polished surfaces are protected (usually with special blankets or cardboard).
Removal vans will often have a Luton body, internal wooden wall bars to which tall or heavy furniture can be secured with webbing, and a ramp or tail lift to assist in loading. Space on trucks is at a premium, so an experienced loader will pack into voids in furniture and use awkward shaped items such as ironing boards to fill narrow gaps.
Moving furniture in and out of houses, especially older properties, presents challenges; in areas where there are many older properties, furniture movers may be adept at removing and reinstalling sash window panes. Most double bed bases can be split, folded or dismantled.