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Three Differences Between Local, Intrastate, and Interstate Moves

It’s a well-known fact that moving is one of the most stressful life events. To avoid confusion and ensure everything goes smoothly, plan your move. Try to gain an understanding of the moving process and familiarize yourself with the different types of moves. Depending on the distance, there are three types of moves-local, intrastate, and interstate. Let’s try to understand these types and how they are different from each other.

Local, Intrastate and Interstate Moves Defined

Local moves– Typically, any move within 50 miles is considered a local move. Some local moves may involve relocating furniture up a flight of stairs, whereas others may entail moving entire houses several miles away. For local moves, moving companies usually charge by the hour. A mover’s hourly rate may vary depending on the size of customers’ residences and the items they want to move. Many moving companies in Sonoma also charge a travel and materials fee.

Because local moves cover shorter distances, many people often consider temporary solutions when moving within 50 miles from their current locations. These might involve hiring a rental truck or casual labor through Craigslist or any other platform.

These options might seem cost-effective initially, however, casual labor may lack the expertise to handle fragile items. If you rely on amateurs or try to move on your own, it’s highly likely that you or the moving crew may accidentally break your items.

Intrastate moves- Technically speaking, an intrastate move is any move that starts and ends in the same state (that is moving within the same state). In the moving industry, any move that starts and finishes in the same state but covers more than 50 miles is considered an intrastate move. So, while the distance between Dallas and San Antonio is approximately 300 miles, since the entire route is within the state of Texas, any move that involves moving items between these two cities will be considered an intrastate move.

In larger states such as California and Texas, intrastate moves can frequently span greater distances than those between two states (intrastate moves). If your move involves moving items more than 50 miles (but within the same state), expect to pay a higher rate than what you would have had you moved a short distance-less than 50 miles.

Because intrastate moves are long distance moves, moving companies determine their fee based on their own criteria. Some might charge at an hourly rate and levy an additional travel charge, whereas others might set prices based on the weight or volume of the items.

Think twice before bringing along any furniture items when moving intrastate, especially if your mover charges a flat rate as each piece of furniture you decide to transport can increase the total moving cost and you may end up spending more than you expected.

Interstate moves- An interstate move is any move that starts in one state and ends in another or the items cross one or more multiple state lines at some point during the move. Every Interstate moving company should have a valid USDOT number provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Your provider’s USDOT number serves as evidence that the moving company in Sonoma has a valid license and carries insurance. Due to higher fuel and labor expenses, an interstate relocation will typically cost more than a local or intrastate move.

If you want to move interstate, it’s advisable not to transport large furniture pieces unless it’s a cherished antique you want to keep regardless of the expense. Given that interstate moves cover hundreds of miles, the cost to carry certain furniture pieces might exceed the price of new ones once you arrive in the new state.


Moving companies charge an hourly rate for short distance moves plus a travel fee that covers labor and fuel costs. When the temptation to hire the moving company with the lowest quote gets too strong to resist, remind yourself that if it’s too good to be true it probably is. The provider with the lowest rate may lack the experience and expertise to manage your move.

Some intrastate moving companies charge per hour for their services, and an additional fee while others charge based on the weight of the items to be transported and the distance of the move.

Interstate moving companies charge based on the number of miles shipments travel, their weight, and the number of items to be moved.

Rules and Regulations

Local, intrastate as well as interstate movers are required to follow laws and regulations created by the concerned authorities. While local movers should abide by the guidelines set by the state in which they operate, intrastate and interstate movers should follow USDOT and FMCSA regulations.

Local movers need not register with the FMCSA. Currently 38 states including California require movers that manage local and intrastate moves to obtain a USDOT number. Many states also require local movers to register with the local (state level) regulatory agency.

What is a USDOT number? USDOT numbers serve as unique identifiers assigned to moving companies. They can be used by government bodies to collect information for safety audits, inspections and compliance reviews and enforce safety regulations. Consumers can check a mover’s USDOT number to get information about them.

Interstate movers should register with the USDOT as well as FMCSA and should abide by the regulations established by the federal government. The law requires them to provide a bill of lading and a written estimate to their customers. They are legally liable to deliver their customers’ goods to their locations in a timely manner.

Schultz Brothers Van & Storage is equipped to manage local, intrastate, interstate as well as international moves. We are committed to taking the hassle out of moving. To learn more, call 707-546-1616.