I retired in 2013 and moved from Bakersfield, CA to Fort Worth, TX. I used Colonial moving (a broker). Not a very good result. Colonial hired a "sub-contractor" who did the actual move. There were many problems with coordination, location issues and payment.
Had all of my household belongings moved by the mover and a few tools. This move did not include the heavier items like washer dryer refrigerator, etc. I did all of the packing using mostly plastic containers. The movers did wrap all of my furniture with plastic wrap. That was helpful, and something I could have done by just purchasing the plastic wrap that sticks to itself.
The mover was late arriving in Fort Worth, but that turned out to be a benefit to me; more time to arrange for the short term storage. (I lived in a hotel for about 4 months while searching for my current home in Azle, TX.) But I had to help unload the moving van, seems the local help failed to arrive. Further, the driver of the van refused to use the first storage area I rented saying he could not drive the van close enough to the building; the storage owner was very helpful and quickly located two storage units next to each other which the driver said he would access.
I did the move from Fort Worth to Azle (about 40 miles) using a Penski (U-haul type) small van. I had local family members to help load belongings from storage into van. Turned out I could have moved from Bakersfield to Fort Worth in much the same way. Would have been about $3,000 cheaper. My personal anxiety that "I could not possibly pack up a van and drive across the Country" was in error. Just needed to find a couple of friends to help load and unload the van.
I suggest you consider doing the move yourself, if you want to save money. Moving your tools will greatly increase the cost because they charge by weight and they use the truck scales to get a before loading and after loading weight amount. Further, they will put other peoples belongings on the truck/van if your belongings do not fill the van. (By the way, if you are not very careful, they might try to "increase" your weight by having some of the crew they hired to load the van at your current house hide inside the van when they go to weigh the van at the truck scales after loading your belongings; fortunately for me, I was following the truck and saw them attempt this maneuver. As a side note and only FYI, while loading my belongings in Bakersfield, an unknown vehicle arrived with two passengers, both female, and a "drug deal" was completed -- how did I know, you may ask, I served 22 years with the Kern County Sheriff's Office as a deputy -- know one when I see one!!)
If money is less of a concern to you or if you find it impossible to do the packing of the van (you will likely need to do all of box packing yourself whichever choice you make), then I suggest you use a national moving company and avoid brokers.
Good luck with your decision. Try to relax once you've made the decision and expect some "loss" whichever direction you choose.
Have a blessed day.
Last edited by Lawseeker; 09-26-2016 at 11:37 AM.