The Best Time To Pay Your Movers To Avoid Scams

The Best Time To Pay Your Movers To Avoid Scams

A customer paying movers cash after a move.

Moving is a busy and stressful time for many people. There can be many variables in both your move and the moving services available. Companies can have very different policies on payment and this can create confusion over when it is usually expected to pay your movers. Sometimes companies can take advantage of this confusion in order to cheat their customers. If you are planning a move, it pays to do your research beforehand. Here, we tell you when you should pay your movers, and let you know how to prevent getting scammed.

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When Do I Pay My Movers?

Moving can often be a long and tiring process with many stages. You have to pack, load stuff into the truck, drive to your new home, unload the stuff, and unpack. It’s exhausting and can feel tedious.

There are many options available to help take steps off your to-do list. Many people choose to hire a moving company but not all moving companies are created equal.

Full-service moving companies are probably what immediately come to your mind. These companies can do anything from packing to driving your belongings to your new home to unloading and assembly. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t, but it’ll be a costly endeavor.

But there’s another way. Labor-only moving companies can do just about everything a full-service moving company can for a fraction of the price. The catch? These services don’t include anything that isn’t labor- no trucks, tie-downs, or moving equipment. However, this is a great choice for people who have access to moving trucks and equipment for an affordable cost. And even if you don’t have these things on hand, you can rent them from places like U-Haul and Penske for an affordable rate. People who book with a labor-only service will typically save around 30-50% compared to a full-service moving company.

Ultimately, when you pay your movers will depend on which kind of moving service and which company you work with. But the short answer to this question is you almost always pay your movers after the move. Most trustworthy companies operate under this rule of thumb. Though they may ask for a deposit, they will not demand lots of money upfront.

Moving Scams

Scammers, or rogue movers, will sometimes demand pay before completing your move. Reputable movers typically won’t ask this from you but may ask for a deposit to confirm your date.

Paying upon completion of the move gives consumers agency over their belongings. If a moving company is not paid until after the move, they have incentives to move your belongings quickly and carefully, especially if they are expecting you to tip.

Moving Deposits

It is true that very large deposits and full payments upfront are signs of a scam. But, it is not uncommon for moving companies to ask for a deposit of some kind. Even established, reputable, and honest companies will sometimes ask for deposits up front.

When you hire a moving company, you reserve a date, and they are setting aside their workers and their time to help you out. If you cancel your services at the last minute, they could lose out on working with another customer. Asking for a deposit makes this cancellation less likely to occur. It also gives the movers confidence that they will still receive some pay in the event of a cancellation.

Peak moving season is usually when movers require deposits. This is in the summer, between the months between May and August. This is because moving companies are in high demand, and don’t want to miss out on any jobs.

Trustworthy companies will often refund your deposit, provided you make the cancellation with plenty of time before the actual move. Deposits can and are a normal part of the moving process, and some companies, like Moving Help, ask for you to put a card down, but won’t charge you until the move is completed.

Preventing Scams

It is always smart to do some research into the reputability of your moving company. Especially if they ask you for a deposit. Deposits are usually based on a percentage of the total cost so they can vary. As a general rule of thumb, anything between $100 and $500 is typical. A small deposit is not a red flag. It is just a way for movers to ensure they don’t lose pay.

It is always wise to pay your moving deposit with a credit card rather than using cash or a debit card. When you use a credit card on a deposit, you will have an easier time fighting any fraudulent charges.

Demanding payment upfront is not the only common moving scam. One scam fraudulent full-service moving companies are known to do is deliberately underestimate the cost of the move before actually completing it. Then, they hold your belongings hostage until you give them much more money.

If you use a labor-only moving company and rent the truck yourself, you do not need to worry about this because you’re always in control of your belongings. A good way to prevent scams is to always read the reviews when choosing a moving company. Reputable moving companies will also generally have their own website. For more common moving scams, check out this list. 


We recommend you search for movers you can pay at the conclusion of your move. People who demand payment upfront or very large deposits could be trying to take advantage of you in a stressful situation. Customers should beware and steer clear of companies that try to fool you with this strategy.

However, you should also know that small deposits are very common. Don’t be alarmed if your moving company asks for a deposit, provided that it seems like a reasonable amount. Finally, remember to use a credit card if you are asked for a deposit. This will prevent you from getting scammed.

At UniMovers, our clients are in control of their belongings throughout the whole moving process. We do not charge a deposit, have fixed rates, and our customers pay after services are completed.

Headshot of Ashlyn Cook, UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager
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Ashlyn is a homegrown Iowan (go Cyclones!). She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2023 with a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications. Now, she serves as UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, watch baseball, and spend time with her dog!

To get in contact with her regarding blog partnerships at UniMovers please email

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