Two movers in safety vests lift a chair into the back of a loading truck.

© kali9 = E+ / Getty Images

Seventy-one percent of moving companies reported delays in 2021, blaming high demand and a labor shortage, according to a new survey of 63 moving firms conducted by moveBuddha, a moving company resource.

Buyers planning a move will want to plan ahead. Nearly half of companies are booked out at least three weeks further than in previous seasons, the survey shows. Sixteen percent of firms say they’re booked up more than six weeks out than in previous peak seasons.

What’s more, customer complaints about cancellations jumped 250% in 2021 compared to a pre-pandemic period in 2019.

“With so many Americans on the move, 2021 [saw] an unprecedented surge in the need for relocation services,” moveBuddha says of its research data. “Moving businesses across the country are reeling to meet demand in an economy plagued by worker shortages, rising fuel costs, and health concerns. And customers are hurting as well.”

The moving supply and demand issues are increasing costs for moves too, says Ben Heller, CEO of PricePoint, a moving price platform for movers.

Seventy-six percent of moving companies say they’re charging more than they used to.

“With so much demand, moving and freight companies are incentivized to take jobs that are more profitable now,” Heller told moveBuddha. “The result: There are more corporate moves with delays or no availability from partners, large delivery spreads, and more annoyed transferees.”

About 70% of moving companies report higher rates of delivery delays in 2021 compared to previous years. Delays are most prevalent for individuals moving as part of an employer-sponsored relocation contract, the survey shows.

A bar chart showing the differences in moving costs compared to previous peak seasons

Moving companies say among their biggest challenges are driver shortages, delivery delays, labor shortages, increased damage claims, and rising fuel costs.

The states reporting some of the biggest issues in servicing customers are in California, Illinois, and Washington, according to the survey.