Atlas Van Lines Review
We love moving—honestly, we do. We love dancing at the club, swimming at the beach, and (in my case) playing ultimate frisbee. That kind of moving is great. It’s the packing, lifting, loading, driving, and hauling all of our possessions across hundreds or thousands of miles kind of moving we don’t like.
That is why we really appreciate full-service movers like Atlas Van Lines.
You’ve likely seen Atlas’ iconic trucks with their blue “A” logo on them. They’re everywhere because Atlas Van Lines has agents all over the country. The company’s widespread availability, flexible payment options, and vast array of services make them a good choice for long-distance moving.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a chore to get a quote—so if you’re in the market for one, you might want to start the process right now. And the company’s prices start on the higher side, so if you’re just doing a local move or you prefer a DIY approach, it’s worth looking into other movers.
What you should know about Atlas Van Lines
You’ve got 430 movers to choose from, all in one glorious package.
You probably have a Kroger grocery store near you, even if you don’t know it. While companies like City Market, Smith’s, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Fry’s all have their own names, they’re all owned by, and sell products from, Kroger.
Atlas Van Lines is like the Kroger of the moving world. The company has over 430 local agents all over North America, many of which operate under their own name.
But don’t worry: all Atlas agents are required to get a ProMover certification from the American Moving and Storage Association. Their employees are all trained at the “Atlas Academy” to provide help with claims, service, and estimates.
If you want to find a nearby Atlas agent, you can use the company’s interactive location map.
What you get with Atlas Van Lines
How would you like your move: full-service, fuller-service, or fuller-servicier?
Atlas Van Lines offers a standard full-service moving package that is comparable to companies like Allied Van Lines. The company’s baseline package includes loading, unloading, transportation, tracking, and basic insurance. If you’d like other add-ons for a fuller-service move, then it will cost a few Benjamins.
Here’s a look at the main moving services that Atlas offers its customers.
|Service||Cost included||Costs extra|
|Basic liability coverage||Yes||No|
|Full valuation coverage||No||Yes|
|Request a Quote||Get a Quote||Get a Quote|
There is one notable absence in Atlas Van Lines’ service offerings: the company does not do appliance connection and disconnection.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it means you’ll be shelling out some additional dough for a professional. You could do it yourself, but if you’re not an expert, you may not want to. Gas and water leaks are no joke. (Think explosions and floods, but not in the cool action movie sort of way.)
It’s also worth noting that if you wanted any Atlas “Smart Move” storage containers, they’re no longer offered. So you’ll have to look elsewhere for storage containers.
Atlas Van Lines can move more than just sofas and boxes of old soccer trophies. It can also arrange transport of big items like your Harley Davidson (you cool cat), grand piano (you brilliant composer), or motorboat (can we be friends?).
The company will also be happy to help you ship your car across the country so that you can skip the road trip. However, it’s probably cheaper to arrange auto transport with a dedicated car shipper.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have insurance that protects against having to deal with insurance? Well, that doesn’t exist (yet). So you’ll have to look over these plans for yourself.
There are two packages to choose from: basic and full-valuation coverage.
The basic coverage comes with every move and will cover your stuff at $0.60 per pound.
The full-valuation coverage is also based on weight, but your stuff is covered for 10 times more. For a 10,000-pound move, you’d be covered at $60,000 (rather than $6,000). This coverage will cost you a few hundred dollars extra, but if you have a lot of light-but-valuable items, it might be worth it for you.
And if you’re a AAA member, good news! Atlas will throw in full-valuation coverage for all household goods at no additional cost. Suh-weet!
Atlas Van Lines moving experience
Ask your doctor about moving: side effects may include headaches, irritability, and less money in your checking account.
Here’s a breakdown of what it’ll look like to move with Atlas if you hire them to do your local or long-distance move.
Getting your quote
Unfortunately, Atlas is not at the head of the pack when it comes to getting a quote.
Atlas does claim to have an online quote system, but once I put in the information for a move, the system didn’t give me a quote. Instead, I got an email from a company called Atlantic (one of Atlas’ agents) and eventually a follow-up call. Still good, just . . . not an online quote like I was hoping for.
The moving estimate that the Atlantic representative gave me was well above what other major companies like Best Interstate Moving and Storage have quoted for a nearly identical move.
|Example quote categories||Example quote details|
|Distance of move||978 miles (Chicago to Dallas)|
|Date of move||May 2019|
|Move size||4-bedroom house|
|Request a Quote||Get a Quote|
But here’s the most frustrating thing: when I went through Atlantic’s own online quote system (rather than Atlas’), I received an online quote that was significantly cheaper than the one given to me over the phone (try $4,910 vs. $9,400).
While none of this means that Atlas’ prices are unfair (we were asking for a quote in peak season, after all), it does mean that you should expect the quoting process to take more than a few minutes.
One way that Atlas makes up for its frustrating quoting process and high pricing is with flexible payment options.
Atlas will allow you to pay for your move either up front or after it’s done. Even better, you can pay for it with a credit card. It’s hard to stress enough how cool this is—no one (at least no company I’ve reviewed) lets you pay for moves with credit cards. It’s always either cash or cashier’s checks.
Prepping your home
We know, if you wanted to do your move yourself, you would’ve rented a U-Haul. But even with a full-service mover, there’s some work you’ll have to do on your end.
Unless you want to spend a few thousand dollars on packing services, you’re going to want to get most of your smaller items into boxes before the movers come. There are plenty of tips for smart packing that we won’t go into here (hint: label everything).
You’ll also want to unhook all of your appliances, make sure that you have access to your storage spaces (time to find that tiny padlock key), and start looking into internet and cable packages for your new home. (Trust us: you don’t want to be stuck with no Netflix after a long day of unpacking.)
Moving day! It’s finally here! Because every Atlas agent is different, each move will look a little different. But here’s basically what you can expect.
Your Atlas agent will dispatch a moving team to your house. These folks will load all of the stuff you’ve already prepped into the truck. Then they’ll drive away. (That was easy, wasn’t it?)
While your stuff is in transit, you can track it through Atlas’ online customer portal or using the AtlasNet app. Yep, your moving company has an app—welcome to the future.
Make sure that someone is ready to meet the movers at the destination. It doesn’t have to be you, but that person will need to inspect all of your items for damage immediately upon arrival.
There are plenty of online horror stories about Atlas moves gone wrong. Broken televisions, smashed boxes, dented couches. You can’t believe everything you read online, but the sheer volume of these complaints suggests a pattern. Maybe you do want that full-valuation insurance, after all?
Storing your stuff
Not quite done tiling your kitchen? No problem. Atlas can store your stuff short-term in one of its warehouses. Has your whole house-purchase fallen apart last minute? Atlas can also arrange for long-term storage while you figure out a new plan.
Recap: Is Atlas Van Lines a good mover?
Do you want the good news (payment options) or the bad news (quotes) first?
Atlas Van Lines is a true behemoth in the moving industry. This means that it has good nationwide availability and tons of service options. And it can do things like accept credit card payments (again, so good).
The downside is that Atlas’ prices can sometimes be as large as the company itself. Even getting a basic quote requires some patience. So if you need a budget option, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Services: Atlas has almost all of the basics covered (as well as some specialty services). You’ll just have to find a way to unhook that oven on your own.
- Quotes: There seem to be no standards for how Atlas and its agents give over-the-phone and online quotes. It’s like the Wild West out here.
- Moving: Flexible payment options. Woohoo! Tons of online complaints. Not so woohoo.
- Storage: There are both short-term and long-term storage options available.
If you’re itching to rack up some rewards points on your credit card, then you can start the quote process with Atlas Van Lines right now on its website. And let us know in comments how it goes!