How Much Do Movers Cost? Cost of Hiring a Moving Company
Moving can be time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting, but you can opt to hand the reins over to a reputable moving company to save the day. How much do movers cost? Between $808 and $2,175 or an average of $1,468.
- Typical Range: $808 to $2,175
- National Average: $1,468
There are few things in life that everyone experiences regardless of location or background, but it’s fair to say that moving is one of those things. It’s estimated that 40 million Americans move each year. Whether moving to college or across the country for a new job, moving your belongings takes time and effort. Hiring a moving company is a great way to make the process less stressful and strenuous on your body. The answer to the question of “How much do movers cost?” is $808 to $2,175, with an average of $1,468. These rates apply to local moves that stay within a 100-mile distance, and they also depend on how many bedrooms will be moved. Additionally, you could pay more if movers need to pack up all the items for you or if there are many stairs to navigate. Let’s dive into more of the factors that go into moving costs.
Factors in Calculating Moving Costs
No two houses are the same, which means moving costs aren’t one size fits all. You should be able to obtain a basic quote that’s later customized for you based on the distance you’re moving, the number of movers required, the amount you’re moving (based primarily on the number of rooms and pieces of furniture you have), and how accessible your belongings are.
Distance and Travel Fees
For shorter moves under 100 miles, you may obtain a quote over the phone based on the number of belongings being moved. Since the distance is shorter and it’s easier to estimate costs, some local moving companies offer flat-rate travel fees rather than charging by the mile. Flat fees usually will not apply to long-distance moves. Moving outside of 100 miles or across state lines will cost more since you’ll be paying for mileage, fuel, and time.
Number of Movers
Movers are paid $25 to $50 per hour. You’ll probably be charged by the hour and per person. Most moving jobs require two or more movers, so expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour to move the contents of a small apartments. Larger homes could cost at least $200 per hour.
Amount to Move
If you’re moving between apartments that are fully furnished, you’ll have fewer items that need heavy lifting by several movers. This can reduce your total cost since all you’re moving are your personal belongings in boxes. On the flip side, a fully furnished 3-bedroom house takes much longer to pack up and move. It also requires a much larger moving truck to transport it all. For example, it could cost $240 to $500 to move the contents of a furnished 1-bedroom apartment locally, but it could cost upwards of $1,500 to move the contents of a 5-bedroom house, depending on the amount of furniture and appliances being moved.
Moving Vehicle Size
The size of the moving vehicle also factors into moving costs. A smaller truck costs less since it has fewer cubic feet of storage and may get better fuel efficiency. Moving an entire household could require using one or two 26-foot box trucks or even a full 52-foot semitruck and trailer. The bigger the vehicle, the higher the cost.
Movers will also assess how much access they have to your apartment or house. If there are multiple flights of stairs without an elevator, moving heavy furniture and goods will take more time and effort. Depending on how difficult your place is to access, movers may add an extra $200 to $500 fee to the total bill.
Time of Year
Most people opt to move in the summer when the weather is nicer. That means there’s high demand for movers, which means prices often surge. As much as 70 percent of all moves happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so if you can avoid it, opt to move in the fall or winter when movers are more available and have lower rates.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Each extra moving service comes with a cost, but it could be worth the extra cost to allow movers to handle the hassle. A full-service move could include hiring movers to handle every step of the moving process from start to finish. Additionally, you may have more delicate items (like a piano) that will require special movers. And moving a longer distance like across state lines will cost more, too. Consider the following factors that could apply to your situation when determining how much movers cost.
Packing and Unpacking Services
Many homeowners want or need the convenience of handing over the responsibility of packing and unpacking a household to the expert movers. You can opt to pack a few specific boxes of personal items and leave the rest. Movers typically charge $1,000 for packing a household. Unpacking is a separate charge that you can ask about once they’ve estimated the packing cost.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that moving across the country will cost more than moving down the street. The moving company needs to charge for time, labor, weight, mileage, fuel, and any fees to transport your items across state lines. You can expect to pay between $2,200 and $5,700 to move out of state.
Extra-Large or Delicate Items
If you have any items that are considered specialty, delicate, or extra-large, you’ll pay more to move them. This would include items like a piano, hot tub, car, pool table, or safe. Some of these may require special equipment or training to move them—or it may just take a few extra movers.
One benefit of hiring a reputable moving company is that they automatically apply limited liability insurance to your items—usually at $0.60 per pound. This means your items are not fully covered, so consider adding extra insurance if you have many valuable things. You’ll want to ask ahead of time since it may not be available on the day of the move.
The odds are that you hired the mover to help make your life a little easier. Part of how you can show your appreciation for a job well done is to give the movers a tip. It’s customary to provide a 10 to 20 percent tip, but if the cost of the move was less than $500, you could tip up to 20 percent. Some companies can add this with a credit card; otherwise, have some cash on hand.
Timing doesn’t always work out perfectly. You may have to wait to move into your new house until after closing while simultaneously moving out of your current home. Most moving services have storage facilities to hold items for a short time as they plan a move’s logistics. They can also hold your items for a period if needed, but they can become more expensive than a traditional storage unit if you need long-term storage. If you need to move your items from your home into a storage unit, then from the storage unit into a new home, you’ll have to factor in the cost of the storage unit and the additional moving costs.
Sometimes moving is complicated. You may have items that need to be picked up from another household or storage unit. Movers will charge extra for each additional stop beyond the original and final destinations.
Benefits of Hiring Professional Movers
While it may be exciting to move to a new house or city, few people enjoy the actual packing, hauling, and moving part. And some people aren’t able to handle the process on their own. Fortunately, movers are a reliable source of assistance to get the job done quickly and safely. You can save yourself time, injury, and stress while enjoying the benefit of safe transport and cost-effectiveness.
Saving your own time is likely the top reason people hire movers. Moving your household belongings is an incredibly time-consuming task, and most of us lead busy lives that don’t lend a lot of time to dedicate to the job. Allowing a moving company to handle the loading and unloading of your items helps you get the job done faster, especially if you also have the movers pack up your house. They don’t have the same sentimental value to linger over the process, so it can be pretty efficient when you hand over the reins to the pros.
For any number of reasons, you could have a period in between houses. Whether that lasts for days, weeks, or months, you can trust that a moving company can keep your items safely stored and ready to be returned as soon as you give the green light.
Many prefer to hire movers because it’s simply safer from a physical aspect. You may have a bad back or limited mobility, or perhaps you just don’t want to risk any kind of accident or injury hauling heavy items. If something happens that requires a hospital visit, it could end up costing more than the price of hiring the movers in the first place.
Lower Stress Option
There are also mental benefits to hiring movers. Handing over the big job of packing and moving hundreds of items can be quite freeing. Suddenly, you don’t have to wonder where you’ll get the time to pack up and move everything you own while you’re juggling work or kids. Hiring reputable professional movers to do what they do best is a great way to make a stressful process more peaceful. Simply pack the few personal items you prefer or let them handle everything.
Hiring movers is a cost-effective option even though you’re spending a fair amount of money up front. Especially when it comes to local moves, you could end up spending close to the same amount when moving your items as you would have spent hiring a moving company. Moving costs add up quickly when you pay retail prices for moving boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and moving blankets. You’ll also have to pay to rent a moving truck (and the fuel to drive it). When you add in your own time, it’s hard to argue that you save a lot of money by handling a move yourself.
Protection for Your Belongings
You can purchase any packing supply from tape to blankets, but if you don’t know how to properly pack and secure your items in boxes, you could still end up with broken valuables. Additionally, some items like washers and dryers could benefit from special moving equipment. Moving companies carry liability insurance and offer additional coverage, which means they are responsible for properly protecting your goods. Essentially, they have an incentive to make sure they’re handled with care.
How Much Do Movers Cost? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
If you’re moving between houses as opposed to rental properties, the odds are good that you’ve already spent money on closing costs and anticipate many other move-in costs to get the new house just as you like it. Saving money is probably the top reason people avoid hiring a moving company, yet it shouldn’t be the biggest deciding factor. With all the supplies and rentals you have to pay for out of pocket for a DIY move, you could come close to spending just as much as you would by hiring movers. And sure, you can ask friends or family to help you move, but we’ve all heard horror stories about priceless items breaking during a move. Or worse, you or your friend could be injured when a stack of boxes tips over while packing the truck or while carrying heavy furniture down the stairs.
When you need to move more than just a few boxes, hiring a moving company is your best option in the long run. Movers are experienced in handling the volume and weight of the items you need to have hauled and transported. They know how to wrap delicate items, like TVs or other valuables, to make sure they are safely moved to your new home. Most importantly, they’ve been trained to use special lifting equipment to haul appliances that weigh more than the average person can move. A house full of furniture and appliances doesn’t make a group of movers flinch at all, but your friends might. Leave the heavy lifting to the pros who won’t stress one bit about getting you safely packed and on your way to your next adventure.
How to Save Money on Moving Costs
Moving costs can be intimidating at first glance, especially for cross-country moves. Have no fear; there are several ways you can reduce moving costs. Use any of the following tips to save money as you budget for moving expenses.
- Move during the off-season. Moving rates are higher during the summer when demand pushes prices higher. If you can, choose to move during the fall, winter, or early spring when movers may offer discounts or incentives.
- Move midweek. Since most people work Monday through Friday, weekends are the most popular time to move. You could save money by hiring movers during the middle of the week when there’s less demand.
- Donate or dump old items. The more you have to move, the higher the cost. Take some time to go through your belongings and furniture, donate what you don’t need, or throw away what’s broken.
- Pack your own belongings. The fastest way to save money is to pack your own items rather than paying the movers to do it.
- Buy materials from local suppliers. Moving companies charge a premium for packing supplies. Shop around for local suppliers who can provide packing supplies in bulk quantities since you’ll likely need more than you think.
- Find free boxes. If you don’t have many heavy items, you can collect empty boxes from your job or local stores that have no use for them.
- Use your suitcases. Load your suitcases with shoes, clothing, and personal items, so you have them handy during the moving process.
- Save your TV box. When you buy a new TV, save the box when possible. It’s the best way to safely move it in the future.
- Review the contract carefully. Make sure you’re only paying for what you really need. For local moves, consider whether a flat rate or hourly rate is best for how much you have to move.
- Save any moving-related receipts. If you move specifically for a job, you may be able to deduct moving costs from your taxes.
- Start the process early. Don’t rush around trying to find cheap supplies at the last minute. Start collecting supplies and quotes before you need them to save time and money.
- Hire movers just for the big stuff. If you’re on a tight budget but need the help, consider hiring movers just to handle your furniture, appliances, and heavy items.
- Ask for quotes from several companies. You don’t necessarily want to go with the lowest quote, especially if the moving company isn’t reputable, but you should look for a company that can do exactly what you need at a reasonable price.
Questions to Ask About Moving Costs
If you’ve never hired a moving company before, you could be nervous about allowing strangers to handle your valuables. It’s a valid concern, and sadly, there are illegitimate moving companies out there. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable and experienced companies you can use. Before you book, check the BBB ratings to see other customer reviews. You can make an informed decision about who you hire by knowing the best questions to ask to avoid moving scams. We also recommend keeping track of all the information you collect about moving costs to help make your decision easier.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Are you certified with the American Moving & Storage Association?
- Do you have the legal certifications to move belongings across state lines?
- Do you have references I can contact?
- Will you provide me with the federally required paperwork called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”?
- Do you provide a final contract after inspecting my location and belongings but before taking possession?
- Can I sign a binding contract before you begin moving my items?
- Do you require a deposit to hold the moving date? (Requesting a deposit is considered a bad practice, and this is often done by disreputable companies.)
- Why is your bid so much lower than other companies?
- How will you calculate my total price? (In-and-out and volume-based bids should be avoided.)
- What does your insurance cover?
- How much would additional insurance cost?
- How long will it take to pack and move my items?
Don’t get overwhelmed by all the options you have as you prepare for a big move. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to help the process.
Q. How much does a moving truck cost to rent?
The cost of renting a moving truck can vary by location and size, but you can expect to pay between $50 and $2,000. This cost is built into the quote provided by a moving company.
Q. How much do moving boxes cost?
On average, moving boxes cost from $1.02 for a small box to $2.03 for a large box. These rates may be higher when boxes are purchased from a storage or moving company. A 1-bedroom apartment could require at least 45 boxes, which averages $61 to $85 just for the boxes.
Q. How much should I pay for moving to a 2-bedroom apartment?
If you’re moving locally, you’ll probably pay between $320 and $750 to move a 2-bedroom apartment. This depends on access and the amount of furniture you have.
Q. Is it cheaper to hire movers or rent a moving truck?
In some cases, it’s definitely cheaper to rent a moving truck and ask friends to help out. However, the savings may not be as substantial as you suspect once you add in all the packing supplies, rental fees, and your time to move an entire household. That’s what makes hiring a moving company so cost-effective. You get a lot of bang for your buck by paying for professional movers to handle your belongings.