How Much Do Movers Cost?
Moving can be time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting—handing the reins over to a reputable moving company might just save the day. The cost to hire a moving company is between $911 and $2,514, or an average of $1,710.
- Hiring movers costs a national average of $1,710 for a move of 100 miles or less, with a typical range of $911 to $2,514.
- The biggest factors affecting the cost of movers include the move distance, home size, and number of movers needed.
- The benefits of hiring professional movers include time savings, injury prevention, and protection of delicate belongings.
- A DIY move might seem like a cheaper option, but medical bills from injuries or replacement costs for broken items can raise the cost significantly.
There are a few things in life that just about everyone experiences regardless of location or background, and it’s fair to say that moving is one of them. Whether it’s a move into college or across the country for a new job, relocating belongings takes time and effort. Hiring a moving company is a great way to make the process less stressful and strenuous. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the answer to the question “How much do movers cost?” is $911 to $2,514, with an average of $1,710. These rates apply to local moves that stay within a 100-mile distance, and they depend on how many rooms will be moved. Additionally, costs could be higher if movers need to pack up all the items or if there are many stairs to navigate. This guide will take a deeper look at the factors that go into calculating moving costs.
Factors in Calculating Moving Costs
No two houses are the same, which means moving costs aren’t one-size-fits-all. It is usually relatively easy for a customer to obtain a basic quote that’s later customized based on the distance of the move, the number of movers required, the number of items (based primarily on the number of rooms and pieces of furniture), and the accessibility of the belongings.
Move Distance and Travel Fees
For shorter moves under 100 miles, a customer can typically 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. Hiring one of the best interstate moving companies for a move of more than 100 miles or across state lines will be pricier because of the added cost of mileage, fuel, and time. Below are average costs for local and long-distance moves:
- Local moves within the same city can cost $920 to $2,530.
- Long-distance or interstate moves can cost between $2,700 and $10,000.
Someone who is moving between apartments that are fully furnished will have fewer items that need heavy lifting by several movers. This can reduce the total cost, since all that is being moved are personal belongings in boxes. On the flip side, a fully furnished three-bedroom house takes much longer to pack up and move. It also requires a much larger moving truck to transport the customer’s furniture and belongings. For example, it could cost $240 to $500 to move the contents of a furnished one-bedroom apartment locally, but the same local move for the contents of a five-bedroom house could cost upwards of $1,500, depending on the amount of furniture and number of appliances being moved.
Moving Vehicle Size and Type
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 one or two 26-foot box trucks or even a full 52-foot semitruck and trailer. The bigger the vehicle, the higher the cost.
The average cost of movers is $25 to $50 per hour. It’s common to be charged by the hour and number of movers. Most moving jobs require two or more movers, so customers can expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour to move the contents of a small apartment. Larger homes could cost at least $200 per hour. The following costs reflect the price per number of movers:
- One to two movers costs $50 to $100 per hour.
- Three movers cost $75 to $150 per hour.
- Four or more movers cost $100 to $200 per hour.
When calculating an estimate, movers will also assess how much access they have to the 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 the 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 then, and prices often surge as a result. As much as 70 percent of all moves happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so if at all possible, it’s a good idea for customers to schedule their move in the fall or winter, when movers are more available and offer lower rates.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Even if a customer thinks they know what costs to expect when hiring a moving service, there are often hidden costs of moving. A full-service move could include hiring movers to handle every step of the moving process from start to finish. Additionally, some delicate items (pianos, for example) will require movers with specific experience and skills. And moving a longer distance like across state lines will cost more, too. Customers will want to consider which of the following factors could apply to their situation when determining the cost of movers.
Liability Insurance Coverage
One benefit of hiring one of the best moving companies is that they automatically apply limited liability insurance to all items—usually at $0.60 per pound. This means that the items are not fully covered, so customers may want to consider adding extra insurance for a move that includes many valuable items. It’s advisable for customers to ask about extra insurance coverage ahead of time, since it may not be available to purchase on the day of the move.
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. One option is for customers to pack a few specific boxes of personal items and leave the rest for the professionals. Movers typically charge $1,000 for packing a household. Unpacking is a separate charge customers will need to ask about once they’ve estimated the packing cost.
One of the most common reasons that homeowners hire a mover is to make their lives a little easier. One way to show appreciation for a job well done is to give the movers a tip. It’s customary to provide a 10 percent to 20 percent tip, but if the cost of the move is less than $500, customers may want to consider tipping 20 percent (or more, if possible). It’s a good idea to include the tip when adding up the movers cost estimate. Some companies can add this with a credit card; otherwise, customers will want to have some cash on hand.
Customers can expect to pay more for any items that are considered specialty, delicate, or extra-large. This would include items like pianos, hot tubs, cars, pool tables, and safes. Some of these may require special equipment or training to move them—or it may just take a few extra movers.
- Pianos often require special consideration, as they are heavy and fragile. The typical cost to move a piano is around $400.
- Car shipping services typically charge $1,000 to $3,000 per vehicle depending on the type and size. Motorcycles are less expensive to ship at around $300 to $500.
- Pool tables can be challenging to move, as they must typically be taken apart and reassembled. Customers will want to ask the movers if this is a service they offer. The cost to move a pool table is generally between $300 and $600.
- Pets can be couriered via a professional service if they are not able to ride with their owners during the move. Depending on whether the pet will be driven or flown, this service can cost $50 to $1,500.
Timing doesn’t always work out perfectly. Sometimes it is necessary to wait to move into a new house until after closing while simultaneously moving out of the current home. Many moving services have storage facilities to hold items for a short time as they plan a move’s logistics. They can also hold items for a period if needed, but this can become more expensive than a traditional storage unit for long-term storage. Traditional storage unit prices average about $240 per month. In cases where the items will need to be moved from the home into a storage unit, then from the storage unit into a new home, customers are advised to factor in the cost of the storage unit and the additional moving costs.
Sometimes moving is complicated. There may be 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.
Types of Moving Services
Moving companies may offer different services depending on their specialties and service area. It’s a good idea for customers to verify that a company has all of the resources needed for a particular move before signing a contract. In some cases it may be necessary for a customer to hire more than one company in order to get the job done.
Many of the best-known moving companies offer residential moving. This means that they primarily specialize in moving customers’ personal belongings between homes. They may also offer packing, unpacking, storage, or other additional services.
Local movers operate within a limited geographic location such as a city or county. They will typically have a service area of about 100 miles and won’t offer interstate moving. They may also provide full-service moving options with packing and unpacking. Most local moving companies charge by the hour and number of movers. A good way for customers to find local movers is to search for “professional movers near me.”
Most people do not know how to move to another state and what it entails until they do it for the first time. Hiring a long-distance moving service is a good place to start. It typically costs between $4,000 and $10,000 to hire movers for a long-distance move, and costs are calculated based on the weight of the load and the mileage. When hiring one of the best long-distance moving companies, customers will want to book at least a few months in advance and call around for several quotes, as the calendar tends to fill up quickly.
International moves can be especially complex, since factors like customs and import laws will need to be taken into account. Overseas moves will require shipping belongings via sea or air freight. For this reason, it is essential for a customer to find a trusted international moving company that can help guide them through the process. International moves can cost up to $20,000.
A moving company that specializes in commercial moves provides services primarily to businesses. These companies tend to have expertise in moving equipment and technology that is fragile or difficult to transport.
Sometimes called pods, moving containers can double as both moving and storage solutions. Many of the best moving container companies offer a variety of sizes and will drop the container off at the home. Once the pod is packed, a driver will transport the container to the new home, or alternatively it can be kept at a storage facility until the customer is ready to move into their new home. Prices vary based on the size of the container and the duration of the rental, but on average, pods moving costs range from $1,400 to $6,900.
An auto transportation company moves vehicles, usually when the owner is moving cross-country. The cost to ship a car typically runs between $1,000 and $3,000, but costs can vary based on the type of vehicle.
Specialty moving companies are experts in transporting items that are especially valuable, heavy, or fragile. This can include artwork, antiques, musical instruments, and even hot tubs.
Many standard moving companies are capable of moving these types of items, but it can be a good idea for customers to opt for a service that has specialized training and equipment for their particular items.
Small-load moving companies are ideal for shipping one or two large, heavy items. For example, someone who is selling a bedroom set to a buyer across the country may benefit from a small-load service. And for customers who are moving homes without many items, it’s worth considering whether going with one of the best moving truck rental companies is a better alternative than using a moving company.
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 for those who want to get the job done quickly and safely. Hiring movers helps customers save time, injury, and stress and lets them enjoy the benefit of safe transport and cost-effectiveness.
One of the main reasons people hire movers is to save time. Moving an entire household of belongings can be an incredibly time-consuming task, and many people lead busy lives that don’t allow for a lot of time to dedicate to the job. Allowing a moving company to handle the loading and unloading of items helps get the job done faster, especially if the movers also pack up the house. Movers also don’t have sentimental attachment to the possessions that might cause customers to linger over the process, so it can be pretty efficient to hand over the reins to the pros.
For any number of reasons, there can be a period in between houses during the course of a move. Whether that lasts for days, weeks, or months, a moving company can be trusted to keep belongings safely stored and ready to be delivered at a moment’s notice.
Many customers prefer to hire movers because it’s safer from a physical perspective. Some people may have an ailment such as a bad back or limited mobility or perhaps just don’t want to risk any kind of accident or injury hauling heavy items. If something happens that requires a hospital visit, the customer could wind up paying more than the price of hiring the movers in the first place.
There are also mental benefits to hiring movers. Handing over the big job of packing and moving hundreds of items can be quite liberating. Suddenly, there is no longer the issue of making time to pack up and move everything while simultaneously juggling work or family. Hiring reputable professional movers to do what they do best is a great way to make a stressful process more peaceful.
Hiring movers is a cost-effective option even though a fair amount of money is required up front. Especially when it comes to local moves, it is entirely possible to end up spending close to the same amount when moving the items on one’s own as it would to hire a moving company. Moving costs add up quickly when they include retail prices for moving boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and moving blankets. It also isn’t cheap to rent a moving truck, not to mention fueling it.
Personal Item Protection
It’s one thing to purchase packing supplies like tape and blankets, but if customers don’t know how to pack for a move, items can end up broken or damaged. 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 the goods. Essentially, they have an incentive to make sure the items are handled with care.
How Much Do Movers Cost? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
If a homeowner is moving between houses as opposed to rental properties, the odds are good that they’ve already spent money on closing costs and anticipate many other move-in costs to get the new house just as they 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 that must be paid for out of pocket for a DIY move, it’s very possible for the cost to come close to the cost to hire movers. And sure, many people ask friends or family to help with the move, but in the event that a priceless item breaks during a move, there is no insurance safety net. Or worse, a friend or family member could be injured while packing the truck when a stack of boxes tips over or while carrying heavy furniture down the stairs.
When the move involves more than just a few boxes, hiring a moving company is often the best option. Movers know how to move across the country, state, or city without damaging customers’ belongings, as they are experienced in handling the volume and weight of the items that need to be hauled and transported. They also know how to wrap delicate items, like TVs or other valuables, to make sure they are safely moved to the 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. Customers can simply leave the heavy lifting to the pros, who won’t stress one bit about getting the home safely packed.
How to Save Money on Moving Costs
The cost of moving can be intimidating at first glance, especially for cross-country moves. However, customers can rest assured that there are several ways to reduce moving costs. One option is to hire one of the best cheap moving services, but customers can also consider any of the following tips to save money when budgeting 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. Some moving companies may charge a premium for packing supplies. Shop around for local suppliers who can provide packing supplies in bulk quantities; 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 move your TV safely in the future.
- Review the contract carefully. Make sure you’re paying only 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. To save time and money, start collecting supplies and quotes before you need them.
- Hire movers just for the big stuff. If you’re on a tight budget but need the help, consider hiring movers to handle just your furniture, appliances, and other 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 it’s wise to look for a company that can do exactly what you need at a reasonable price.
Questions to Ask About Moving Costs
If a customer has never hired a moving company before, they may be understandably nervous about allowing strangers to handle their valuables. It’s a valid concern, and sadly, there are illegitimate moving companies out there. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable and experienced companies to use. Before booking, customers will want to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings to see other customer reviews. Customers can also make sure they’re choosing the best moving company for their needs by knowing the best questions to ask to avoid scams.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Are you certified with the American Moving & Storage Association and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?
- 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”?
- Are you a broker or a carrier? Do you do background checks on your movers?
- Are you covered by workers’ compensation?
- Who will be my point of contact during the move?
- Do you provide a final contract after inspecting my location and belongings but before I take possession?
- Can I sign a binding contract before you begin moving my items?
- Do you require a deposit to hold the moving date?
- Why is your bid so much lower than other companies’ bids?
- How will you calculate my total price?
- Are there any possible hidden fees?
- What does your insurance cover?
- What is the claim process if something gets broken, lost, or damaged?
- Can I get additional insurance for special items like a piano? If so, how much would that cost?
- How long will it take to pack and move my items?
- Can you store my items if I can’t move into my new home immediately?
- Do you guarantee your delivery dates?
- What is your cancellation policy?
It’s easy for customers to get overwhelmed by all of the possible options while preparing for a big move. To help navigate the process, what follows are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q. How much does a moving truck cost to rent?
The cost of renting a moving truck can vary by location and size but usually falls 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 comes out to $61 to $85 just for the boxes.
Q. How much should I pay for moving to a 2-bedroom apartment?
Someone moving locally will probably pay between $320 and $750 to move a 2-bedroom apartment. This depends on accessibility and the amount of furniture they 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 they seem after adding in all the packing supplies, rental fees, and time to move an entire household. That’s what makes hiring a moving company so cost-effective.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr