Real Estate Moving

Everything That Goes Into Packers and Movers Cost, and Why It’s Worth It

Moving can be costly, but homeowners can pick and choose how to save time or money with the ideal moving service. Packers and movers cost around $1,000 or between $280 and $2,200 just to pack up a household.
Packers and Movers Cost


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  • The typical cost range to hire movers and packers is from $280 to $2,200, with a national average cost of $1,000.
  • The exact price of hiring a packing and moving service will depend on the size of the home, the type and weight of the items to be moved, the distance of the move, the day and time of the move, labor and fuel costs, and the company hired.
  • Hiring packers and movers has numerous benefits, such as time and stress savings, the benefit of professional experience, and insurance coverage.
  • DIY packing and moving can be time-consuming and strenuous, especially for long-distance moves or homes with a lot of items to move. That’s why many people choose to hire a professional to help them pack and move house.

Moving—a word that can instill both excitement and dread in anyone. While moving to a new home, city, or state can be a fun adventure, most people dislike the exhausting time and effort involved in packing, hauling, and unpacking personal belongings. That’s where professional movers come in handy. A full-service residential moving company can alleviate the headache—and backache—many customers experience when trying to move on their own.

Packers and movers cost between $280 and $2,200 or about $1,000 on average. This cost covers only the labor and materials required to pack personal belongings and furniture for a move. Homeowners who need both packing and unpacking services will pay about $380 to $3,600. Most professional moving services offer packing as a typical add-on to a full moving cost estimate, so homeowners will want to clarify their preference when they obtain a quote.

Packers and Movers Cost

Factors in Calculating Packers and Movers Cost

Packing and moving costs are typically cheaper for smaller homes and apartments and more expensive for larger homes. Aside from considering the home size, homeowners will need to factor in any unusual or large items and the distance, day, and time of the move along with labor, fuel costs, and the moving company they choose.

Home Size

The size of the home usually indicates the quantity of belongings to be transported. That’s why moving cost calculators always ask how many bedrooms are being moved. A 5-bedroom house has significantly more furniture and personal belongings than a 1-bedroom apartment. The personal items will need to be boxed up, while the furniture will need to be disassembled, labeled, and properly protected to avoid damage during the move.

Furniture movers are experienced at taking furniture apart quickly and preparing it for transport. And though many homes now have a home office, it’s not necessary for homeowners and renters to hire office movers, since a single workstation is fairly easy to move.

Number of BedroomsAverage Square FeetAverage Packing Cost (Materials and Labor)
1400 to 1,000$280 to $650
2700 to 1,250$530 to $1,000
31,250+$1,030 to $2,200

Item Weight and Type

House packing services will take into consideration the weight and type of items a resident needs to have packed. For instance, antique clocks, gun safes, oversize furniture, pool tables, and other similar items will require special handling and additional people to prepare the items for moving. If the customer has a lot of kitchen appliances or books, then packers will need to use more heavy-duty boxes than normal. Professional packers will also estimate the total weight of all the items, since moving trucks have various weight limitations.

Certain items like pianos require specialty movers, which means the owner is advised not to look simply for cheap movers but rather qualified movers with experience. Fragile antiques and glass or china pieces will require additional packing material to ensure they aren’t jostled and smashed during the move. When it comes to antiques and large or valuable items, the cost to hire movers and packers will be worth keeping the items safe.

“As you can imagine, everyone’s belongings are different and the biggest variable in pricing per move comes down to the volume of the items that you intend to move … and whether any particularly challenging pieces of furniture like a piano or heavy marble table top are part of that item inventory list,” explains Voyo Popovic, CEO of Piece of Cake Moving & Storage in New York City.

Move Distance

The distance of the move is important for residents to consider. Some local movers offer deals on local moves within a short radius, such as 50 miles or so. Other short-distance movers consider up to 100 miles a “local” move, unless it crosses a state line. In that case, one of the best long-distance moving companies is the better choice, since it’ll have the proper licenses and permits to move goods across state lines.

Homeowners and renters who are looking to move to a new state will want to clarify if the interstate movers have the proper paperwork to do so. Long-distance moves usually cost about $4,792, though this depends on the size of the home and the total miles traveled.

Move Day and Time

Customers looking to move during the summer months, on the weekend, or in the morning can expect to pay higher rates for packing services. The weather is usually more favorable for moving during the warmer months, and it’s easier for customers to take less time away from work by moving on a weekend. However, if budget is a major concern, homeowners can look at moving company prices during the week for lower rates. This also holds true for anyone looking into hiring one of the best moving companies for small moves.


Professional packers make short work of big jobs that can take residents hours to do. Without the sentimental attachment to the belongings, packers can quickly wrap and box items for transport. It takes about 1 hour for a single packer to get everything in a 100-square-foot space packed up.

“Most professional moving companies offer flat fee pricing which is calculated by the volume of your items, the mileage of your move, and any additional services and moving complexities,” explains Popovic. “Flat fee moving fees usually include the standard packing and wrapping of large standard household furniture items.”

On average, homeowners pay about $25 to $40 per 100 square feet, but if more packers are sent for larger homes, the average hourly rate is usually closer to $25 per person. At least two people are usually sent to pack a house to accelerate the process and handle any large furniture items together.

On top of paying the labor fee, customers are encouraged to remember that it’s optional but customary to tip packers and movers for a job well done. After all, they’re taking all the physical labor risk and extra time. Naturally, the next question is “How much do you tip movers?” Customers can budget about $4 to $8 per person, per hour, unless the tip is automatically included in the invoice. Another alternative is to provide food and nonalcoholic drinks throughout the day as a thank-you for their work.

Number of PackersTotal Square FeetEstimated HoursAverage Labor Cost
24002$100 to $150
28004$200 to $330
21,2006$300 to $480
21,6008$400 to $650
22,00010$500 to $800
32,4008$600 to $950
32,8009.5$730 to $1,150
33,20010.5$800 to $1,250

Fuel Costs

For longer moves, fuel costs will greatly impact the final price. Customers are charged by moving companies for the driver’s time and the cost of fuel. The longer the distance, the higher the cost. For instance, a long-distance move can cost as little as $2,649 or more than $14,000, depending on the quantity and type of goods being moved, in addition to the total distance. International movers and packers cost more, since customers will need to pay for the ocean or air transportation too. Mover fuel costs can vary from month to month, as they typically stay consistent with current fuel prices.

However, local moves under 50 to 100 miles may not have a fuel cost added as a separate line item like a quote for a long-distance move will. Homeowners and renters are encouraged to double-check the quote and ask if there is a fuel or trip charge in addition to the packing and moving fees.

Packing and Moving Company

In addition to some of the bigger national moving companies, local, affordable movers can be found in many areas. Obtaining quotes from numerous packing and moving companies is essential for customers to find the right price, schedule, and level of service they prefer. Booking based on an extremely cheap mover quote is not advisable, since that is commonly the sign of a scam mover. Customers can check online reviews in addition to obtaining estimates to feel more confident about their choice.

Some companies offer additional services such as auto transport, antique and piano moving, and even recreational vehicle moving. If these services are needed, homeowners can add that to their initial search for a reputable moving company. An approximate moving cost calculator can help homeowners do a basic calculation to estimate their specific moving costs. All of the best moving companies (such as United Van Lines and American Van Lines) have calculators built into their online quote system to help homeowners evaluate the right company for their needs.

Packers and Movers Cost

Additional Costs and Considerations

While certain factors will apply to nearly every customer, there are a few other considerations that can affect the cost of hiring packers and movers. Homeowners and renters can evaluate whether any additional costs apply to their situation and add it to their initial estimate. This additional information can help anyone wondering “How much does it cost to move?

Don't delay: talk to top-rated local packers and movers and get free, no-commitment project estimates.

Specialty Items

Many customers have specialty items that need extra care and attention during the packing process. Glass, crystal, china, artwork, figurines, and antiques need more packing materials and additional labor time to ensure safe transport. Large objects may need additional movers to help get them into the moving truck, or they could require their own transportation method. For instance, the cost to move a piano is not insignificant, and neither is the cost to move cars, boats, or other recreational vehicles.

“Specialty items will add more time to the overall move and are usually itemized separately and in detail,” explains Popovic. “A pool table, antiques and pianos are good examples of specialty items that carry their own risks due to their weight and size. Ask your movers how they will manage any valuables and what their insurance arrangements are.”

Boxes and Packing Materials

The advantage of hiring packers and movers is that the customer doesn’t have to do any of the packing themselves. However, this means homeowners and renters will need to pay for the boxes and packing materials that the moving company brings.

“Movers have access to special packing material and equipment like moving blankets, wooden crates, dollies, wrapping plastic, packing paper, moving trucks with lift gates, [and] special packing boxes for different types of furniture items,” says Popovic.

Number of BedroomsAverage Cost of Packing Materials
1$180 to $250
2$350 to $500
3$500 to $750+

Materials such as boxes, tape, packing paper, blankets, and other supplies are usually added with an upcharge. To reduce the amount of packing that is needed, customers can donate or throw away old or broken belongings that do not need to be moved.

Type of Packing MaterialAverage Cost (Each)Average Total Cost for 3 Bedrooms
Book box$2$15
Bubble wrap$17.50$35
Dish box$15$70
Glassware box$15$60
Large box$2$40
Mattress bag$10$30
Medium box$1.50$60
Packing paper$12.50$25
Small box$1$35
Stretch wrap$17.50$35
TV/Picture box
Tape dispenser$12$20
Tape roll
Wardrobe box


Sometimes the timing of a move isn’t as seamless as the customer would like. If there is a significant delay between moving out of the residence and into the new one, homeowners or renters may need to have their belongings stored. This can happen for as short as a couple of days or as long as several weeks. Large moving companies often have storage facilities available for short-term storage, so customers can ask for a quote if this is a service they’ll need.

If a customer is hiring packers only to prepare and load their items into the moving truck, they can look at the best self-storage facilities for a solution. This option is also helpful for long-term storage in the case of a temporary move out of the country. Storage unit prices average about $240 per month.

Loading and Unloading

Hiring packers for moving is a multilayered process that’s easily tailored to a customer’s preference. Each task a customer needs completed may cost extra. For instance, packing is one service, unpacking is another, and the loading and unloading of the moving truck are yet others. Customers will want to evaluate how much work they prefer to pay for rather than doing it themselves.

Adding loading and unloading services to a packing job will increase the cost by $400 to $1,600 for each service. This is typically based on the hourly labor rate. But homeowners and renters will also need to clarify whether they prefer the movers to also reassemble certain items such as beds, TVs, and cribs. These additional tasks will cost more for the extra hour or two it takes the movers to complete.


Another aspect of packers and movers cost that customers will want to consider is unpacking. For about $100 to $1,400 extra, movers can unpack the belongings in the correct rooms. Reassembling certain items can cost more if customers don’t negotiate that into the cost of unpacking.

Insurance Coverage

By law, moving companies must include basic liability insurance for all moves. This typically covers about $0.60 per pound, per item, for certain circumstances, so it’s not considered full coverage. Homeowners and renters who prefer full coverage for valuable items can ask about the cost. But it’s also worth checking with their home or car insurance carrier, since the rates can be more competitive.

“When it comes to understanding the coverage of your items during your moving day, you’ve got two insurance options if you’ve booked with a professional moving company,” explains Popovic. “Released-value protection insurance coverage comes at no additional cost to you and is always included when you book with a registered professional mover. Full-value protection insurance coverage means that you’ll be reimbursed the full replacement value of your item if it’s damaged during the move. However, [valuable] items are usually excluded and may require special insurance. A professional moving company will offer options for you to purchase full value protection insurance before your moving day.”

Packers and Movers Cost

Benefits of Choosing to Hire Packers and Movers

The cost to move a house can be surprising, yet there are benefits for hiring professional movers with trucks to complete the job. Homeowners and renters alike appreciate the time savings in addition to the movers’ experience, the option for insurance, and the decreased stress.

Don't delay: talk to top-rated local packers and movers and get free, no-commitment project estimates.

Time Savings

Packing a house or apartment is no small feat and often takes significantly more time than expected. Some of this is due to the attachment a homeowner or renter has to their own belongings. The benefit of using a professional packer is that they are skilled at efficiently getting items packed quickly without growing nostalgic or wondering how best to fill a box with awkwardly sized items. What can take a homeowner days to complete is done in a matter of hours by the pros.

“[Hiring a professional] may seem like an expense at first, but the speed in which a professional can pack your home for a move is worth your sanity,” says Popovic.


Movers and packers have probably seen it all. Their experience means they can figure out how to do anything from disassembling a desk to efficiently packing up kitchen appliances. A task that can seem like a head scratcher to a homeowner trying to fit more items into a box is easily handled by a packer who can arrange and distribute items into boxes efficiently. Professionals are also well prepared to safely wrap and pack common electronics and valuables. For peace of mind, homeowners can always ask about the professionals’ experience with antiques or look for companies that specialize in packing fragile items.

“A professional moving crew has experience in packing all types of household items,” says Popovic. “They will be able to efficiently and safely pack your items.”


Average moving costs include basic liability insurance during the move, but packers are also responsible for items during the packing process. If something is damaged, homeowners can speak with their account representative about replacement or reimbursement costs. This alleviates some financial risk from homeowners. Additional insurance coverage can also help protect the full value of goods during the moving process.

Decreased Stress

The convenience of full-service movers and the best packing services (such as United Van Lines) can’t be underestimated. When the budget allows, paying for professional movers to pack, move, and unpack a household’s goods alleviates so much stress for the customer. They no longer have to worry about rearranging their time to spend hours packing before the move, hoping they’ll get it done in time without having to stay up all night. Additionally, customers won’t have to stress about how to pack certain items or carry heavy boxes and furniture into a moving truck.

Packers and Movers Cost

Packing and Moving: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

The cost of movers often makes homeowners and renters wonder if it’s better to do the job on their own or hire professionals. The answer is: it depends. Those who are physically fit and capable of carrying heavy items over short distances or up and down flights of stairs may be perfectly happy doing a DIY move. Many people also have friends, neighbors, and family members who can help with a move.

However, there are physical risks to consider as well as the cost of each individual’s time. Many people are less able to carry heavy items or navigate stairs without assistance. Even physically fit people can easily injure themselves by tripping while carrying a couch or straining their back. These circumstances make hiring a professional team of movers and packers a huge benefit and wise idea, not to mention the fact that professional movers carry insurance in case anything happens to them or the customer’s belongings.

If budget is a major consideration, then homeowners and renters can evaluate which parts of a move they are willing to do and which they are capable of completing on their own. For instance, perhaps they can’t find the time to pack up a 4-bedroom house, but they’re confident in their ability to drive a rented moving truck to a nearby city and unload it. Or the opposite situation could apply where renters choose to pack up their apartment but prefer to pay movers to haul their belongings down the flights of stairs and across the country.

The flexibility that moving companies offer for each unique situation makes it easy for customers to find the perfect fit for their move. Whether they prefer to avoid the risk of injuring themselves or just want to save themselves the time and hassle, customers who hire movers often appreciate the expert assistance that also alleviates stress.

How to Save Money on Packers and Movers Cost

While many parts of moving costs are set by local market prices, there are still ways that homeowners and renters can reduce the total packers and movers cost. Some ideas involve DIY work before and during the move.

  • Choose a cheaper day of the week. Moving on a weekend will increase the cost to move, but a weekday can be cheaper.
  • Clean out your belongings. It’s common to discover items that are too broken or worn out to keep during the packing process. Planning a little extra time to get rid of those items can reduce the number of materials needed for packing, along with the extra time to pack and move them.
  • Collect usable boxes for free. Nearly every store has extra boxes that may be available for free. Homeowners and renters can also ask friends and family who recently moved if they have any available boxes that are in good condition.
  • Ask for help. Friends and family may be willing and able to help with the packing, moving, or unpacking processes.
  • Rent a moving truck. Some customers prefer to use their moving budget to hire packers to get everything prepped and loaded into the moving truck. Then they drive the truck on their own to save on labor and surcharged fuel costs.
  • Pack antiques on your own. With the right packing materials and experience, homeowners and renters can save time and money by packing their own antiques or valuables so the packers only have to handle common household items that can be quickly packed.
  • Pack the easy stuff. Alternatively, some people prefer to leave the awkward, large, or valuable items for the pros to pack, while they pack up their clothing, books, and personal items.
  • Shop around. Moving companies offer competitive prices and numerous types of services, so homeowners are encouraged to compare three to five companies to find the right price and level of attention they prefer.
  • Ask about special discounts. Many local and long-distance movers offer discounts for seniors, military members, first responders, and AAA members, among others.
  • Compare moving costs with portable containers. For long-distance moves, it may be cheaper for homeowners and renters to load all of their belongings into a storage container like those available from PODS and let the company transport the goods to the new location.

Questions to Ask About Packing and Moving Services

There are many options available to customize the ideal packing and moving service for homeowners and renters alike. It can become overwhelming and confusing if the right questions aren’t asked. “Picking the right mover is more than just picking the lowest price,” explains Popovic. “To pick a reliable mover who also offers packing services, you can ask [several] questions to [the] moving company while booking your move.”

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can you provide your Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration license or permit number for interstate transportation?
  • Do you have references I can speak with?
  • Do you outsource to other companies or drivers?
  • Do you conduct background checks on your employees?
  • What is your overall damage rate?
  • Are your workers seasonal or full-time?
  • Do you provide workers’ compensation insurance?
  • Do you provide a binding or nonbinding quote?
  • What kind of fees can I anticipate being charged?
  • Do you charge extra for stairs?
  • Are you experienced with packing antiques?
  • What do you charge for partially packing some bulky items rather than fully packing up an entire house?
  • Can you also move my car? If so, what will that cost?
  • Do you require a deposit?
  • Do you have storage available? If so, how much does it cost?
  • Do you charge a travel or fuel surcharge for local moves within 50 miles?
  • How long will it take to pack my belongings?
  • How many packers will you send?
  • How much more will it cost to also load the moving truck I plan to rent?
  • If I want to pack and load the truck but have your company haul it across the country, what will that cost?
  • Are there any prohibited items you can’t transport for me?
  • Do you guarantee pickup or delivery dates?
  • How can I ensure the inventory is correct?
  • How do you handle damage or loss?
  • What insurance options do you offer?
  • Can I track my belongings during transport?
  • Who can I speak with if I have questions during the move?


Estimating the cost of packers and movers is easier when homeowners and renters have as much information as possible. Customers can understand the processes of professional movers better with the help of several answers to frequently asked questions.

Q. Do packers and movers pack everything?

Mostly, yes, but there are restrictions. Most companies have a list of prohibited items that they cannot or will not transport for customers. These are usually dangerous or regulated items such as guns, gasoline, pesticides, and fireworks. Some companies also refuse to transport food—even perishable food going just a few miles down the road. It’s also possible that the company will recommend the homeowner hang on to valuable papers or belongings to avoid the risk of theft. It’s a good idea for customers to ask about any specific items they have.

Q. Do movers move furniture with clothes in them?

Movers will not move furniture that’s fully loaded with drawers of clothes. Customers can opt to remove the drawers and keep the clothes in the drawers but wrap them securely with heavy-duty plastic wrap. Alternatively, they can empty the clothes into other boxes. The latter is recommended to avoid the clothes being invaded by pests if the items are going into storage for any length of time.

It’s worth noting that items going across the country are often stored for a short period while the moving company arranges transportation. If there’s any possibility of storage, customers are encouraged to simply pack their belongings in boxes.

Q. How long does it take packers to pack a house?

It depends on the size of the house. A small home with 1 or 2 bedrooms may take just 2 to 5 hours. On the other hand, large homes with 3 or more bedrooms often take 6 to 12 hours to pack. If there are a lot of fragile items, it will take longer.

Q. How much do you tip movers and packers?

If the service provided met or exceeded expectations, customers are certainly encouraged to tip their movers and packers. On average, customers tip about $4 to $8 per person per hour. Others may plan for $10 per person for a half day and up to $20 per person for a full 8-hour day.

Q. What should you not pack when moving?

The short answer for what customers should not pack is anything poisonous, flammable, or corrosive. This can include simple household items like nail polish remover and cleaning chemicals as well as paint thinner and matches. Additional items such as guns, fireworks, and propane tanks are often restricted. Gasoline and oil are usually prohibited, so a gas lawn mower may need to be drained before transportation.

Local moving companies even prefer that no perishable items are packed and moved, so homeowners can opt to transport those in their own vehicle. They can also donate food items to local food banks if a long-distance moving company prohibits all food items. Customers can ask for a specific list of prohibited items from each moving company that they speak with when obtaining quotes.

Sources: HomeAdvisor,, Forbes