Moving cost guide

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates the number of Americans who move house to be around 35 million annually. At least once in life you experience this wearisome journey requiring a great deal of time, effort, and money on your part and very often you may not even know where to start. You might have a dozen of questions about the future move if you've never had to live through it before.

Here you will learn about:

We used to mean by moving companies or movers those who take all the moving process over and also deal with such steps as packing, loading, moving, unloading, and unpacking. They have to be licensed and certified. In most cases, moving services can charge about $20-$55 per hour of work and the average price for moving your items will take from $450 to $1,300 from your budget.

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Moving services provided

Of course, you are free to move anywhere but in terms of price, the destination matters a lot. Most often, you can consider the division into intra- and interstate relocation.

How much will I have to pay a moving company for local relocation?

If you decide to hire professional relocationists, the key price determiner is the size of your apartment or house. For local relocations, companies charge by the hour. The average rates are as follows:

  • An apartment with 1 bedroom: from $190 to $500 for 3 to 5 hours
  • An apartment with 2 bedrooms: from $390 to $700 for 5 to 7 hours
  • A house with 3 bedrooms: $600 - $1,000 for about 10 hours
  • A house with 4 bedrooms: $850 - $2,100 for about 12 hours

Note that the final price will increase if you order extra services like moving bulky and heavy things and packing/unpacking or assembling/disassembling furniture.

How much will I have to pay a moving company for interstate relocation?

Moving between states or moving for a distance of over 100 miles within the same state is called long distance or interstate moving. You'll have to spend from $2,100 to $5,000 on it. For instance, if you travel to your new place of residence located around 1,220 miles away, a company will take around $4,500 from you for approximately 7,500 pounds of weight.

Price-related questions

I have no time to pack my things. Can movers do it for me and how much does it cost?

Moving companies do provide packing/unpacking services for busy customers. On average, each mover takes from $30 to $50 an hour. The exact estimate is hard to give as it depends on the amount of stuff to be packed and its nature. For example, if it's something delicate like China, a special wrapping material is required. That results in a higher price.

How much will I have to pay for moving my piano?

Unless you're planning to move the piano with the help of your friends and family as described in this post, you will normally pay professionals within the range $150-$800. Note, however, that this price can go up to as much as $2,400 if additional lifting equipment is used. Bulky and heavy items, in general, will be handled differently from others as more spacious vehicles are necessary to transport them.

What other extra charges can I expect?

The final bill also includes the “ease of access” costs. That means you'll have to pay more if your house or apartment is located a long way from the place where the moving vehicle has stopped and can't move any farther. In addition, the more flights of stairs movers have to walk with a load, the more it will cost. Discuss those extra charges with a moving company representative in advance.

Information to check before hiring a moving company or a pro

How can I find my trusted moving company?

The sad truth is that not all movers who operate on the market these days are trustworthy and take their duties in a truly professional manner. Luckily, there is enough information and tips you can check and be sure you find a dependable professional moving company.

Other frequently asked questions

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Where can I get boxes for packing my things?

When it comes to moving boxes, you have three options:/

  • You may purchase completely new ones. This is a quick method. The boxes will be delivered right to your door if you buy them online. If you have a house of 3 or 4 bedrooms, you will probably spend around $400 on new boxes.
  • Collect used (new) cardboard boxes from people you know or local stores. That will take you more time, but will cost you nothing. So, if you have enough time before Hour X, this is a good option.
  • Rent boxes from a moving company. Certain moving companies temporarily lease boxes for the occasion. It's less expensive than buying new ones, but you'll still have to pay.

What is the best time for moving?

One of the factors that determine the final figure in the bill is the time when you order the service. The number of moving companies with a good reputation is limited. When many people decide to move at the same time, rates go up considerably. Try to avoid the following times and dates when scheduling:

  • National holidays
  • Weekends
  • Summer months
  • Start and end of a month

On the other hand, if you can, plan the operation for off-season dates. Then, you'll save money and have a wider choice of providers. Also, book as early as you can to have plenty of time to pack your things.

Can I move my things myself?

Sure. This is obviously one of the cheapest options. The downside is that you'll have to do everything on your own. So, it's actually the time vs. money dilemma. Also, moving locally is less time and effort-consuming, and thus you'll probably be able to cope with the mission on your own. However, if you are relocating to another state, getting the help of a reputable mover is wiser. This is what you should consider if you opt for self-service after all:

Rental truck or van. There are all kinds of moving trucks or vans. It's better if you get familiar with them. How much you will have to pay for renting a vehicle depends on several factors:

  • Size
  • Distance to your new home
  • Price of gas
  • Time (or number of days) you'll be using the vehicle
  • Weight of the items you're going to transport

It's hard to give the exact figure, but on average you can pay from slightly above $60 to hefty $2100, all variables are taken into account.

Note that renting a moving van or truck from a local provider is less (much less) expensive than from a company such as U-Haul. That said, you may have to spend more money if the vehicle your return is not clean or its fuel tank is empty.

The cost of fuel is not part of the rental price. So, be prepared to spend about $4 per gallon.

Overnight stay. If you're traveling from one state to another, you may have to stop somewhere for the night. That will entail additional expenses of around $100 to stay at a hotel.

Loaders. If you have too many things to load and unload on your own and decide to hire professional moving helpers, you will have to pay approximately $30 per person.

Should I tip movers?

This is not legally required but is a good gesture on your part. By tipping movers who have conscientiously performed their duties, you do the right thing. Normally, tips add around 15% to the total cost of moving. That's approximately $10 - $30 per mover and depends on the difficulty of the work and time spent on it.

Bottom line

Moving house is a complicated process wherein you need to consider a whole number of factors. Depending on the amount of stuff, distance, and size of your house, you may expect to pay from as little as $190 to as much as $6,500.

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