Moving to a new home can be an extremely exciting yet anxious process. When you decide to move houses, the first thing that comes to your mind is, how will it be done? Especially if you are currently residing in a big house, where every nook is bustling with dainty artifacts, big pieces of furniture, and an extensive library.
The basic math to ascertain the cost of moving is as follows:
(Hourly rate) X (Number of movers) X (Number of hours to complete the move) + (Travel fee) + (Charges for additional services and packing materials you have requested)
The moving company will ask you the number of bedrooms and the square footage of your home. This helps them estimate the size of the truck and the number of helpers they need to accomplish the task. They make calculations with this information to provide you with an estimate. The final cost might be a little different than the estimate, but it will give you a guideline on costs.
Total Intrastate Moving Cost (Loading & Unloading + Packing):
1,500 sq. ft.
$750 to $1,050
$1,275 to $1,785
$2,400 to $,3,360
2,000 sq. ft.
$1,050 to $1,275
$1,785 to $2,190
$3,360 to $4,170
2,500 sq. ft.
$1,400 to $1,700
$2,380 to $2,920
$4,480 to $5,560
3,000 sq. ft.
$1,700 to $2,100
$2,920 to $3,600
$5,560 to $6,840
Here is a little breakdown, of how it is calculated:
Size of House
Estimated Time to Move
Average Price Range
3 to 5 hours
$240 to $500
4 to 7 hours
$320 to $700
6 to 8 hours
$480 to $800
8 to 12 hours
$640 to $1,200
Number of Movers
1,500 sq. ft.
5 to 7 hours
$750 to $1,050
2,000 sq. ft.
7 to 9 hours
$1,050 to $1,350
2,500 sq. ft.
7 to 9 hours
$1,400 to $1,800
3,000 sq. ft.
9 to 11 hours
$1,800 to $2,200
Most services are $50 per hour, you might pay more if you choose to hire a better service. Remember to keep some money aside for tips to the workers in your calculations. You can tip the local movers for around $10 per hour.
How Far Are You Moving
11.2% of Americans moved last year and majority of them were local movers. According to research, 57% of home buyers who also sell a home move within the same city, and 86% move within the same state. To move a 2000 sq. ft. house locally, you will need to pay approx. $1,785 to $2,190. But to move interstate, the cost will change. You will pay between $4,000 to $6,400 per 1000 miles.
The difference in cost occurs, because the arithmetic changes. If you’re shifting locally (Intrastate), it’ll be calculated by total hours. But if you’re moving interstate, total miles will be counted instead. Total moving cost is calculated in two different ways. One of them is hour-based and the other is distance-based.
If you are moving 100 miles from your current house, it is considered a local move. These kinds of moves can be completed within a single working day. The movers need much less information, due to the short distance. It will be a single-day project with no major documents to show on the road.
For local moves, you will pay an hourly rate, which includes a truck and two movers. The time spent assembling and moving will be proportionate to the size of your house. Generally, you’ll end up paying an average of $475 to professional movers (only vehicle) for local moves.
If you are shifting from one state to another it is termed, Interstate moving. It is calculated by total miles, weights, and space. Long-distance moves are complex and could take a few days to execute. A lot of things go into account like the federal documents, proper placement, and packaging of goods, several days on the road. It is a layered project, and there are often several layers of what you’re dealing with when you’re looking at the cost of that move.
The calculations of a long-distance move are done differently by different movers. Some movers calculate their estimate using the number of bedrooms; some might want to know the total rooms in your house. Movers can also calculate cost per square footage, another popular medium is calculating the actual weight of stuff being moved in the truck.
Ideally, it’s the weight that you’re carrying, that counts. For the calculations, the movers will first weigh their empty truck, followed by the next weighing when the truck is filled with belongings of your house. They’ll subtract the former from the latter and find the exact weight of your belongings. Another important factor here is distance. If the move is to take several days, one has to keep into account the wear and tear of the vehicles. So, distance traveled is another important factor that goes into moving calculation. The movers will charge total miles covered multiplied by the total weight carried by their trucks. Check beforehand, if there are any additional transportation charges, like fuel or tolls.
Mostly, you might not have a clue of how much your belongings weigh! Established movers generally provide an estimate before you sign the agreement, using average weights for homes of your size.
For example, things inside a 1,000 square foot home typically weigh around 5,000 pounds. A 2,000 square foot house should weigh 10,200 pounds. A 2,800-square-foot furnished home should weigh 20,500 pounds.
On the shifting day many miscellaneous expenses will also creep up, for which you should always keep a budget. Cost of stationery and supplies, handling of fragile items, tips to the movers’ staff, and many more things that might surprisingly appear.
You might be presented with multiple types of quotes and estimates, which will thoroughly confuse you. Binding estimates are where the movers give a definite quote, which doesn’t change even if the actual cost varies. Binding not-to-exceed estimates are where a moving company gives you a quote, and if the actual cost is more, then you’ll pay the estimate, but if your move costs less, you’ll pay the lower number. Non-binding estimates, are where the movers will give you an estimate. Many companies offer these alongside binding estimates. If the movers offer only non-binding estimates, you should consider another moving company.
Typical Moving Expenses:
If you do not wish to choose the entire package of movers and packers, there are several other options available. They are much more cost-effective and save you tons of money. On hind sight, these options may be a little taxing.
Rental Truck: Choosing only a truck for moving can be very cost-effective. Truck rental is $20 per day generally. Cost varies, depending on the size of the truck, charges for gas and mileage.
Loading, transportation, and unloading: Save big bucks by doing all the packing and unpacking yourself. It can be extremely taxing, especially if your house is bigger. You can seek help from family and friends for packing, loading, and unloading the truck or hire professional movers to help load heavier stuff. For a local move, the cost of moving can be around $200 for a 1-bedroom apartment and approximately $1,000 for a 4-bedroom house.
Full-service moves: Wrapping, packing, loading, and transportation of your belongings will be handled by the professionals. You are needed to guide the workers on grouping items in the same categories and labels. In your new home, you might have to unpack yourself, unless you’ve chosen that also in your service. Long-distance moves require these services as it is much more complex. Movers charge roughly $2,000 to $5,000 for the transportation and $25 to $50 per hour per mover for packing and unpacking service.
Short-term storage: If your moving dates are undecided, you might have to temporarily hoard your belongings in a storage unit or moving container. The storage facility would cost $50 per month for a small unit and go up to $400 for larger units. These days, portable storage units are also available. You can stock them up and later transfer and store in a warehouse, until you’re ready for re-delivery. These units cost much higher than the conventional storage units, expect to pay $150 to $300 per month, plus delivery and re-delivery costs.
Moving supplies: Think out of the box and go green. Instead of buying and then recycling cardboard boxes, you rent hard plastic boxes for your move. The cost of renting these You can seek help from family and friends for packing, loading, and unloading the truck or hire professional movers boxes will cost $50 to 200, depending on the size of your house. Contact truck rental companies, local grocery stores for free used boxes.
If you are planning to move between May and September, you should book your movers at least four weeks ahead of time. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to get your desired day and time. You can even request for experienced staff. Moving on weekdays, precisely Monday-Thursday will cost you much less. From October to April, you can choose to book movers two weeks before your move. For an interstate or cross-country move, it is advisable to book your movers as early as possible, ideally six to eight weeks before the move.
Should we hire for packing our belongings?
The need for packers arises mainly if you need to move quickly or/and are in a situation where you and your family can’t pack yourself. It would be worth it to pay the packers, especially if you are moving long-distance as your belongings will be in the truck for several days. A flat rate for packing is charged depending on the size of your house. Get the estimate from a few companies and compare before signing anyone for this task. If you choose to get your moving company to do the packing, you might be in for some good discount!
How can I reduce my moving costs?
Purging, Selling, giveaways, donating your belongings are the best ways to shred heavy loads. Fewer items to move means less packing, less space in the truck, and less loading and unloading. You will end up saving a big chunk of money by doing this. Besides these options, you can rent a truck and van yourself or seek help from family and friends. Consider shifting as a big DIY project.
Remember, people hire industry professionals for their quality of service. So, while saving money, make sure that you do not damage your belongings by doing the packing and shifting yourself.
If I am planning to downsize, what options do I have?
Storage units are available in almost all locations in the US if you are planning to downsize and are seeking some space to store your stuff. Another option is [as mentioned earlier] donate, sell, gift and purge as you keep packing.
What time of the year is most expensive to move?
Most people move during the month of summer April to October), especially when the schools are on summer break. School routines are not a hinderance during these times. The companies charge a hefty sum of money during the peak months. If you want to save money, try moving in the winter season. If you can schedule your move during this time, you will pay the lowest rates. Moving on weekdays is also highly advisable to save costs.
When is the most expensive time of the month to move?
Leases end and mortgages generally close by the end of a month. This makes it the most expensive time to move. High demand soars the prices. Try moving in the beginning or middle of the month, to make good savings.
Eventually, it is all about charting a budget. You can make an ideal budget if you have a good understanding of how the moving process works. Make a list of factors that are non-negotiable and optional for you and your household. Someone might be emotionally attached to their ancestral furniture, while another household’s heart beats for their chinaware, books, and so on.
Look at your options and determine how much your move may cost. The best way to keep the cost in check is swiftness in your decision. Make quick decisions, work towards shifting from your old house to new in a limited period. Limiting your time will keep a good check on rented supplies, bills, staff, mortgage payments, and storage costs.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.