Long Distance Move On A Budget

Full article 11 min read

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost for hiring a long distance mover runs about $4,300. That is a large chunk of change for a family moving from Atlanta to Denver or from Las Vegas to Philadelphia. The $4,300 average long distance moving cost assumes a cargo weight of 7,400 pounds and a drive that covers 1,225 miles.

6 Tips for Making a Long-Distance Move on a Budget

Unlike unexpected bad weather or a road detour you did not see coming, you control most of how much you spend for a long distance move. From choosing the time of year to move to deciding what possessions to leave behind, you can save a considerable amount of money by implementing a few simple long distance moving tips.


‘Tis the Season

No, we are not suggesting you should pack up a moving truck and relocate a week before Christmas. We are referring to moving season, the time of year between Memorial Day and Labor day when the country’s roads and highways are packed with moving vans and trucks, High demand reduces the supply of moving vehicles and packing supplies, which allows long distance movers to charge more for products and services. The first tip to follow for moving long distance on a budget is making a reservation with a long distance mover in autumn or spring. Another money saving tips involves moving during the second or third week of a month, as most people move during the first and last week of a month.

Move Less, Save More

As we mentioned, long distance moving companies charge by cargo weight. You can directly impact how much you spend for a move by lightening the load. How do you alleviate the moving load? Start by donating clothing, appliances, and furniture to Goodwill, Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity. You should consider replacing some of the larger appliances and furniture by purchasing newer models when you arrive at your new home. A good old-fashioned garage sale helps you get rid of items and in the process, generates money to defray some of the costs of making a long distance move.

Acquire Free Moving Supplies

Most moving and storage companies offer packing supplies as either stand-alone products or products the companies bundle with other products and services. One of the most effective strategies to ensure you remain under your moving budget involves finding free moving supplies. Nearby retailers should be plentiful sources for boxes, from restaurants discarding beer case boxes to appliance stores getting rid of larger boxes. You should also be able to acquire free newspapers and bubble wrap to protect valuable items against strong impacts. Other places to search for free moving supplies include Craigslist and bookstores, as well as from friends and family members.

Take Advantage of Discounts

Another reason to avoid a long distance move between Memorial Day and Labor Day is long distance movers have no incentive to offer deals and discounts. In fact, because of high demand, long distance moving companies can raise prices. The best time to search for moving company deals is right after Labor Day, when kids are back in school and parents are back to the daily grind. Many long distance movers like to bundle products and services, such as throwing in packing boxes to sweeten a long distance moving deal.

As with other products and services, you should visit long distance mover websites to see if any company is running an Internet-only discount promotion. Military veterans have several options for receiving discounts, including great discounts offered by Budget, Penske, and North American Van Lines. Members of the AAA enjoy deals run by Atlas Van lines and Extra Space Storage.

Ask for Help

You can hire moving labor to reduce the cost of a move by performing the move without the help of a professional mover. The better option is to hire a long distance mover, but ask friends and family members to chip in for packing boxes and loading possession onto a moving truck. However, asking someone to help you move-even family members-is not a done deal. Besides paying taxes, there is nothing less appealing to most people than moving themselves, much less helping someone else move. Give it a shot and see what happens.

Rent One or More Portable Moving Containers

Companies such as PODS help budget-conscious families perform long distance moves. Renting a portable container has emerged as one of the most popular ways to avoid paying full service movers to do the job. Portable container rental companies cost much less money to use than hiring professional movers.

You also save money by storing your possessions in the portable containers. This comes in handy if you need a few extra days or even an extra week to move into your new home. The portable container simply sits in an out of the way area next to your home until you are ready to move in. Costs depend on the size of a portable container, as well as how long you need to use one. Renting one or more portable containers cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per container, while going with a long distance mover can run as high as $6,000.


How to Find an Affordable Long Distance Mover

You slowly developed your long distance moving plan over several weeks or maybe a few months. You debated the pros and cons of hiring a mover that specializes in performing long-distance relocations. The time has come to conduct research into how to find an affordable long distance mover. You want to work with a moving company that deploys the most advanced GPS system inside a state of the art moving vehicle, without having to take out a second mortgage.

Let’s examine how you can save money by finding an affordable long distance moving company:

Start By Reading Online Reviews

You can Google “Affordable Long Distance Movers” and a page of moving companies pops up in the search engine. After writing down the prices offered by each of the affordable moving companies, you think all you have to do is go with the mover offering the lowest price.

Do not think that way

You still need to perform research into a potential long distance moving company. We recommend you start by reading online reviews, preferably beginning with what the Better Business Bureau (BB) has to say about the long distance movers on your short list. As the most influential consumer advocacy organization, the BBB gives companies ratings that range from A+ to F. Consider only movers that have earned the coveted A+ rating from the BBB. Also, read customer reviews on sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor to confirm the affordability of your long distance mover candidates.

Save Time with Word of Mouth Advertising

You have probably received dozens of valuable shopping tips from friends and relative that helped you save money on the purchase of products and services. Use the same sources for finding an affordable long distance mover. A friend or relative might offer a suggestion based on a first-hand experience with a long distance moving company. You can also learn more about a mover’s reputation for the timely delivery of household goods and the level of customer service provided.

Deposits are Unacceptable

The moment a long distance mover asks for a cash deposit to secure a reservation is the moment you cross the company off your short list. The only thing you should pay for upfront are packing supplies, and even with packing supplies, highly rated long distance moving companies wait until the end of a move to collect for everything. Giving a large cash deposit to secure a moving reservation leaves the door open to moving company negligence at best and employee theft at worst. Pay for every moving expense with a credit card to ensure you have documentation of any issues when it comes time to contact a licensed consumer law attorney.

Binding Estimates Put You in a Financial Bind

A cost estimate for a long distance move is just a calculated guess of the expenses incurred by a mover for fuel, labor, materials, and vehicle depreciation. If you sign a contract that includes a binding estimate, you run the risk of paying considerably more out of pocket because of unexpected events. For example, severe weather can derail your moving caravan by forcing you to spend at least one night at a hotel. For three or more professional movers, that can add hundreds of dollars to the final tab. We encourage you to go with a non-binding to exceed the estimate, which caps any additional charges to 10% of the original estimate.

Finally, carefully read the long distance moving contract and pay special attention to the fine print. Tucked within the fine print, hidden fees and charges can turn an affordable long distance move into a move that runs over budget. Examples of hidden fees include a charge to account for you exceeding the estimated weight calculated for a binding contract. There might also be fine print that says a long distance moving company does not have to pay for lost and/or damaged items.


Also Read: How to Get Low-Income Moving Assistance

Written by

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.