How much do movers cost? Regardless of how far you’re moving and how much you’re moving, you can bet hiring movers won’t be cheap. While enlisting a moving company is typically quite pricey, many will tell you that it’s also well-worth the expense. After all, moving to a new home is labor-intensive and physically exhausting. Hiring a professional moving company can take much of that stress off your plate. So how much does a moving company cost? Here’s a look at the typical cost of a local and long distance move as well as other considerations to make when hiring movers for the job.
How Much Do Movers Cost?
- Local Move
- Long Distance Move
- 5 Important Considerations That Affect the Cost of Moving
- Gratuity for Movers
- Cost-Saving Tips for Moving
- How to Avoid Moving Company Fraud
- Do I Need to Hire Movers or a Moving Company?
- Alternatives to Hiring a Moving Company
Local Move (Intrastate)
A local move, commonly called an intrastate move, is technically defined as a move within the same state. So how much do moving companies charge for a local move? According to our calculations, the average cost of a local move is $1,250, based on a two to three-bedroom move of approximately 7,500 pounds. However, those moving less than two to three bedrooms will likely require fewer movers, which will inevitably save money in labor costs.
The price of a local move is based on a flat dollar amount per hour, but what constitutes a “local,” hourly-rated move varies from state to state. For instance, in some states, if a customer is moving more than 50 miles, the move’s cost will be based on the weight of the shipment instead of the standard hourly rate. Every state’s rules are different, however, so make sure to look into your specific state’s moving regulations first. When in doubt, your moving company should certainly be able to explain what constitutes a local move and a long distance move within your state.
In addition to the standard hourly rate option, some local moving companies may offer customers a flat rate option for local moves. This flat rate option is typically the estimated number of moving hours multiplied by the company’s hourly rate.
Long Distance Move (Interstate)
An interstate move is any long distance move from one state to another. So how much do moving companies charge for a long distance move? According to our calculations, the average cost of a long distance move is $4,890, based on a two to three-bedroom move of approximately 7,500 pounds with a distance of 1,000 miles. Unlike a local move, the price of a long distance move is largely based on the weight of the shipment. Other cost factors include distance traveled, labor costs, packing services and insurance. Your movers should give you a written estimate of the total cost of your move. Make sure to ask for a binding not-to-exceed estimate, as this ensures you won’t have to pay more than expected once the shipment arrives.
5 Important Considerations That Affect the Cost of Moving
- Moving add-ons
The cost of hiring movers will be affected by: the number of movers involved (labor costs); services required, such as disassembling and reassembling furniture; and any add-ons provided by the movers, such as stretch wrap, felt pads and mattress bags. These add-ons may be included in the original quote, so make sure to check first.
- Moving supplies
Don’t forget about the moving supplies you’ll have to purchase. You’ll need to make sure you add cardboard boxes, plastic bins, plastic wrap/packing paper and any other supplies needed for the move into the equation. These costs can quickly add up, so make sure to check Moving.com’s Moving Box Calculator to find out exactly how many supplies you’ll need.
- Moving date
Believe it or not, the specific date of your move can affect the price of your move. Here are some general guidelines to follow when choosing your moving date:
- Move during the morning hours.
- Avoid moving on a weekend. Saturdays and Sundays, in particular, may increase your costs due to high demand for movers. A weekday move (Monday through Thursday) is usually more affordable.
- Given that leases tend to start and end at the beginning and end of the month, we recommend aiming for a mid-month move when there is less demand.
- Avoid moving late spring and summer, if possible. Peak moving season is May to early September. This is the time when families usually choose to move because of school schedules and activities. Students are also leaving for the summer or returning for the school year during this time. Due to high demand, moving company rates tend to be higher during this time frame.
- Travel fees
Travel fees can add up quickly – especially for a long distance move. Your movers should include travel fees in your moving quote. These fees take into account labor costs for the time it takes to get from house A to house B. They also cover fuel costs. Local moves will likely have a travel fee equivalent to one hour’s worth of work.
- Liability and valuation coverage
If you’re using a moving company, you’ll likely need to purchase some sort of liability coverage. Most moving companies offer multiple levels of protection, including:
- Basic Released Value Protection, which covers .60 cents per pound cargo liability. For a local move, this type of bare-minimum coverage will be included in the hourly rate.
- Full Value Protection, which is more comprehensive than Basic Released Value Protection. This type of coverage holds the movers accountable for any items damaged, and requires them to replace the item or reimburse you with the item’s current, depreciated value.
Gratuity for Movers
When considering moving company costs, don’t forget to budget for gratuity as well. Many (if not most) customers want to reward movers for a job well done. After all, moving heavy boxes and furniture is hard work. Assuming the company showed up on time and used the utmost care and attention when moving your belongings, you’ll likely want to thank them with a nice tip. Here are our recommendations for tipping movers:
- In general, tipping 5 percent of the total moving bill is considered the industry standard. Just remember to divvy up the total tip between the movers. For example, if a move costs $2,000, and you have four movers, you should tip a total of $100 (5 percent) – leaving $25 for each mover.
- If you decide to tip based on a flat fee and not by percentage, then keep the complexity and distance of the move top of mind. For local moves, a $20 tip per mover is perfectly appropriate. If the move is more complicated (involving steep stairs or an exceptional amount of heavy lifting), then a $30 to $40 tip per mover is fair. For long-distance moves, you may want to tip the foreman or driver a bit more – somewhere between $50 to $100, depending on his level of involvement.
- Tipping advice varies from person to person. Ultimately, the decision over how much to tip a mover comes down to your budget and level of satisfaction with the service. If you do plan to tip the movers, just make sure to grab cash from the ATM before moving day.
Cost-Saving Tips for Moving
While hiring professional movers isn’t cheap, you can still save money and cut costs by following these 5 tips below:
- Purge unused belongings before the move
Given that costs are typically based on weight (for long distance moves) and hourly labor (for local moves), purging your belongings beforehand will ultimately save you money on your move. After all, the more stuff you have to move, the heavier the load will weigh and the longer it will take to load and unload items. For advice on how to purge your belongings, check here.
- Pack your own boxes and label them clearly
Paying movers to pack your boxes may be convenient, but it’s also quite expensive. To cut down on costs, we recommend packing your own boxes before the movers arrive. Make sure to also label the boxes clearly to save on the time it takes to load and unload items.
- Use Moving.com discounts on moving supplies
Unless you manage to find free boxes, you’ll likely have to pay for moving supplies. Fortunately, you can still avoid spending an exorbitant amount of money on boxes and packing materials by visiting Moving.com’s online box center. We’ve partnered with reputable moving supply vendors who can save you time and money.
- Choose a less expensive date and time to move
As mentioned earlier, hiring a professional moving company to move you on a weekend or during peak moving season is going to increase moving costs. It’s typically cheaper to move on a weekday during the late fall and winter months. For a closer look at the best time to move, check here.
- Obtain quotes from multiple moving companies
Of course, the best way to ensure that you’re getting the best possible price for the best service is by interviewing multiple moving companies. We recommend obtaining quotes from at least three different movers before signing a contract. For tips on how to interview a moving company when obtaining estimates, check here.
How to Avoid Moving Company Fraud
Avoiding rogue movers and moving scams should be a top priority when hiring a moving company. To avoid moving company fraud, we recommend watching out for these red flags.
- The company isn’t licensed and/or insured.
- The movers lack professionalism.
- The estimate is too-good-to-be-true.
- The contract doesn’t include valuation coverage.
- The mover demands to be paid up front.
- They can’t provide references.
- The company has bad reviews and a history of customer complaints.
If you spot any of these red flags when researching and interviewing moving companies, run (don’t walk) in the other direction. The last thing you want is to hand over your precious belongings to untrustworthy movers. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from moving company fraud. In addition to being wary of red flags, we recommend checking a moving company’s U.S. DOT number with the FMCSA for long distance moves. If the company is a local mover, check with your state’s Department of Transportation to make sure they are properly licensed. You can also check reviews on Moving.com’s Moving Company Directory. The directory includes customer reviews for more than 600 moving companies nationwide as well as information about a moving company’s U.S. DOT number, specific moving services, fleet size, Better Business Bureau rating, any official complaints filed with the FMCSA, and whether the moving company has any association with the American Moving & Storage Association.
Do I Need to Hire Movers or a Moving Company?
Do you really need to hire professional movers in the first place? Not everyone needs or wants to fork over thousands of dollars for moving company services. If you are wondering whether or not to hire movers to complete your upcoming move, ask yourself these 5 questions below.
- Can I afford to hire movers?
Hiring a professional moving company isn’t cheap. In fact, it will likely cost more than $1,000 – even for local moving services. If a moving company simply isn’t in your budget, then start making arrangements for a DIY move.
- Do I have specialty items that need to be moved?
From pianos and hot tubs to appliances and artwork, specialty items often require special attention when moving. If you’re unable to move these items, you’ll need to find a mover who can.
- Am I able to meet the physical demands of moving?
A DIY move is not for the faint of heart. Lifting heavy boxes, loading the truck and navigating steep stairs can be a challenge for those who aren’t in good physical shape. If moving to a new home is going to compromise your health and well being, we recommend hiring professional movers.
- Do I want the flexibility of moving on my own timeline?
Not everyone likes to move on someone else’s timeline. If you’re looking for the flexibility to begin and end the move whenever you want, then a DIY move may be the right choice for you.
- Am I comfortable with strangers handling my belongings?
Are you uncomfortable with the idea of handing over all of your belongings to a moving company? If hiring movers seems too impersonal, you may want to consider moving your own items.
Alternatives to Hiring a Moving Company
Thinking of moving yourself? Just remember that while a DIY move costs significantly less than hiring movers, it could still end up costing you in other ways (i.e. time away from work and commitments). So before you decide which moving method is right for you, think long and hard about what best fits your lifestyle and schedule. Those considering a DIY move, should consider these three alternatives to hiring a full-service moving company.
- Renting a moving truck
Renting a moving truck and loading it yourself could save you thousands of dollars in expenses. For reference, U-Haul’s largest moving truck option holds four-plus bedrooms and costs around $40 to rent. However, add-ons, loading supplies and fuel are additional costs.
- Portable moving container
Portable moving containers are another great alternative to hiring full-service movers. The cost of renting a portable moving container depends on the length of time and size of the container. Different container companies vary in pricing, so make sure to shop around first. All you have to do is load up the moving container with all of your boxes and belongings, and the container company will do the rest. Popular moving container companies include PODS, ABF’s U-Pack ReloCubes, United Mayflower’s container, Door-to-Door storage containers, U-Haul’s U-Boxes and 1-800-PACK-RAT – just to name a few.
- Enlisting friends and family
If your friends and family are willing and able to pitch in, you can always enlist them to help with the move. Of course, this may mean treating them to pizza, wine or a gift certificate once the move is complete. Here are the dos and don’ts of asking friends for moving help.
So How Much Does a Moving Company Cost?
To estimate the cost of your next move, use Moving.com’s free moving cost calculator. This straightforward and easy-to-use tool gives users an accurate and reliable estimate for how much a move will cost, based on a number of factors. To receive moving company quotes from quality movers, check Moving.com’s network of licensed and insured moving companies in your area. Best of luck and happy moving!