You aren’t alone if you are looking for more affordable ways to move across the country. Considering the average cost of hiring professional movers for a long-distance move is $4,890 for a 1,000 mile move and a 7,500 pound shipment, it makes sense to shop around for less expensive options.
The good news is that there are certainly ways that you can save significant amounts of money and still have a fairly stress-free and easy move. We are happy to share our best tips below.
Top 10 Ways to Move Cross Country Cheaply
Whether you are relocating for a new job, want to be closer to family, or have been accepted to a university in a new city, moving can be an exciting and overwhelming time. Keeping costs down can help keep the stress in check, and here are some ways you can do that:
1. Declutter and Purge
Reducing the quantity of your shipment will decrease the cost of your move. Have a garage sale, put items for sale on Craigslist or other sites, donate unwanted items to charity and postpone shopping for anything new until after you’ve moved to your new house. Even a little bit of decluttering will make your upcoming move cheaper and easier.
2. Choose Timing Wisely
The most costly time to relocate is in the summer when many families will try to settle in before the beginning of the new school year. In addition, many leases finish at the end of a month so people also tend to move in the latter part of a month as opposed to during the first couple of weeks. Try your best to schedule your move not during the summer months, and during the earlier part of the month when there is less demand and prices may be lower.
3. Get Mulztiple Quotes
Don’t necessarily go with the first moving company you speak to. Ask for estimates from at least 2-3 cross-country moving companies and then compare the prices and services offered. Hiring a company that offers a lower price might end up costing you more once you account for add-on services that you need, so make sure you know exactly what is included in the price quote.
4. Look for Discounts
Always ask every mover that you speak to whether there are any discounts or promotions available. Sometimes AAA members get discounts, and many moving companies will have special promotions at certain times of year. There are also some companies that offer discounts for military personnel and veterans.
5. Consider a DIY Move
If you really want to save the most money, you can opt to manage your move on your own. You can rent a truck from Budget or U-Haul for relatively low prices, usually around $20 per day depending on the size. You can usually rent these trucks just for a one-way trip and can even hitch your car to the back. Remember, while you will save a lot of money this way, you will need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to getting the move done.
6. Rent a Portable Moving Container
This is also one of the least expensive means to move cross country. You can reduce much of the cost as well as alleviate stress by renting a mobile storage unit. It will be delivered to you and you can fill it with your belongings at your leisure. When you are ready, the shipping company will pick it up and then deliver it to your new home. It can cost as low as $1,500 to move this way.
7. Save on Packing Supplies
You may not realize that buying boxes and other packing supplies can really add up and contribute a significant amount to the total cost of your move. There are ways to get free or very cheap boxes – check with your local grocery store or other retail establishments as they often have empty boxes lying around that they are happy to give away. You can also ask others who may have moved recently if you can take their boxes. Some moving companies will also sell gently used supplies for lower prices.
8. Hire Labor
Another alternative to hiring a full-service moving company without having to do all the work yourself is to hire day-laborers to help you with certain tasks. You can get people to come in for a certain number of hours just to pack or just to help you load or unload boxes. Shop around and see the different prices for different services and then determine what will help you out the most while staying within your budget.
9. Get Help from Friends and Family
If you’ve got family members and good friends nearby who you can call upon to help you with any part of your moving tasks, that is always a great way to save money. You may want to offer them a token of your appreciation in the form of a bottle of wine or a dinner out, but it will definitely be less expensive than paying for movers.
If you don’t have tons of stuff to move, you can consider looking into simply packing it all up in boxes and sending it via UPS, DHL or even just the regular post office. This way, you can hop on a plane instead of renting a truck and driving and you also won’t have to pay for full-service movers. It’s just important that you do all the math and make sure the shipping costs truly are low enough to make a difference.
Sometimes Hiring Professional Movers is the Answer
While hiring professional movers for a cross country move is probably the most expensive option, depending on your specific circumstances it just may be worth the trade off.
If you do not have the time or energy to devote to planning and executing your move entirely or partially by yourself and you prefer to hire movers to take on the burden, check out our list of the cheapest cross country movers.