When you start planning a move, one of the first questions you will probably have is how much will it cost to hire movers. This is one of the most important items you need to know to plan your budget.
As experts in the field for many years, at Pricing Van Lines we have provided quotes for over 1 million customers. We spend most of our time conducting price comparisons and getting estimates from our competitors so that we are well informed of market trends and we can give you the most accurate estimate of what your move will cost.
The average local move can cost anywhere from around $420-$1250 while a long distance move will run you in the area of $4,500-$6,000.
We are here to provide you with all the information you need to start preparing for your move, including the average costs, the factors that go into determining the total costs, and more. Read on to ensure that your move is as stress-free as can be!
Table of Contents
How Much Do Local Movers Cost?
On average, a local move will cost around $40-$50 per hour per mover. You can probably expect your local move to require 2-3 movers and take approximately 3-5 hours.
This means a cost of $320 (2 movers for 4 hours at $80 per hour) to $750 (3 movers for 5 hours at $150 per hour) for a local move.
|Home Size||No. of Movers||# Hours||Ave Cost / Hr||Average Price|
|Studio||2 movers||2 – 4 hours||$80/hr||$278 – $599|
|1 Bedroom||2 movers||3 – 6 hours||$80/hr||$389 – $750|
|2 Bedroom||3 movers||4 – 8 hours||$125/hr||$750 – $1900|
|3 Bedroom||4 movers||6 – 12 hours||$165/hr||$1250 – $3500|
|4 Bedroom||4 movers||8 – 14 hours||$165/hr||$1,400 – $4900|
|5 Bedroom+||5 movers||10 – 16 hours||$225/hr||$2500 – $7800|
Different moving companies may define a local move in different ways. Generally speaking, if you are staying in the same city or town or possibly the same state, your move will be considered local.
In some cases, anything under 100 miles is also considered a local move. In all cases, the total distance is likely to be factored into the final cost, and you will also need to pay extra for additional services like packing and unpacking, storage, or fragile items.
How Much Do Long Distance Movers Cost?
Moving a long distance, such as across the country, can cost you anywhere from $4,500-$6,000 or more.
More than a local move, the cost of a long-distance move will heavily depend on the distance that needs to be traveled.
|Distance||1 Bedroom||2 – 3 Bedroom||4 – 5 Bedroom|
|100 miles||$1100 – $1400||$1150 – $1600||$1400 – $3200|
|250 miles||$1300 – $1900||$1400 – $3400||$2,000 – $4600|
|1000 miles+||$1500 – $2900||$2000 – $7000||$5400 – $7800|
|2500 miles+||$1700 – $3700||$3800 – $7600||$8600+|
In addition to calculating the total mileage, moving companies will also take into account wear and tear on the truck and the cost of gas.
If the move will take multiple days, there may also be hotel costs for the driver and other crew members. Usually, a moving company will come and take a look at your belongings and give you an estimated cost based on how much they think the shipment will weigh.
They may give you a minimum and maximum fee and only calculate the final actual cost at the time of the move.
Or, some long distance movers will give a binding estimate that they are committed to sticking to provided that you don’t add any significant amount of other items to the final move.
Factors that Affect Your Moving Cost
There are a variety of factors that play a role in determining the final cost of a move. It is very important that you are aware of all of the possibilities and ask the movers to list out exactly what they are including in the cost.
Some of the key factors that will influence the price include:
- Distance and Location – The further the distance that the movers have to go, the higher the price. Details about your current and new homes are also relevant here – if there are lots of stairs involved or a far distance to carry items to/from the truck, the cost will be higher.
- Timing – Moving costs can vary based on the time of year. Summertime and the very end or beginning of the year are the most common times that many people move, and costs can be higher during high-demand times. You can definitely save some money if you are able to move during an off-peak time.
- Belongings – The number of things that you need to move plays a huge part in the cost. The number and weight of boxes, furniture and other belongings that you want to move will determine the size of the truck that is needed as well as the number of movers.
- Extra Services – Most moving companies offer additional services for an additional cost. These services can include packing and unpacking, packing supplies, storage, disassembly and reassembly of furniture and more.
- Special Requirements – There can also be extra charges for “white glove” services if you have a piano, antique furniture or other items that are particularly fragile and require special care.
- Booking Fees – You may also need to put down a deposit or commit to a minimum fee in order to book your move and save the date.
Alternatives to Hiring Movers
If you do not want to hire full-service movers, there are two main options: you can rent a truck or rent a moving pod. Whichever one you decide to do, you can ask friends or family members to help you pack and move everything.
This is definitely a huge money saver, but keep in mind that this can be very physically demanding so make sure you only ask people who are capable of heavy lifting without injuring themselves.
Rent a Truck
As you can see in the table below, it will cost approximately $140 to rent a U-Haul or other small truck and handle the move yourself (or with the help of a few friends).
This will be much more time consuming than hiring a full-service moving company, so make sure you are able to take the days off work or otherwise allocate the appropriate amount of time.
|Type of Truck||Cost per Day|
|12 ft. truck||$125|
|15 – 17 ft. truck||$130|
|20 ft. truck||$145|
|26 ft. truck||$190|
Rent a Pod
The price for renting a moving pod can be around $500 for a local move and $2000 for a long-distance move, it will vary depending on several factors, including the size of the unit, the distance of the move, and the length of time the unit will be needed and rent a moving pod.
|Unit Size||Local Move||Long-Distance Move|
Once you’re done packing it, the company will come and get it and deliver it to your new location where you can unload it. The packing and unpacking is still on you, but if you are moving a long distance, this saves you from making the drive yourself.
Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Movers
Moving is likely to be a significant expense, but here are some things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal when you hire movers:
- Shop around and get quotes from multiple moving companies. Don’t be afraid to let each company know what you’ve been quoted from others.
- Consider moving during the off-peak season when demand is lower and movers are less busy.
- Be prepared to negotiate. Ask for a discount or for additional services to be thrown in for free.
Tips for Reducing the Cost of your Move
While you are getting estimates and finalizing the cost of your move, there are still a few things you can do to keep costs down:
- Pack and unpack on your own instead of hiring the movers for those additional services.
- Do a thorough purge of all of your belongings and make sure you are only moving the things that you really care about and want to take with you.
- Check in at local supermarkets and other stores and ask them if they have empty boxes to give away – this can save you tons of money on packing supplies.
- Try to plan your move for mid-week. Moves on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays can be up to 25% cheaper depending on the movers you use.
Can I negotiate the price of movers?
Yes, you can definitely try to negotiate with movers. You can ask them straight up to lower the price or you can ask to throw in extra services for free. Worst case, the answer is no, but it’s always worth a try.
Can I save money by doing some of the packing or loading myself?
Yes, your move will cost you less if you pack and/or load at least some of your belongings yourself.
Moving companies price moves based on the amount of boxes and furniture they will need to transport, so anything that you take care of yourself will mean less work for the movers and therefore a lower cost.
How do I compare quotes from different moving companies?
Contact a number of moving companies (2-4 is probably plenty) and ask them each for a quote. Make sure you are getting quotes for the exact same services so that you can compare them accurately.
By getting an assortment of quotes, you will be able to determine the going rate and will be able to tell if there is one that stands out as being significantly higher than the others.
Are there any risks or downsides to hiring the cheapest movers?
The expression “you get what you pay for” holds true when it comes to movers. While there are plenty of movers that do offer excellent service for affordable prices, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Going with the cheapest option could mean sacrificing some level of service. Make sure you check reviews and references carefully.
How do I know if a moving company is reputable and reliable?
You can tell a lot about a moving company from their reviews. Check sites like Yelp and Google to get an assortment of reviews and opinions. Make sure the company is fully licensed and insured – if they are not, that is a huge red flag that they are not reputable.
Is it worth it to hire movers for a short distance move?
It can definitely be worth it to hire movers for a short distance move if you would prefer to spend a bit of money than take all of the time necessary to complete the move yourself. You just need to determine for yourself whether the trade off is worth it.
How do I know if a moving company is charging me a fair price?
It’s a good idea to get quotes from several different moving companies. This way, you will know what the general ballpark should be and you will be able to easily spot a price that seems to be way above the others and is therefore likely to not be fair.
How do I handle tipping movers?
Tipping movers is optional, although it is common practice to provide a little extra as thanks for a job well done. A generally accepted amount is to tip $4-$5 per hour per mover – and then adjust upwards or downwards depending on how satisfied you were with the service.
How do I protect my belongings when hiring movers?
Many movers include insurance as part of their service. It’s important to check and understand exactly what is covered and up to what value.
If the coverage provided by the movers is not enough to cover the full value of your belongings, you should see if your own homeowners or other insurance will cover costs in the case of any loss or damage.
It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning Your Move
For a move to be seamless and stress-free, it’s important to start planning as early as possible. One of the first things you’ll want to settle is your budget, which is why it’s crucial to get a handle on how much a move should cost.
The more knowledge you have before you even pick up the phone to start getting estimates, the better!