One of the important things to do before a move is to plan your moving budget. Moving houses can be exceedingly expensive or manageably cheap, and it depends on several factors. The problem lies in the fact that you can never get an accurate number until you’re well into your move planning with a moving company. How exactly are you supposed to then estimate a budget for yourself, and find an answer to how much does it cost to move? Before you get sucked into this seemingly endless vortex with no end, read up on our article. We’ve chalked up averages of every aspect of moving, derived from the latest data and verified sources. ‘How much does it cost to move’ is a question you’re about to get answered.


Factors That Affect Your Move

Your final moving cost is determined by a number of factors that impact the cost. The better understanding you have of these, the better you’ll be able to estimate how much your move will come up to.

Type Of Move: The type of move you have is the largest determinant of how cheap or expensive it is going to be. Some people choose to DIY their moves, obtaining packing supplies, packing everything up, loading it all onto a rented truck and driving by themselves. This is more practical for a local move, and more difficult for an interstate move. Going the Do-It-Yourself style saves up on the cost of hiring a moving company. But you have to have loads of family and friends to help you out, from getting cheap packing materials to actually packing and loading. If not, you’ll still be spending on the usuals like packing material and hourly labor to load, in which case you’re better off hiring movers.

Services You Opt For: Each moving company has different services in its portfolio; full service moves means the company will handle the packing, loading and transporting, all of it. Or, you could just pay them to fulfill the basics of loading and transportation, while you do the packing yourself. Some companies have customization options, while others offer moves that are cheaper than most. Plus, there are services you have to have added on, like a shuttle service, transporting specialty items, etc.

How Much You’re Moving: The more there is to move, the more expensive your move will be.

How Far You’re Moving: Interstate, cross country and coast to coast moves are always more expensive than local and intrastate moves.

When You’re Moving: Moving in the off-season i.e. from September to April, can reduce your moving costs by a bit. Moving in the peak season (April to September) means paying more.


How Much Does It Cost To Hire Movers For A Local Move?

Local movers most often charge by the hour. The rate can be as low as $50 an hour to $200 an hour. This hourly rate is determined by the time it takes to get your work done, the number of people working and extra services. For local moves, moving companies can charge anywhere between $500 to $2,000 for a basic move i.e. no additional services like packing and unpacking. If you opt for those services as well, as most full service moving companies offer, your rates can go up by another $30 to $70.

SizeStudio/1-Bedroom Apartment2-3 Bedroom Apartment
No. of Workers23 – 5
Time2.5 – 3 hours6 – 10 hours
Approx Cost$150 – $450$600 – $2,000

See also: 3 Best-Rated Local Moving Companies


How Much Does It Cost To Move Long Distance With Movers?

As opposed to local movers, long distance movers charge by how much all your items and household goods weigh. The higher the total volume and distance to be traveled, the higher the cost. Instead of charging by the hour, they will give you an estimate of your costs. Your estimate can be one of three types:

Binding Estimate: Irrespective of whether your final cost comes to lower or higher than the estimate, you pay the figure given to you at the start. The number may be a little steep since the company accounts for transit times plus a buffer for any unexpected delays, but you have the security of knowing the final cost of your move. However, if you add more items to be shipped than what was initially decided, your final cost is likely to increase.

Non-binding Estimate: You are given an estimate that will only be finalized on moving day, based on the final weight of your move. The truck is weighed when empty, and then weighed again when it is loaded with all your household items. The difference is the total weight of your shipment. Movers needn’t always have reasons to give you non-binding estimates as it could be a company policy. It is also preferred when the movers don’t have much information about your move, like not having a final inventory of everything.

Not-to-exceed Estimate: The not-to-exceed estimate sets up a final price that has taken into account the weight of all your inventory. But if your final move ends up being underweight, your price will be reduced.

SizeStudio/1-Bedroom Apartment2-3 Bedroom Apartment
Weight2,000 lbs5,000 lbs
Approx Cost$550 – $2,500$1,800 – $7,500

Also read: Cheap Moving Companies – Top 4 Affordable Movers


How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Portable Storage Container?

Portable storage containers are also often known as Pods, due to the popularity of the moving company that pioneered this type of service (PODS). As a general understanding, renting a portable storage container is less expensive than hiring movers. The way they work is that you get the storage container delivered to your location. You have a certain amount of time to load all your packed things (ranging from 3 days to even a month), after which you ring up the company so they can drive your pod to the destination location.

Depending on the company you go with, you could either have one standard size container or multiple containers. Your cost will depend on the number of containers you need for the move, the size of your container, how far you’re moving them and any additional services you opt for, like packing and loading assistance.

Also Read: PODS Review: Pricing and Services

When you’re moving local or intrastate, the cost of one container will be anywhere between $400 to $1,500, depending on how far you have to go. Longer distances and interstate moves can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.

See also: Top-Rated Interstate Moving Companies


How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Truck?

If you’re willing to go for a DIY-all-the-way move and save up on some big bucks, a truck rental is the way to go. Keep in mind that not only do you have to pack and load everything yourself, you also have to drive the truck to your destination yourself. Costs are determined on the size of the truck and duration of the rental. There are several other costs that could factor in that eventually increase your final price, like fuel, additional mileage and additional days for the rent.

See also: The Average Cost of Moving Truck Rentals

Average prices to rent a moving truck for a local move are anywhere between $30 to $500. One-way trucks, used for longer distances, can range from $200 to $350. And a cross country move, covering the longest distances, can cost between $2,000 to $4,500.  U-Haul is one of the biggest and most popular truck rental companies in the moving industry, which is why we’ve chalked up their prices, as estimated from their online website tool. Keep in mind that these are only estimates. The costs are inclusive of certain days of use (rental days) and mileage. You can also see how many gallons of gas the trucks get with every mile.

Truck Size10′ Truck15′ Truck20′ Truck26′ Truck
Interior Dimensions (LxWxH)9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″26’2″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″
Ideal ForStudio/1 Bedroom apartment1-2 Bedroom Apartment2-3 Bedroom Apartment3-5 Bedroom Apartment
Mileage (Unleaded fuel) & Fuel Tank Size12 MPG. 33 Gallon Tank Size12 MPG. 33 Gallon Tank Size10 MPG. 40 Gallon Tank Size10 MPG. 60 Gallon Tank Size
Cost – 13 miles (incl. 1 day use & 30 miles)$109$128$154$180
Cost – 1,850 miles (incl. 7 day use & 2,280 miles)$3,129$3,294$4,447$5,435

How Much Do Packing Supplies Cost?

If you’re planning a DIY move, you need to account for the money you’ll spend on packing supplies. Of course, you can always look out for free moving boxes, but you can’t depend entirely on them. You’ll need to purchase new cardboard boxes as well, the prices of which we got from CostHelper’s latest data.

  • Small boxes: $1 – $1,70
  • Medium boxes: $2.35 – $2.79
  • Large boxes: $3
  • Extra large boxes: $3.75

You can also get pre-packed moving kits that contain boxes, packing tape and a box marker to label your boxes.

Apartment1 Bedroom2 Bedroom4 Bedroom
Cost$69 – $90$178 – $197$311 – $404
No. of Boxes14 – 2955 – 6086 – 119
No. of 55 Yard Tape Rolls1 roll4 rolls8 rolls
Box Markers112
Box KnivesNo12

Always keep in mind that the market is flooded with a range of supplies and boxes, so you can have specialized packing for anything under the sun if you have a budget for it.

Some of the other moving supplies and their costs are:

  • Wardrobe boxes: $15 each
  • Glass packing kit: $10 – $15
  • Packing paper: $9 per pack
  • Quilted pads: $8 – $15 each
  • Carpet dolly: $35


Common Moving Cost-Related Questions

Is It Worth Paying For Movers?

Many people get shaken up by the cost of their move, even if it is but an estimate that has been chalked up. But keep in mind that moving houses is never easy, and brings about a lot of stress and multitasking. Hiring movers may be expensive, stressful in its own right, and chaotic at times, but it takes massive loads off of your shoulders. Of course, the final decision comes down to you and whether you find it worth it or not. But we recommend that people with a busy schedule, familial responsibilities and chronic illnesses, hire movers instead of attempting to DIY the move. Plus, make sure you explore every nook and cranny until you give up on movers, since there are several companies that offer cheap moves, specialized custom packages and other features that can help lower costs.

Can You Negotiate With Moving Companies?

Yes! A good way to go about the negotiation is to do your homework and know all moving jargon. When the movers realize you’re familiar with how the industry works and are also considering other movers, they will be more open to negotiations. Another thing to do is find a moving company that offers price-matching. Once again do your homework; if you find another company that is offering all the same services for your move at a cheaper cost, the company will match that price in order to retain you as their customer.

Do Moving Companies Offer Discounts?

Several moving companies offer a range of discounts that can help knock that final cost down by a few bucks. A common discount is for clients travelling in the off-season, whereby you can save upto $150. You could also get a discount if you belong to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and National Active Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), two common organizations spotted across a few moving companies. Some companies like Atlas Van Lines offer members of the AAA (American Automobile Association) Full Value Protection at no additional charge for interstate move. This helps them save up to an average of $600. Discounts are also offered to veterans and senior citizens. Make sure to ask your moving representative about their discounts, and enquire about which one you could qualify for.

How Do I Find The Best Movers?

The surest way of begging the best deal on moving companies is to research and ask for multiple moving quotes. You ought to have at least 3 to 4 moving quotes from different companies, and this should come with a clear understanding of the services you’ll be opting for. Comparing movers is the best way to settle on one that fulfills your every need and remains within your budget. As an added precaution, make use of our comprehensive services to get a list of recommended movers. Any moving service provider that features on our list as well as yours will be the best one to go for. Through it all, keep in mind that answering ‘How much does it cost to move’ is only an estimate. No matter what, make sure you go about your move in an organized process, and start early. The earlier you start your preparation and the mover-hunt, the more time you have to properly plan and organize everything and the smoother your move will go.

See also: 4 Best Apartment Movers