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. While enlisting a moving company is typically quite pricey, many will tell you that it’s also well-worth the expense. But 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.
Local Move (Intrastate) vs. Long Distance (Interstate)
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 investigate 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.
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.
6 Important Considerations That Affect Moving Company Costs
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.
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.
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 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 can add up quickly – especially for a long-distance move. Your movers should include travel fees in your moving quote. These fees track labor costs from 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 must move, the heavier the load will weigh and the longer it will take to load and unload items.
- 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 companies
Of course, the best way to ensure that you’re getting the best possible moving company cost 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 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 several 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.
So How Much Does a Moving Company Cost?
To estimate your moving company cost, 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 several 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!