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Tips & Guides / Moving Guides

How Much Does Moving Cost?

By Bri Hand | Apr 13, 2022

Any move you make, whether it’s down the street or across the country, requires keen insight and diligence. Like an architect, you must build structures and designs around your move to make sure your plans go on without a hitch. 

As with all carefully planned projects, you’ll need a budget. When you’re moving, costs can tend to add up pretty quickly—from hiring movers to finding storage—and many a mover has experienced a bit of sticker shock when receiving estimates or tallying their final bill.

So, how much does moving cost? Moving costs aren’t always set in stone. In large part, they depend on the distance of your move, the size of your current and future home, and whether you’re looking to hire movers during the process. Luckily, this guide is here to help you calculate moving costs and explore:

  • How far are you moving?
  • Are you hiring movers or doing it yourself?
  • The hidden costs of moving 

Let’s get started! 

How far are you moving?

One of the biggest factors influencing the cost of your move is the distance between your current home and your new one. Typically, moves are classified in one of two ways:

  • Long-distance moves
  • Short-distance moves 

Whether your move is considered long-distance or short-distance depends mostly upon mileage. But the specific mileage parameters can vary slightly, depending on who you ask. If you’re hiring a moving company, they’ll likely have their own criteria for deciding. In general, however, moves are classified in the following ways: 

  • Long-distance moves: Moves of greater than 50 to 100 miles, out-of-state moves, and international moves are all considered long-distance. 

Are you hiring movers or doing it yourself?

Hiring a moving company can make moving a lot easier on you and maybe even make the experience more enjoyable. A moving crew arrives at your home on the day of your move to load your belongings into their truck and transport them to your new home. Some moving companies will even pack your belongings for you!

Handling the heavy lifting yourself is obviously more labor-intensive and potentially more time-consuming, but thrifty movers will appreciate the money saved by foregoing a professional moving crew. But what’s the real difference in price between the two?

Hiring a moving company

Aside from the ease and convenience that a moving company can offer, hiring professional movers may make it easier for you to more accurately calculate moving costs. This is because moving companies will provide you with an estimate that lets you know what you should expect to spend.

But how do they arrive at those estimates? 

For long-distance and local moves, a moving company will take into consideration the distance needed to be traveled and the volume of possessions you need to transport. In most cases, this is determined based on the number of rooms in your home. However, other moving companies will require you to tally each of your belongings for an accurate estimate. 

From there, they’ll add in other factors like the number of movers needed and whether there are any special circumstances, like multiple floors, many stairs, or large, heavy pieces. 

In terms of cost per mile, Forbes reported the following estimates:

  • Average cost of hiring movers for short-distance moves: The average cost of hiring local movers for local moves starts as low as $400 for one-bedroom homes but can go as high as $3,000 for homes of five bedrooms or more.
  • Average cost of hiring movers for long-distance moves: What a moving company charges you to move your things long-distance is contingent upon a few more variables than short-distance moves: Mileage, gas, highway tolls, lodging, and other expenses can play a part. Long-distance moves can start at about $850 and go as high as $9,400 or more.

Secondly, moving companies will consider the difficulty of your move. If you have specialty items like pianos or vehicles that need to be transported, expect to see the price go up (according to Forbes, you could end up spending an additional $2,000). 

Hiring a full-service moving company 

Some moving companies provide additional services that may increase the amount of money you spend during your move. Traditional moving companies typically only include the most basic services—that is, carrying boxes and furniture out of your old home, loading them into the moving truck, and unloading them at your new home. 

But many moving companies offer full-service moving options that include services like packing and unpacking your belongings, storing your belongings, even taking apart large pieces of furniture (and putting them back together). They’ll also come equipped with all the supplies needed to move, such as boxes, packing tape, and moving blankets and pads. 

Sounds pretty good, right? When tallying your estimate and bill, full-service moving companies will consider:

  • The amount of stuff you have: The more stuff you have, the more work the movers will have to do. Additionally, if you have more items, more boxes and packing material are required, which may raise the price of your estimate.
  • How long it takes: Whether the moving company charges you a flat rate or by the hour, the amount of time your move takes to complete will factor into the price. On average, moving companies charge between $25 and $50 per hour per mover. 

Keep in mind that tipping your movers is customary. You’ll want to set aside about $20 per mover per hour for an adequate tip.

Does it seem like your estimate is getting expensive quickly? Packing up boxes and moving furniture and other belongings is hard and tedious work—that’s what makes it so expensive. To avoid high prices, consider renting a fully furnished apartment, like those found at Landing, for a move that’s cost-effective and easy.

Moving yourself 

It probably comes as no surprise that skipping a moving crew and tackling the dirty work on your own can save you money. But how much money can you stand to save? And how do you begin to calculate the costs of a DIY move?

Depending on where you’re moving to and how much stuff you have to move, doing it yourself may save you a lot of money—but there are two things to consider: 

1. Renting a moving truck 

According to Move.org, a moving truck rental will set you back anywhere between $120 and $200 if your move is short-distance. The price range for renting a moving truck for long-distance moves can start at around $1,500 and go as high as $2,300.

Keep in mind that if you rent a truck, you’ll be responsible for additional expenses like gas, highway tolls, and other fees like insurance in addition to your hourly rate. These costs can add up pretty quickly, especially if you’re moving long-distance and the total cost may come out to the same as hiring movers. 

2. Packing materials 

Not hiring professional movers means having to collect your own moving and packing supplies. You’ll need boxes, packing tape, and padding to protect your most fragile belongings during your move. You may also need to rent or purchase other equipment, like dollys, moving pads, and runners, to protect the floors in both locations. Here’s what you can expect to spend:

  • Boxes: Smaller moving boxes can be purchased for about $1 apiece, while larger moving boxes, like wardrobe boxes, can cost up to $10 apiece. 
  • Dolly rentals: If you need a dolly to move your large appliance and pieces of furniture, the rental fee starts at about $40 per day. 
  • Moving pads: Depending on the type and quality of moving pads you choose, expect to pay $5 for paper pads and up to $40 or so for quilted pads.

Although ditching a moving service and doing it yourself may seem like a lot of work, it can be a great chance to declutter your home and get rid of unwanted household goods, clothes, furniture, etc. 

The hidden costs of moving 

There may be additional costs associated with the move that you haven’t considered beyond standard hourly rates. Even if you hire full-service movers and pay a flat fee, you could still end up having to hand over more money for hidden moving costs and things like: 

  • Storage: If you’re moving across the country or if there’s a delay between when you leave your current home and get settled in your new one, you may need to arrange to store your belongings in the meantime. Most moving companies offer storage with their services, but arranging your own can cost roughly $100 to $250 a month, depending on the size of your storage unit. 
  • Moving insurance: Many moving companies offer moving insurance as added protection against damage or lost items. How much this costs will depend on the moving company and the value of the items you need to insure. Typically, companies will calculate the insurance cost based on the value of your items, and etimates can range anywhere from $100 to $500. 
  • Difficulty fees: If the movers have to climb a lot of stairs, move heavy objects, or handle extremely fragile or valuable items, you may be charged additional fees.
  • Pet-associated costs: Depending on the nature of your move, you may find it necessary or just convenient to board your pets. Likewise, transporting your pets for long-distance moves can pose additional costs if you’re booking pet-friendly hotel rooms.
  • Security deposits: You’ll also want to calculate your new home’s security deposit into your moving budget to ensure you’ve put enough way for your new landlord. 

Move with ease without breaking the bank with Landing

Whether it’s a long-distance move or a short-distance one, the costs of hiring a moving service can be high. With Landing, we make it easy to rent the apartment of your dreams, and our fully furnished apartments can make moving in—and out—a breeze. Say goodbye to hours spent packing boxes and schlepping furniture from house to moving truck and back again. When you rent with Landing, everything you need is already there. All you have to do is walk through the door.

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.