Estimating the Cost of Movers: Approximate Prices to Expect

Moving is a big deal. It’s stressful, time-consuming, and often financially taxing. But with some planning and foresight, you can ensure that your move goes smoothly and doesn’t cost you more than expected.

This post will walk you through the basics of estimating mover costs, including approximate prices for each step of the moving process.

Let’s dive in.

How Much Do Movers Cost

The average cost for movers ranges from $1,000 to $1,200 for a local move and $4,000 to $5,000 for an out-of-state move.


A large factor in determining the cost is distance—the farther you’re moving, the more expensive it is. The following are estimations based on the different types of professional movers available:

1. Local Movers

The average cost of a local move is around $1,500 for a 2-3 bedroom house, and you should find a quote for less than that if you shop around. However, getting a good deal on local moving services is often difficult if you don’t know what to look for or how much things should cost when hiring.

2. Cost of Per Hour Movers (Local)

If you need movers hourly, it will depend on how long your move takes and how many people are involved in the process. The average cost per hour is approximately $65 per mover.

You might also have additional expenses, depending on where your items are stored while they wait for delivery at their new home or office space (such as storage containers).

3. Long-distance Movers Cost

Long-distance moves are those that span over 50 miles away from home. These types of moves will cost more than local moves because they require more time and transportation costs for both the moving company and yourself. The average long-distance move can cost between $1,000-$14,000 per move, depending on where you’re relocating to and the number of bedrooms.

The best way to get an accurate moving cost estimate is to contact a local moving company or search online for an estimate.

Calculating Moving Costs

Calculating the real cost of moving is too often tricky, especially if you’re hiring a professional mover. Many factors can affect your final price, some of which may surprise you.

To get an accurate moving cost estimate, it’s important to understand how movers charge for their services. Here’s what you need to know:

Factors Affecting Your Moving Costs

The cost of movers varies depending on the company, their equipment, and whether or not their services include packing and transport. Don’t get fooled – just because a company offers cheap prices doesn’t mean they give you the best value.

The price should be commensurate with the scope of the job. Factors that affect how much your move costs include:

1. Size of your move

The more items you transport, the more it will cost to hire movers. Small moves typically cost between $100 and $300, while larger ones are closer to $1,000 or more.

The amount of furniture and other items you’re moving can increase or decrease this cost quite a bit. So, if you’re planning on downsizing significantly or moving across the country with a large family, plan on spending more than most people.

2. Moving supplies

If you don’t already own, you also need to factor in moving supplies, like boxes and packing tape. A typical box of 20 costs between $1-$2 at most retail stores, which may not seem like much until hundreds are needed for an entire house of belongings.

3. Storage

If you cannot unpack everything immediately, consider using a storage facility for your belongings until you have unpacked it all and settled into your new home. Storage facilities can cost around $20 per month per cubic foot.

4. Travel fees

A travel fee is added to the total cost of your move if the movers have to drive more than 100 miles from their origin (the city where they begin packing) to your destination. The further away you live from the mover’s home base, the higher this fee is.

5. Moving date

Moving dates can vary depending on your schedule and the movers’ availability. You should always book early because the more time they have to plan, the more likely they can accommodate your schedule and save you money.

If you wait until the last minute, however, it could mean paying an extra fee or having to reschedule altogether if they are already booked up with other jobs during that time frame.

6. Unpacking services

Unpacking services are another option for moving companies, and you can hire them separately from packing services or combine them into one price quote from the company itself. If hiring separate unpackers, expect about $15-$20 per hour for each person working on the job.

Additional Moving Costs You Should Know About

In addition to the basic moving costs, there are several other costs you should know about. These include:

  • Expedited delivery services – If you want to get your stuff as soon as possible, you must pay for expedited shipping. This is often necessary to get your belongings before an upcoming move-in date. It is also useful if you need them by a specific date.
  • Stair carry fee – If your house has stairs, it will cost more to carry your belongings up or down these steps than if your home were on one level. This fee varies depending on how many flights there are and how many pieces of furniture you have to move up or down each flight.
  • Specialty moving – If you have specialized items, like antiques and artwork, they require special care during transit because they are not treated like typical household goods. Hiring a professional specializing in these types of moves is usually necessary to ensure nothing gets damaged during transit or storage.
  • Extra stops en route – If your move includes multiple stops along the way, such as an apartment complex or storage facility, these extra stops are added to your total bill. Some companies charge for each stop, while others charge a flat fee for all stops regardless of distance.
  • Tipping – Moving companies typically don’t include tipping in their fees because it’s subjective — some movers are great, while others are terrible. It’s up to you whether or not you want to tip your movers at all, but if you do decide on tipping them, 20 percent of what they’re charging you is a good rate.

How to Save On Moving Costs

Moving is often expensive. The average move cost is $2,300, not including any unexpected expenses that might crop up along the way. But there are ways to save on moving costs.

Here are 10 tips for how to save money when you’re planning your next move:

  • Make a list. Before packing up your things, take some time to make a detailed list of everything you plan on taking with you. This will help you avoid forgetting something important and having to pay extra fees.
  • Get organized. Start packing early and ensure you have everything packed neatly in boxes or storage bins to know exactly where each item is located. This saves time during the actual move.
  • Prioritize what needs moving first. If you’re moving into a smaller space, make sure that you have all of your larger furniture items out of the way before you start packing smaller items, like clothing or kitchen utensils.
  • Ask friends and family members for help lifting heavy items, if needed. Packing your belongings is usually hard work, especially if multiple people are involved in the process (which there usually are).
  • Don’t move during peak season (usually May through September). The more people who are moving simultaneously, the higher the cost of your move is.
  • Hire movers who have great reviews and have completed hundreds of moves before. The more experienced movers will know exactly what they’re doing and won’t make any mistakes—meaning no unexpected expenses.
  • Look for deals on moving services. Many companies offer deals if they’re not too busy. You can also ask if they offer discounts or special rates if you pay in cash.
  • If you have a vehicle, utilize space in the back seat or trunk to store items that don’t need packing yet (like towels and linens). This will save you money on storage fees later.
  • Get a second opinion about how much your move will cost before choosing a mover. Some movers may offer low prices up front but charge more when they show up at your door with all their equipment and supplies. Make sure to get an estimate from at least three movers before deciding.
  • Use your network. When hiring a company for your move, don’t just stop with one or two options—ask around. Ask friends who moved recently if they used a particular mover, or if they could recommend anyone else in town who have done a good job on their past moves.

The Bottom Line

We hope this guide helps you understand the costs of moving and gives you a general idea of what to expect.

We know that moving is often a stressful time, but if you can take the time to plan and budget accordingly, it doesn’t have to become a nightmare. And if you need help, don’t feel shy about reaching out. We’re always happy to help our subscribers find the best moving companies to get from point A to point B on their terms—and within their budget.

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