How Much Does a Move Really Cost?

Moving to a new home might cost less than you think, but if you fail to plan, unexpected costs can add up. Whether you’re moving locally or across the country, our handy checklist will help ensure you don’t forget to account for any important costs.

Local Moving Costs

Moving yourself can save significant money, but will take more time. You also risk damaging your household goods or injuring yourself lifting heavy furniture. Professional movers have insurance to protect your items. It’s important to take this into consideration if you decide to move yourself.

Do It Yourself (DIY) Move

If you decide to move yourself, these are some of the additional costs you could incur:

Moving Truck Rental and Gas
If you rent a moving truck, you can choose a company that charges a flat rate no matter how far you drive, or you can choose a company that charges a lower rate and then also charges for mileage. Do the math to calculate the better value for a local move. To save on gas and mileage expenses, choose the smallest truck that will fit all your items in one trip. If you are using your own vehicle instead of renting one, you still need to factor in gas expenses.

Boxes and Packing Materials
You can find most of these items free if you ask friends, neighbors, and local stores. Also, look in your own home for things to move items in (like laundry baskets) and packing materials (like newspapers or linens).

Food and Beverages
You’ll have to feed yourself and your crew (that is, friends and family) on moving day.

Hiring a Moving Company

Most movers charge an hourly rate, which includes travel time. Rates may vary widely depending on where you live, with metro areas charging higher rates. Call moving companies for an in-home estimate to find out your exact moving costs.

Some moving companies will quote a flat rate based on an estimate of how long the move will take. Make sure this rate is binding. That way, you won’t be stuck paying more if the move takes longer than expected. Other moving companies charge for the actual time it takes to move.

As you comparison shop for a moving company, find out if moving equipment – such as dollies and hand trucks – are included in the costs, along with property protection insurance. Expect to pay extra for packing materials you get from the moving company, so you can consider getting your own if you prefer.

Cross-Country Moving Costs

Very few people want to attempt a cross-country move without some help from a moving company. The cost of a move varies depending on the amount of items to be moved, the total weight, the regions you’re moving from and to, the distance of the move, and even the time of year. When you hire a moving company, get estimates from at least three companies to be sure you’re getting a good deal and working with a company you trust.

Additional Expenses with a Cross-Country Move
A cross-country move also comes with added costs, which you should factor into your moving budget. Use this checklist to help calculate the actual cost of your cross-country move.

– Pet licensing fees
– Pet carrier for car, moving truck, or airplane
– Airline tickets (if you don’t drive your car to your new location)
– A ride from the airport to your new home, if applicable
– Gas and tolls if you drive to your new home
– Hotel costs if you drive to your new home and stop on the way
– Meals on the road
– DMV fees to register your vehicle and get a new license in your new state

Do your research to find out exactly how much each of these items will cost for your move, and budget accordingly to help avoid surprises. And trust to provide several free in-home quotes to help you find a moving company at a price you like.

Feature image by Nathan O’Nions/Flickr

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