You’re weighing up your options as you prepare to move home. On the one hand, you can handle the move yourself. That consists of renting a moving truck, paying for gas, and trying to get some friends and family on board to help with the task. The do-it-yourself approach is definitely cheaper. But it involves a lot of planning and heavy lifting.
On the other hand, you could hire professional movers to handle the job for you. The benefits are obvious. You don’t have to deal with the hard work because the company does it all for you. But their work doesn’t come for free. You have to pay for the services professional movers offer.
Let’s say you’re leaning toward using professionals. You probably have one key question on your mind:
How much do moving companies charge?
Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a simple answer. Your price will vary depending on several factors, including the size and scale of the move. You’ll also find some variance between local mover prices and the fees you’ll pay when using national companies.
You need a cost breakdown.
In this article, we dive deeper into the question of how much do removal companies charge so you know what to expect.
The Average Cost of Moving
Let’s start with approximate averages for house moving services.
According to a 2022 article published by Forbes Advisor, the average cost of a house move in the United States ranges from $800 to $2,500. But this average makes several assumptions. Namely, that you’ll have a two-person moving team and that the move is less than 100 miles. In other words, these are approximate local mover prices, which may not be relevant if you’re moving to a different state.
The cost increases considerably for a long-distance move.
According to the same article, you can expect to pay between $2,200 and $5,700 when moving over 100 miles. These higher costs account for several issues the movers have to deal with, such as extra gas money and the additional time the moving team has to dedicate to your move. A team that’s working with you on a long-distance move over several days can’t serve other clients. So, moving companies tend to raise their prices for long-distance moves to reflect that lack of availability.
Working With Local Moving Companies
As a general rule, local mover prices tend to be lower than long-distance and nationwide mover prices. Local movers are familiar with your area and have to dedicate fewer resources to your move than other companies.
How much you pay depends on several factors.
First, there are hourly rates to consider.
The cost of movers per hour when using a local company varies between $25 and $50. Note that these are only labor costs, meaning they pay solely for each person scheduled for the move. These hourly rates don’t cover the costs the movers may incur for fuel, equipment, and any special approaches they need to undertake.
So, let’s say you have a three-person team that works on your move for eight hours. This equates to you paying between $75 and $150 per hour for the team’s labor. Multiply those numbers by eight and you end up with labor costs of between $600 and $1,200. Of course, eight hours assumes an all-day move. If you’re moving over a short distance and don’t have many complicated items to deal with, the time your movers spend on the task decreases.
The above figures assume your movers are only going to handle the loading, transporting, and unloading of your items. If you want them to do the packing as well, you’re asking for a full service that comes at an additional cost.
First, the good news.
The cost of movers per hour tends to be consistent between packing and moving services. Simply put, your moving company will usually charge the same hourly rate for packing as it does for your move.
The issue is that packing takes time.
The more items you have, the more time the movers require. Extra packing time is added if your movers need to disassemble furniture or valuables that need special attention. As we established previously, hourly local mover prices range between $25 and $50. Let’s look at what that means based on the size of your house.
For a small one-bedroom apartment, you can expect movers to take between two and four hours to pack everything. Assuming a crew of two professionals are involved, that amounts to between $100 and $400, depending on the hourly cost.
Bump that up to a two-bedroom apartment or house and you can expect your pair of movers to take between three and six hours on packing. Costs here range between $150 and $600.
Larger houses present even greater challenges. As a result, your moving company will likely assign three people to the job. A three-bedroom house can take between six and eight hours to pack, with a four-bedroom house requiring up to 10 hours. With three movers, you’re paying between $75 and $150 an hour. So, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $450 and $1,500 for the packing alone. Add the cost of the move itself and you start to see where the high-end of the estimates mentioned previously come in.
Working With Long Distance Moving Companies
How much do moving companies charge for long-distance moves? To answer that question, we have to consider how much do moving companies charge per hour. This includes the costs related to equipment, gas, and the potential loss of other clients due to your move requiring more resources.
The previously mentioned Forbes Advisor article gives us a general breakdown of long-distance moving costs based on house size and the distance traveled.
For a 250-mile move, you can expect to pay anywhere from $850 for a one-bedroom apartment up to a high-end of $5,700 for the move if you have a four or five-bedroom house. Note that these estimates don’t include packing. If you want a full-service move, you have to add the hourly rate and time taken on top of those numbers.
The same applies in the case of 1,000-mile moves. These vary in price from a low-end of $1,400 for a one-bedroom apartment up to about $8,000 for a large house.
If you moving from one end of the United States to the other, it’s not out of the question that you may need to transport your items over 2,500 miles. Costs range from $1,900 on the low end to over $9,500 if you’re transporting everything from a large house across the country.
Specialized service is anything the moving company needs to account for beyond standard packing and transporting.
For example, you may have a grand piano that you wish to move. That piano needs to be disassembled safely, packed with appropriate materials, and transported with more care than boxes of items that can be stacked together. The same goes for any other complex pieces, such as jungle gyms, swing sets, and animal pens. If the mover has to take special care with disassembling and packing, they’ll take more time and you’ll pay for the privilege.
Specialty services vary in price between $400 and $2,000 depending on the types of items you need to move.
Some movers also offer vehicle shipping services. These involve transporting cars or motorbikes over large distances on some sort of commercial vehicle, such as a specialized truck or a towing vehicle. You may choose one of these services if you’re moving long-distance and don’t want to subject your car to the wear and tear of the drive. People with classic or collectible cars may also require vehicle shipping to keep their pride and joy safe during the move.
As with other moving costs, the price for shipping a vehicle varies depending on distance and the specific service you choose. But as a very general estimate, you can expect to pay around $1,000 for this service.
Additional Factors That Affect How Much Moving Companies Charge
So far, we’ve examined how much moving company charge on a general level. These estimates offer an at-a-glance look at how much you’re likely to pay so you can see if moving services are within your budget.
However, these figures vary depending on several factors beyond the distance you’re moving. All of which can cause your costs to add up to the point where they go above the averages.
Factor No. 1 – The Weight of Your Items
Most reputable moving companies factor the weight of your items, as well as their size, into their pricing. There are several reasons for this. Heavy items are more difficult to move, meaning they either require more people or special equipment. Furthermore, moving trucks have weight limits. Heavy items can cause a half-empty truck to exceed those limits, resulting in the movers taking more trips between your old and new home. Those trips require time and extra fuel, which get added to your costs.
Be wary of any moving company that doesn’t factor weight into their costs. They may have hidden fees that aren’t on their quotes.
Factor No. 2 – Your Moving Date
There are several ways your moving date may affect the price of your move.
Supply and demand are the first issues. Movers generally experience peak demand during the spring and summer. These months are dry and the weather is good, thus favorable and safe conditions for a move. That heightened demand allows movers to charge more money during these periods. The same logic applies to weekends, which experience higher demand because people prefer to move on days when they’re already off from work.
The second issue is when you schedule your move. In an ideal world, you’ll schedule the move weeks, or even months, ahead of time. This gives your moving company enough notice to schedule you without worrying about other customers. But if you need a short-notice move, expect the company to charge a premium because your move may cause issues elsewhere.
Factor No. 3 – Stairs and Elevators
Anything that makes the move more difficult gets factored into your quote.
Stairs are a particular problem. Not only do your movers have to deal with carrying heavy items over an uneven surface, but they also have logistical concerns to factor in. Large and awkwardly shaped items may not go up and down stairs smoothly, requiring more planning and coordination. That all adds to the time involved, which means you pay for more labor hours.
Elevators are less cumbersome than stairs. But they have weight and size limits that can slow a mover down. Again, hourly rates come into play if this causes any delays.
Factor No. 4 – Insurance
All legitimate moving companies have liability insurance that covers some of the cost of any items that are lost or damaged during the move. However, this insurance doesn’t always cover the full cost of your valuables. Furthermore, your house insurance doesn’t cover your valuables while they’re being transported by a third party. That means you may have to pay for extra insurance from your insurance company if you want full coverage.
As a basic guideline, expect full coverage insurance to cost between 1% and 2% of the total cost of your items. For example, $100,000 of goods may cost between $1,000 and $2,000 to insure fully.
Know What You’re Paying For
How much do moving companies cost?
As you can see from this article, the prices vary widely depending on several issues. Local mover prices tend to be lower thanks to the shorter distances and smaller teams required. But even local prices fluctuate depending on the mover’s hourly rate and any special requirements you may have. Long-distance moves naturally cost more due to the increased distance and time required.
The upside is that paying these charges gives you access to a professional service that completes your move far faster than you’d do it yourself. Moving companies can also handle everything for you, meaning you experience less stress during a hectic period in your life.
But it’s worth noting that all of the figures quoted in this article are averages.
If you want a more definitive answer to the question of how much do moving companies charge, you have to collect some quotes. Why not start with American Movers? We’re an FMCSA-registered moving company that offers local and long-distance moving services. If you want a quote, fill out our form online or call us at 1 (888) 849-1940.