Deep Dives

Estimating Moving Costs

You’ve got your place all lined up. Date set; deposits made. Now you just have to get there. Whether you’re moving apartments or to a new home, it’s important to research and estimate your moving costs.

July 11, 2022

You’ve got your place all lined up. Date set; deposits made. Now you just have to get there. Whether you’re moving apartments or to a new home, it’s important to research and estimate your moving costs. The American Moving and Storage Association estimates the average cost of an interstate household move is about $4,300 and the average cost of an intrastate move is about $2,300.

Moving costs can vary widely and depend upon several factors such as the distance you’re moving, how much stuff you have, the time of year, your method of transportation... We’ll break it down for you here so you’ll be set to move into your new place in no time!

Distance

Moves are generally broken up into different categories:

Different types of moves

Generally, the further you move, the more it will cost. Crossing state lines also increases the cost.

Method

How do you want to get your stuff there? Maybe you want to sit back and let someone else take care of it. Depending how much of the heavy-lifting (see what I did there) you're willing to do yourself, your costs can vary as you can see below:

Cost range per move type

Full service refers to professional movers packing and loading your belongings for you. They will then transport them and unload once they reach your new place. If you’re considering a full service move, make sure you know the following:

  • Get multiple estimates: someone from the moving company should come to your house/apartment and take an inventory of what you’re moving. Because the moving company charges by weight (they actually weigh the truck, load your things, and re-weigh to arrive at your cost), this is the best way to get the most accurate quote.
  • Timeline: most moving companies combine your move with others’, so the date your things arrive could be a week or more after they’re picked up. Going without the majority of your clothes, dishes, bedding, etc. can be very inconvenient if you have a tight timeframe or a family. You may have to stay in a hotel while you wait for the moving truck to arrive, so you’ll have to factor that cost in as well. If you’re able to get a dedicated mover, that is the best way to go.
  • Clearly mark what’s being moved: to avoid things getting packed in the moving truck that shouldn’t be, make sure you clearly communicate what should go and what shouldn’t. When we moved out of state, our movers loaded a table that they weren’t supposed to and we didn’t know until they unloaded it at our new house (whoops). My parents moved recently and their movers loaded all my dad’s clothes and put them in storage so he had to go shopping (hilarious, I know). Learn from our mishaps and mark your things!
  • Read the contract carefully: double check the pickup and drop off dates, weight estimates, costs and damage insurance. Make sure you understand all the terms and definitions.

Storage or moving containers are large containers that are delivered to your current residence. You load them (or you can hire someone to load for you), and the container company will pick it up. They can store it for you at their location, or transport it to your new residence, usually anywhere in the country. Storage containers are usually more cost effective than professional movers if you load them yourself. They’re convenient - the time frame for delivery is more flexible than professional movers. They are stored in secured locations and are easy to load and unload. You also don’t have to worry about transporting anything but yourself!

Moving truck rentals are probably what you’re most familiar with- renting a moving truck that you drive to your residence, load yourself, and drive to your destination. This is by far the most cost effective since you’re doing the work yourself. The costs incurred include the cost of the moving truck (or trucks, depending on how much you’re moving), gas, food and accommodations if you need to stop along the way. Oh, and maybe feeding the friends and family who help you load the truck!

Time of Year

Late fall into winter is usually the cheapest time to move since demand is the lowest. Companies will have more availability and are more flexible. Spring and summer are more expensive since the weather is warmer and people like to settle in before kids start school. Mid-month will be lower in demand than month end or beginning. When thinking of when during the week to move, mid-week is cheapest with weekends being more. Lastly, for the time of day, movers will want to get started early (and you should, too) when it’s cooler and they can get a jump on the transporting portion.

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