Average Cost of Movers: Local vs. Long-Distance Moving Expenses

Written By

Machaela Casey
moving truck filled with moving boxes

Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a daunting task, especially when it comes to budgeting for the expenses. One of the most significant costs associated with moving is hiring a professional moving company.

The average cost of a moving company can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as:

  • The distance of the move
  • The size of your home
  • The services you require

Whether you’re planning a local move within your city or a long-distance relocation across the country, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the costs involved. This knowledge will help you:

  • Set a realistic budget
  • Compare quotes from different moving companies
  • Make informed decisions throughout the moving process

By the end of this content, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the world of moving expenses and ensure a smooth, stress-free transition to your new home. The following sections will break down the average costs of hiring a moving company, explore the factors that influence pricing, and provide valuable tips for saving money on your move.

Average Cost Of Hiring A Moving Company

The average cost of hiring a moving company can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of move (local or long-distance), the size of your home, and the services required. Let’s take a closer look at the typical costs associated with both local and long-distance moves.

Local Move (Intrastate)

A local move, also known as an intrastate move, typically involves relocating within the same state or city. The costs for a local move are usually calculated based on an hourly rate, which can vary depending on the moving company and the services provided.

Typical Cost Range

On average, the cost of a local move ranges from $800 to $2,500 for a two to three-bedroom home. However, this price can fluctuate based on factors such as the number of movers required, the distance traveled, and any additional services requested.

Hourly Rates For Labor-Only Services

If you opt for labor-only services, where you provide the transportation and the movers simply load and unload your belongings, the hourly rates typically range from $38 to $75 per mover. Keep in mind that these rates may vary depending on your location and the specific moving company you choose.

Average Total Cost Based On Home Size

The size of your home plays a significant role in determining the overall cost of your local move. Here’s a breakdown of the average total cost based on home size and hourly rates:

  • Studio: $501 – $985
  • 1-Bedroom: $501 – $985
  • 2-Bedroom: $966 – $1,733
  • 3-Bedroom: $1,941 – $2,988
  • 4-Bedroom: $2,988 – $4,575
  • 5-Bedroom: $3,975 – $5,963

Long-Distance Move (Interstate)

A long-distance move, or an interstate move, involves relocating to a different state. The costs for a long-distance move are typically higher than those of a local move due to the increased distance and additional factors involved.

Typical Cost Range

The average cost of a long-distance move for a two to three-bedroom home, weighing approximately 7,500 pounds and covering a distance of 1,000 miles, is around $4,890. However, prices can range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the specific circumstances of your move.

When planning a long-distance move, it’s essential to consider factors such as the weight of your belongings, the distance traveled, and any additional services you may require. To get a more accurate estimate, consider using a moving cost calculator or requesting quotes from multiple moving companies.

Factors Influencing Interstate Moving Costs

Several factors can impact the cost of your long-distance move, including:

  • Weight of your shipment
  • Distance traveled
  • Labor costs
  • Packing services
  • Insurance coverage

It’s crucial to discuss these factors with your chosen moving service for long distance to ensure you have a clear understanding of the costs involved and can budget accordingly.

Sample Costs For Moving A Three-Bedroom Home

To give you a better idea of the potential costs associated with a long-distance move, here are some sample cross-country moving cost for a three-bedroom home:

  • Moving 1,000 miles: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Moving 2,000 miles: $4,000 to $7,000
  • Moving 3,000 miles: $6,000 to $9,000

Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and your actual costs may vary based on your specific requirements and the moving company you choose.

When preparing for a move, it’s essential to research and compare quotes from multiple moving companies to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. By understanding the average costs associated with both local and long-distance moves, you’ll be better equipped to plan your budget and make informed decisions throughout the moving process.

Factors That Determine Moving Company Prices

Moving company prices can vary significantly based on a variety of factors. Understanding these factors can help you better estimate the cost of your move and make informed decisions when selecting a moving company.

Distance And Travel Fees

The distance between your current home and your new location is one of the most significant factors affecting moving company prices. Long-distance moves typically cost more than local moves due to the increased time, fuel, and labor required.

Additionally, some moving companies may charge travel fees to cover the cost of transportation to and from your home.

Size Of The Home And Volume Of Belongings

The size of your home and the volume of your belongings directly impact the cost of your move. Larger homes with more rooms generally require more time and labor to pack, load, and transport, resulting in higher moving costs.

Moving companies may estimate the volume of your belongings based on the number of bedrooms in your home or by conducting an in-home survey to provide a more accurate quote.

Additional Services Required

Moving companies offer a range of additional services that can affect the overall cost of your move. These services may include packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, specialty item handling, and storage solutions.

Packing And Unpacking

If you opt for packing and unpacking services, your moving company will handle the task of properly packing your belongings into boxes and then unpacking them at your new home. This service can save you time and effort, but it will also increase the cost of your move.

Loading And Unloading

Loading and unloading services involve the moving company’s crew physically moving your belongings from your home into the moving truck and then unloading them at your new location. This service is typically included in the base cost of your move, but it’s important to confirm this with your moving company.

Specialty Item Handling

If you have specialty items such as pianos, artwork, or delicate antiques, your moving company may charge additional fees for their handling and transportation. These items often require extra care, specialized equipment, and experienced professionals to ensure their safe transport.

Storage Solutions

In some cases, you may require storage solutions if your new home isn’t ready to receive your belongings immediately. Many moving companies offer short-term or long-term storage options, which can add to the overall cost of your move.

Timing Of The Move

The timing of your move can also influence the price you pay for moving services.

Peak Season Vs. Off-Season

The demand for moving services tends to be higher during the summer months, which is considered the peak season. As a result, moving company prices may be higher during this time.

If you have flexibility in your moving date, consider scheduling your move during the off-season to potentially save money.

Weekdays Vs. Weekends

Moving companies often charge higher rates for weekend moves due to increased demand. If possible, consider scheduling your move on a weekday to take advantage of potentially lower rates.

Accessibility Challenges

If your current or new home presents accessibility challenges, such as narrow doorways, steep staircases, or long carrying distances, your moving company may charge additional fees. These challenges can require extra time, labor, and specialized equipment to safely navigate.

Insurance Coverage Options

Most moving companies offer various levels of insurance coverage to protect your belongings during the move. The cost of this coverage can vary depending on the level of protection you choose.

Be sure to discuss your insurance options with your moving company and factor this cost into your overall moving budget.

By understanding the factors that determine moving company prices, you can make more informed decisions when planning your move. Be sure to obtain quotes from multiple moving companies and discuss your specific requirements to ensure you receive an accurate estimate of your moving costs.

Types Of Moving Services And Their Costs

When planning a move, it’s essential to understand the various types of moving services available and their associated costs. Each type of service offers different levels of assistance and convenience, allowing you to choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.

Full-Service Moving

Full-service moving is the most comprehensive and convenient option, where the moving company handles every aspect of your move. This service typically includes packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking.

Full-service moving is ideal for those who want a hassle-free experience and are willing to pay a premium for the convenience. Costs for full-service moving are generally the highest among all moving services.

Partial Packing And Unpacking

If you prefer to handle some of the packing yourself but still require assistance with certain items or rooms, partial packing and unpacking services may be a good choice. With this option, you can customize the level of help you need, such as having the movers pack only your fragile items or specific rooms.

This service is less expensive than full-service moving but still offers some level of convenience and support.

Labor-Only Moving

Labor-only moving involves hiring movers to load and unload your belongings, without the need for packing or transportation services. This option is suitable if you have your own truck or are using a separate transportation service.

Labor-only moving can be more cost-effective than full-service moving, as you are only paying for the physical labor required to move your belongings.

Truck Rental For Self-Moving

If you prefer a more hands-on approach and want to save money, renting a truck for self-moving might be the best option. With this service, you are responsible for packing, loading, driving, and unloading your belongings.

Truck rental costs vary depending on the size of the truck, distance of the move, and duration of the rental. While this option requires more effort on your part, it can be significantly less expensive than hiring a full-service moving company.

Portable Storage Container Rental

Portable storage container rental is a flexible moving solution that combines the convenience of professional transportation with the cost-saving benefits of self-packing. With this service, a storage container is delivered to your home, allowing you to pack and load your belongings at your own pace.

Once you’re ready, the container is picked up and transported to your new location. This option is particularly useful if you need temporary storage during your move or if you’re moving long-distance.

Specialty Moving Services

Some moving companies offer specialty moving services for items that require extra care, expertise, or specialized equipment. These services may come at an additional cost due to the unique challenges and risks involved.

Piano Moving

Moving a piano requires special expertise and equipment to ensure the instrument is transported safely without damage. Piano moving services are often priced separately from standard moving services due to the additional labor and precautions required.

Art And Antique Moving

If you have valuable artwork, antiques, or other delicate items, you may want to consider hiring a moving company that specializes in handling these pieces. Art and antique moving services often include custom crating, climate-controlled transportation, and additional insurance coverage to protect your valuable possessions.

Vehicle Transportation

If you need to transport a vehicle as part of your move, some moving companies offer vehicle transportation services. Vehicle transportation costs depend on the type of vehicle, distance, and method of transport (e.g., open or enclosed carrier).

When choosing a moving service, consider your budget, the level of assistance you require, and any special requirements for your belongings. By understanding the different types of moving services available and their associated costs, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and ensures a successful move.

Strategies For Saving Money On Moving Costs

Moving can be an expensive endeavor, but there are several strategies you can employ to reduce your overall moving costs. By being proactive and strategic in your approach, you can save a significant amount of money without compromising the quality of your move.

Decluttering And Downsizing Before The Move

One of the most effective ways to save money on your move is to declutter and downsize your belongings before packing. Take the time to go through your possessions and decide what you really need and what you can live without.

Sell, donate, or dispose of items that you no longer use or need. This will not only reduce your moving costs but also make the packing and unpacking process more manageable.

Packing Your Own Belongings

Packing your own belongings can save you a significant amount of money compared to hiring professional packers. While it may take more time and effort, you can control the process and ensure that your items are packed to your satisfaction.

To save even more money, consider using free or low-cost packing materials, such as recycled boxes, newspapers, and blankets, instead of purchasing new supplies.

Choosing An Off-Peak Moving Date

The timing of your move can greatly impact your moving costs. If your schedule allows, consider moving during off-peak times, such as mid-week or during the winter months.

Many moving companies offer lower rates during these periods to attract more business. Peak moving seasons, such as summers and weekends, tend to have higher demand and, consequently, higher prices.

Comparing Quotes From Multiple Moving Companies

Don’t settle for the first moving company you come across. Take the time to research and compare quotes from multiple moving companies to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Request detailed quotes that outline all the services included and any additional fees. Keep in mind that the lowest price may not always be the best option, as some companies may cut corners or have hidden costs.

Look for a balance between price and quality of service.

Negotiating Rates And Discounts

Once you’ve gathered quotes from several moving companies, don’t be afraid to negotiate rates and ask for discounts. Some companies may be willing to match or beat competitors’ prices, especially if you’re moving during off-peak times or have a flexible moving date.

Additionally, inquire about any available discounts, such as those for military personnel, students, or seniors.

Utilizing Tax Deductions For Moving Expenses

If you’re moving for work-related reasons, you may be able to deduct some of your moving expenses on your federal income tax return. To qualify for this deduction, your move must be closely related to the start of a new job, and your new workplace must be a certain distance from your old home.

Keep detailed records of your moving expenses, including transportation, storage, and lodging costs, to take advantage of this potential tax benefit. By implementing these cost-saving strategies, you can significantly reduce your moving expenses without sacrificing the quality of your move.

Remember to plan ahead, be flexible, and stay organized throughout the moving process to ensure a smooth and affordable transition to your new home.

Importance Of Hiring A Reputable Moving Company

Choosing the cheapest moving company or attempting a DIY move to save money may be tempting, but hiring a reputable moving company is crucial for a successful and stress-free relocation. A professional moving company can provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Ensuring the safety of your belongings
  • Avoiding scams and fraudulent movers
  • Benefiting from experienced and efficient professionals
  • Having access to proper equipment and vehicles
  • Offering liability coverage and insurance options

Ensuring The Safety Of Your Belongings

One of the primary reasons to hire a reputable moving company is to ensure the safety of your belongings during the move. Professional movers are trained in proper packing techniques and have the necessary materials to protect your items from damage during transit.

They also have experience handling fragile or valuable items, such as antiques, artwork, and electronics, ensuring that they are transported safely to your new home.

Avoiding Scams And Fraudulent Movers

Unfortunately, the moving industry is not immune to scams and fraudulent practices. Some disreputable companies may offer low initial quotes, only to demand more money once your belongings are loaded onto their truck, or worse, disappear with your possessions altogether.

By hiring a reputable moving company with a proven track record and positive customer reviews, you can avoid falling victim to these scams and have peace of mind knowing that your move is in good hands.

Benefiting From Experienced And Efficient Professionals

Reputable moving companies employ experienced professionals who are well-versed in the home moving process. These experts can efficiently pack, load, transport, and unload your belongings, saving you time and effort.

They also have the knowledge and skills to handle unexpected challenges that may arise during the move, such as navigating tight spaces or disassembling and reassembling large furniture pieces.

Access To Proper Equipment And Vehicles

Professional moving companies invest in proper equipment and vehicles to ensure the safe and efficient transport of your belongings. This includes sturdy moving boxes, packing materials, dollies, furniture pads, and specialized tools for disassembling and reassembling furniture.

Additionally, reputable movers use well-maintained trucks with secure storage areas and climate control options to protect your items during transit.

Liability Coverage And Insurance Options

Reputable moving companies offer liability coverage and insurance options to protect your belongings in case of damage or loss during the move. Basic liability coverage is typically included in the moving cost, but you may also have the option to purchase additional coverage for more valuable items.

Having this protection can provide you with peace of mind and financial security in the event that something goes wrong during the move.

Hiring a reputable moving company is an investment in the safety, security, and success of your move. By entrusting your belongings to experienced professionals with access to proper equipment and insurance options, you can minimize the risk of damage, loss, or fraud, and ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most affordable way to move long-distance?

Renting a moving truck and handling the packing and driving yourself is usually the most budget-friendly option for a long-distance move. However, remember to consider the costs of gas, lodging, and the time and effort required to complete the move independently.

  • How much should I budget for a local move?

For a local move (intrastate) involving a two to three-bedroom home with approximately 7,500 pounds of belongings, the average cost is $1,250. Hourly rates for labor-only services typically range from $38 to $75 per mover, per hour, with the total cost varying based on the size of your home, the volume of your belongings, and any additional services needed.

  • Are there any additional costs to consider when hiring movers?

Yes, there are several extra costs to keep in mind when hiring movers, such as packing materials, specialty item handling (e.g., pianos, artwork), storage solutions, insurance coverage, and tips for the moving crew. To avoid surprises, discuss all potential fees with your moving company and thoroughly review your contract before signing.

  • What is the best time of year to move to save money?

To save money on your move, consider scheduling it during the off-peak season, which spans from late September to April, when moving rates are generally lower due to decreased demand. Additionally, booking your move for a weekday (Monday through Thursday) can often result in more affordable prices compared to weekends.

  • How far in advance should I book a moving company to get the best rates?

To secure the best rates, particularly if you’re planning to move during the peak season (May to early September), it’s advisable to book your moving company at least 4-8 weeks in advance. This early booking allows you to lock in your preferred moving date and provides ample time to compare quotes from various companies to find the most competitive deal.


Understanding the various factors that influence moving company costs is crucial for anyone planning a move. By familiarizing yourself with the average prices for local and long-distance moves, as well as the elements that can impact the final cost, you can create a realistic budget and avoid unexpected expenses.

Use the information provided to compare quotes from multiple moving companies, considering factors such as distance, home size, and additional services required. Remember, careful planning and strategic decision-making can lead to significant savings on your moving expenses.

Don’t hesitate to negotiate rates, ask about discounts, and choose an off-peak moving date if possible. By taking the time to research and prepare, you can ensure a successful, cost-effective move that suits your specific needs and budget.