About 10% of Americans moved within the country last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Though that number may seem small, its actual value is not—that amounts to an estimated (and whopping) 32 million people.
Within that group, the impetus for moving varied, from people moving in order to establish their own household, opting for a more affordable home or moving for a new job.
While the prospect of a new home can be exciting, the move itself can require a surprising amount of time and money. Unless you have a family or friend group ready and willing to pack your things, haul your boxes, and load your belongings into your new space, chances are you will hire a professional moving company to assist you with the above tasks.
Just as you make a weekly or monthly budget in order to see your finances clearly, it can be helpful to crunch the numbers on the cost of a move before you get started. One question worth considering before you cross hire movers off your to-do list is, how much do professional movers cost?
The short answer is—it depends. There are a variety of factors that will influence the cost of hiring professional movers. Below is some information that might help you prepare mentally and financially for a big move.
Making a Local Move
While moving across town might seem straightforward, it can be a drawn-out process—though a more affordable one—if you’re doing some of the legwork yourself. Keep in mind that unless you’re taking vacation days to pack and move, you may be filling boxes on nights and weekends for a while.
The upside of packing (and later unpacking) your own stuff is that you’re paying zero dollars to a moving company for those hours. That means you need only need a standard moving service. Once your boxes are taped up and ready, a moving company can come to load boxes and furniture into a truck, transfer them to your new neighborhood and unload them into your new space.
Costs for a standard move like this will depend on a few key factors, including the amount of stuff you have, the distance you are moving, and the number of hours it takes movers to move your things. (Because quantity matters here, it can be a good idea to use a move as the impetus for donating things you no longer want or need.)
To get an idea of how much movers cost for a local move in your area, gather estimates from a few companies. Most offer a free quote, and there are websites like QuoteRunner that aggregate moving quotes for local companies based on a few moving details provided by you.
By comparing the prices of local movers, the Unpackt Blog estimated the average moving price for a standard move in various cities. In each location, the blog shows how the size of your current home impacts the cost.
In New York City, for example, a local standard move for someone in a large one bedroom might cost around $350, while a four-bedroom move could cost more than $1,000. Keep in mind this is simply transporting packed boxes from Point A to Point B. The blog gathered moving data and estimated local costs for cities such as Raleigh , Baltimore , and Minneapolis .
A full-service move includes a good deal more assistance from your moving company, but for a greater price. The higher price is because this service covers just about everything.
You can opt to have your movers pack your things, disassemble (and later reassemble) all your furniture, load and unload everything, then unpack it for you, with your guidance as to where things go. Full-service movers also usually take care of packaging supplies and their disposal.
According toMove.org , the cost of a full-service local move will range between $550 and $12,000. Again, the price range varies so greatly because it depends on the number of belongings the movers will be packing and transporting.
It might help to compare and contrast a few different moving companies, Moving.com suggests reviewing at least three. This can help you make the best pick for your move and budget. Some movers will tell you a cost per hour for moving, but it can be hard to estimate just how many hours a full-service move will take since so many processes are included.
An additional note for your budget: Consumer Affairs says that tipping movers is customary, so maybe plan to tack on an additional $20 to $40 per day, per mover. So if you’ve got three movers helping you across two days, gratuity could range from $120 to $240.
Moving Out of State
The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) found that about 650,000 Americans use professional movers for an interstate move—that means they leave one state for another.
Some of those folks—about 39% of them, actually—don’t pay for their own moves, thanks to corporate sponsorship, which sometimes foots the bill if you’re moving for a job. About 44% of interstate moves are paid for by individuals. Military and other government-sponsored moves make up the rest.
If you’re an individual moving to a new state, know that your moving costs will likely depend on three primary factors, similar to a local move: the weight of your shipment, the mileage your belongings will be transported, and labor costs outlined by the moving company you’ve chosen.
Free cost calculator City to City can help you estimate your move. Users enter their Point A and Point B, and can also select premium services to see how that impacts price.
For example, using that calculator, a move from Los Angeles to Denver—about 830 miles—with about 3,500 pounds of belongings and including packing services might cost around $2,500.
A move from Los Angeles to Chicago—about 1,750 miles—with the same specs might cost around $3,300 miles.
Keep in mind that the weight of your belongings may need to be altered. Some say to estimate that each furnished room in your house contains weighs about 1,500 pounds.
Financing a Move
If you already have a clear picture of your personal budget, it may be simple to tell whether you need to do more of a do-it-yourself move or if you can spring for a full-service move through a professional moving company.
Some people might opt to use a credit card to pay for moving fees. If you go this route, consider keeping your card interest rate in mind. If you can’t pay off your incurred moving costs fairly quickly, remember that interest will rack up, potentially making your move more expensive in the long run.
Another way to pay for a move is with an unsecured personal loan, which may come with a lower interest rate than your credit cards. You can check your interest rate for a personal relocation loan through SoFi online and within minutes.
If you qualify, this loan gives you access to cash (usually in less than a week), which may come in handy if your mover offers a discount for an up-front cash payment. You can also use a personal loan to help pay for other moving-related costs that can come up, such as first and last month’s rent for a rental unit.
Ultimately, a move can be a fresh start and offer a new perspective on life. Paying for that fresh start in a way that best suits your budget can help make this life transition go smoothly.
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