How much do movers cost?

Hiring movers can relieve some of the stress and anxiety that comes with moving. But movers can be expensive.

The cost of movers depends on a lot of variables—like where you live, where you’re moving to and how much stuff is being moved.

Read on to learn about how much moving might cost, factors that could affect the cost of a move and some ways to save on moving expenses.

Key takeaways

  • Moving typically costs between $1,500 and $3,500. But the cost can vary widely based on a variety of factors.
  • When hiring movers, you can save money by doing things like decluttering, sourcing your own moving supplies, and packing and unpacking boxes yourself. 
  • When deciding between hiring movers and moving yourself, there are a number of things to consider.
  • A hybrid approach—where you handle some parts of the move yourself and hire movers to take care of the rest—is also worth considering.

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Average cost of movers: A breakdown

According to Fixr.com, “the national average cost for moving is between $1,500 and $3,500, with most people paying around $2,500 to hire a moving company to pack, move, and unpack a two-bedroom house 1,000 miles away.”

But the cost of movers can vary widely based on where you live, where you’re moving to, and your individual circumstances and needs.

Say you’re hiring movers to move your belongings 250 miles from a one-bedroom apartment. If you were to pack your belongings yourself, Fixr.com says you can expect the cost to be around $750.

But what if you’re moving further away or have a larger home with more valuable belongings? Moving from a three-bedroom house across the country could cost around $10,000—maybe even more.

Main factors that could affect the cost of professional movers

Here are some common factors that affect the cost of a move:

The size of the home being moved

The larger the space and the more the items being moved, the more the cost of moving your belongings. That’s because bigger moves typically require more movers, a bigger truck and more time for the move.

The distance of the move

Local moves—like those within the same county or metropolitan area—will cost less than moves that cross state lines or take longer to complete. And moving to another country is typically even more expensive.

The moving date

When you move can also impact your cost. For instance, summer is a busy time for relocating compared to moving during colder months or when the school year has already started.

Packing and unpacking services

If you need movers to pack or unpack your belongings, it’ll cost more than simply having them move boxes you’ve packed yourself. And the more boxes they have to pack or unpack, the more it’ll likely cost.

Accessibility of the living space

Does either the home you’re moving out of or the one you’re moving into require movers to climb stairs or take an elevator? If so, there could be additional fees involved.

Other factors that could affect the cost of a move

There are other factors that could affect the cost of a move too:

Specialty items

It can cost more to move bulky and fragile items. For instance, if you need to move a grand piano or chandelier, you may need additional movers and specialty packing supplies—which will cost extra.

Insurance

Accidents happen. Ask potential moving companies what insurance they have for moves and what that covers. See if you’re required to have additional insurance coverage based on your specific circumstances.

Extra stops

If you need to make additional stops between your current home and your new space—like at a storage unit, for instance—that might be an extra charge as well.

Tipping the movers

While tipping your movers isn’t required, it’s generally encouraged no matter the scale of the move.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for tipping the movers. But it’s generally about $5 per hour, per mover, for local moves. Long-distance moves, on the other hand, may warrant a larger tip.

You can also calculate by percentage of total cost, like when you tip at a restaurant—anywhere from 5% to 20%, depending on the scale of the move.

How to save money on moving services

Moving can be expensive. But there are some ways you can save some money:

  • Compare quotes. Not all moving companies charge the same rates. And there’s no set standard among moving companies. So be sure to compare quotes from different companies to see which ones offer competitive rates and what services are included. Also, explore reviews of those companies so you can see what other customers have said about them.
  • Declutter. A move is the perfect opportunity to declutter and get rid of possessions you no longer want or need. Cutting down on how many belongings you’re moving could save you money.
  • Adjust your moving date. Moving can be more expensive during peak season, like the summer. Consider adjusting your move date, if possible, in order to save money.
  • Source moving supplies. Paying for moving boxes from a mover or storage company can add up. Try asking around at local businesses like big-box stores and grocery stores to see if they have boxes they can spare.
  • Pack and unpack boxes yourself. Packing and unpacking your belongings yourself is cheaper than paying movers to do it.
  • Move some of your belongings yourself. If you’re making a local move, you may want to move some boxes and belongings yourself and leave the big items for the movers to handle.

Should you hire movers or do it yourself?

Since the cost of hiring a moving company can get pricey—especially if you have a large space and a lot of things or you are moving a long way—you could explore the cost of moving yourself. Overall, the cost of a do-it-yourself move is typically less expensive than hiring movers.

When deciding between hiring movers or doing it yourself, consider things like:

  • The cost of hiring movers compared to a DIY approach
  • The work you’ll need to put into finding a reputable, affordable moving company
  • The time and effort it’ll take to pack, move and unpack your belongings yourself

You could also consider a hybrid approach where you handle some parts of the move yourself and hire movers to take care of the rest.

Ultimately, whether it’s better to hire movers, do it yourself or take a hybrid approach is totally up to you—there’s no right or wrong choice.

In a nutshell: How much movers cost

Remember: Hiring movers can make moving a whole lot easier. But it can be expensive too. And just how expensive it might be depends on a variety of factors—like where you live, where you’re moving to and the scale of the move.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to cut down on the cost of hiring movers—like decluttering before your move, sourcing your own moving supplies, and packing and unpacking your belongings yourself.

Considering a move? Take a look at the cheapest places to live in the U.S.

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