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Find a military mover near you

100+ near you

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What do full-service moving companies provide?

Full-service moving companies can help take the stress out of moving by supplying a moving truck and handling your entire move from start to finish. These professional movers can also provide packing services, materials and supplies. Full-service movers also load your belongings into the truck, drive it to your new home, unload the truck and (in some cases) offer to help you unpack your belongings.

What is the cheapest way to move?

Scheduling your move during the off-season is typically the cheapest way to move. Avoid moving in May, June, July, August or September, when moving company rates are typically much higher. If you’re moving across the country, research how the moving companies in your city charge. You might save money if you hire flat-rate movers instead of hourly movers.  

Of course, you can save money moving if you DIY  by renting a moving truck or moving pods. However, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of moving all of your belongings and valuables by yourself. Factor in the cost of a moving truck (including fuel), the cost of moving equipment, the labor involved and the time it will take to complete your move by yourself. 

What do moving companies do?

Moving companies provide a range of services to help you physically move out of one residence and move into a new place. But moving companies can do so much more than just haul your belongings across town in a truck. The national average for moving company prices ($250-$350 per hour) reflects the range of services provided. Here are examples of all the ways moving companies can help:

  • Packing: Moving companies can pack your belongings for you. They typically charge a flat rate for both the box and the labor to pack the box. The more time-consuming the belongings are to pack, the higher the cost per box. For example, books could be $5 per box, linens $10 per box, and fine china and glassware $18 per box.
  • Specialty moving: Safely move a baby grand piano, a oversize aquarium, or other specialty items with the help of pro movers.
  • Storage: Many moving companies can store your belongings while you wait for a new home to be remodeled or closing of your new home to be finalized. If you’re moving long-distance, they often provide short-term storage free for a specific length of time, and a set rate after that (such as $60 per square cubic foot of storage space used).
  • Long-distance moves: No need to rent a trailer and move your things; a long-distance moving company can haul your belongings across the country for you. Typically they charge by the cubic foot for moves, with prices based on your destination.
  • Unpacking: Moving companies can even unpack your belongings for you after they have moved them. This is not as common, and will definitely increase the price, but can be helpful if you’re not able to tackle this task yourself.

How much does it cost to move across the country?

The national average cost for hiring cross-country movers is $1,490-$2,220. A number of factors can affect the cost. One factor is the distance you want to move. For example, an East Coast-based moving company may charge $5 per cubic foot for consolidated moves along the East Coast and $6 per cubic foot for consolidated moves from the East Coast to the central states or the West Coast. Another factor is how many belongings you have. Most cross-country movers charge by the cubic foot.

The type of move you want is another consideration in cost. You can have your belongings moved exclusively and delivered on a set day, or you can opt for a consolidated move, which is less expensive. In a consolidated move your belongings are stored and transported with the goods of other customers who are moving to your general vicinity during the same general time frame as you. Your belongings should arrive within a one- to two-week window, rather than on a set day. If you want the cross-country movers to pack your belongings for you, the cost will also increase.

How much does a moving company charge per hour?

When you’re ready to make a major move, it’s time to research moving companies’ prices. A moving company may charge on average anywhere between $25 and $100 per hour, per worker, for moving services. The price will vary with regional labor rates, local cost to do business, and the level of service the movers are providing. Nationally, the average hourly rate for a moving company is $250-$350 per hour. This price includes a range of pricing, from all-in service with four or more movers on site to standard hourly rates for one or two movers. Other factors that affect moving companies’ prices are packing, stairs (or elevators), and distance. For a full-service move, you pay movers to pack your belongings for you. You may pay for the cost of the moving boxes and an hourly rate per worker, and there may be additional charges for packing fragile items. Stairs will also add to your moving prices. Lifting and carrying boxes and furniture up and down stairs takes more time and creates more physical labor for the workers. Moving companies may charge flat rates for flights of stairs, such as $50-$70 per flight. A moving company may also charge a one-time fee for moving things via elevator, such as $75-$100. If parking is not accessible in front of your home or apartment building, there may also be an additional fee for the added distance to carry your belongings to the truck.

How do I choose the best moving company for my move?

To find the best moving companies, research the best movers in your area and ask yourself a series of questions, such as:

  • Does the company show up on time or are they late?
  • Does the moving company charge by the hour or is it a flat rate?
  • What are people saying about their movers?
  • Does the moving company offer insurance?
  • Does the company provide specific moving services, like packing or storage?
  • How does the moving company charge for long-distance moves?

On Thumbtack, you can easily spot the best moving companies by looking for the blue Top Pro badge. You can find more tips on how to hire the best movers with Thumbtack’s Smart Hiring Guide

How much do you tip movers?

It’s recommended that you tip your movers individually around $4 to $5 per hour. For example, if a team of four movers spends a half-day (four hours) on your move, tip each mover $20. Or, some people tip 5% to 10% of their total bill for small moves and 15% to 20% for larger moves.

If you’re moving across state lines, you may hire different crews to load and unload your goods. In that case, divide the tips between both crews. It’s also a good rule of thumb to add a bit extra for tipping movers if you have special circumstances that have made the move harder, like a spiral staircase or an exceptionally heavy sofa. 

How much do movers cost?

When accounting for moving costs, you can generally expect to pay around $30 to $50 per mover, per hour. However, these costs could change and you should compare movers in your city to estimate the true cost of your move.

Moving companies usually provide a team of at least two individuals depending on the size of the job and the objects to be moved. This hourly rate also changes with driving distance. And, moving specialty objects such as pianos can also drive up the cost. Some moving companies may provide a free estimate even offer a flat rate if the job.

For more information on moving costs, read Thumbtack’s cost guide on movers.

What is considered a local move?

Local moves are among the most common moves. Unlike a long-distance move, a local move is typically less than 50 miles and does not cross state lines. Generally, a local move only takes one day, and movers tend to charge by the hour. 

Local Move

A move under 50 miles

Long-Distance Move

A move over 50-100 miles; may also be called an “interstate move” or “out-of-state move”

Out-of-State Move

A move that crosses state lines; may also be called an “interstate move” or “long-distance move”

Interstate Move

A move that crosses state lines; may also be called an “out-of-state move” or “long-distance move”

Intrastate Move

A move that begins and ends in the same state, typically beyond 50 miles

A move that crosses state lines is considered an interstate move or an out-of-state move. Contrast this with an intrastate move, which begins and ends in the same state, but is typically above 50 miles. 

Should I buy moving insurance?

Your homeowners or renters insurance policy may or may not protect your belongings if they get lost or damaged during a move. If you’re moving valuable items, or if you’re moving a great distance, it could be a good idea to invest in moving insurance.

Interstate movers are required to offer you full value protection and released value protection to help reimburse you in case of damage or loss. If you’re moving within your state, check with your state’s consumer affairs agency to see if your state has rules and requirements regarding moving insurance and valuation coverage.

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