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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

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 are the advantages of packing services?

Hiring a professional packing service can help ensure your heavy, fragile and special-care belongings are handled safely during your move. These pros are familiar with all types of packing procedures and materials, and they’ll use the right tools and equipment to move your belongings. Packers and movers are also available to assist with cumbersome items like mattresses, safes and large furniture, and they can handle heavy lifting. And if needed, packers can disassemble and assemble furniture for you.

How much do packing services cost?

The cost of packing services ranges between $60 and $80. However, the cost you wind up paying will depend on a number of different factors. These factors include whether you have provided the moving boxes yourself or need to purchase them from the company, as well as the hourly rate of the packing service may charge. A larger-size home or office will often result in higher packing costs, as will the need to handle a lot of fragile or especially heavy/cumbersome items.

Who do I hire for unpacking and packing help?

Hire a professional moving, packing or unpacking service in your area for help. You can use a tool like Thumbtack to see the best services in your area, along with their ratings and reviews. Once you’ve identified a few professionals who seem like a good fit, get cost estimates from each of them and compare your quotes. Also, don’t forget to check licensing requirements in your state to make sure the professional you hire is properly licensed and insured.

How far in advance should I hire movers?

Book movers at least two months in advance for a local move and at least four months in advance for a cross-country move. If you’re moving during the off-season, it’s best to book movers about four to eight weeks in advance. Factor in an extra two to three weeks if you have antiques or valuables that are difficult to transport.

May through September is considered peak moving season, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. If you’re moving during this time, hire movers as far in advance as possible.

What is considered a local move vs. a long-distance 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. 

The definition of a long-distance move may vary depending on the moving company. Generally, a long-distance considered to be any move of 400 miles or more. However, some say a long-distance move is over 50-100 miles. 

Local Move

A move under 50 miles

Long-Distance Move

A move over 50-100 miles or over 400 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

Interstate moves require additional legal preparation and will incur additional costs for distance, the amount and weight of your items, the preparation required and various other factors. Moving companies tend to do an initial weighing of the truck, which you should be present for.

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. 

To determine whether your move is local or long-distance, contact the best movers in your area.

 

 

What is a packing service?

A packing service helps homeowners and businesses pack up their belongings in preparation for a move, as well as unpack items when moving in. They’re often used to help with large numbers of items and are a great choice when there are multiple floors to contend with. 

Professional packing services can also provide boxes or use the boxes you provide them. They can also help assemble furniture and perform heavy lifting, as well as deal with valuable, delicate or cumbersome items.

Do movers unpack for you?

Yes, many movers offer unpacking services for you once they deliver your belongings to your new site, or even if you have already had them delivered. However, be aware that this could lead to higher charges, so be sure to ask the movers what their rates are. Movers also don’t usually put items away, but rather set them on tabletops and other surfaces. Some moving companies may have a policy preventing them from unpacking boxes you have packed yourself.

When should you start packing?

You should start picking up packing supplies (moving boxes, etc.) at least one to three months before you move. The earlier, the better. Start by cleaning your house and deciding what you will be taking, then follow up by selling or donating whatever you don’t need. At around four weeks out, decide on a moving service and schedule your move-out date. And start the packing process by putting your belongings into boxes, wrapping furniture and organizing for the unload.

For more helpful tips, read our start-to-finish moving checklist.

Do movers pack boxes for you?

Many moving companies offer packing services as well. While the typical role of movers is to move already-packed boxes, furniture and other belongings, these pros are also skilled in safely packing belongings in less time than the average person. They have the materials and experience to protect fragile items and predict potential damage in the moving process. This is particularly important for glass and artwork.

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