The national average cost for a professional long distance mover (moves over 100 miles) is $4,300. However, that rate can range from $2,000-$8,000+ depending on the total distance, size and weight of your load, and any extras like full-service packing and shipping.
Moving into a new home is never easy—especially if you're relocating to another part of the state or country. You're likely starting a new job, making new friends, and figuring out how to live in a new city—all on top of moving your belongings. Not only that, but cross country or interstate moving typically costs more than double the average rate for a local move. So, it's important to understand how long distance movers charge so you can compare quotes and set a realistic budget for your cross country move, while still working with a company you trust.
Before you hire a professional long-distance mover to transport everything to your new home, get an estimate on how much it will cost you. In this guide, find everything you need to know about long distance moving costs, what's included, what may cost extra, and a few simple ways to save money on a big relocation.
What's in this cost guide?
- Long distance mover cost factors
- Professional movers vs. rental truck
- Long distance moving insurance
- How to save money on a long distance move
Unlike local moving companies, which charge an hourly rate based on the number of movers you need, long distance movers quote prices based on the miles traveled, total weight of your household items, and the labor costs.
So instead of paying $100 an hour for two movers to load and unload your two-bedroom apartment across town (which costs about $600), expect to pay $2,000-$4,000 for long distance movers to move the same belongings cross country to your new home.
Quotes vary and add-ons like full-service movers, moving specialty items (like pianos or antiques), and fuel costs can add to your total.
Most long distance movers charge $.50 per pound for moves over 100 miles. To give you an estimate of what this means for your belongings, below are the average costs of local and long distance moves by size of home:
Size of home (by weight)
Average cost for local movers
Average cost for long distance movers
|Average cost for a truck rental (for a ~1,300 mile move)|
One-bedroom home/studio (3,500 lbs)
Two-bedroom home (5,000 lbs)
Three-bedroom home (8,000-10,000 lbs)
Four-bedroom home (12,000+ lbs)
Many companies also group moving rates based on distance. One long distance moving company and Thumbtack Pro in New York City for example, separates their long distance moving quotes into four mileage ranges:
- 250-500 miles
- 500-1,000 miles
- 1,000-2,000 miles
- 2,000-3,000 miles
Ask about per mileage rates when you ask for an initial estimate, especially if you're on the cusp of a new mileage category, to make sure the mover's price is competitive with other quotes.
For moves over 100 miles, there are two different types of moving options: consolidated and exclusive. In a consolidated move, movers pack multiple peoples' belongings onto one truck to reduce the cost of shipping a half empty truck cross country. By comparison, an exclusive move simply means your boxes and furniture are the only items on the truck. A consolidated move is generally less expensive, though it can take longer.
The cost of a consolidated move
One moving company in New York City, charges about $2,000 for a consolidated move of a standard one- or two-bedroom house anywhere on the east coast, and slightly more for longer moves:
- $5 per cubic foot: Destinations on the east coast
- $6 per cubic foot: Destinations in the central states or on the west coast
Consolidated moves are less expensive since you're splitting the cost of a long distance move with other customers. However the trade off for lower rates is a slower move and moving delivery windows instead of set dates.
Movers often store your items for a short period before moving them to your final destination, and/or deliver your boxes within a time frame rather than on a set date. The New York City based moving company, for example, guarantees a delivery window between “two and 14 days."
The cost of an exclusive move
Exclusive moves are the more expensive option, so they're typically used for larger moves (like a four-bedroom family home), time-sensitive moves, or shipping more valuable items.
Another difference with exclusive moves is that they aren't priced according to the amount of items or cubic footage (since you pay for the whole truck), but rather on a set price for transporting items to a specific region. Exclusive moving rates are more about distance, not volume.
For example, below are the exclusive long distance moving rates from the New York City-based moving company:
- $5,500: Interstate move from New York to Florida
- $16,000: Cross country move from New York to California
Moving large, heavy, or delicate items like antique furniture, expensive electronics, fragile items, pianos, or pool tables will each cost extra.
A long-distance moving company in San Diego, CA charges extra for each type of piano they move:
- Upright piano: $100
- Baby grand piano: $150
- Grand piano: $200
Some companies may not even be willing to ship certain specialty items like pianos, pool tables, or items over a certain value for insurance or liability reasons. For example, one New York based company will move safes, security boxes, pool tables, pianos, and even automobiles, while another in New Jersey will pack and unpack hundreds of boxes for you, but won't move your pool table.
Always check which items are included in the moving quote, and the cost and availability of moving specialty items.
Long flights of stairs, difficult parking locations, and narrow elevators can create added complications (and expense) for movers. And they charge accordingly.
Stairs are a hazard to both movers and your precious stuff and movers typically charge more for them, based on how many there are at the old and new locations. For example, the New York based moving company charges $.08 cents per cubic foot of your items for every flight of stairs (hey, it's not easy moving out of a five-story walk-up). So for 1,000 cubic feet of goods and one flight, the additional charge would be $80.
The San Diego-based moving company charges an additional:
- $50 for each flight of stairs (after the first flight or 10 steps)
- $100 for long carry, which is any time movers carry items over 75 feet to the truck
Moving on a weekend, the beginning/end of the month, or the start of the school year will cost more than moving on a weekday in the middle of the month.
According to a long distance moving company in New Jersey, “Saturday, Sunday, last and first days of the month are considered as a 'pick days' and rates can be different." Try to avoid high volume days for lower rates.
More stuff requires more movers. When you need more than two movers, the price can increase dramatically.
Long distance moving companies usually provide free storage before a consolidated move. If you need storage for longer, costs go up.
For example, the New York City based movers charge:
- Storage for the first month for long distance moving clients: $0 (included)
- Storage after the first month: $60 per cubic foot
Storage fees can add up quickly, so make sure you're ready to receive your items within the consolidated move window.
Opting for "full-service" means the movers will wrap and pack all of your items, and even take apart and reassemble bulky furniture for you. Long distance moving companies will also happily supply moving boxes, bins, bubble wrap, packing paper, and specialized packing materials like mattress bags, stretch wrap, and felt pads at a set price. Some movers even offer to install electronics or hang pictures at the final destination. All of this comes at an additional cost.
One New York City based moving company charges (per box):
- $5 for books
- $10 for linens
- $18 for fine china and glassware
One New Jersey based moving company charges:
- $4,000 to pack and move a 4-bedroom house into a storage unit, which included a special rate for “furniture moving and heavy lifting"
If you opt for full-service movers, make sure you know which add-ons are included and which cost extra. While it will increase your total, if you have the budget, full service movers are the easiest way to tackle a big relocation.
The cost of a one-way truck rental with companies like U-Haul is about $2,300 to move the contents of a one-bedroom apartment between New York and Florida.
If you're moving cross-country, estimate your costs to be around $2,500 (which includes 9 days of use and 3446 miles), plus gas and $0.59-$0.99 for any additional miles.
Note that truck rental companies may charge an additional fee for one-way rentals. For example, U-Haul charges an additional $125 fee for one-way rentals, and $0.59 to $0.99 per mile traveled after you've maxed out what's included in the upfront price. Plus, these gas-guzzling trucks aren't super cheap to fill up either.
If you're traveling over 1,000 miles, don't have a ton of stuff, and opt for a consolidated move, it can be more cost effective (not to mention time-saving) to hire professional movers instead of doing it yourself with a truck rental.
The final cost of long distance moving is insurance and valuation coverage. Most moving companies offer multiple levels of protection including:
- Released value protection (Basic): $0.60 per pound coverage
- Full value protection: Full coverage
This is the most basic kind of protection for your move, and is usually included. The standard liability coverage is $.60 per pound, which basically means that you get 60% of an item's “replacement value" if it's damaged during the move with this kind of coverage.
A more expensive option is full value liability coverage which holds the movers responsible for the current (or depreciated) value of any damaged or lost items. Think of this like the “Blue Book" value of your old sofa. It's not worth what you paid for it, but you'll still get the current value back if it's damaged during the move.
Full value coverage typically costs about 1% of the valuation of your items. So getting full value coverage for a move with $40,000 worth of stuff would cost you about $400. If you're moving a lot of “high-value items" (anything over $100 per pound), it's worth looking into full value coverage.
Your renter or homeowner's insurance might cover your items during a move or while they're in storage, but double check to make sure. And remember that every moving company is different. Some include liability coverage in the quote, while others treat it as an upgrade. You can always buy additional moving insurance from a third-party provider.
Hiring a mover to help with your cross country or out-of-state relocation doesn't have to break the bank. To save money on your move, use the following tips:
- Disassemble items, pack, and unpack yourself. Save hundreds by packing all your boxes ahead of time. Packing also reduces the overall cost of loading if you're paying hourly.
- Get rid of unnecessary stuff before moving. Downsize and donate unnecessary stuff to cut the cost per cubic foot before the move. Or better yet, have a garage sale and save money (twice) by selling old household items instead of paying a premium price to ship it hundreds or even thousands of miles. For some home items, like an old mattress, it's more cost effective to buy a new one than ship your current mattress cross country.
- Confirm the estimate. Make sure you get a binding quote for your move. One moving company always tells customers, “to insist on contracts that include language like 'not to exceed' guaranteed pricing." Make sure the final quote includes everything from the mileage and fuel to any add-ons you've agreed on.
- Make sure the moving company is licensed and insured. Read reviews to learn about past customers' experiences and the quality of the company's customer service.
- Be prepared. Before you call for a quote, know your ideal move date, address (pick-up and drop-off), a list of your inventory with the dimensions and rough estimate of any large or specialty items.
- Look for AAA discounts. AAA might not save you money on the final cost of the move, but it can get you free upgrades like Full Value Protection for your expensive items, which is always a nice bonus.
Getting a realistic estimate for your long distance move can be a confusing and painstaking process—but it doesn't have to be. Find a professional long-distance mover on Thumbtack, and talk about your timing, options, and budget to get a quote from a moving company you can trust to get you (and your stuff) on your way.