Local moving companies typically charge $30 to $50 per mover per hour, which includes a moving truck. Moving a three-bedroom home may require four movers and six to nine hours, or $700 to $1,000. However, how much you'll pay for your move will depend on where you live, how far you're moving, the number of movers you need and more.
Read the video transcript.
What's in this cost guide?
- What Type of Moving Company is Right for You?
- What Services Do Moving Companies Offer?
- What Factors Affect the Cost of Moving?
- How Much Should You Tip Movers?
- How to Save Money When Moving
- Moving Mistakes to Avoid
- How to Hire a Local Moving Company
What Type of Moving Company is Right for You?
Many professional movers and moving companies can pack your belongings, haul them into moving trucks, transport them to your new home, and even unload and unpack those items. However, the cost to hire movers can vary greatly depending on the type of service you need and how far you're moving.
Many moving companies provide local, long-distance, interstate and cross-country moving services. Here's a look at two types of moving companies and services that tend to vary in price depending on the distance of your move: local and long-distance movers.
Any move of 50 or fewer miles is categorized as "local moving." Longer moves are handled by long-distance movers, or interstate movers if you're crossing state lines. Local moving companies provide a range of services to make your life much easier during what is a notoriously stressful time.
If you are moving anywhere within the same city — or to one nearby — you likely will work with a local moving company. And (generally) the shorter your move, the less you'll pay.
Long-Distance, Cross-Country and Interstate Movers
If you need to move farther than across town, long-distance moving companies can help. Many long-distance moving companies can drive your belongings across the state or country for you. These moves are often priced per cubic foot, with total mileage affecting the cost.
More variables are at stake to affect your moving costs when you are trekking from coast to coast instead of from town to town. Distance plays a major role in long-distance moving costs, as companies must account for fuel costs and driving time of their workers.
>> Moving Long Distance? Compare Long-Distance Movers Near You
Exclusive Direct Transport vs. Consolidated Moves
How you want your belongings moved will also affect your long-distance moving costs. The two main types of long-distance moves are consolidated moves and exclusive direct transport moves. Consolidated moves are more affordable; exclusive moves, as their name implies, are more expensive.
In a consolidated move, your belongings will be picked up and transported with the goods of other clients of that moving company. Typically, consolidated moving costs are calculated per cubic foot. Using cubic feet allows the moving companies to determine the amount of room your belongings take up in their moving trucks and charge you accordingly. When you opt for a consolidated move, your belongings will be scheduled to arrive within a date frame of anywhere from a few days to two weeks. In one example of consolidated long-distance moving costs, Brooklyn-based Simply Moving & Storage estimates a fee of approximately $2,000 for a consolidated move of a standard one- or two-bedroom house on the East Coast.
If you choose an exclusive direct transport move, the total cost will be higher. However, you'll have control over the arrival date, and yours will be the only belongings in the moving truck. Exclusive moves cost more because you're paying the entirety of the fuel and labor costs, instead of those costs being divided among the other clients whose belongings are on the same truck.
Choosing an exclusive move can be a good idea if you have high-value items that need special attention, or if you just need to have your items by a specific date. Simply Moving & Storage, which is based on the East Coast, says that a recent exclusive move they did from New York to Florida cost $5,500, while another exclusive move they did from New York to California cost $16,000.
What Services Do Moving Companies Offer?
Whether you're planning a local or long-distance move, you can choose from a range of service levels. Which service level you choose will depend on your budget and how much assistance you need.
Simple moving services might just include helping someone unload a truck full of items into a storage unit. A full-service move can include boxing or packing up a home, loading, moving, unloading and unpacking. Or, you can hire a company to pack boxes for you if you need a few extra sets of hands. Full-service moving does cost more, but it saves you time — which for many people equals money. So, spending more on a full-service move might save you money by freeing up precious spare time for work, family or much-needed rest.
Here's a closer look at the different types of moving services and some examples of how much each service can cost.
The national average cost of packing and unpacking is $404. However, this cost varies.
When movers are hired for only packing, loading and unpacking, the costs will be less than if a moving truck is also requested. Moving companies may charge for packing by the hour or by the box. The cost of packing can vary by geographic region and by the type of moving boxes you need.
Moving companies often have various prices for different types of boxes. For example, china or glassware could be an average of $18 per box, linens $10 per box and books $5 per box. Specialty moving boxes, such as "wardrobe" boxes with a hanging rod inside, will also cost more.
For example, Elite Moving San Diego Inc. charges $3 for a small moving box, $4 for a medium-sized moving box, $5 for a large moving box, and $8 for a dish-pack moving box. Packing labor costs are not included in any of those box prices. Simply Moving & Storage in Brooklyn, New York, charges $5 per book box, $10 per linen box and $18 per glassware box, including the cost of labor for packing the box.
Local moving companies may be able to provide ballpark estimates of how much it will cost to pack your home. Here's a past rough estimate for packing charges based on Elite Moving San Diego Inc.'s experience with previous customers:
|Number of rooms||Number of workers||Number of hours packing||Labor Cost||Packing Material Cost|
>> Need Help Packing? Find a Packer and Mover in Your City
Standard vs. Full-Service Moving Costs
Hiring a full-service moving company might be your best option if you're too busy or need extra help with your move. Full-service moving typically includes:
- A moving truck and moving boxes
- Labor for packing household items into boxes
- Loading boxes into the moving truck
- Driving boxes and furniture to the new location
- Unloading boxes into the new home
Unpacking items from boxes in your new home is generally not included but may be available for an additional cost.
Full-service moving companies typically request that you be present the day of packing and moving, although other arrangements can sometimes be made for people who are traveling. The cost of local full-service moving is greater than for standard moving services, but the payoff comes in the free time you have not spent packing up all your possessions.
Cost to Move 3-Bedroom House:
|Standard moving service||
With a standard move, your boxes are packed and ready to go the day the movers come. When they arrive, you can step back and let them do the heavy lifting. They'll also drive your belongings across town and unload them for you in your new place.
Standard local moves are attractive for the price savings they offer, as well as providing more control for people who want their items packed in a specific way.
Here are examples of average costs for a standard move and a full-service move from Texas Elite Moving:
A full-service move for a three-bedroom house: $500-$1,000. This cost includes three people packing for approximately four hours and five or six hours of loading, moving and unloading time.
Standard moving service on a three-bedroom house: $1,000-$1,500. This cost includes three people and five or six hours of loading, moving and unloading time.
Specialty Moving Costs
Delicate and oversize items, like your pool table or baby grand piano, require special handling. There may be an additional charge for moving these items, as technical expertise is important for safely transporting them without damage.
National Average Cost to Move Specialty Items:
If you have lots of unusual items, you may require special assistance in moving them to ensure their safety and want a moving quote that covers those items. Specifically, if you have a pool table or baby grand piano, improper moving can do real damage to their delicate components. Unless your local moving company is specially trained to move pool tables or baby grand pianos, it may be wise to hire a specialist.
National pool table moving costs can range between $300 and $450, but you're more likely to end up with a perfectly reassembled table that's completely level. For example, Beck's Billiards of Glendale, Arizona, charges $239 to move a 7-foot table, $249 for an 8-foot table and $299 for a 9-foot table. Mileage and stairs may incur extra fees.
The cost of moving a piano will vary depending on your location and any obstacles such as stairs. The pro piano movers should set it back up and tune it to your liking in your new location.
In addition to specialty items, some companies may have additional charges (beyond their hourly rate) for disassembling and reassembling furniture or moving extremely heavy items. Communicate clearly with your movers beforehand, and let them know what needs to be moved to prevent any confusion on move-out/move-in day. Keep in mind that auxiliary tasks that require extra work may increase costs and ask for these to be itemized in your moving estimate.
>> Moving Only One Item? Find a Single-Item Mover Near You
If you choose to store your belongings with a self-storage company, your costs might be cheaper or more expensive than storing your items with a moving company. However, your moving company may offer storage at reduced rates if you bundle their storage services and moving services at the same time.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Moving?
Before hiring a mover, keep these cost factors in mind -- they could affect how much you'll pay for movers.
Number of Movers (and How Many Hours They Work)
The cost to hire professional local movers is often calculated on an hourly rate, which can increase as more movers or moving trucks are needed. Your geographic location will also affect your hourly rate. Often, cities with a higher cost of living have higher local moving rates than smaller cities with a lower cost of living, which accounts for higher costs of doing business, such as workers' comp, insurance and labor. For example, Elite Moving San Diego, Inc. charges an hourly rate that increases with each additional mover you require. Two movers are $105 per hour, three movers are $135 per hour and four movers are $155 per hour.
Texas Elite Moving, based in Dripping Springs, Texas, has estimated hourly rates that vary based on the number of movers and trucks. Its hourly rates also account for furniture assembly and disassembly as needed. The company's trucks arrive with premium quilted moving pads and shrink-wrap to protect items, and the movers use equipment and dollies to maximize efficiency.
Individual job prices will always depend on your circumstances, so for exact quotes, it's important to communicate directly with the moving company you plan to hire. Here are the average estimated base hourly moving rates for Texas Elite Moving:
|2 movers, 1 truck||$100 per hour|
|3 movers, 1 truck||$145 per hour|
|4 movers, 1 truck||$190 per hour|
|4 movers, 2 truck||$200 per hour|
Also, keep in mind that service fees may apply when booking a company's moving services.
Number of Rooms in Your Home
In general, the larger the house, the higher the moving cost. Seasoned movers often can provide a ballpark number for moving costs based on the number and type of rooms in a house. However, your home might be different, and that's why most moving companies will need to do a site visit to provide you with a true estimate for services.
Home size is not always an indicator of how many belongings a person has. For example, you and your partner may have more items in your two-bedroom apartment than a single person has in a three-bedroom home.
Stairs and Other Obstacles
Other factors that may affect your hourly rate are logistical challenges such as stairs or steep driveways, or having many fragile items that require extremely delicate handling.
Anything that makes the move take longer or that demands more physical exertion on the part of the movers can increase the cost. Stairs at the initial move site or the new destination can increase moving costs because they require more work for movers and present more risk of injury or damage. Narrow passageways, steep driveways, lack of parking out front, and the presence or absence of elevators are other factors that can influence your local moving costs.
How movers charge for obstacles may depend on the company. Some moving companies have set rates for stairs, such as $50 to $70 per flight of stairs. If you live on a top floor and the moving company has to transport all of your belongings down in the elevator, they may have a one-time fee, such as $75 to $100.
During your initial call with the movers, it's important to provide as many details as possible. This allows them to provide you with the most accurate estimate and to ensure the safest and most efficient move for your belongings. They'll be able to bring any special necessary equipment needed to navigate the obstacles or maneuver furniture in tight places.
Distance of Your Move
Travel may affect the price of local moving costs. Some companies don't charge mileage unless the distance is over 50 miles, while others do.
For example, Texas Elite Moving's base local moving fee is $100 per hour, and the company does not charge for mileage if the distance covered is under 50 miles. Beyond 50 miles, however, a mileage fee applies. Moving date could also affect travel costs with moves over the holidays or during peak season (typically summer in most areas) costing more.
Companies have to take distance into account to ensure they're meeting their costs for the time that driving can require, the cost of fuel for large moving trucks, and the cost of upkeep on their moving trucks. Confirm how distance is handled in the contract before signing.
How Much Should You Tip Movers?
An easy rule of thumb for local moves is to tip your movers 5 to 10 percent of the total bill. Tipping 5 percent is reasonable for standard local moves where the pros are in and out in a half-day. Tipping 10 percent can be appropriate when the movers were also packing your boxes and had a long workday.
Tips can be split up among all the movers, but many companies recommend you give the tip directly to each worker -- not only to recognize their effort but also to ensure that each one receives their share.
However, you are not required to provide a tip. But remember: It is a much-appreciated gesture for a job well done.
How to Save Money When Moving
Packing all boxes ahead of time is a big cost saver. Having all your boxes well organized and labeled (on all sides of the box) also make packing and unpacking easier. And if you're paying by the hour, this saves you cash.
When gathering boxes to pack for your move, be sure to find ones strong enough for the task. Moving boxes provided by moving companies have double walls that can support the weight of other boxes and furniture stacked on top of them. If you use single-wall boxes, the sides could crumble, damaging your goods inside.
Clearly labeling each box also saves you time because the movers can put the boxes in the appropriate rooms as they're unloading them.
Disassembling furniture is another way to save money. Pro movers will usually disassemble furniture for you, but if you're able to take things apart yourself, it can cut back on the number of labor hours you pay for.
Moving Mistakes to Avoid
Moving can be stressful, and it's easy to make mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can end up costing you money or wasting your precious time.
The experts at Texas Elite Moving have tips for you to have the most successful move possible. They've moved thousands of families, and these are the most common mistakes they encounter:
- Not downsizing before the move. Going through your belongings before you pack them allows you to donate or sell items you don't want. Otherwise, you're paying someone to pack and move unwanted stuff for you.
- Only partially packing boxes. If your moving boxes aren't filled to the top, you lose out on moving space and risk damaging items inside when they get bounced around.
- Using the wrong sized boxes. Don't fill large boxes with books or other heavy items. The movers, and your belongings, are more likely to get hurt when improper packing occurs.
- Not being ready when the movers arrive. If you're paying for standard moving services, you're likely paying by the hour. If you don't pack and organize your belongings, that means more work for the movers -- and more money you have to pay. Make sure you're packed and ready to go on moving day.
- Unlabeled boxes. Label each side of each box with a description of the box's contents. At a minimum, label one end and one side of each box. This protects your more delicate belongings during the move and helps you find things when you unpack.
- No room labels on the boxes. On each side of each box, mark which room you want that box to go in the new home. This helps the movers unload the boxes into the right rooms, making your life far easier when it's time to unpack.
- Mixing up boxes. If you're putting some items in storage and some items in your new home, label each box very clearly. Use flag tape (from any big-box store) in two separate colors to indicate which furniture and boxes go to your home and the storage facility.
How to Hire a Local Moving Company
Looking for a trustworthy team that will get the job done safely and efficiently is no easy task. But if you follow these steps, you'll likely have an easier time finding a reputable moving company:
- Start by reading customer reviews. Look for clues as to the company's punctuality, safety and successful completion of jobs.
- Ask for quotes from a few local movers to find a reliable company with a price you can afford. Be wary of any company that offers you a price that seems too good to be true.
- Verify that the mover or moving company is licensed and insured in the state where you hire them to avoid financial loss in the long run. You can verify their license number with your state's regulating body. Shane Harris of Texas Elite Moving explains that licensing and insurance hold the company accountable for damages or losses. He also recommends that you be clear on the damage policy before signing a contract. Homeowners and renters insurance usually does not cover your belongings while they are in transit for a move. This is why it's critical to hire a local moving company that has an insurance and liability policy that will cover you in case of any accidents.
- Ask about the moving company's hiring process, including whether they perform background checks on their employees and whether they hire day laborers or have full-time, trained moving staff.
- Be wary of movers who ask for a full fee upfront. When you hire movers, you may pay a deposit to secure a date and time. But, it's a red flag if a company requests payment in full before they've rendered services.
Be sure you have a written contract and a non-binding estimate before hiring movers. Joy Hall of Joyful Movers in Cary, North Carolina explains that you'll fill out a bill of lading (BOL) before the move takes place, which will outline all the charges and fees associated with your move and the valuation of your belongings on the BOL. If there is any uncertainty about pricing, clarify before signing the BOL.
For more guidelines on how to hire the best movers for your move, check out Thumbtack's tips for smart hiring.
>> Get a Quote Today: Find a Local Mover Near You
Video Transcript: How Much Do Movers Cost?
"The typical price range for hiring movers just depends on what type of service that you're looking to get. Perhaps you're looking to get load and unload, [which] will typically run you somewhere between $80 to $120 an hour for two movers and moving truck. If you're looking for labor-only assistance, that could run you somewhere between $40 to $100 an hour.
So, we determine the hourly rate based off of the size of the home [and] how many boxes that they're looking to move.
Things that do cost extra when hiring movers [are] covers for your beds -- that often won't occur an extra cost -- as well as boxes. If you require boxes for your move and packing services, we often ask individuals to purchase those things just because they'll save them a lot more money.
We've done enough moves to understand how long a move will typically take ... If you have a five- or seven-bedroom home, you'll save more money and time -- mostly time -- going with more movers than less movers. Because two movers to move a five-bedroom house will take probably two days, whereas if you had a six- or seven-man crew -- very solid crew, enough equipment and trucks -- you can have them knocked out in one day within five to eight hours."