How to Calculate the Cost of Movers (and 5 Tips to Save You Money)

Find out how to get your stuff from A to B without spending a fortune

iStock.com/Damir Khabirov

So you’ve signed a lease for a new apartment or are just about to. Congratulations! If your move will require you (and your stuff) to relocate to another city, state, or even country, we’re here to help. So what are the moving costs you’ll have to pay to get your stuff from A to B? That’s a good question. We’ll help you break down the costs of every part of your move so you can budget accordingly. 

Get an estimate from a moving company

There are a lot of varying factors when it comes to calculating the cost of moving long-distance. If you’re planning on hiring a moving company, call around and ask a few for estimates. Ask about specific things like mileage, the weight of the load, the moving company’s minimum charge, etc. Even your desired move-out date can affect the price of movers.

In general, you can expect to pay the following for a move of approximately 1,000 miles:

  • $1,500 for a studio apartment
  • $1800 – $2500 for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • $3500 – $4200 for a 2-bedroom home

Keep in mind that this is the basic cost, without any extra professional relocation services included. For a full service moving company, i.e. one that packs and unpacks all your boxes, assembles furniture, and even cleans, expect to pay even more. Use a moving cost calculator to get a more accurate estimate for your specific situation and choose the date you want to move. 

Extra costs of moving

Now that you have a general ballpark range, you need to be aware of some of the extra costs of moving; they can sneak up on you. Let’s take a look:

  • Stair fees – if your building doesn’t have an elevator you might get stung with a stair fee for the movers to haul everything upstairs manually without the help of an elevator. 
  • Fees for moving large items – make your movers aware of any large items prior to moving day. Otherwise, you could get hit with some additional charges on the day of.
  • Care for valuable items – you’ll pay more to make sure fragile artwork, expensive items, and antiques are treated with extra care.
  • Last-minute storage – if you have too much furniture you might have to store it until you can sell it or donate it. 
  • Tip for the movers – your movers might expect a generous tip for all their hard work. As a guideline, most people will tip their movers 5-10% of the bill.

How to save on moving costs

Even though a long-distance move can set you back a pretty penny, here are a few ways you can save on moving costs.

Be flexible with your season

Moving costs tend to jump sharply during summer because everyone takes advantage of the great weather. If you want to save money, the cheapest season to move is winter. If you’re worried about snow, another option is to move during the off-months, such as March, April, May, August, September, October or November. 

Move midweek

Weekends tend to be more expensive for moving since everyone wants to book a truck on their days off. Choose to move midweek, if you can, and you’ll save some money.

Move early morning or late evening

If you can move midweek then book for early morning or late evening to miss rush hour traffic. Many moving companies charge per hour–and some per half hour–so the longer it takes for your movers to get to your new place, the more you’ll pay.

Lighten the load

The more stuff you cart to your new place, the more expensive your moving costs. The answer? Have a clean out and get rid of anything you don’t plan to use in the near future. Chances are you won’t miss any of it, especially if Marie Kondo has anything to say about it.  

Choose an affordable moving company

Read reviews and compare reputable companies that fit within your budget. Remember, cheap is not always the best as it can end up costing more if your stuff is damaged and they refuse to fix it. You should choose a moving company you feel comfortable with, and if you decide to get insurance, always read the fine print before you sign anything.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to calculating the cost of moving. If you’re still looking for your new place, check out thousands of rentals on Zumper so you can start comparing moving companies once you know exactly where you’re headed.

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