moving estimate

Moving Estimates: How Much Do Movers Cost?

If you’re planning a move in the near future, one of the first things you’ll want to know is – how much will professional movers cost me? Moving companies typically charge by the hour or by weight/cubic feet moved. Rates vary widely depending on move size, distance, services required, region, and move date.

When budgeting for a move, most reputable moving companies will provide you with a binding or non-binding estimate after surveying your home and possessions. 

Binding estimates guarantee the final cost won’t exceed the quoted price. Non-binding moving estimates provide a ballpark figure but don’t lock in the final charges.

What Is the Cost of Professional Movers?

As a rough estimate, for a local move within 50 miles, you might pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. A long-distance move could cost several thousand dollars, depending on the distance and the size of your move.

To get an accurate movers’ cost estimate, it’s recommended to contact several of the best moving companies in your area and request quotes based on your specific needs and circumstances. 

Be sure to ask about any potential additional charges or fees and inquire about their insurance coverage. This will help you plan your budget more effectively for your upcoming move.

Cost of a Local Move

For local moves within 50 miles or so, most companies charge by the hour instead of weight. These moving estimates can vary greatly depending on how many movers are needed, truck rental fees, and if the company charges by weight instead of by hour. Here are typical moving costs for some common local move sizes:

Type of ResidenceNumber of MoversAverage Cost Range
Studio Apartment2 movers$200-$500
1 Bedroom Apartment2 movers$300-$700
2-3 Bedroom House2-3 movers$500-$1,200
4-5 Bedroom House3-4 movers$800-$2,500

Please note that these estimates are rough averages and can vary depending on your specific location, the amount of belongings you have, the distance of the move, and any additional services you may require (e.g., packing, unpacking, furniture assembly). 

It’s always a good idea to obtain quotes from local moving companies for a more accurate moving cost estimate based on your unique circumstances.

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How Much Do Movers Cost Per Hour?

Hourly rates for movers depend on region, company size, move complexity, and number of movers needed. Here are the average per-hour costs:

House SizeNumber of MoversNumber of HoursTotal Average Cost
Studio Apt.2 movers2-4 hours$200-$400 per hour
1 Bedroom Apt.2 movers3-5 hours$250-$500 per hour
2 Bedroom House2 movers4-6 hours$300-$600 per hour
3 Bedroom House3 movers5-7 hours$400-$800 per hour
4 Bedroom House3-4 movers6-8 hours$500-$1,000 per hour
5 Bedroom House4 movers7-9 hours$600-$1,200 per hour

It is important to keep in mind that these are approximate cost estimates, and actual prices may vary based on your location, the specific moving company’s rates, any additional services required (packing, unpacking, disassembly/reassembly), and other factors such as the accessibility of your current and new residence.

Cost of a Long-Distance Move

For state-to-state moves, costs are primarily calculated by weight and mileage. If you want to understand how much it costs to move a house, here are average costs for some common long-haul move sizes:

Type of ResidenceDistance (Miles)Average Cost Range
Studio Apartment500-1,000 miles$1,000-$3,000
1 Bedroom Apartment500-1,000 miles$1,200-$4,000
2-3 Bedroom House500-1,000 miles$2,500-$6,000
4-5 Bedroom House500-1,000 miles$4,000-$10,000

Please remember that these are rough estimates and can vary significantly based on several factors, including the specific origin and destination, the volume of belongings, the level of packing and unpacking services required, and any additional services such as storage or specialty item handling.

What Factors Affect Moving Cost?

Many variables influence the overall expense of your move. Here is an overview of the main cost factors:

Size of Your Move – The larger your home in square footage and number of rooms, the more time and materials are needed to move your belongings. 

Studio apartments can often move within a few hours, while sprawling 5-bedroom homes may take multiple days with larger moving crews dedicating more man-hours. Take inventory of all possessions to determine required truck space/trips.

Distance Between Locations – Local moves under 50 miles are mostly charged hourly or by flat fee based on home size. Long-distance moves over 50+ miles incur weight-based charges for transport plus food/lodging for the crew. Cross-country relocations cost the most.

Packing/Unpacking Services Requested – Full packing by movers can add over $1,000 or more plus materials costs for larger homes. Consider DIY packing non-fragiles to save money. Specialty packing for valuables, custom crating, and electronics handling will also increase costs.

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Assembly/Disassembly Needed – If movers must disassemble and reassemble furnishings like bed frames, cribs, desks, chandeliers, etc, it takes more billable hours and labor versus simply loading/unloading items.

Moving Dates – Peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day spikes demand. Movers charge premium rates in summer. Fall and winter see lower rates and better availability if the timing is flexible.

Supplies Needed – Providing your own moving boxes, tape, padding, and equipment is cheaper than movers supplying everything which gets marked up. Aim to self-supply around 80% of materials.

Added Services/Fees – Stair carries, shuttle trips, elevation charges, specialty item moving, storage, and more lead to higher total spending. Understand what is covered in initial quotes versus what will incur added fees.

Additional Costs of Moving to Consider

Be aware of potential surcharges when getting an estimate:

  • Stair Carry Fee: For multi-story homes, you may be charged per flight of stairs if large furniture must be carried up or down.
  • Specialty Moving: Safely move valuables like pianos, safes, artwork, and fragile items with specialty movers. Expect added costs.
  • Shuttle Fee: If the movers’ truck doesn’t fit at your pickup/drop-off location, a shuttle truck will be required for an extra fee.
  • Elevator Fee: Multi-story buildings often charge companies to reserve the elevator. This cost gets passed onto you.
  • Additional Stops: Extra pickup or delivery locations like storage units will increase your final bill.
  • Expedited Services: Last-minute or mid-month moves may incur rush order rates from some companies.
  • Tipping: Plan on tipping movers 15-25% of the total cost, either cash or added to your final bill.

How to Calculate the Cost of Movers

The best way to estimate your total moving costs is to contact companies, describe your upcoming move and possessions, and request an on-site estimate. Reputable movers will provide binding or non-binding estimates detailing all expected expenses based on the abovementioned factors.

You can also get a ballpark range online using moving cost calculators. Input details like move size, distance, dates, and services needed. The calculator will provide an average cost estimate. Just note online estimates can be less reliable than actual in-home estimates.

How to Save Money When Moving

If your upcoming move has flexibility, use these insider tips to minimize expenses of your moving cost:

  • Plan Early: Book movers 4-8 weeks in advance to get the best rates. Last minute moves can really inflate costs.
  • Create a Moving Checklist: Detail all household items and furniture to be moved. Give movers the clearest picture possible of the job.
  • Take Advantage of Realtor Rebate Programs: Consider taking advantage of a realtor rebate program. ARC Relocation offers cash-back rebates when you use an ARC agent and movers. You can save up to $2,500 on your move.
  • Look for Coupons and Discounts: Check company websites for current promotions and savings opportunities, like moving coupons to offset costs. Discounts are often available for senior citizens, military members, veterans, students, etc.
  • Sell Your Home Partly Furnished: Consider selling some furniture with your home. The less you move, the lower your bill.
  • Book Your Move Early in the Day: Aim for 8 am start times. Late-day moves risk going into overtime wages if delayed.
  • Measure All Doors and Access Points in Your Home: Alert movers of the largest doorways and any tight spaces or corners to navigate in advance.
  • Move During the Off Season: Avoid peak June-August dates if possible. Fall and winter see lower industry demand.

Questions to Ask Moving Companies Before Booking

Getting detailed estimates is key, but you also want to vet the moving company thoroughly before entrusting your belongings with them. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in business? Choose an established company that has been around for 10+ years.
  • What types of certifications and licenses do you carry? Look for DOT numbers, motor carrier operating authority, liability insurance, and movers’ association memberships.
  • Do you conduct background checks on movers? Opt for yes.
  • What training programs are in place? Well-trained crews minimize mishaps.
  • What is your track record for safe deliveries with minimal damages? Get customer reviews.
  • What protocols are in place for carefully moving valuables? Specialty items need white glove service.
  • How are customer complaints resolved if they arise? Aim for in-house resolution managers.
  • Will the same crew pack and unpack, or will different crews work on my move? Consistency is preferable.

Get all promises of special handling, insurance coverage, and guaranteed pick-up/delivery times in writing on binding contracts.

Moving Estimates: FAQs

How far in advance should I request estimates?

It’s best to request estimates from multiple moving companies 4-8 weeks before your planned move date. This gives you enough time to thoroughly compare bids, vet company reputations, and make the best choice. Avoid asking for estimates during the peak June-August moving season when demand is highest. Last-minute moves often get charged premium rates.

Should I tip the moving crew?

Yes, it is customary to tip professional movers 15-25% of the total cost. You can either pay cash tips on the day of the move when the job is complete or add a tip to your final bill ahead of time. Base tips on the company size, number of crew members, distance moved, and ease of handling your possessions (like lifting heavy furniture).

What if my possessions are damaged during my move?

Before the move, ask your moving company about full replacement value protection policies to cover any item damage or loss. Get your valuables professionally appraised before showing proof of value. Perform a thorough walkthrough at delivery before the movers leave. Document and photograph any damage immediately to file claims.

Are binding estimates 100% guaranteed?

Binding estimates legally cap the final amount you will pay for long-distance moves based on weight. Even if extra labor or materials were required, a binding estimate shields you from going over budget. Non-binding estimates are not guaranteed, and your final charges can change at delivery depending on additional services rendered over the binding quote.

Do I have to pay more if I’m moving to/from a 2nd floor unit or home?

Potentially yes. Expect to pay additional stair carry fees if heavy items like sofas, beds, pianos, or appliances need to be maneuvered up or downstairs. 

When getting estimates, ask prospective moving companies if they charge extra for multi-floor carries, how much per flight of stairs, and if there is a weight limit per crew member. Knowing stair fees ahead of time allows you to budget accurately.

Final Thoughts

Moving can be exciting and stressful. Getting accurate moving estimates early on sets realistic cost expectations so you can budget accordingly. 

Carefully read all contracts and understand fees for add-ons, packing supplies, and insurance to avoid surprise charges. With thoughtful planning, tips from this guide, and reputable movers, you can stay on budget and focus on the fun parts of relocating.

The Agoyu moving app can help you find the best local and long-distance moving companies equipped to handle your move. Check out the Agoyu moving app today.

Bill Mulholland

Bill Mulholland is the owner of ARC Relocation, a company that relocates thousands of employees annually, to every state in the United States, and more than 90 foreign countries, for organizations like DHL,, GNC, and the U.S. Government. Bill also owns a real estate brokerage and title company in Virginia.