Typical moving expenses
Whatever kind of move you’re planning, the moving expenses you’ll incur will vary based on the level of service you’re looking for:
- Just a truck rental: The ultimate DIY move, in this scenario you’ll be doing the packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking on your own, with just the help of a rental truck. Flat per-day rates start at around $20 per day, depending on the size of the truck, plus charges for gas and mileage.
- Loading, transportation, and unloading: Save your back by doing all the packing and unpacking yourself, but have professional movers do the heavy lifting. For a local move, this service can range from $200 for a one-bedroom apartment to $2,000+ for a 4-bedroom house.
- Full-service moves: Leave everything to the pros, including wrapping and packing your belongings, loading them, transporting them to your new home, and unloading. You’ll just be responsible for unpacking your belongings and getting settled. This type of move is usually used for long-distance moves. Expect to pay roughly $2,000-$5,000 for the transportation, plus about 50 cents per pound, plus $25-$50 per hour, per mover for packing and unpacking help.
- Temporary storage: If your moving dates don’t line up exactly, you may find yourself needing to temporarily stash your things in a storage unit or moving container. Storage facility rates start at about $50 per month for a small unit, and go up to $300 or $400 for larger units. If you’d like the convenience of a portable storage unit that’s delivered to your home, loaded by you, and stored in a warehouse until you’re ready for re-delivery, expect to pay $150-$300 per month, plus delivery and re-delivery costs.
- Moving supplies: Instead of buying and then recycling boxes, you can go green and rent hard plastic boxes for your move. Prices start at about $50 per week for enough boxes to pack a 1-bedroom apartment, and up to $200 to pack a large house. Once you’re done, the rental service will pick up the boxes. To save money on cardboard boxes, check your local “buy nothing” group or moving truck rental company, which often have used boxes on hand.
Additional costs of moving
- When calculating your relocation budget, make sure to keep in mind these unexpected moving costs:
- A transportation surcharge if the moving company pays workers more for working in metropolitan areas, where labor costs are often higher.
- You may opt to purchase full value protection insurance. Released value protection is typically included by movers at no cost, but the protection is minimal — just 60 cents per pound per article lost or damaged.
- Charges for moving vehicles, including cars, boats, and motorcycles.
- Surcharges for moving large or fragile items — think swing sets, pianos, extra-large furniture, or riding lawn mowers.
- Additional charges if the movers have to walk more than 75 feet from door to truck, or if they need to use stairs or an elevator.
- Additional charges if your street is too narrow to accommodate a moving truck and they’ll need to shuttle your belongings with a smaller truck.
- You may find yourself paying unexpected moving costs if there’s a delay in the availability of your new home and the moving company has to put your items into storage.
Moving cost agreements
Any reputable moving company should provide you with a quote before your move, using the industry-standard rate book published by the Household Goods Carrier Bureau, called the Tariff 400-N. There are two main types of moving quotes:
- Non-binding estimates are the industry standard. They reflect the company’s best guess as to what your final bill will be, but they can often be inaccurate. Whenever possible, opt for not-to-exceed quote.
- Not-to-exceed estimates are quotes where the moving company commits to a maximum price.