Did you just score a deal on a fantastic new abode? You’re ready to leave your old life behind and get a fresh start in a new home or apartment. There’s only one thing standing in your way:  moving. Packing all of your worldly possessions in bubble wrap and packing paper and transporting them from one living situation to another can be a pricey process. While you would love to pay for some assistance, you might be wondering how much do movers cost? Don’t worry, we are here to help with some tips and considerations to make hiring movers easier.

What is the cost of hiring movers?

The average cost to hire a professional moving company for a local move ranges from $80 to $100 per hour all the way up to an hourly rate of $2,172, contingent on the scope of household goods you’ll be transporting. These costs include a team of professional movers, a moving truck rental, up to 100 miles of distance, and some heavy lifting. However, the price tag of hiring movers can prove tedious because even “full-service movers” might throw additional fees into the mix depending on your move date or the size of your move. And a long distance move will almost always be more costly than a local move. Make a moving budget with estimated costs, long before you move out, so you don’t break the bank on additional services.

Image of two movers putting together boxes. "Moving 101 - The average local mover costs $30- $80 per hour"

Consult a moving calculator

If you’re moving from a studio apartment to a two bedroom apartment, it stands to reason you may not be transporting too much. However if you’re upsizing to a multiple bedroom home, pricing might be more expensive due to the sheer volume of items being transported. Thankfully there are moving cost calculators that can help approximate costs. Just plug in your zip code, moving date, size of your home, and how many bedrooms worth of possessions you’ll be moving and the cost calculator will give an estimated cost and help you gauge an accurate moving quote. Don’t forget to tip!

Flat rate vs. hourly

How do you know if it’s better to hire movers at a flat rate or pay hourly?

Flat rate

Pros: A flat rate package might include all sorts of things that will save a headache, such as a truck, packing supplies, heavy lifting, packing services, and unpacking services.

Cons: A flat rate move can cost as much as $2,000 in total. If you do not need built-in services, a moving company’s flat rate might prove needlessly expensive.

Hourly

Pros: Local movers can charge anywhere between $25 to $50 per hour, and per worker. Hourly rates might help you avoid paying a large fee up front amidst other large moving related bills (e.g. first and last month’s rent).

Cons:  If you need a considerably large number of movers (i.e. three or more) hourly rates can escalate quickly. Local/hourly mover rates may not include a truck rental or a dolly. Be sure to confirm once you get a moving quote.

All told, the more moving materials and services you require, the more you might benefit from a flat rate. And the simpler your move, the more you might benefit from an hourly rate. You can compare hourly rates to flat rates by multiplying your estimated amount of hours needed to move by the hourly rates; alternatively, you can compare flat rates to hourly by dividing the flat rates by the estimated hours. As you compare, consider the services provided by each company, built-in vs. add-on.

Long distance vs. short

Most local movers are willing to move you within fifty miles without adding to moving costs. However, if you are planning on a cross country move, say from Miami to New York City, you’re in for a long drive. Typically, long distance movers charge based on the total weight (per pound) of your household possessions. A two-bedroom, interstate move from Florida to New York using a professional moving company could cost anywhere from $2,100 to $7,800. There may also be an additional cost for specialty packaging or padding for fragile items that could shift in a long distance journey.

How to save cash during a move

Would you like to decrease your moving costs and save money? Try a few of these tips:

  • Move on a weekday. Most folks want to move on a weekend to save their vacation days, but as a result there is increased demand and subsequently higher costs for moving on weekends. 

  • Pack proactively. Make sure everything is in boxes, ready to go when the movers arrive so that the movers can simply pick up your belongings and put them in the moving truck and get on the road. This saves time and money. Being unprepared is costly.

  • Get rid of things. If you have fewer items to move, moving costs are cut. It’s easy to accumulate objects, so moving to a new home is a great time to reevaluate the usefulness of your possessions. 

  • Hire movers early. Book professional movers 30-90 days in advance to avoid last minute price hikes. 

Image of two movers with a large wrapped frame. "Moving 101 - Items requiring specialty padding or wrapping - like art - often cost extra.

What if I want to move myself?

Say, you’re a do it yourself type and would prefer to move yourself? If you decide to go the DIY route, be prepared to do the following:

  1. Book a moving truck - Make sure to check out the size truck you’ll need based on how much you will be moving, and book ahead of your trip so you won’t have to worry about it as you finish packing.

  2. Buy a bunch of packing supplies - You’ll want to make sure to have enough supplies such as bubble wrap, tape, and furniture pads to make sure that your items get to your destination safely.

  3. Do the heavy lifting yourself or if you’re in NYC, get a TaskRabbit to help. Paying for more independent, generalized services through service providers like TaskRabbit can help you pay for a more modest amount of assistance.

  4. Or simply bribe your friends with pizza and beer to help out. The cost of paying for a few pizzas and six-pack will likely be less than the cost required to hire professional movers to provide similar assistance.

If the thought of this doesn’t add to your level of anxiety, go for it. But ask yourself: Do you trust your friends to carry the glass table that’s been in your family since World War II or would you rather leave this to a professional moving company? Also, consider other factors, such as the required fast pace of a local move in a crowded city, that ultimately make hiring local moving companies a worthwhile investment.

No matter how you slice it, moving is stressful, but if you declutter, book early, and calculate your needs, finding the right moving services could lessen your burden and make your next move easier.

larenz-brown
Larenz Brown

Larenz Brown is a copywriter at Rhino who wants to tell stories that empower people. He once engaged in a 365-day staredown with a security deposit and emerged victorious.