Planning Your Move on a Budget: Expert Tips for Saving Money on Relocation Costs

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The costs of moving are inevitable. What is the cost of moving? A reputable moving company will charge customers around $1,710 locally or $4,823 to move long distances.

Even though moving to a new city or house can be exciting and adventurous, packing, transporting, and unpacking all of your belongings is a chore that makes anyone dread it. Once you start, the process will be easier.

Renters and homeowners can reduce the stress of moving by using the best moving company. Next, you might ask, “How much will moving cost?” HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost of a local move is $1,710. HomeAdvisor reports that a moving company's average cost of a long-distance move is $4,797. The cost of moving is determined by the number of items being moved, the distance, the number and type of rooms, and the supplies or additional services required. This guide will tell you everything a homeowner or tenant needs to know to estimate moving costs.

Calculating the Cost of Moving: Factors to Consider

It's difficult to determine the cost of moving using a standard formula because every home and its contents are unique. Moving costs can quickly increase whether someone uses a moving company specializing in interstate moves, a local moving service, or no movers. Distance and the amount of goods to be moved are the two most important factors determining a move's cost. The size of the vehicle or vehicles being moved, the time and labor needed, as well as any additional services or supplies, are all factors that customers should consider. Location and time of the year can also affect total cost.

Move Distance

Moving around the neighborhood is by far the most affordable move. It's a short distance, and you won't need much help or care packing. Moving from one end of a city to another can be expensive. Residential movers will ensure that all items are packed safely for the bumpy road trip. A moving company will charge you an average of $1710 for a move within 100 miles.

Moving belongings beyond 100 miles or across state borders is best done by a long-distance mover. These companies are the best at moving across the country and have the equipment and expertise to transport the goods safely. The average long-distance moving cost is $4,823. How much does it cost for you to move across the country? Moving coast-to-coast can cost up to $10,000.

As the distance between the two cities is not usually significant, moving won't be a problem if your belongings are ready and packed. The time required for long-distance moving is much greater, so you will pay more to cover the driver's effort and time. You can estimate time and distance by using an online map. Remember that moving at rush hour can dramatically increase travel time.

Home Size

A studio apartment has fewer belongings than a four-bedroom house. The first or second thing moving companies ask customers who search for “moving companies near me” is, “How many rooms will be moved?” The company will try to determine what type of rooms will be relocated. The majority of TVs and furniture in family rooms are fragile. Attics and garages can be stuffed with boxes. Bedrooms are usually filled with heavy furniture. The factors are taken into consideration to determine the custom quote. Moving the contents of a one-bedroom house over 250 miles can cost between $750 to $1,500. A four-bedroom home moving the same distance could cost as much as $2,500.

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Size and Type of Moving Vehicle

A moving vehicle is essential for hauling everything, whether a customer hires a moving helper or company or attempts the journey alone. Moving trucks are available in different sizes based on the number of moved rooms. Small apartments with only a few pieces may need a small trailer. A 26-foot truck can usually hold the contents of four bedrooms, but larger homes may require a 52-foot semi-truck from a moving company.

A moving pod can be rented from one of the top moving container companies like U-haul or Pods. This option is also a great way to move and store. The container will be dropped on the property and packed by the renter or homeowner at their convenience. Professional movers can also help. A driver will then pick up the moving pod and transport it to the new house or storage facility once it is packed. It is a flexible option that can be appealing. Moving pods cost, on average, $3,000.


What is the cost of hiring a mover? Local movers charge a flat rate for a move involving a certain number of rooms. This fee is usually between $25 and $50 per hour. This fee can change quickly depending on several factors. If there are heavier items, extra movers may be required. The cost of handling fragile items can be higher if there are more. The cost of moving items up and down stairs or in apartments without elevators can be increased.

Moving Supplies

Moving supplies can be a hidden cost of moving. They are needed to pack and transport your possessions safely. Most moves will require moving boxes, tapes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and possibly specialty boxes or blankets for glassware and china. It's normal for college students to throw everything into the back seat of their car when they move to a new dorm room or apartment. However, this is not feasible for someone moving long distances with furniture from a whole household. Some moving companies include the cost of moving supplies in their total price.

Date of the Month and Time

Prices tend to increase in the spring and summer as demand increases. Weekends are also the most expensive days to move because many people want to avoid having to take time off from work. Midweek moves are usually cheaper and more available in most areas. Avoid moving during or around holidays because these dates are usually more expensive.

Additional Costs and Considerations

Other expenses can be added to the cost of moving. Some extra costs are not included in moving cost calculators and should be considered when planning and budgeting.

Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability insurance is a wise decision and, in many cases, a legal requirement for customers who entrust their valuables to movers. Most moving companies offer a variety of insurance packages, including basic and full coverage. Customers must choose the right insurance package if they are moving expensive items. Basic insurance does not cover all costs. Some customers opt for insurance from their existing home or renter's insurance provider.

Additional Services

Customers may add packing services to their moving contract after assessing mountains of possessions and being unsure where to begin. Many homeowners and tenants believe they know how to pack, but it is best to leave this task to professionals to avoid any damage during the move. Moving companies can pack goods quickly and efficiently without spending time on sentimental items. The average cost of packing services for a house is around $1,000.

It is not always possible to have the customer move in immediately. Many local and long-distance movers offer storage to keep goods between moves. Costs may vary based on the time that items are to be stored. Add-on services include disassembling or reassembling items, providing wooden crating, or moving specialty items like pianos.

Additional Fees

When searching for “moving services near me,” it is clear that the rates and fees of local movers are similar. It's best to request a breakdown for each estimate. It is easier to determine the cost of additional fees and whether or not the service is needed. If you are moving house on the same day, a storage fee will not be required.

If the company accepts tips, customers may consider tipping movers. It is customary to thank movers for literally doing all the heavy lifting. Most customers don't know how much they should tip their movers. A standard tip is 10 to 20 percent divided between the two movers. For movers that have gone the extra mile or for moves under $500, most people tip around 20 percent.

Specialty Items

The calculator will not always take into account every consideration. Moving pets can cost between $50 and $1,500. Packing and handling cages, aquariums, or other items require extra care. Pets need ventilation. Transporting more cars than drivers is expensive, averaging between $1,000 and $3,000 for each vehicle. Enclosed transport is better for classic or exotic cars but costs extra. Specialty items such as pianos, antiques, and safes might require an additional mover or a specialist. A piano costs around $400 to ship on average due to its size and fragility. Customers must contact movers to confirm they can transport specialty items.

Different Types of Moves

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Before choosing a moving company, customers should ensure they can meet their specific move's needs. These are the most popular types of moves.


Local moving companies are the most popular choice when moving within a state or city since their services are usually limited to distances up to 100 miles. Local moving companies cost between $911 to $2,514 and are typically charged per hour or by several movers. It may include unpacking and packing as well as other services.


What is the cost of moving out of state? Interstate moves are considered long-distance and cost between $700 to $5,000. However, moving across the country can be as expensive as $10,000. The best long-distance movers do not charge by the hour but by factors such as the weight of your items and the gas price. If you are unsure how to move from one state to another, planning the service at least two months in advance is essential. Full-service moving is also more expensive (it includes extra services like packing and unpacking).


Moving internationally or overseas will require the transfer of belongings via freight by air or sea rather than just loading up a vehicle. Customs and taxes can also complicate these moves. International moving services will handle these details, and customers can expect to spend between $6,000 to $20,000 for international moves.


A specialty moving service may be required for items such as antiques, artwork, or musical instruments requiring special care. Specialty movers are experienced and trained to move heavy, valuable, or fragile items. They ensure that the items reach their destination without damage. Specialty movers can charge anywhere from $100 to $2,000 depending on the items being moved.

Moving Home: DIY or Hiring a Professional?

It is expensive to move houses, especially when you add in closing costs. Renters and homeowners who choose not to hire an assistant are usually motivated to cut costs. It's easy, however, to underestimate how many packing supplies you need and even your truck's size. There are also safety and time considerations. Will you have enough time to move and pack? Is the renter or homeowner physically capable of moving the items? With the help of friends, someone can move quickly and safely into a smaller apartment without much furniture. However, a large house could be more time-consuming and difficult.

Hiring a local moving service is your best option when you need to move a whole household's worth of furniture and goods. The cost of hiring movers has an immediate benefit. This will surely save you time, effort, and stress. It can also prevent injury.

It's great to know that, unlike family and friends, movers won't be afraid or struggle with moving the largest pieces of furniture. They're professionals and do what they are paid to do. If you hire movers for a full-service move, which includes unpacking and packing services, it might make moving the best thing ever. Moving companies are trained to pack items correctly to avoid shifting or breaking. They also know how to safely move heavy items without causing injury. If an accident occurs, the moving company will compensate you, not the renter or homeowner.

How to Save Money When Moving

One of the most popular ways people save money is by reducing moving costs. Budgeting is essential during a relocation, as costs can quickly add up. You can save money by hiring one of the most affordable moving companies, but you also have other options.

  • Pack your belongings yourself: This will save you money. Even though it's convenient to let a moving company handle the packing hours, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself. Consider leaving extra-delicate items to the movers if you are unsure how to pack them.
  • Moving is all about three magic words: Donate, recycle, and dispose of. Moving less will save you money. Review all the items you have in your home and garage. Decide what needs to be donated, recycled, or thrown away. Items that are old or broken and haven't been used in years shouldn't be placed on a moving truck.
  • Set up a garage sale: Garage sales are a great way to make some money. Consider holding a garage or yard sale about a week before you move. If you have a neighbor planning a garage sale, ask them if they will sell your items at a flat rate or commission.
  • Collect free boxes: Moving boxes are one of the hidden costs associated with moving. Collecting as many boxes for free as possible is a great way to save. You can ask for boxes at your workplace or local shops. If you own fine stemware or china, buy the boxes designed to protect it during transportation. This is one expense that will always be worth it.
  • Look online for discount moving supplies: You can wrap dishes in towels if you have a constant supply. Compare prices online for tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper.
  • Move during the week: The weekend is usually the most expensive time to move, as almost everyone moves on Saturdays or Sundays. You should move during the week when there are more movers and lower rates.
  • Avoid moving during holidays: As with many other services, you'll be charged more for moving during a holiday. Avoid moving during holidays to keep your costs down.
  • Rent a moving van: Renting a moving van for a move just outside the local boundaries can sometimes be more cost-effective. Choose a moving truck that is the right size to fit your belongings. This will help you avoid paying too much for extra space.
  • Obtain multiple quotes: You should call several local moving companies to get a cost estimate. You can then compare the costs of different variables, like storage, access (stairs, for example), and distance.
  • Examine the contract thoroughly: Ask for a quote per line item to ensure no hidden charges in the contract. If there's an elevator, you shouldn't have to pay for the stairs.
  • Decide whether you prefer a contract with a fixed rate or an hourly rate: You might benefit from a fixed-rate contract if you know how long it will take you to move across town. Make sure the price is reasonable. You'll be charged more if the job is completed in less time than expected. You could also save money if it takes longer than expected.
  • Beware of quotes that are too low: A significantly lower price often indicates a company's lack of reputation. It's not always cheaper. Check the reviews of the company and ask for references.
  • Ask for help from family and friends: Friends and family may be willing to help you move your packed-up belongings. You can leave heavy furniture to movers if you don't think anyone in your family or friends is able or willing to move it. You can determine what you can handle by reading some professional moving tips.
  • Avoid eating out during the week that you are packing: Ordering pizza or takeout is a quick way to save time and avoid the kitchen. However, it can also be a great way to add to your expenses without realizing it. To avoid excessive food spending, consider preparing meals the week before you move.
  • Consider shipping your products: Are you moving a few boxes across the country? It may be cheaper to ship your boxes. Compare moving quotes and shipping quotes to determine which is best for you.
  • Deduct moving expenses: You may be eligible for a tax deduction if you move. Speak to an accountant about your move and whether it qualifies. Save all receipts relating to your move. You'll need these when you file your taxes.
  • Ask your loved ones or trusted friend to watch your children: Instead of paying for a babysitter to watch the children while you prepare the house for moving, ask a trusted friend or family member to help.
  • Keep your TV box: It is difficult to move a television. Save the original packaging and box in which the TV was shipped to ensure a safe move.
  • Check that the furniture you plan to bring with you will fit into your new house: Don't bring your furniture if it doesn't fit into the space you have in your new home or apartment. Sell or donate a heavy piece of furniture and buy a replacement that fits.

What Questions Should You Ask About Moving Company Cost?

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It can be difficult to trust your personal belongings with a moving company. Customers should ensure that the moving company is insured, licensed, and has a positive online reputation through customer reviews and Better Business Bureau (BBB). By researching ahead of time, customers can avoid the frustration of booking the wrong company. Customers can ask the following questions at the beginning of their search to better understand how much it costs to hire movers. This will help them choose the right one for their needs.

What to ask the moving company:

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • Are you insured, bonded, and licensed?
  • Can I speak to references?
  • Are you a registered Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) member? This is required for all interstate travel.
  • Are you a moving company that outsources to other companies?
  • Do you have background checks on all your employees?
  • Are your employees full-time or part-time?
  • Do you have workers' compensation coverage?
  • What documents do you need to provide before the moving day?
  • Are you able to offer insurance at full value?
  • Can you transport my car?

What questions to ask about cost:

  • Can I review a line-item quote?
  • Offer discounts to your customers?
  • How much do you charge to store your items?
  • Do you base your rates on weight, number of rooms, movers, etc.?
  • What will I be charged if my apartment doesn't have a lift?
  • Can you offer a fixed or hourly rate?
  • How much will it cost to pack my items?
  • What are the unexpected charges I should be prepared for?
  • Does the contract have binding or non-binding clauses?
  • Do you offer a free assessment of my possessions?
  • What are my options for payment? Requesting a large or full payment before the move is not recommended.
  • What is the cancellation policy of your company?

Question to ask regarding the move:

  • How long does it take to move?
  • How far will you go to get my stuff?
  • How many movers do you plan to assign?
  • What are the prohibited items?
  • Are your movers qualified to handle specialty items?
  • Can you ensure a pickup or delivery date for long-distance moves?
  • Do you have an inventory list that we can review together before the move?
  • How do you deal with loss or damage claims?
  • Do you provide shipment tracking? This is not a standard, but certain companies now offer tracking.

Final Thoughts

When planning a move, it is essential to know the expenses involved. The cost of moving can vary based on various factors such as distance, size of the move, and services required. It is advisable to obtain a detailed estimate from a reliable moving company like 5 Star Movers to make an informed decision.

Professional moving services can simplify the process and make it hassle-free. Their team of movers can provide customized solutions at affordable rates. They can offer full-service moving at transparent pricing. 

So, hiring professional movers is the right option if you're looking for dependable and cost-effective moving services.


When you have to move an entire family, it can be a complicated process. It can be difficult to estimate the cost of moving, but having as much information as possible can guide customers through the process. The answers to the frequently asked questions are important to customers when making decisions.

What Is the Cost of Moving?

The cost of moving is affected by many factors, including distance, the size of your home, and any special circumstances. The average cost of moving locally with professional movers is $1,710 or $4,823 long distance. You can get a custom estimate using a “cost-to-move calculator” or calling for quotes.

Can Moving Expenses Be Deducted?

Yes, in some cases. It's possible to deduct moving costs if someone moves specifically for work. It is best to consult an accountant and save all receipts to ensure they are eligible.

What is the average cost of moving a three-bedroom house?

The cost of moving a three-bedroom house varies from city to city. However, it is usually between $480 to $800.

Can I Hire Movers for a Single Item To Be Moved?

Yes. A local moving company can be hired to pick up a single item if someone cannot transport it themselves or find help moving it. It's also true if the item is a specialty, like a piano, safe, or other large items.

Joseph Raphael

Joseph Raphael

Moving Company Expert

Joseph Raphael is a multifaceted professional who excels both in the literary world and the moving industry. As a writer, he has published numerous articles and essays in reputable publications, showcasing his unique style and thoughtful perspective. At the same time, he has been running his own moving company for over a decade, where he has honed his expertise in all aspects of the business. With a passion for excellence and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Joseph has established himself as a trusted authority in his field, while also pursuing his creative endeavors as a writer.