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Average Cost of Moving Expenses

Published by Chris Townsend

Average Cost of Moving Expenses

Congratulations on your upcoming move! This exciting time in one’s life can often be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Unless you’re at that point in your life where all your belongings will fit in your car, you’re likely wondering, what exactly does it cost to move? Since there are numerous factors and expenses to consider, most Americans actually end up underestimating how much moving costs.

When all is said and done, it can cost you thousands of dollars to move cross-country, or even across the state. Though the average cost of a local move ranges from as little as $500 to as much as $2,000, depending on the size of your home and how much stuff you have to move. This estimation is based on the cost of hiring professional movers for a local, short-distance relocation. Whereas, if you’re moving long-distance, cross-country, or out-of-state, you can expect costs to go up quite a bit.

With so many factors to keep in mind, we’ve outlined all the various moving options, how much they cost, how to choose the right one for your move, and some of the moving expenses that often get missed. After all, the key to paying for a move without a ton of added stress is planning.

1. Options for Moving Your Belongings

When it comes to transporting your stuff, you essentially have three options to choose from: Renting a moving truck, hiring a professional moving company, or renting and moving a storage container (pod).

Renting your own moving truck.

While this option may be the cheapest, it takes a lot of time, effort, and planning to pull off. The hourly rate for renting a moving truck for local moves is low, but you’ll also need to factor in fuel costs, damage protection, and cost per mile fees. Not to mention, if you’re enlisting the help of friends and family, you’ll likely want to pay for food, snacks, or some sort of thank you gift.

The average cost of renting a moving truck starts at $50 for the smallest truck and a local move but can be more than $2,000 for a long-distance move and a larger truck.This is a very wide range, but the costs you’ll pay depend on a number of factors like distance, how long you keep the rental, the total weight of your items, how much you pay for gas, and the truck space you need.

Hiring a professional moving company.

Hiring professional movers is always the easiest and most convenient method, albeit the most expensive. In order to ensure that you get the best deal, it’s always advised to collect estimates from multiple companies. For a basic, local move, you can expect to pay between $550 and $2,000. For long-distance relocations, you’re looking at $2,000 and up.

Local moves are often based on a flat amount per hour, per mover. Though, some companies may charge a flat rate. For moves over 50 miles, the cost is typically determined based on distance and the weight of the truckload, rather than an hourly rate. Additional services like packing and unpacking, furniture disassembly, and “full value protection” insurance will also raise the overall cost.

Hauling a storage container.

Opting for a self-storage container, or POD as they’re more commonly known as is often less expensive than hiring full-service movers. A container is dropped off at your house and you load it on your own time. Then, you schedule a pickup date and the company will retrieve the container and drop it off at your desired location for you to unload and unpack.

Local container relocations usually range from $500 to $1,000, while long-distance moves can cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

2. Tipping Movers

While movers never expect or require tips, they are always appreciated. In fact, if you hired a reputable moving company and the movers were on time, nothing was damaged, and it was overall a job well-done, you should absolutely tip them. A tip between 10% and 20% of the final cost of your move is usually customary. When you’re considering all moving expenses, make sure you don’t neglect budgeting for a tip.

3. Transporting Yourself

Whether your move is local or long-distance, you have to factor in the expenses involved in getting yourself and your family there as well. This may mean a road trip, which includes things like lodging, gas, tolls, and meals while on the road. There are a number of online fuel cost calculators that can help you determine exactly how much you’ll spend on gas.

If you plan to fly instead, you must factor in the price of the plane ticket(s), the cost of getting yourself to and from the airport, and, if applicable, the cost of shipping your car.

4. Moving Materials and Supplies

Of course, you’re going to need boxes to pack up your belongings. However, you don’t want to forget about all the other supplies you’ll need such as bubble wrap, packing paper, packing peanuts, markers, tape, and labels. If you’re planning to DIY your move, you also may need to purchase or rent a dolly, furniture pads, and straps for securing your belongings in the truck.

You can cut down on these expenses by looking for free boxes at local establishments and using salvaged newspaper as packing material.

5. Cleaning Supplies & Costs

Depending on your situation, you may be expected to leave your old home in essentially the way that you found it. This may mean expenses like mops, wipes, cleaning products, brushes, and supplies to repair any holes in your walls. If your place needs serious attention or you’re on a time crunch, you may consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company.

Similarly, you will likely want supplies to clean your new home or apartment before you start unpacking. Regardless, all these little expenses will add up and should be factored into your total budget.

6. Expenses Upon Arrival

If you’re renting your home, you’ll likely have to pay the first month’s rent and a security deposit. Though, your landlord may also require a pet deposit or there may be fees involved with setting up your utilities. If you’ve purchased your new home, you may have to perform some repairs before you get settled, change the locks, replace smoke detectors, or put in a new security system. Additionally, you might want to do some renovations before you unpack all your stuff, in which case you may need a temporary storage solution. For this expense, you can budget for between $100 and $300 a month.

7. Updating License & Vehicle Registration

If you have a car or you’ve relocated to a new state, you need to update your license and register your car with the local DMV. This is often an unruly process that requires a fee, so it’s best to plan ahead. Depending on the state, vehicle registration can cost as much as $225. Whereas, a new driver’s license usually costs between $30 and $60.

8. New Furniture & Other Items

While you may be bringing most of your stuff with you, you’re probably going to need (or want) to purchase some new furniture and other items for your home. Of course, you can save money by searching garage sales and flea markets or looking online for second-hand pieces.

Regardless, if you have to buy any main items like a table, couch, or mattress, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars. Aside from furniture, you’ll also want to budget for stocking up your place with all the basic necessities like food and various toiletries.

Final Thoughts

Moving into a new home may be a major financial endeavor, but it does not have to break the bank. Preparing ahead of time for all the potential moving expenses you may face can help ease stress and streamline the process as a whole.

Are you planning a move and could use some moving assistance? Contact Three Movers today to receive a free, no-obligation estimate and find out how you could save up to 20% on your upcoming move!

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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