Two cross-country movers holding a rolled carpet overlay

How Much Do Movers Cost for a Cross Country Move

Posted in Moving Tips & Tricks on October 14, 2020

Relocation can be quite a challenging process that requires a lot of time, energy, and money. Yes, cross-country moves can be pretty costly. This article will walk you through the ins and outs of how much do movers cost and what you should expect when preparing your relocation budget.

How Much Do Movers Cost and What Affects Your Moving Expenses

The answer to the question of how much does a mover cost is not that simple. There’s a considerable amount of things that affect the final fee. The total will depend on whether your relocation is local or long-distance, the size of your move, and your home specifications. For example, a move that requires going up and down three flights of stairs will take longer than the one at a one-level home. Most long-distance moving companies base their charge on the following terms:

  • The weight: Long-distance moving companies charge by the total weight of your belongings. The more stuff you have, the more you’ll pay. To determine the final fee, someone from the company will arrive at your place and make a detailed inventory list of your household possessions. You’ll have to inform your chosen cross-country mover if you have some specialty objects, such as the piano. These are charged additionally, since packing fragile items requires extra care.
  • The time of your move: You should also have in mind that the amount will depend on the time of day as well as the day of the week you choose to relocate. If you decide to move on Wednesday afternoon, your fee will be lower than for people relocating on Saturday morning. Additionally, your move will be more expensive if you choose to relocate during the summer and holiday seasons. Moving in winter is generally more affordable.
  • The distance: The longer the distance, the more you’ll pay for your relocation expenses. You’ll have to pay for the driver and gas as well.
  • The types of services: For example, if you decide to hire auto shipping, you’ll be charged additionally for this service. The same goes for packing, moving labor, or any other service you choose to book from a long-distance mover.

Different Types of Moves Have Different Prices

Check out the video below for a quick breakdown of how much relocating costs in general.

Why Should I Hire Cross Country Movers?

Are movers worth it? The answer depends on you entirely. If you don’t have much experience of changing homes or if this is your first relocation, we would highly advise getting professionals to help you out. This is what you’ll get if you decide to hire a long-distance moving company:

  • Packing materials and storage facilities: Professional cross-country movers will come with full equipment of boxes and packing supplies. They also offer clean and climate-controlled storage units, which is helpful if your move-out and move-in dates are not aligned.
  • Heavy lifting: You won’t have to lift a finger with professional long-distance movers. Carrying furniture and other bulkier belongings can easily lead to injury. You’ll be saving yourself from this risk by hiring trained and experienced professionals. While they are doing the most laborious part of your relocation, you can focus on other moving-related tasks. Besides, you won’t have to spend money on a walker or a sitter if you’re moving with pets.
  • Insurance: There’s a very small chance of your possessions being damaged or broken, even with a professional mover. Yet, if something like this happens, you’ll be covered with insurance.
  • Efficiency: Hiring reliable and reputable professionals means that your relocation process will be done in no time. If you’d like to know how to move efficiently, the answer is – with the pros.
  • Less stressful: Relocation is one of the most stressful life events. There’s so much planning, scheduling, and organizing. However, a trustworthy mover will make sure you have a stress-free moving experience.
A person calculating long-distance moving expenses
Hiring professionals is more expensive than DIY moves, but it's worth all the money.

How Much Do Long Distance Movers Cost?

How do you estimate moving costs? Cross-country moves are estimated by weight and, in some cases, by cubic feet of items that have to be transported. Many long-distance moving companies will also base their charge on the distance and number of services their customers use. There could be some additional expenses, but we will elaborate on that later.

However, you should know that the estimated fee is different for every customer. We have already mentioned the most crucial factors that determine the final expense. When you start planning your move, you should request an in-home estimate. The company’s representatives will visit your current home and provide a customized fee.

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What's the Price to Hire Professionals for a Studio Apartment?

Naturally, relocating a studio apartment will be the least expensive. This type of place approximately weighs 2000 lbs., but keep in mind that some possessions may be pretty heavy. This is the main factor that will determine your final fee. That being said, the approximate price for relocating a studio apartment for a distance of 1000 miles is around $1500.

How Much Do Movers Cost for a One-Bedroom Apartment?

The average weight of a one-bedroom apartment is around 2200 to 3200 lbs. Yet, the belongings you’re planning to transport may weigh less or more than average. Also, the final fee is based on whether you’re using additional services or not. To sum it up: the lighter your belongings are, the lower the expenses. To save money, you should make a household inventory list and downsize your belongings to a minimum. Relocation expenses for a one-bedroom apartment (with an approximate distance of 1000 miles) will be around $2000-$2200.

How Much Should I Pay for a Two-Bedroom Apartment?

A two-bedroom apartment weighs between 5000 to 6000 lbs., but keep in mind that any specialty item (for example, a piano) will determine the final higher price. To reduce your expenses, you can pack some things by yourself and leave the most difficult ones to professionals. Also, packaging a large space will need time, so start as soon as you schedule the relocation date. Your moving budget for a two-bedroom apartment will be approximately $3500 (for a 1000-mile move).

How Much Does It Cost to Pack a Three-Bedroom Apartment?

Relocating a three-bedroom apartment will be the most laborious and time-consuming. Therefore, your expenses will be higher as well. The approximate weight is somewhere between 5500 and 9000 pounds. Let’s say that relocating an apartment of 7500 pounds for a distance of 1000 miles will be around $5000-$6000. Naturally, you’ll pay more if you book additional services such as packing, storage, insurance, etc.

A team of cross-country moving professionals is lifting boxes
If your possessions are heavier, your long-distance relocation will be more expensive.

What Are the Additional Long-Distance Relocation Costs

Calculating the final estimate for across the county relocation is difficult. There could always be some additional expenses you may have forgotten to count on in the first place. Take a look at this list of the most frequent ones.

Packing Is the Most Common Additional Service (and Expense)

Proper packaging is crucial for a successful long-distance relocation. It requires skillfulness acquired by training and experience. It’s also physically demanding. However, many people do not move that frequently. For them, packing is challenging and time-consuming. Thus, they will hire packing services. However, you can do half the job yourself. For example, hire professionals for packaging fragile items and other more delicate belongings only, while you can learn how to pack shoes and other undemanding items yourself.

Moving Insurance Will Be an Additional Expense

Basic insurance will be included in the relocation quote, and it covers around 60 cents per pound per item. Full value coverage costs approximately 1% of the valuation of your belongings. This basically means that, if your items are valued at $50,000, protection insurance would be about $500. The higher you value your possessions, the higher your insurance fee will be.

Relocation Date Costs Will Vary

Your relocation expenses will also depend on the relocation date you choose. The peak relocation season is from May till September, and during this period, cross-country moving companies charge up to 20% more than their standard rate. This applies to holidays and weekends. If your budget is tight, you should consider relocating out of season. Your fee will also be significantly lower if you book your move way in advance.

Extra Fees You Should Be Aware Of

If you have many bulkier and heavier items, your chosen company can decide to charge extra for labor. If the distance between the truck and your front door is greater, you’re expected to pay a long carry fee. The same goes for flights of stairs. If your hired professionals have to go up and down many times, you will have to pay a stair carry or an elevator fee. Booking an auto shipping service will also be an additional expense. You should be prepared to pay extra for any specific need or preference you might have during your move.

Two professionals carrying an item down a flight of stairs
Make sure you're familiar with all additional expenses, such as elevator fees.

How Much Do Movers Cost for a Local Move?

A local mover charges their services by the hour. This means that the faster you move, the less you’ll be charged. Wondering how much do movers make an hour? You’ll have to pay around $90-$120 per hour for a truck and two men. If you book only the labor service for your local move, your expenses will be about $60-$80 per hour.

An hourly rate means that you are paying for the time professionals spent working on your relocation. This, however, can also vary and depend on a couple of factors. That includes travel fees, the number of people working on your move, packing materials, and additional services you’ll be using. The size of your home is also a significant factor:

  • If you hire two professionals to move your studio apartment locally, you’ll have to pay around $150-$200. The total loading, transport, and unloading will be completed within 3-4 hours.
  • Relocating a one-bedroom apartment with two workers and a truck will be approximately $500. Yet, you could pay for your move more or less depending on the job’s complexity. A one-bedroom apartment move requires 4-5 hours.
  • If you’re relocating a two-bedroom apartment locally, you’ll need around $600-$800. This move typically takes approximately 6-7 hours. Depending on the type of service you’re using and your home’s complexity, the expense may come up to $1000.
  • A three-bedroom apartment move usually takes around 8-9 hours, and your local company will charge about $800-$900 for labor only. The average expense for this type of home is $1000. Yet, the price could vary depending on your needs and preferences. Just remember to clarify all the details when you request an in-home estimate.
A calculator and a pencil
Residential relocation expenses are based on an hourly rate.

Tips on How to Cut Relocation Costs

We have already mentioned that packaging some of your belongings will reduce your relocation expenses considerably. Apart from handling the most obvious items by yourself, like a moving binder used to organize important documents and a bag with overnight moving essentials, you should learn how to pack clothes for moving. You can also pack small electronic devices, books, beddings, children’s toys, etc. Here are some other ideas on how you can cut relocation costs:

  • Declutter: Think about downsizing. Decide what to keep, and then get rid of anything you’re not using anymore. Organize a garage sale or donate unwanted items. You can also list some of your unused belongings on Craigslist or other similar online marketplaces.
  • Rent a truck: Take a look at our article on how to pack a moving truck like a pro and organize a DIY move. Ask your friends and family members to help. You can save thousands of dollars!
  • Find free boxes: It’s pretty easy to find free boxes. Just go to your local liquor store, supermarket, bookstore, office building, or school. You can also find plenty of free packing materials on Freecycle, Craigslist, Nextdoor, and various Facebook groups.
  • Choose a cheaper relocation date: As we already mentioned, relocation during summer is the most expensive option. Avoid the peak move season and choose a date from late fall to winter. Also, you should opt for a mid-week and mid-month move.
  • Check if your relocation expenses are tax-deductible: Donating your belongings to charities can lead to tax deductions. Just remember to save those receipts.
An image of a tax form
Donating to charities can go a long way when it comes to saving your money.

Obtain at Least Three Quotes to Decide Which Company Is the Best Fit

And we have come to the end. Now you know how much movers cost for both local and cross-country moves. When the time for relocation comes, remember to obtain quotes from several companies, three at least. Then decide which one offers moving services that fit your budget, needs, and preferences the best. With reputable, trustworthy, and cost-effective long-distance movers, smooth and successful relocation is a guarantee.

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