How Much Do Movers Cost? Here’s What to Factor into Your Budget

published Apr 12, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Volo

Financially speaking, there’s a lot to consider when you move. If you’re renting, there are first and last month’s rent, security deposits, broker’s fees, and more. If you’re buying, there are down payments, credit check fees, appraisals, inspections, closing costs, and all that good stuff. It adds up. 

One thing you want to make sure is in your budget is the cost of actually getting your stuff from your old place to your new one. How much do professional movers charge? Lindsay Dow with Two Men and a Truck, a franchised moving company headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, provided some insight on how moving companies calculate their prices. 

How much should moving cost?

First things first, since local moves are charged hourly (and often have an hourly minimum), the price is mostly determined by the amount of stuff you have and the time it takes to move it. A lot does depend on specific details, though. Distance, dates, packing supplies, and even the amount of stairs factor into the final price. Be mindful about items that require special care, like heavy furniture, such as sofa beds, delicate pieces like artwork, or things that are both heavy and delicate, like pianos. “There can often be travel charges to and from office to load site and fuel charges,” adds Dow.

More elements to consider, especially if you’re moving in the heart of a city, are “hoist or crane services, parking permits, and/or police detail,” says Lillian Downes, move coordinator at Marathon Moving Company in Canton, Mass.

How much does it cost to hire movers locally?

Though pinpointing an exact price depends on these details, a plethora of websites can quickly crank out a rough estimate. The online moving calculator says a local move starts at $65 per hour, and out-of-state moving starts at a flat $999. With my curiosity piqued, I put in some info—a 3-bedroom move from my suburban town in Massachusetts to another 20 miles away costs between $870 and $1352. (Within five minutes of hitting submit, I got three automated calls, three automated texts, and four automated emails from different local moving companies… and many more in the days following.) 

Other estimates were closer to $2,000, like that of Marathon Moving Company, which calculated the cost without packing and materials at $1,980.

How much does Two Men and a Truck cost?

Two Men and a Truck’s price for a 3-bedroom move is on the lower end of that range. “The average move cost for our system is $895,” Dow says, but “it will vary for a 3-bedroom home based on franchise and region of the country. Each location is independently owned and operated so they set their own rates.” 

Out-of-state long distance moves are more expensive and handled differently. They are “typically charged by weight,” says Dow, who says Two Men and a Truck has several versions, including “our expedited long distance option, where the same movers will load your belongings and drive them across the state or across the country to your new location. This is the quickest option and a little more costly. Then we have our Value Flex option which includes loading your items in their own container and shipping them with a long haul carrier. This is more cost effective, and can be slightly longer to receive your items, but not much.”

However, if you’re not going far and have access to a truck (or decide to rent one—Home Depot’s truck rental “Load ’N Go” rates start at $19 for the first 75 minutes), another option is hiring a moving company for loading and unloading services only. This way, you can save some money by enlisting professionals just for the heavy lifting on both ends.

Finally, the last component you should factor into the cost? Tipping your movers. Here’s a guide to help you figure out how much to tip them.

So as you’re packing for the big day, remember that time is money. Anything you can do before the movers arrive that eliminates time they spend on the job makes it less expensive in the end. “The biggest thing is being prepared and fully packed,” says Dow, “with moving boxes and most items to a garage or living room by the front door so movers can grab and go easily to load the truck.”