How Much Do Movers Cost

How much do movers charge?

There are three different categories on how a mover can charge.

To answer the question of “How much do movers cost?” we have to know that there are three basic categories of moves, and each one of them will charge differently.

The categories of moves are:

  1. Local moves
  2. Long distance moves
  3. Commercial moves

Different category moving companies charge according to their tariff (a fancy word meaning “price list”). There are varieties of charges depending on the type of your move. And these prices/costs will only be estimates; the only way to get an accurate determination of your moving costs will be for a moving estimator to come to your home or office.

And just asking, “How much do movers cost?” is not the most accurate because it really determines what of the above three categories of move you are looking for, especially for local moves and long distance moves (long distance moves are usually 40 or more miles away and can include your move out of state.) Usually commercial moves are priced similarly to local or long distance residential moves; but not always.

So lets take a look at local moving vs long distance moving costs

How much does local moving cost?

A local move is usually defined by how far you are moving. typically if you moving no more than 40 miles it is usually considered a local move. However, some movers have a larger range of up to 100 miles. You just need to ask the mover(s) you are considering what their range is.

local movers

Normally a local move is far more inexpensive than a long distance or commercial moves. When moving locally most movers charge an hourly rate, but some may charge a flat rate depending on the different sizes of home or office you have.

Legitimate licensed and insured movers usually charge between $75 and $120 per hour, some charge as low as $75/hr depending on the area in which you live. Any mover that charge you less than $75/hr is not normally a licensed and insured mover and you may want to be very leery of these movers. The movers that charge less than $75/hr will typically only be found advertising on Craigslist. More charges may apply though. There could be a charge for packing materials and long carry fee if your front door is a certain distance away from where the truck can park. Just ask your mover about additional fees.

There is nothing wrong with hiring movers off of Craigslist (in my opinion; although many movers will argue this point with me.) There is a great website call Craigslist Moving that has a lot of great information on it instructing you on how to hire reputable movers off Craigslist. It is well worth the read.

How much do movers charge to pack you may ask? Well, based on the moving company and on the things you need wrapped, for a 1 bedroom apartment costs could go over $100. This charge would include additional boxes, shrink-wrap, tape and bubble wrap. So, how much do movers charge per hour and to pack is relative and will reflect the standard of the area you live, the movers category and the number of movers and hours you need them to work. So, total moving cost is difficult to determine unless you get an in-house estimate that would guarantee a final cost.

Additionally you need to be aware that many movers doing local moving may charge from port-to-port. This means they start the hourly clock (if you will) from the time they leave their office until the time they arrive back at their office. So the further away you live from this mover, the more it will cost while they are traveling. Some movers may only charge a flat travel fee and start the clock when they arrive at your door. Just ask your mover how they charge for this time.

Just to give you an idea of the amount of time it typically takes for a particular move look below:

  • 2 Bedroom apartment: 3 to 4 hours
  • 3 bedroom house: 6 to 7 hours

You also must understand that time can vary depending on what you need and want the movers to do for you, how prepared you are for the move, and weather and road conditions. These things can lengthen or shorten the time that local movers will charge for.

Moving Labor Services:

Another aspect of local moving for many movers is doing what is called “labor only”.

Labor only moves usually comes into play when you, the customer, wishes to do their move on their own, also called “do it yourself moving.” Many customers are under the impression that they can often do a move far cheaper than having a professional moving company for it for them. This is often a mistake and wrong.

This article does not have the intention of going into the pros or cons of DIY moving, but to give you an idea of labor costs to either load or unload you moving truck or trailer.

Typically when you hire a licensed moving company for moving labor services their prices are going to range between $55 and $75 per hour. IF you are hiring laborers off of Craigslist or from a moving labor site like or prices can go as low as $40/hr. Most movers have a minimum and/or a travel charge so you need to ask about those when getting a quote.

How much does long distance moving cost?

long distance movers

When you are moving long distance the moving costs are usually higher. Long distance move could be within the state or out of state, typically any move that is 40 or more miles is called a long distance . We usually refer to interstate moves as long distance and they are charged based on the weight or volume of your inventory.

Most companies charge by the weight and the distance. So, how much do moving companies charge per pound would be relative because for some companies your move may be local, while for others long distance. Thus, based on the weight and size of your household goods, get some moving estimates and see what would be the moving cost.

There are 2 types of moving companies – one will determine the cost based on the weight of your shipment (more accurate) and the other will use the volume of your household goods to determine the moving cost (not so accurate). Let’s talk a little more about both scenarios.

Movers Charges by Weight:

If you go ahead and choose a company that will charge you based on weight you are looking for a minimum of 2000lbs regardless of the the distance between your current home and the new one.

I say $0.50 per lbs would be approximate cost for moves up to 500 miles without any packing service. For full moving service you pay for packing labor and materials, loading and unloading, in many cases the movers will offer storage and insurance.

However, since moving companies’ charge per pound, you may request only that service that would include loading, delivery and unloading. In this case though you will have to do the packing yourself and may not be eligible for moving insurance thru the moving company. Be sure you check how much moving companies charge per pound and mile before you commit to any agreement.

Usually the moving company will determine your moving weight by asking for the complete furniture and boxes list on the phone (or by email) in order to prepare the moving quote for you.

When providing your household items list try to be exactly accurate to have the closest possible moving estimate. Some movers charge light and bulky fees if you have too big items with relatively low weight. For example if you are moving from a 2 bedroom house (with a garage, basement, living room, kitchen, etc) in most cases your stuff will weigh about 5-6000 pounds. If you move it to about 1000 miles away it will cost you about $3500-$4000 for the complete move.

If you receive a moving quote for a lot less than this amount, you are dealing with non professionals or they deliberately lower your costs just to book and you. If this is the case you should expect a raise once they have picked your stuff and before the delivery.

Movers Charges by Volume:

The other type of moving companies are the ones that determine the moving cost based on the volume of your shipment. This method is not very accurate since the volume of your move is determined by the moving crew that loads your items inside the truck.

I don’t recommend using companies that charge per cu.ft. as the prices can vary dramatically depending of who loads your items on the moving truck. By using movers that charge by volume only opens you up to being scammed. You are at risk.

Of course there good companies that specialize in this type of moving, but they don’t usually provide moving labor to load/unload their truck or container. Such notable companies are ABF and PODS. Again it really depends on those laborers that you hire to load the truck.

Reducing overall moving costs

Some of you may choose to go with a cheap moving company, but sometimes the final costs may be double because of a moving scam.

You can also consider self moving, but never forget that moving your entire house is not an easy task and you will need help.

Now that you have a better idea of how much moving companies charge get a few estimates and see for yourself. Always keep in mind that moving charges depend on the moving company category, the area you live (of course it’s more expensive to hire New York city movers, than Minneapolis movers), the type of your move – local or cross-country – and your moving requirements. Therefore, when ready to move and hire a moving company consider all the factors and then choose a moving company wisely.

I do believe that this may help in finding out how much do mover cost.