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How Much Are Average Moving Costs?

Typical Range: $591 - $1,618

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More than 35 million Americans move every year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you're among them, then you already know how stressful moving can be. Without a doubt, packing up all of your belongings, traveling to your new home, and getting established in a new location can be a lot of work. Hiring the right moving service makes moving a lot easier, but it can add a whole new layer of stress to the process. Simplify your move by researching what to expect from hiring a mover.

On This Page:

  1. How Much Does it Cost to Hire Movers?
  2. In-state vs Long Distance Moving
  3. Estimate Household Moving Costs
  4. Moving an Entire House
  5. Moving Pianos, Cars and Other Large Items
  6. Other Factors that Affect Cost
    1. Moving and Packing/ Full-Service Movers
    2. Moving Truck Rentals
    3. Moving Insurance
    4. Tipping Movers
  7. Typical Moving Company Estimates
  8. Tips on Hiring Movers
  9. Avoiding Scams

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National Average
Typical Range
$591 - $1,618
Low End - High End
$200 - $9,800

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 10,266 HomeAdvisor members in .

How Much Do Movers Cost?

Hiring movers can cost between $591 and $1,618 with an average rate of $25 to $50 per hour. The cost of moving locally can range from $800 to $2,000 for a four bedroom house. The cost to move across country, or out of state, averages about $1,000 per room, with an average cost of 50 cents per pound. Moving an entire house could cost anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000, averaging $12 to $16 per sq foot.

Many different factors can determine how much it costs to move, so continue reading to learn more. For both local and interstate moves, expect to pay more for having movers pack your belongings or hoist your baby grand piano into its new spot. Plus, timing is everything — moving during the busy season almost always costs more.

In addition to cost, it's helpful to be familiar with the process of finding and hiring movers, including the different types of estimates you might encounter. This guide is designed to give you all the basics so you have a reasonable idea what to expect. Other important points to consider include finding the right moving company and avoiding falling victim to a moving scam.

In-State vs Out of State/Long Distance Moving

Where you're moving is one of the biggest factors that determine not only the cost of your move but also the type of moving company you need to hire. There are different rules and regulations that govern movers who provide intrastate moving services (moving within the same state) and those who provide interstate services (moving across the country or over state lines).

A state's transportation department oversees intrastate movers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs interstate movers.

Local Moving is any move in under 100 miles within the same state. Local Movers generally charge per hour. The average charge per mover generally falls between $25-$50.

Interstate or Long Distance Moving is any move across state lines, or moves within state that exceed 100 miles. Interstate Common types of movers include:

Type of MoverAverage ChargeExtra Charges
Local/ Intrastate
(under 100 miles)
(including 2 movers + truck)
$80-$100 per hour+ $25-$50 extra per additional mover
Interstate/Cross Country
(over 100 miles)
$2,000-$5,000 per load $0.50 per pound
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Estimated Household Moving Costs

The size of your apartment or house is a factor to consider when calculating the overall cost of your move. Below is a cost guide for those moving into new houses based on average hourly rates charged by local moving companies; including the truck rental cost and the hourly rate charged by professional movers. Additional services, including long-distance moving (over 100 miles), packing, storage and large item moving can increase the rate of services.
Size of HouseEstimated Time of MoveAverage Price Range
1 Bedroom Apartment 3-5 hrs $200-$500
2 Bedroom Apartment 5-7 hrs $400- $700
3 Bedroom House7-10 hrs$560-$1,000
4 Bedroom House10+ hrs$800-$2,000+

How Much Does It Cost To Move An Entire House?

With the below factors in mind, your whole-house moving cost will likely fall between $150,000 and $200,000. The process is complex, and will change in price depending on a variety of variables:

  • the size, width, and weight of your home
  • the distance it needs to be moved
  • the need for a new foundation
  • the required permits for the entire process

Keeping these variables in mind is vital in estimating your house moving costs.

For instance, different states will require different permits for this type of oversized hauling as well as placing an existing home on a new property. New utility connections may need to be made. You may also have to build a new foundation, which averages just above $7,700.

At the same time, it's difficult to overstate just how much these variables can change. Moving a large house for hundreds of miles can cost upwards of $200,000, while moving a small house within a single county may cost significantly less than $100,000. That's why, when considering the cost of moving a house, you need to understand the wide range of price possibilities.

You can learn more about how much it costs to move a house and what the process involves by consulting companies in your area that specialize in moving houses.

Given the costs involved in building or buying a new structure, some families choose to simply move their existing house to a new location instead. Companies across the United States specialize in moving entire structures in this manner, helping you save costs while maintaining some degree of familiarity in your new location.

Cost of Moving Other Items like Cars and Pianos

Moving a piano locally may cost an extra $150 to $800, although it can cost up to $2,500 extra if the movers need to lift the piano with a crane. Heavy, bulky items take up extra space in the moving truck, and they're often hard to handle. You can expect to pay more for bulky items such as:
  • Pool tables
  • Swing sets
  • Motorcycles
  • Lawn mowers
  • Extra large furniture
You may need to hire a separate car transport service to move vehicles. Professional car-shipping companies generally charge according to the distance they need to travel to deliver the vehicle. For a short distance, the cost is typically less than $1,000 per vehicle, and long-distance transports typically cost $1,000 to $2,000 per vehicle. Other options include renting a car-transport trailer, which usually costs several hundred dollars.

Factors That Affect Cost

The amount of money you can expect to spend on moving depends on a variety of factors —most notably, your current location and the distance of your move. Other factors that affect the bottom line include:

Moving and Packing Estimates

The more help you need, the more you can expect to pay. Full-service moving companies provide packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking; best for those too busy to pack their items, or those who need assistance moving quickly. At $25-$50 an hour per mover, you can expect to pay at least $400 additional in hourly costs to pack and unpack your home. The average estimate can differ considerably depending on the size of your home, amount of stuff you need packed, and any special packing material you may need. Whether or not this rate includes standard packing material is dependent on the moving service you hire. Discuss your needs in advance to the move with your moving company. To save money, some homeowners pack their own belongings, disassemble large furniture, and reassemble it once they arrive in their new location.

Moving Van & Truck Rental Costs

Those looking to move on a budget should consider renting a truck or van to complete the move with friends and family. The cost of a truck or van can vary considerably depending on the size of the truck needed, mileage the truck will travel, price of gas charged by the rental company and overall time needed with the vehicle. The average cost of a truck or van can range from just under $50 to over $2,000. While this is the cheapest alternative to hiring a moving company, many factors should be considered before a final decision is made to exclude moving professionals; including the length of the move, size of the vehicle and weight of the household items being moved.

Access to the Pickup/Dropoff Locations

In addition to affecting the flow of the move, this typically results in extra charges, especially if the movers have to carry items over a considerable distance, scale down several flights of stairs, or hoist items into or out of the home through a window. When moving locally, the extra time needed given your specific access limitations can affect the overall cost of the move. It is a good idea to have moving professionals visit both locations prior to the day of the move to provide a quote for any additional costs, provide an estimate of how long the move will take, and to prepare with any additional materials needed on moving day.

The Timing of the Move

Summer is the busiest season for movers. It’s also the season with the highest rates. Often people can pay up to two times more than average for moving services in the Summer as booking time with a popular and reputable company can be competitive. Likewise, moving rates are typically higher on holidays.

Moving Insurance

Most professional moving services include basic liability coverage as part of the price. This covers approximately 60 cents per pound for each item. For full-value protection, expect to pay more.

Tipping Movers

While not required, tipping can go a long way to showing your appreciation to the individual moving professional for a job well done. Consider leaving a tip between 10-20% of the cost of the move, adding a bit extra per mover for more complicated or long-distance moves. An average tip can fall anywhere between $10-$40 per person for a local move, depending on the overall time spent, is considered a good tip.   

Common Moving Company Estimates

Reputable moving companies provide in-home estimates to give you a reasonable idea of what to expect in terms of pricing. It's essential that the mover visits your home to see each item that needs to be moved and to get a visual of your home's layout so they can provide the most accurate estimate. Many movers offer three types of estimates, including binding, non-binding, and not-to-exceed estimates.
  • Binding Estimate - Requires you to pay only the stated price, even in cases when the shipment weighs more or less than the original estimate. Does not cover shipping extra goods.
  • Non-Binding Estimate - Does not guarantee final moving cost, but the mover cannot require you to pay more than 110% of the estimate amount at the time of the move. You must pay any additional charges for extra services within 30 days of delivery.
  • Not-To-Exceed Estimate - Bases the price on the binding estimate or the actual final cost, whichever is lower. Often referred to as "guaranteed prices" or "price protection.”
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Tips on Hiring Movers

A little preparation and planning go a long way when it comes to finding and hiring movers. Although you can find moving companies online or in the phonebook, it's even easier if you seek reputable online reviews and ask friends, family, or local real estate professionals for referrals. Other helpful tips for taking the stress out of hiring movers include:
  • Checking the credentials for each company on your list of possible movers by contacting them to get their license numbers, doing business as (DBA) names, and the number of years they've been in business. Then, head to the FMCSA's website or your state's transportation department website to verify the license and other credentials. Checking HomeAdvisor’s online reviews of pre-screened companies is a good place to start when identify local, reputable business to consider for hiring.
  • Getting estimates from multiple movers. Some experts suggest comparing 10 different companies. Get estimates from at least three or four to make sure you're getting the most competitive prices and to find the movers with policies that meet your needs.
  • Asking questions! Get as many details as you can about factors such as the rate structure and payment terms, extra fees and hidden costs, the history of the company, and whether it works with subcontractors. Other helpful things to know about include packing services, storage services, insurance, and what to expect on the day of the move.
  • Getting references: Don't be afraid to ask for references from prior customers to get feedback from other people just like you. They can give you firsthand knowledge of what they liked or didn't like about the company.

How to Avoid Scams

Roughly 3,000 people in the United States experience moving fraud each year. In many cases, the scammers offer low estimates and then ransom the victim's possessions to receive extra money. Avoid falling prey to fraudulent criminals by recognizing the warning signs and quickly moving on to another company.
  • Asking for a deposit: Legitimate companies don't do this
  • Listing a P.O Box or a residential address: Verify the address on the company's website to make sure it's legitimate
  • Not having an active license: The company should have a U.S. Department of Transportation number on its website, directory listing and paperwork
  • Reputation as a scammer documented with the American Moving and Storage Association or the Better Business Bureau
If the unthinkable happens and you do fall victim to a scam, MoveRescue offers legal advice and assistance to walk you through the next steps needed to get your belongings back. You can also file a complaint with the moving company and file a report with the FMCSA.
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