Category Archives: Moving Costs

Moving Company Pricing Guide

MOVING COMPANY PRICING GUIDE – Navigating the costs of moving

Obtaining moving company prices from local and long distance movers is enough to make one want to do the unthinkable.  Hold in there, pull yourself out of the corner of that wardrobe box.  This moving company pricing guide will help you navigate through completely  unregulated and obnoxious pricing schemes to help you get the best value for your move.

Moving Company Prices
Moving Company Pricing GuideI

Before getting down to the nitty gritty of moving company prices – you should know a few simple things about moving companies in general.  Just like health care professionals or restaurants  – there are many different kinds of quality movers.

I have found this article about movers from quora to be an insightful explanation of  moving companies and the quality difference.  Here’s the gist of it – there are three different “types” of movers:

  1. Van lines – Usually priced about 25% higher than private moving companies because the 25% goes to a corporate office.
  2. Moving Brokers – Buy, sell, trade, barter your move to independent contractors – usually 5-10% less than private moving companies but you never know who will actually be delivering your items.
  3. Private Moving Companies – For the rest of the article, I will be giving you private moving company fees – you can adjust these if you are considering a van line or moving broker.  In my opinion, the best value for a move will be through a private moving company.  Generally, they have their own trucks, own labor, don’t have to pay a corporate fee and have the best reputations.

Other terms you will need to know:

Full service move – this is where a moving company loads, drives and delivers your shipment.  You don’t do any work except packing.  All full service movers I know offer packing services as well.

Interstate move – any move over 150 miles ( even if it is in another state)

price/lb – this is the price per pound that a long distance mover will charge.

MOVING COMPANY PRICES – HOW THEY ARE DETERMINED

When I was in college and before working in the transportation industry, I got three moving quotes because that’s what I was told to do.  One was astronomical – about $1000 over the competitors, one was so low I was scared and one was just right.  Moving companies really haven’t changed much.  You have most likely experienced a similar situation.  Here is how moving companies price moves:

Full Service Move Prices

If you have chosen to a full service mover for your move this will be more expensive by about 10-15% than doing the actual moving yourself.

If you are performing an interstate move, then the relocation cost of your move will be based on a few factors:  distance your old residence and the new won, time of year you are moving,  the amount you are moving.  Full service movers charge by weight.  I do not suggest getting a price by cubic feet as this adds an additional variable to your moving cost equation.  What if your movers load your shipment to take up more space?

A quick example – if you are moving from Boston to DC and you have an 2 bedroom apartment your weight will be right around 3000 lbs.  The average rate to go to DC from Boston is $.60/lb.  So, you would multiply 3000 x .60 – $1800 plus the labor which will average $400 so the total moving company price would be $2200.

If you are not using a full service mover, the $400 for labor will be omitted.

Full Service Local Prices

Average Cost of a Move
Average Cost of a Move

If you are using a local mover for a move less than 150 miles,  the moving price is calculated by hour. Here are some considerations if you are doing a local move:

  1. If you are moving a small amount of furniture/boxes, most local movers have a minimum -usually of four hours.  Per DOT and labor laws, movers must pay their workers 4 hours even if they work only two – so essentially movers have implemented a minimum hours per move.  So, if you think your move will take less, find something else for them to do – for example, rearranging furniture or bringing items to the salvation army.

2) In most cases,  local movers charge on an hourly basis for all moving services. For example, whether they are packing, carrying your household items outside your home, loading these same household goods into the moving vehicle, driving to your destination, unloading your stuff, or carrying all your furniture pieces, household appliances and cardboard boxes over the threshold of your new apartment or house.  However, some movers charge differently for different services for example when packing – they charge per box.

3) There is a travel fee for all movers that is usually non-negotiable.  However, make sure it is flat-rated.  Most private movers and trustworthy ones, have a flat rate of an hour or less.  That fee covers the expenses in terms of fuel and time your local moving company needs to reach your home, and then travel back from your second location.

 

Average Cost of Packing for a Move

If you are in a mood to pack your belongings and box every room, your average moving bill will be much lower than if you choose to have professional movers do the packing for you. Based on my experience in the field, packing costs can be similar to the moving cost itself. A 4 bedroom house can take more than 12 hours to move from one town to another. In this case, your average moving costs will be around $1800-$2500 with no packing included.

Average Local Moving Prices

Average moving rates vary considerably depending on where you live and the cost of living.  For the most part:

2 men and a truck $100-$150/hour

3 men and a truck $150-$200/hour

Anything outside of this range, I would be rather weary on.  Either the movers are making minimum wage and won’t be professional or there is so much being taken off the top you are being ripped off.

Studio apartment: 4 hours  for 2 men an a truck x $100/hour – $400
2-bedroom apartment: 5 hours  for three men and a truck x $150/hour = $750
4 bedroom home: 10 hours x 3 men and a truck x $150 = $150

If you are moving from a 3 bedroom 1500 sq. foot home or larger, you really need an on-site or in-home estimate.  Your best bet is to have three movers come to your home to estimate and give you moving options.

Average Interstate Moving Prices

Interstate moves are not charged by hour.  The average moving costs for interstate moves are calculated by 5 factors.:

  1. The Distance Between pick-up and delivery.
  2. Shipments are priced per pound.  Logically, the more weight you have the more expensive it will be.  However, weight and price per pound are directly related.  As an example consider these scenarios:  Boston to Orlando with 2000 lbs is $.75/lb.  Boston to Orlando with 7000 lbs is $.70/lb.
  3. Date Flexibility.  If you need guaranteed pick up and delivery dates – it can get pricy.  For example the average fee to incorporate guaranteed pick up and delivery dates is right around $500.
  4. Additional Moving Services. The price estimates you receive from reputable long distance movers should include the basic move Additional services will be moving pianos, pool tables, or major items. Other moving services are packing, unpacking, long term storage or overnight storage.
  5. Time of Year – The least expensive time of the year for an interstate move is the end of January through April 1.

The most important thing to remember here is that the following moving costs are only approximate values that can serve you well to get a general view of what your cross country move will cost you.   I suggest using this instant moving cost estimator for any interstate move.  It will give you an instant moving quote to compare to other movers.

HOW TO NEGOTIATE THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR MOVE

With 20 years of intimate knowledge of the moving company industry here are the most helpful tips and tricks to use when negotiating your move:

Moving Company Price
Negotiating Moving Company Prices
  1. First off – don’t settle for “additional fees.”  Additional fees are all costs that moving companies add on top of the bottom line to make additional money off of the consumer.  I have seen some really crazy fees as of late such as “interstate optional pick-up charge.”  Optional pick up ?  The other additional charges that you need to stay away from are: taxes, tolls, stair fee, elevator fee, certificate of insurance fee ( this is FREE through your moving companies’ insurance company), long haul, long walk, mileage charge, interstate move fee, fuel surcharge.  Oh, and my favorite – the shuttle fee.  This is a fee for a long distance move when a big rig cannot fit in your city/neighborhood and they need to bring a small truck to shuttle it.  Find long distance movers that do not charge this fee – it’s a doozy and averages $800!  Additional moving fees that are usually not negotiable are overnight storage fees, storage fees in general, fees to move pianos, pool  tables, or exercise equipment.
  2. Do not get an interstate moving price based on cubic feet.  If your movers need/feel like charging you additional money it is easy to load shipments with more/less space.  Only get an interstate move estimate based on weight.  Weight is not a variable where cubic feet are.
  3. Tell your movers that you were referred to them after you get a quote.  While working at a van line recently, their data suggested charging an additional 14% to people who have been referred or any corporate relocation accounts because they have found, statistically, that they can still book the move with that kind of a pricing increase.  Get the quote first so you can negotiate the moving price and any additional costs and don’t let your moving company know you are going to book them.
  4. Be flexible.  Moving companies are usually booked the first five days of any month, the last five days of any month, and a few days around the middle of the month.  Most leases and closings happen around these dates.  If you are flexible – say around the 8th-10th or 18-24th of the month, your moving company will usually have lower rates.
  5. If you are hiring additional packing services to your move – don’t let them charge you per box.  I have heard that some movers will place a few items in a box which means you will have more boxes and get charged more.  Make sure all moving services and charges are detailed and at guaranteed prices.
  6. Take only what you need.  A move is priced per pound – do you really want to take that pile of wood or bricks that has been sitting in your garage?

Instant Moving Estimate – Get a moving estimate in under 10 minutes!

Instant Moving Estimate   —  Get Your Moving Estimate in Under 10 Minutes!

It’s almost moving day and you have procrastinated finding a mover – You need an instant moving estimate – a fast, convenient estimate for the cost of your local or long distance move.  This moving estimator is a godsend!  Not just a ballpark estimator, it gives you a flat rate, guaranteed price based on your exact inventory. Most “instant moving quote” sites are just information gatherers where you will be called/emailed by lots of different moving companies.  Not only that but these are ballpark estimates which means they can change by the hundreds or even thousands if you are moving out of state.  Although it may sound great to have a bunch of movers call you with quotes- you will get called and emailed a hundred times a day – from moving brokers all over the country.  This instant moving estimate form is private and emails over a quote without the high pressure sales calls or emails flooding your inbox.

Instant Moving Estimate

Instant Moving Estimate

The Simple Steps to Get Your Instant Moving Estimate in Under 10 Minutes:

  1. Click the instant moving estimate link
  2. Fill out the city/state or zip codes you are moving to
  3. A second screen will pop up so you can add inventory – later you can access this screen to add anything you forgot OR take anything away
  4. Click Send
  5. You will have an instant moving quote sent right to your inbox

If you require an in-home estimate – you can schedule a on-site estimate right on the same screen.  A representative will be dispatched an you will get an appointment to receive a detailed, in-home moving estimate from a moving expert.

For more information on moving estimates and how they are calculated you can check our moving estimate blog post.

What is the most cost effective way to move cross country?

What is the Most Effective Way to Move Cross Country

There are a few options when moving cross country – you could move yourself, use a van line or a private residential mover.  Depending on the time of year you are moving, where you are moving to and from and how much flexibility you have will also be key factors in finding the most cost effective way for you to move cross country.

Cross Country Movers
Cross Country Movers
  1. Moving Yourself – Overall, the thought of doing a cross country move alone is terrifying personally.  However, I realize there are some brave souls out there ( and hopefully those that don’t have a ton of heavy furniture) that are thinking about renting a truck themselves.  An average truck rental from New York to Texas is right around $3,000 ( including insurance, taxes, fees) during mid-season.  Here are other costs you will incur during any cross country move.  These figures are for a move of 2,000 miles in a 20 foot truck with 5,000 lbs -longer moves are more expensive:

One-Way Rental Truck: $3000 – The prices online do not have insurance added on ( approximately $100/day) or taxes

Gas: $700

Hotels and Food: $600

Tolls ( much more expensive than a personal vehicle): $250

Labor: If you are hiring labor to help unload your truck – expect to pay $800-$1600 for the load plus the unload.

A few hints for moving yourself:

  1.  Always opt for the full insurance on a rental truck.  Rental truck operations are notorious for charging extreme rates due to any damage.
  2. Watch for low bridges on the way to your new residence – Boston, NYC, and even the back roads of Florida are full of low bridges.  Stay off the Merritt Parkway in CT – half the time I am driving on that road I see a rental truck that attempted this low bridge road causing traffic.
  3. If you are staying in a hotel ask if they have truck parking – some hotels will not let your truck park there overnight.
  4. Rental trucks get pulled over just for being rental trucks.  The DOT pulls them over all the time.  Make sure your rental location has put the registration in the truck for you.   If you have loaded your truck overweight – the DOT will shut you down and you will have to hire another mover/friend to get the weight legal.  Expect heavy fines if this happens to you.
  5. Rental truck operations are not responsible for anything if  your truck breaks down.  FYI – if the truck looks old and scary I would ask for a newer one especially if you are moving cross country.
  6. Rental truck agencies do not have any repercusions if your rental truck is unavailable on your moving day – I suggest leaving a few flex moving days just in case.

 

2. Hiring a Van Line – A van line will be the most cost effective option for moving cross country for those who have a small amount of items and are very flexible.  Van lines are a network of moving companies that book moves and trade and/or sell to others in their network.  15 years ago, moving companies across the country were begging to be a part of a van line – much like drivers for uber used to do.  Motivated by avarice, most van lines lost the exceptional moving companies in their networks.  Many went bankrupt and some still exist with lower standards.  An agent for a van line will be hired ( less 30% or more ) to pick up your items and bring them to a storage facility.  Eventually your shipment will make it cross country where another agent will deliver it.  Here are the approximate fees a move of 2,000 miles in a 20 foot truck with 5,000 lbs:

Line Haul 5,000 lbs x .80/lb = $4,000

Labor $500

Fuel Surcharge – $400

You may have to pay for hotels/food while waiting for your shipment

Additional fees van lines can charge:

Taxes, Tolls, Shuttle Fee, Elevator Fee, Stair Fee, Long Haul, Packing ( if your boxes are not up to par)

 

3. Using Private Cross Country Movers –  Using professional residential cross country movers is definitely the most stress-free option  for moving cross country – but is it the most cost effective.  Private cross country movers should have your shipment to its destination in 5 days or less if you are moving 2,000 miles.  The absolute convenience of rapid shipping and displacement of liability is priceless – nonetheless – here are the fees for using a private cross country mover:

Line Haul: 5,000 lbs x .80/lb = $4,000

Labor: $800

Most private cross country movers will not charge the following fees but they may try:

Fuel surcharge, mileage fee, taxes, tolls, shuttle fee, long haul, stairs, elevator

Moving Cross Country
Moving Cross Country

Overall, moving cross country is not cheap – either way you will have to pay thousands of dollars to relocate. Monster Movers are private cross country movers that have transparent, affordable pricing for any cross country move.

 

 

 

A Moving Cost Estimator That Won’t Let You Down

Moving Cost Estimator

There are many different ways that moving companies estimate the cost of a move.  The most accurate moving cost estimates are obtained by your moving company getting a 100% complete inventory of what you are moving.

Moving Cost Estimator
Moving Cost Estimator

Here are the ways that your moving cost estimator will do that ( and my 2 cents):

  1. A verbal, over the phone moving cost estimate – This method is typical to your common bait a switch movers.  Let me explain, a person at the end of the phone writes down all of the contents in your home in 30 seconds while as you spew out every piece of furniture.  There is a lot of room for error in this method.  I would only suggest it if you are moving less than 10 pieces or boxes.  Local and long distance movers alike can easily give a low ball moving cost estimate by staying they didn’t “hear” everything going and/or “you didn’t tell me you had all this stuff.”
  2. An on-site estimate –  Essentially a moving cost estimator comes to your home to look at everything going, being packed, etc and will provide an accurate moving estimate for your move.  On-site estimates are usually pretty accurate. However very, very time consuming.  First, you have to take approximately 30-45 minutes out of your day multiplied by however many moving cost estimates you receive.  This usually requires scheduling – if you have kids it cannot be during practice/dinner/etc.
  3. An accurate, online moving cost estimator – With current innovations in the moving industry, it is really easy to obtain an accurate moving cost estimate completely online and virtually instant.  There are a multitude of sites that can provide this to you but none as accurate and quick as this moving cost estimator.  Essentially, you fill out pertinent information ( don’t forget cities and/or zip codes) like email, where you are moving to and from, as well as any additional services you will need.  Another, second form will pop up with the easiest moving cost estimation form you will find available.  This secondary list is a comprehensive inventory list where you can add the items in your home.  The list will be calculated with an advanced algorithm and will generate a completely accurate quote directly to your email.  There are other online moving cost estimators but they are extremely difficult to navigate.   Bonus: You can update your items list at any time for a new quote!
  4. A moving cost estimate app – There are a few moving apps out there that require a video of your home.  The apps I have seen are not accurate unless moving a few large pieces.  Some moving cost estimator apps are used as information gatherers so don’t be surprised if you have a bunch of moving companies call you after downloading the app.

As an aside, if you feel like you cannot accurately go through your home and add your inventory to a moving cost estimation form, your local movers and long distance movers should always offer an on-site moving cost estimate.  If they cannot or won’t, it’s not usually a good sign.