What is the Cost to Hire Movers?

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Budgeting for moves across city or state lines can be hard on a family, and it is important to do research to ensure that you are getting a good price and an efficient move from all the professional service companies you will need to get you to your new home. Our guide to the cost of hiring movers covers all of your important questions, so that you feel good as you contact moving companies for moving cost quotes.

Moving Cost Calculator

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of moving your household to another state is $5,630, using 7,100 pounds of possessions. Comparatively, an in-state move averages about $1,170. However, Worldwide ERC, which is a professional relocations and employee transfer service, says the cost is much higher, reporting an average of $12,459 for an interstate move.

Moving.com offers a moving calculator that offers a method to starting the process to budget your move. Since 1999, Moving.com has provided user-friendly resources and tools to help with local and long distance moving needs. Their calculator allows you to put in any origin and destination address in the United States to determine the average moving costs based on the mileage, the area of the move, and the move date. You can choose a move size of “studio” and 1- to 5-bedroom homes, and you can also add the cost of packing services.

For example, the moving.com calculator shows the cost to hire a mover to relocate your possessions in a 2-bedroom house from San Diego, California to Seattle, Washington to be from $3,272 to $4,133. The move from San Diego to Seattle covers 1,060 miles. The same move with full packing services would run you anywhere from $6019 to $8,621, which is a huge leap. On the other hand, moving a 2-bedroom house within the same San Diego zip code would cost $819-$1003. This local move in the 92107 zip code is still a costly endeavor for the average family.

The Cost of Hiring a Moving Company to do a Local Move

Many moving companies charge by the hour, but the fee is loaded with hidden charges that you might have never considered. What started as a $50 to $70 an hour fee becomes much more in the end. There is nothing wrong with moving companies that charge by the hour, but you must ask specific questions to ensure that you will not receive a total bill that is far outside of your budget. Consider the following questions when discussing an hourly fee with a moving company:

  • Is there a “gas fee”?
  • Is there a “truck fee”?
  • Is there a “stairs fee”?
  • Is there a fee for plastic bags, packing paper, shrink-wrap, and masking tape that is sometimes required to assure that your possessions arrive safely during the move?

You might be surprised to find out that your “cheap” hourly rate is a mask to take advantage of you. Professionals like Royal Moving Company charge an hourly fee, but they do not sneak in hidden costs like many of their competitors, so even if their hourly fee is a bit more in the beginning, in the end you will end up paying a lot less.

Royal’s all-inclusive hourly cost includes anything you need without additional fees, including packing and unpacking and disassembly and reassembly (if you need it), packing supplies, insurance, truck with all gas and miles covered, and taxes included. The average bill to move a 1-bedroom apartment in the same or adjoining zip code is $297.  Using the moving.com calculator, a typical move of this size costs $652-$812, so clearly a package like Royal offers is much more affordable.

Other factors involved with some moving companies:

  • The move out date is a big deal. Moving costs are higher for weekends because there is more demand. If you move during the week, you save big bucks. There is also higher demand in the summer months, during holidays, and at the beginning and end of the months, so expect to pay 20 percent more during these times.
  • Some companies charge stair fees, and others charge fees if the distance from the loading or unloading area to the door is exceptionally long.
  • Basic moving insurance usually covers 60 cents per pound per article, which is pathetic, really. Consider that the average laptop computer weighs about five pounds, so if it is lost or damaged during the move, you receive $3, and a 32″ flat-screen LCD TV averages about 30 pounds, so the most you could get from the insurer is $18. You will want to get additional full-value coverage from a third-party insurance vendor before your move begins.

The Cost of a Local “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) Move

If you plan to gather friends, and you have a truck or two at your disposal, the moving process can be a lot cheaper, but the stress can be huge. A professional moving company coordinates all of the moving activities for you, and shows up at your door with the proper moving equipment, packing supplies, an experienced moving crew, and insurance in case anything is misplaced or damaged. If you rent a moving truck, the savings are gone.

A 26-foot U-Haul (connect to: https://www.uhaul.com/Trucks/) truck, which accommodates a 3-bedroom home, is pricey. If you pick up and drop off the truck at the same location, then you are looking at a cost of $39.95 a day plus $1.09 per mile. If you use 50 miles on the truck to pick it up, move your home, and return the truck, plus basic insurance, an environmental fee, a utility dolly, appliance dolly, furniture dolly, five furniture pads, two rolls of packing tape, packing paper, and a collection of moving boxes, the total gets to $196.75. Additionally, all of the planning involved adds stress as well, and that cost can be even greater.

The Cost of a Long-Distance “Do-it-Yourself” DIY Move

Most moving professionals agree that you should not do an interstate move “do-it-yourself style”. Self-moving across state lines is not economical, especially when you consider all of the miles you must carry everything you own, and the possibility of breakage along the way. Professional movers know how to pack efficiently and avoid damage. They are not perfect; but they are definitely better than you and me.

Renting a gas-guzzling moving truck and a car trailer is not budget-friendly, considering all that goes along with it. The logistics are huge, so leave it up to an expert. We will do the math for you and offer the proof that is not efficient. The following is a test of the current market, using the rates for a 26-foot U-Haul truck, which accommodates a 3-bedroom home, along with an auto transport trailer from Los Angeles, California, to Atlanta, Georgia (2,568 miles).

  • The base charge for the truck and trailer is $3,626
  • Insurance for the truck is an additional $150
  • Insurance for the trailer is an additional $60-$80
  • A utility dolly is $10
  • An appliance dolly is $12
  • A furniture dolly is $10
  • A dozen furniture pads is $10
  • An environment fee is $5

The total before taxes is $3,903.

A 26-foot U-Haul truck has a 57-gallon fuel tank and gets nine miles on a gallon of gas. Therefore, it can go 513 miles on one tank of fuel. If you are traveling 2,568 miles, you would need to fill up five times, and at $3 for a gallon of gas, you are looking at around $856 in gas expenses. Also, consider that hiring a two-person crew to assist you with moving your boxes and furniture for four hours will cost $250-$350 on each end of your move. It is not worth it, considering that hiring a mover to take care of every detail can cost as little as $6,392.

The Cost of Hiring a Moving Company to do a Long-Distance Move

If you are considering a moving company to help with your long-distance move, there are three major factors when determining the cost to move out of state, and those include the distance from point A to B, the weight and number of items, and the extra services that you might choose to do the job correctly.

Once you check reviews and find the perfect moving company for you, you must do one more thing before you commit to a mover: calculate your budget. With an interstate move, there are numerous charges beyond the “moving” itself. Consider the packing supplies you might need, which include boxes, tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap; car shipping expenses (if you are not driving to your new residence); and airfare or road trip expenses, which include gas and lodging.

Consider the following:

  • The number of items and the total weight of all of the items is a huge factor to determining the cost of an interstate move. The cost of moving averages about 50 cents per pound, so it behooves you to downsize as much as possible by selling and donating those items that you never use, rarely use, or are not worth the expense to ship across the country. It might be more cost-effective to abandon the old couch and buy another on the other end.
  • The distance between your old spot and your new residence is the second most important factor. A charge per mile will be assessed to cover the expenses of getting those big moving trucks down the road.
  • Loading a truck and transporting your possessions down interstate highways is the very basics of what your long-distance move might require. Additional services include things like packing, furniture disassembly, hoisting, and storage requirements if there is a gap between the move-out date and move-in date. Again, consider selling or donating items that will require extra charges to transport, and disassemble and pack your possessions yourself to lower your overall moving expenses.
  • Always check with the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure that the interstate mover you wish to hire is properly licensed, and make sure that your belongings are insured during the moving process in case of theft, loss, or damage.

Schedule a moving company as soon as you are aware of your move-out and move-in date, so that you are assured that expert moving professionals will be available. Having a professional crew scheduled to get you out of your old home and into your new one will reduce anxiety about the move because a guarantee is now in place that a moving crew will be there to load up your belongings on the day you make your exit from your current state.

Most moving companies use large trailers to relocate their customers, and these movers pack more than one set of client possessions in the trailer in it in order to cut costs. In one aspect, this is a good thing because moving companies pass these savings on to you. However, this does create one issue that you might not like so much, which is that there is not always a guarantee on the exact time and day that the movers will pick up your possessions and deliver them to your new home. Instead of an exact time, the movers give you a “delivery spread”, and that is a “period of time” when they might arrive that can sometimes be several days long.

The moving company attempts to reduce the delivery spread, but it is impossible to manage all the things that could happen during a cross-country move as the movers load and unload trucks. Once the movers are within the “delivery spread” timeframe, the moving company will narrow down the time they are picking up or delivering your belongings as they get closer to you.


Nothing takes the place of doing your homework, so request a visual estimate from your potential movers, read lots of reviews, and break out your calculator. If you live anywhere up and down the West Coast from Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California, call two moving companies for an estimate, and then call Royal Moving, for the lowest all-inclusive pricing you will find. The great thing with Royal is that you will get no surprises when the final bill arrives. It is as simple as the hours it takes to move your possessions multiplied by the hourly rate.

Good luck with shopping for your next moving company.

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