Ashburn, VA

How much do movers cost?
$491 – $1,516 ($40/hr)

The average cost for movers is $25 to $50 per hour per mover. The cost of moving a 3-bedroom household move transporting 7,400 lbs is $1,500 for local moving, up to $4,300 for long distance moving. The price can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). Get free estimates from movers near you.

How much are average moving company costs?

Author: Daniel W.
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.

Moving Company Costs: The Complete Guide


On average, according to numbers released in mid-2018, there are about 35.5 million people moving home in the US annually. Of the families and individuals making their way to a new address, the move will be accomplished using any number of methods: corporate movers, minivans, borrowed trucks, and personal vehicles.

Of the 3 million moves—where the final destination was another state—22% (650,000) used professional movers. Of all professional movers hired, 44% were paid for by homeowners, 39% were funded by companies, 16% by the military, and the remaining 1% was by other government entities.

This pricing guide covers:

How Much Do Movers Cost?

The average cost for movers is $25 to $50 per hour per mover. The cost of moving an average 3-bedroom household move transporting 7,400 lbs is $1,500 for local moving, up to $4,300 for long distance moving.

Moving Costs based on Distance

Moving Distance Average Cost
Local Moving (Under 50 miles) $1,500
Moving within the same state $2,300
Long Distance Moving (Interstate) $4,300

Local Moving Costs based on Size of Home

Home Size Time to Move Average Cost
1 Bedroom Apartment 3-5 hrs $211 – $556
2 Bedroom Apartment 5-7 hrs $375 – $721
3 Bedroom House 7-10 hrs $491 – $1,516
4 Bedroom House 10+ hrs $932 – $2,200+

Expect to pay about $400 per room for a local move under 50 miles. Some movers will have a minimum charge, while others do not.

Bo Ballard Moving Services in Oklahoma City, OK, say, “For a 2-man crew on a local job we charge $100/hour plus a $100 setup fee, which covers our truck, fuel, equipment, mileage and such. We do not have a minimum, as most companies do.”

Eko Movers in Mason, OH, say, “Our rate is a flat rate quote. The price doesn't change. We do not go by weight. We charge by the size of the truck.”

Moving Company Cost Factors

At the very minimum level, you would pay for a truck to show up with anywhere from 2 to 4 movers who will take all the packed boxes, furniture, appliances, and other belongings out of your home and into the moving truck. After driving the truck to your final destination, they will then unload the contents into the rooms you have designated them for.

Upgrades

You can elect to have the movers also take care of the following portions of your move:

  • Provide all boxes, packing tape, wrapping materials, and padding
  • Do all packing, to include labelling boxes by room and detailing contents
  • Disassemble and reassemble all your furniture
  • Use felt pads to protect items that cannot be taken apart like pianos, mirrors, artwork, TVs, etc., and surround them in stretch wrap
  • Do all unpacking at your new home, with everything going in the right room
  • Hang mirrors and artwork
  • Install TVs and appliances

Moving boxes and packaging materials

Unless you have been collecting boxes to prepare for your move, you will need to either buy moving boxes from a store or pay the moving company to add cardboard boxes, plastic bins, bubble wrap/packing paper, and any other supplies needed for the move.

The average prices you can expect to see for your moving materials are as follows (according to U-Haul):

Moving Boxes and Packing Materials Average Cost
Small boxes $1.40
Medium boxes $2.50
Large boxes $3
Extra-large boxes $4
Wardrobe boxes $9
Glass packing box and protective insets $13
Kitchen china and glass kit $100
Protective wrapping paper $8
Furniture and appliance pads $12
Hand cart/dolly rental $30

Some moving companies also offer moving kits that include everything you will need for your move. These are sold based on the size of your home and range in price from $70 for a 1-bedroom studio apartment, up to $400 for 4-bedroom house.

Time and date of your move

Both the time and date you set for your move are factors that could influence the final price. As you plan your move, keep the following in mind:

School year

Most people try to either buy or sell their homes between school semesters to make the move easier on their kids. When possible, do everything you can to find a moving date other than the end of the school year or right before the new one starts. Moving services are at peak demand from May to early September. Also avoid the months when college students will be either moving away to college or returning for their next semester. It is not uncommon to see rates for moving companies higher than what you might see in the months before or after that time period.

Weekends

Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days for movers, and if you shop around, you could easily discover much lower/more affordable rates early in the week—when there is little to no demand for movers.

Renters

Renters usually move out at the end of a month, so try and set your move date to a few days after the first week and a few days before the last week of a month.

Time of day

Schedule your move for some time in the morning so that your move is the movers first priority of the day. If you’re second on the list for that day, you run the risk of them arriving late from another move.

Campbell Moving in Sterling, VA, say, “Local moves are done on an hourly rate basis with typically a minimum of a half day job being four hours. That can occasionally be changed to something less if the job helps us fill in a day where we are light on, say, a morning job where the crew will not have a full day job.”

Distance costs

Local move costs will generally equate to an hour of labor costs. Long distance moves, like to another state, will include the cost per mile. Generally, this will be included in your quote, along with any fuel costs, but if you don’t see them, make sure to ask about both. Campbell Moving say, “Long-distance moves are done on a basis of a tariff. It is a formula of weight and distance, time of year, packing or not packing, etc.”

Other tips

Bluebell Relocation Services in Clifton, NJ, say to “create an accurate inventory of what they [you] would like to move” in order to get the most accurate quote.

Lyndhurst Movers in Kearny, NJ, with 126 years in business, say, “To help customers stay focused and on track with their move, we have developed a comprehensive and compassionate approach to organizing the entire process. We want to know every detail of your move and listen with an experienced ear. The result of this is a smooth transition into your new residence or place of business.”

Moving Insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover your belongings in a move or while they are in storage. Some carriers will cover your belongings during a move in the quote, while others treat it as an upgrade. Consider purchasing some sort of liability coverage either through your homeowner’s insurance or through the moving company. Common policy types that most moving companies offer include options that provide different levels of protection, including:

  • Released value protection - This is often wrapped into the hourly rate you are being charged for the move. It will cover liability to the tune of $.60/lb of cargo transported. On this insurance, you will only get 60% of an item’s replacement value should anything happen during the move.
  • Full value protection - This liability coverage holds the movers accountable for any items damaged and requires them to replace the item or reimburse you at the item’s current, depreciated value.
  • Separate liability coverage - This option is governed by state law, and it pays for the insurance amount purchased minus the carrier liability cost that movers pays (up to $.60/lb of cargo). Make sure you receive a copy of the policy and fully understand the scope of the coverage you paid for.

In most cases, if you do the move yourself, neither your existing auto insurance policy nor your homeowner’s insurance will cover your possessions when using your personal vehicle or rental car. You are taking on the entire risk for loss or damage to your property. If, however, you rent a moving truck to do the move, most, if not all, offer insurance packages that cover the vehicle, the driver, any passengers, and possessions for the duration of the rental.

Alternatives to hiring a moving company

Numerous medical reports and studies frequently list moving as one of the top ten most stressful life events, often featuring in the top five, right after the passing of a family member or a divorce. Knowing this, evaluate if it would be worth handing off the mechanics of the move to movers to lessen the impact of the stress on you and your family. But if the cost is too prohibitive, below are a few different ways to make your move happen without hiring moving professionals.

Friends and family

Asking for help from your friends and family is the lowest cost option available to most people. If they are willing to help with the move, you may want to pick two or three different days and then see which day you can have the most people turn up. The nicest experience for your “free labor” is for them to turn up and everything is already in boxes, and the boxes are already labelled—which will make it easy to know which room each box goes into on the other end. Also consider labelling the rooms at the destination with a system that makes sense so those who haven’t seen the new house before can easily place your belongings where they need to be.

Oftentimes, it is customary to treat your helpers to pizza and beer or gift certificates. If you are providing refreshments, have a cooler of water bottles available at each location throughout the day, and think about only providing the beer and pizza when the work is finished. Depending on everyone’s schedule, and how well everything has been packed and labelled, it might be necessary to have one crew help work on packing and another set of friends at the destination for unpacking.

Moving PODS

Another option, which allows a bit more flexibility in the pace of your move, is to rent portable moving containers. The cost for renting PODS is based on the size of pod(s) that you need and the number of days you need it for. Once the container is at your property, just fill it with your moving boxes and larger items and belongings; and when it is full, the company will come by and transport it to your new address. A quick search can give you a number of companies to compare prices with, but in many cases, you can expect to pay close to:

  • $150 per month for a pod 12 feet long
  • $170 per month for a pod 16 feet long

Depending on the size of your home, the rental company will be able to tell you what size(s) you will need to rent.

Rent a moving truck

Moving day will go a lot faster for everyone if you can rent a moving truck rather than use personal vehicles. Depending on the distance of your move, you can select from a local company or a nationwide one.

Prices start as low as $20/day for a small cargo van with a mileage rate of $0.80/mile and go all the way up to $40 for a 26’ truck with a mileage rate of $1.20/mile.

What size moving truck will I need?

Truck rental companies generally use the following scale to help you determine what size truck you will need depending on the size of your home:

Truck Size Average Moving Space
10’ Truck 1-bedroom studio apartment
15’ Truck 1-bedroom home or 2-bedroom apartment
17’ Truck Up to 2 bedrooms
20’ Truck 2-bedroom home or 3-bedroom apartment
26’ Truck 3-bedroom home or 4-bedroom apartment

Truck rental companies, just like moving companies, also offer optional insurance packages, as well as all the moving supplies you might need like boxes, tape, bubble wrap, protective mats, and hand carts.

Your responsibilities

To make sure your move is as smooth a process as possible, your responsibilities as the customer include:

  1. Take the time to thoroughly read through all the documents from your mover.
  2. If you cannot be at both the pickup and delivery, you have to assign someone the role of acting as your representative.
  3. If anything changes regarding the move, like the time or date for the move, or if there are any more items that need to be moved, let your mover know as quickly as possible so they are not forgotten.
  4. Either you or your representative will have to pay the full amount using the agreed payment method upon delivery.
  5. If any of your shipment is damaged or gets lost in transit, file any claims as quickly as possible.

Protecting yourself and your possessions

Before your move, your moving company should give you some basic information including a copy of the “Ready to Move” brochure or a link to the website and fully detailed documentation regarding the mover’s arbitration process. Also expect:

  1. Written details about how to access the mover’s tariff
  2. Written estimates must be provided by your movers. Estimates should state if they are either binding or non-binding. A binding estimate is a detailed list of your actual charges, and estimates that are non-binding are estimations only. The final costs for your transportation could be higher than the price in the non-binding estimate.
  3. All documentation should be 100% complete before you sign it. As you look it over, the only items that might be missing from a non-binding estimate are the final weight for your shipment and any unexpected charges incurred during transit.
  4. Make sure you have a full understanding on the scope of your mover’s responsibility in the case of any loss or damage to your property, and ask your mover for a full explanation of the difference between actual insurance coverage and valuation.
  5. If you elect to only go with the liability coverage, make sure that you are comfortable with a payment of $0.60/lb for any lost or damaged goods. If it is not the degree of coverage you want for your household property, you will need to purchase an increased valuation. As soon as you have the right coverage in place, you can sign the documents.
  6. If you have a number of high-value items in the contents of your home, let your mover know. Items valued at more than $100 per pound per item are classified as high-value items.
  7. It is within your rights as a consumer to be present any time your shipment is being weighed, and you can have the shipment weighed again without any additional charges.
  8. At some point in your communications with your mover, and before your shipment leaves, verify what types of payment your mover can accept when the shipment is delivered.
  9. If the need arises to seek compensation for any loss or damages to your property, investigate settling through arbitration for disputed claims.
  10. Before signing any documentation, make sure you know if your moving company is a household goods motor carrier or a household goods broker who contracts out the work.
  11. Make sure your mover is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can find this out by visiting ProtectYourMove.gov. In addition to refusing to work with brokers and/or movers who are not registered with the FMCSA, you should also refuse to work with movers who won’t perform a physical survey of the contents of your home, and those companies who only accept cash payments. FMCSA registrations details can be found by visiting ProtectYourMove.gov, or by calling the FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing, and for insurance information you can call (866) 637-0635.
  12. If your delivery receipt has any wording releasing your mover from liability, do not sign it. Ideally, that should be struck out from any documentation before moving forward with your mover. If your shipment turns up and the receipt still has the wording in it, you can refuse delivery until such time as the mover furnishes the revised delivery receipt for signature.

Hiring a Moving Company

Before you make a decision on your moving company, create a top list of three to five companies to get bids from, from which you can make your final selection. To get the best companies onto that shortlist, look for those who have as many of the following as possible:

  • A+ rated members of the Better Business Bureau
  • In business for many years
  • Are insured and bonded
  • Rated highly on HomeGuide
  • Provide a great warranty

Ultimately, you’ll know which movers fit your needs best. Dulles Logistics and Rentals in Sterling, VA, says, “Each client has their own set of needs. Our goal is to listen to what the client needs and provide a service tailored to their needs and budget. Once hired the client receives a written service agreement that clearly states their charges.”

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