Moving to a new home is exciting, but it can cost a nice chunk of change if you don’t stay ahead of the cost. For a typical 2,000 square foot home with two-three bedrooms, on average professional movers will charge somewhere between $300 and $1500 for a local move, and anywhere from $1,500 to north of $5,000 for a long-distance move.
But, how do they figure out those numbers in the first place? Here’s a look at how moving companies determine how much it costs to move, for both local and long-distance moves.
Local Move Calculations
In most contexts, a local move is considered to be a move within 100 miles of the starting point, which can be your home, your storage unit, or wherever else you may be.
The reason these are considered “local” moves is because they can typically be done within a day. So, instead of taking a lot of information (which we’ll explore in long distance moves, the moving company will, typically, only need to know a few things.
The majority of the time, a moving company is going to want to know how many bedrooms are in your home or the square footage of the home. This lets them know, approximately, how large of a truck they are going to need in order to move everything.
Then, they figure out the truck size, how many people will need to be involved in the move, and how long that the move should take. This is how they give you your estimate.
When moving day comes, they’ll use those same calculations in order to give you the final cost – it may be less or more than the initial estimate, and they’ll give you an understanding as to how they deal with that when you sign the contract.
Also, be certain that you include some sort of tip in your calculations for your movers as well. For local moves, you’ll probably want to tip them around $10 an hour per mover that was involved.
Long Distance Move Calculations
Long distance moves are complex, and there are often several layers of what you’re dealing with when you’re looking at the cost of that move. Different movers do things differently – but there are some commonalities that they consider in their calculations.
First, like a local move, your long-distance movers do care about how much you’ll be taking with you. But, they may calculate things differently. Some use the number of bedrooms; others will use how many total rooms are in your home; others use square footage; and even others use the actual weight of what’s coming with you.
If they’re using weight, they will bring the moving van and give you the starting weight. Then, they’ll load up the truck and weigh how much it is with everything in it. They take that number and subtract the starting weight to get your stuff’s weight, and they’ll use that number.
Another factor they include is distance, of course. Long-distance moves put a lot of wear and tear on the moving vans and on the movers themselves. So, they use the distance to work with you on an itinerary. Usually, you’re going to be paying a certain amount per mile based on these numbers.
Other costs may come into play here, from extra supplies, to whether or not you have a lot of fragile items, to everything in between.
You will also want to tip your long distance movers, but in this case, you’re looking at about $20 per day, instead of per hour (otherwise that tip would be quite expensive in the end).
Some Important Notes About Quotes and Estimates
There are multiple types of quotes and estimates that you may come across. Binding estimates are estimates where the moving company gives you a number, and that is going to be the cost. Binding not-to-exceed estimates are where a moving company gives you a number; if your move ends up costing more you’ll pay the estimate, but if your move costs less, you’ll pay the lower number.
Non-binding estimates, on the other hand, are an approximate cost that the mover thinks you’ll have to pay. Many companies offer these alongside of binding estimates; if they only offer non-binding estimates, you may want to consider another moving company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I consider paying for packing services?
If you feel that they will help your move go more quickly or you’re in a situation where it’s difficult for you to pack on your own, then it may be worth it to pay for packing services. Usually, packing services are calculated at a flat rate based on how many bedrooms your home has, and you may be able to get a discount when combined with moving and/or storage services.
How can I reduce my moving costs?
Purging as you pack can help you to have fewer items to deal with, which can lower the cost of your move. You can also choose to move yourself by renting a moving van, but this increases your risk of injury and may make it more likely that you will end up breaking or damaging your items as you move.
What options do I have if I’m downsizing?
If you’re downsizing, you may be able to rent a storage unit from the company that is taking care of your move. Otherwise, you may want to do the downsizing as you pack – sell, donate, give away, or throw away what you don’t want to take with you to your new home. Then, you’ll hopefully be able to fit what’s left into your new home.
Budgeting for Your Move
In the long run, this is all about the budget you put together. The more that you understand about the process, the easier that it’s going to be for you to go ahead and put together a reasonable budget for the move. Look at your options and get ready to determine how much your move may cost.