How Much Does It Cost to Move?

Most local moves cost less than $2,500. You’ll pay more for longer distances or heavier loads.
Abby Badach Doyle
By Abby Badach Doyle 
Updated
Edited by Alice Holbrook Reviewed by Michelle Blackford

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It’s exciting to start a new chapter in a new place. Whether your next step is renting or buying, chances are you’ll have to budget for a move to get you there.

The average cost of a move varies widely. What you’ll pay depends on factors, such as:

  • The distance you’re moving.

  • The size of your home and the amount of stuff you’re moving.

  • Whether you’ll hire professional movers or rent a truck and do it yourself.

Here’s how to estimate moving costs and avoid any surprises.

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Average moving costs

The national average cost to hire local movers is $1,702, at the time of writing, according to data from home services booking site Angi. Angi considers a “local” move to be within state lines and up to two hours of driving time — in other words, about 100 miles or less.

Most people who move stay local, or within the same county or state — 79%, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau — so national average costs reflect that. But if you’re moving an above-average distance, expect an above-average bill.

To get a more accurate estimate, let’s look at moving costs according to distance.

Cost of a local move

A local move usually costs between $882 and $2,547, at the time of writing, according to data from HomeAdvisor, a digital marketplace for home services. This estimate factors in the cost of a truck rental and two professional movers.

If you don’t mind doing the physical labor, it’s possible to save money with a do-it-yourself move. According to Move.org, it costs an average of $150 to rent a moving truck for local moves. (Larger trucks and longer distances cost more.) That might sound like a bargain, but you still have to budget for gas, moving supplies, taxes and often a per-mile fee.

Cost of a long-distance move

In general, a long-distance move is one that spans 100 miles or more.

At the time of writing, HomeAdvisor estimates the national average cost of a cross-country move to be $4,651, with a typical range of $2,462 to $6,874. However, costs can rise to $10,000 or more if you’re bringing a lot of items or are moving a great distance, such as coast-to-coast or overseas.

To DIY, you can rent a truck for a cross-country move. However, one-way rentals tend to be more expensive than returning a truck to the same location. You’ll also pay more for gas when moving a greater distance.

If you have a tight budget, consider renting a moving container. The company delivers it to you to load your belongings. When you’re all packed, the company picks it up and drives it to your destination. You’ll save money on moving labor, since you handle the loading and unloading — and you won’t have to drive a big rental truck.

While hiring professional movers is often your most expensive option for a long-distance move, it’s also typically worth the expense to save time and stress. Since your belongings will be in transit for a longer time, it’s likely a worthwhile investment to have seasoned pros pack and transport your stuff securely.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Are you moving for a new job? Often, you can negotiate a relocation package to cover moving costs. You can also factor in other expenses, such as what it costs to break your lease, sell your home or rent a storage unit.

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Cost of an international move

The cost to move out of the country varies widely, depending on your final destination and the size of your move. Hiring an international moving company ranges from $1,500 to $12,000, according to International Van Lines.

Most international moves use sea freight, a cost-effective approach, especially if you only rent a partial shipping container. The other option is air freight. Air freight is much pricier, with weight and space limitations — but it delivers your belongings more quickly.

An international move also involves some unique relocation costs, including:

  • Visa/immigration fees.

  • Moving insurance, sometimes called transit protection.

  • Customs and tariff (duty) fees, or import taxes.

  • Personal transportation, such as international airfare for you, your family and pets.

  • Setup costs in your new country, such as new IDs, cell phone plans and healthcare.

How much do movers cost per hour?

A typical rate to hire one or two movers in the U.S. is $38 to $75 per mover, per hour, according to Moving.com. This estimate is based on the cost of a local move.

If you have your own truck or storage container, it’s possible to hire labor-only movers to assist with loading and unloading. Otherwise, the cost to hire movers will be itemized as part of an overall moving quote.

If you’re hiring movers, it’s also customary to tip at least 10% of the total cost, or 20% for good service.

Factors that affect moving costs

National averages can be helpful, but ultimately, your moving cost will depend on your unique situation. Here are some variables to consider.

Home size

What increases cost: Moving more stuff (by weight, volume or number of rooms)

A larger home with more belongings requires more time and effort to move. Often, local movers charge by the hour. Others, such as full-service long-distance movers, charge a flat fee that factors in shipment weight. Either way, your home size will be reflected in the price.

Expect to pay less to move a one-bedroom or studio apartment and more for a single-family home with multiple bedrooms.

Distance

What increases cost: Longer moves, paying per diem for professional movers

The mileage of your move is another main factor in the total cost. Local moves are less complicated than long-distance moves, so they don’t cost as much.

A long-distance move with professional movers includes per diem travel costs — such as gas, tolls and hotel stays for the moving crew — as part of your quote. If you’re renting a truck, you are typically responsible for gas and mileage on top of the base fee.

Hiring movers vs. DIY

What increases cost: Hiring professionals

If you can do some of the labor yourself, it’s possible to save money. Think of your options in three tiers:

  • Moving truck rental. You can save money by renting a truck (such as U-Haul or Penske) and doing the heavy lifting and driving yourself. 

  • Moving container service. Renting a container (such as U-Pack, U-Box or PODS) is an in-between option. The container is delivered to your home, then you (or labor-only movers) load your belongings in. A professional driver picks it up and transports the container to your new place for unloading.

  • Hiring professional movers. This option costs more, but it’s also the most streamlined solution for longer or more complicated moves. To avoid overpaying, get estimates from at least three moving companies before you pick a provider.

Truck size

What increases cost: Renting a larger truck

Moving trucks for rent come in standard sizes by length. It costs more to rent a larger truck.

  • Small: A 10- or 12-foot truck can support a move for a one-bedroom apartment.

  • Mid-size: These trucks vary in size from 14 to 20 feet. A mid-size moving truck can haul the contents of a larger apartment or condo — up to a three-bedroom house.

  • Large: The largest moving trucks range from 22 to 26 feet and can support moves for three- to five-bedroom homes.

Moving supplies

What increases cost: Buying or renting more supplies

Whether you’re hiring professionals or doing it yourself, you’ll need common moving supplies. This includes:

  • Boxes (in multiple sizes).

  • Packing tape.

  • Cushioning materials, such as newspaper or bubble wrap, to pack fragile items.

  • Heavy-duty markers for labeling.

  • Box cutters and garbage bags (for unpacking and tidying up).

🤓Nerdy Tip

It’s common to run out of boxes and tape. To avoid last-minute stress, always buy more than you think you need. Only set up boxes as you use them. Most stores let you return unused moving boxes.

Time of year

What increases cost: Moving in spring or summer

Spring and summer are the busiest months to move, so expect to pay a premium — and lock in a date as soon as you can. Many moving companies book up fast between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

You could save money by booking during the off-season, but then you have to bargain with winter weather and school schedules.

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