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Get Your Move On: Unpacking the Costs

Let's face it, the process of moving is no fun. Often the only motivation is the excitement about your new home that awaits. Between the boxes and boxes of kitchen things and the grand piano in the living room you may be considering hiring some extra help. But what exactly does that entail?

costs of hiring movers to move into a new home

First, you should identify what level of help you are looking for from movers. Are you moving locally or long distance? Do you need the whole shebang — all of the box packing, loading and unloading done by movers? Or do you just need a hand with the super heavy items in your home? You may just need to utilize a moving truck which affords additional space for packing and thus reduces your trips back and forth. Thankfully, most moving services offer options for whatever help you need.

So how much can I expect to pay?

Local Moves

Local moving is generally understood as 100 miles or less within the same state. Local moving services average $30–$40 an hour per mover. Keep in mind that this does not include the actual packing of your home. You can expect to pay an additional $400 in hourly costs for packing/unpacking services. Packing materials are usually included in your quote, but please ask your vendor upfront to be sure.

So for a one bedroom apartment you would pay somewhere between $200–$500 and a four bedroom home would be in the $800–$2,000 range. It will all depend on how many hours the moving process takes. This cost does not include the actual packing and unpacking of your belongings.

moving costs

Long Distance Moves

Out-of-state moves can unfortunately be a bit more pricey. Because of the moving process, they typically charge by the load which can run about $0.50 per pound.

The amount of stuff you have varies from home to home, but an average studio apartment is about 2,000 lbs ($1,000 at $0.50 per pound). A simple estimate would be to add anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 lbs per room beyond that. So a 4 bedroom may range from 10,000 to 12,000 lbs ($5,000–$6,000). Keep in mind that if your 4 bedroom is very small in square footage you may fall below that range, and if you have above average square footage you may fall beyond that range.

If you're planning to move out of the country it is very important that you reach out to moving companies that specialize in international moving. There are many nuances to consider (such as customs) and relying on a trusted, experienced company is key.

Types of Moving Services


Full-service movers will handle the entire moving process from A-Z. They provide all of the boxes and packing materials. Room by room they pack up your entire house. They then load everything into trucks, transport it all to your new home and unload all of the boxes. Once everything is unloaded into your new home, they will unpack your items and assemble anything required.

Another benefit is that the moving company assumes all liability were something to happen to any of your belongings during the moving process. This type of moving service is the most convenient for the person moving and requires almost no effort on their part except for helping them stay organized. As you can imagine, it's also the most expensive type of moving service available.

full service moving costs

Partial Service

Partial service is a great option if there are certain aspects of your home that you need assistance with moving. For instance, you may consider a packing service if you have a large hutch of fine china that will need to be wrapped piece by delicate piece. Or maybe you need a loading and unloading service to help with the extra heavy items in your home.

If you would like to pack your house yourself but have someone else load the boxes, transport them and unload the boxes then a pickup and delivery service might be just what you need. Keep in mind some movers may require you to sign a damage waiver if they transport boxes you've packed yourself as they can't be held responsible for the quality of your packing job.

Self Service

Self service moving gives the option for you to do all of the hard work, minus the actual transportation. There are two options. A moving truck is brought to your home on a specific day and time and you load all of your belongings into the truck as quickly as you can. The truck driver then drives the truck to your new home and you unload everything.

A second option is for a storage unit to be dropped off at your home for an agreed upon amount of time, allowing you to move items into the unit at your own pace. The unit will then be picked up on the agreed day and transported to your new home where it will be left for a few days so that you can unpack before it's picked up. In some cases, they can even hold your storage unit at their site for a few days or even longer term if there is a lag time before your move-in date at your new home. This comes in especially handy if your home is under construction and is not quite ready for move in.


Rentals is one final option to consider. If you would prefer to handle the entire process yourself you can rent a moving van or truck. You can expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $2,000 depending on how long you need the vehicle, the distance you will be traveling, etc.

rental truck costs for moving

Packing up your entire house is far from a small task, much less loading everything into a truck, transporting it all to your new home and then unpacking it all. Phew, it's exhausting! Thankfully there are lots of great options to get a little helping hand along the way. Whether you need help with the whole house or just some extra hands for the heavy stuff, moving services will be able to offer just the right amount of assistance. Good luck!

Looking for some moving hacks for a stress-free move? Check out these tips for making the easiest move ever! And it's not just about moving out, here are 10 must-dos when moving into your new home.

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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