Moving Cost Calculator (for Local Moves)

We did extensive research and created a very cool online moving cost calculator. Get a rough idea how much your local move will cost with our moving cost calculator (free to use).

Illustration of movers loading a moving truck

My wife and I have suffered 3 moves. Each move was bigger and more expensive than the previous move. I guess that’s normal given that we had no kids for move number 1, then one kid for move number 2 and we were expecting our second son during move number 3.

I’m very glad I hired professional local movers for each move. It was stressful enough filling up boxes. Moving days weren’t all that terrible because we just supervised. By that point everything was boxed up.

How much did our moves cost? They weren’t cheap, even though they were local moves. The fact is moving isn’t cheap. If you want a rough idea as to how much your local move will cost, use our local moving cost calculator below. Please note it’s merely an approximate guide and is not a quote for services. It’s based on many assumptions which we set out below.

Moving Cost Calculator

IMPORTANT: Please note that this calculator is a rough approximation at best. Every move is unique based on how much stuff you have, how complicated it is loading it and how much movers earn per hour in your region. Moreover, we are not a moving service; our calculator is not a quote for fees. It’s merely a free online tool we created for readers.

Also, we do not provide calculation options for long distance moves because there are nearly unlimited variables since the cost is based on distance and weight. Each long distance is moved and you will need to get a custom quote to even get a rough idea as to what it will cost.

Assumptions:

  • Hourly rate per mover: $30
  • # hours for <1,000 sq. ft.: 12 (2 movers would take 6 hours).
  • # hours for 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft.: 16
  • # hours for 1,500 to 2,000 sq. ft.: 20
  • # hours for 2,000 to 2,500 sq. ft.: 24
  • # hours for 2,500 to 3,000 sq. ft.: 30
  • # hours for 3,000 to 3,500 sq. ft.: 33
  • # hours for 3,500 to 4,000 sq. ft.: 36
  • # hours for 4,000+ sq. ft.: 40+

The number of hours needed can vary. If you are a pack rat and/or have are moving appliances and/or need furniture disassembled it may take longer.

Average cost per box: $2.00.

If you buy boxes at Home Depot they cost around $2.00, depending on size. If you buy them from a moving company, they will cost considerably more. We based box cost on buying them for $2.00 each at Home Depot. FYI, you will need far more boxes than you think. At least we did. I went back to Home Depot three or four times buying more and more boxes during our last move (the biggest move).

Moving to a new house or city can be fun and exciting. It is the time to branch out, make something unique, entirely your own, and possibly meet some new friends and neighbors. But, the process of moving a house can be incredibly overwhelming, time-consuming, and challenging.

Not to mention expensive. Besides the actual move, moving home has several hidden costs, regardless of whether you hire a professional or opt into the DIY method to move. Below, let’s take a closer look at the costs associated with moving to help you better understand your options and total investment.

DIY Approach

A couple in the process of packing their things for the move.

Tried and true, one of the best methods to move from location to location is the DIY approach. This approach means that you pack everything up and set out on your journey. Although a great deal of energy and time is involved with moving yourself, it is a great way to cut costs on the total move. Let’s look at moving yourself in more detail so that you can see just how much it costs to move a house yourself.

Moving Truck

A family putting their boxed things in the moving truck.

Depending on how much furniture and how many boxes you have to move, you may need to hire a moving truck. These are commonly offered from large moving companies, like Uhaul, or the trucks can be rented from big boxes home improvements stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

There are many considerations to make with a moving truck that can significantly impact the overall cost. Before hiring a moving truck, be sure that you are comfortable driving such a large and heavy truck. If not, be sure you have a reliable friend or relative that can help drive the truck for the big move.

One of the puzzle’s most significant pieces is to figure out the size of the truck you will need. The size of the truck will also impact the price. Moving trucks are available in a mini-van size, all the way up to a large semi-truck size. Most moving trucks start at a flat base rate, some as cheap as $19.99 per day.

Larger trucks cost more, reaching upward of $39.99 for a large, 26-foot long truck. Prices are less expensive if you plan to pick up and drop your truck off from the same location. Additional fees and surplus charges will be added if you return your rental truck to a different site.

Most rental truck companies will charge a small fee for each mile driven, charged by the mile. These prices range from $0.30 to $0.80 per mile. Additionally, rental truck companies will charge for the gas used, so always return the truck with a full tank of gas.

To figure out how much your truck will cost to rent, be sure to calculate the total distance. Many websites from large companies like Uhaul will be able to give you an estimate on the price before reserving the truck. Websites also help give you an idea of how much each truck size can hold to be sure you get the right truck size for your home.

Packing Supplies

Furniture and things readied for the move with plastic wrap and boxes.

Packing is one of the overwhelming parts of moving. It can be difficult finding enough packing material for all of your needs. To help save money, collect boxes from businesses or shipping containers. Cardboard boxes need to be sturdy and strong enough to hold heavy household goods.

If you are in a pinch, many suppliers will sell boxes specifically made for moving. These boxes will cost between $3 and $5 per box depending on the size but can be a real lifesaver during a move when you run low on packing supplies.

Be sure also to have plenty of soft material to use to cushion delicate items. Bubble wrap and tissue paper are the preferred choice but can be expensive. One large roll of bubble wrap can cost more than $15 at some stores.

A cheaper alternative for a DIY move is packing delicate items in materials that will have to be moved anyway. Packing valuable and fragile items in towels and sheets is an excellent way to kill two birds with one stone. (Figuratively, of course, we love birds.)

Benefits To Moving Yourself

Of course, the biggest benefit to be able to move yourself is to save a tremendous amount of money. With just a few friends and some sweat equity, you will be able to move your entire house in a day or weekend. Depending on how much you have to move and the amount of furniture you have, you can further save money on a smaller moving truck or even a van.

Packing supplies can be obtained for free if you look in the right places, and you can move for under $100 for a small and local move. Of course, remember to factor in some much-needed pizza for your helpful friends and family following a long moving day.

Disadvantages Of Moving Yourself

The biggest downside to a DIY move is that it takes plenty of time and energy. Packing and loading boxes into a moving truck all day can be difficult and tiresome. Plus, moving heavy and awkward furniture down steps, into elevators, and through tight hallways can be challenging, especially if you have people helping not accustom to moving heavy objects. While you are saving money on the move, you will certainly pay for the time spent on the actual move.

Another major disadvantage to moving yourself is that you will accept all damages and blame on your own. When using friends and family to help move heavy and oddly-shaped items, expect furniture to get dinged and scratched along the way. There is also the real chance that a piece of furniture will become broken or severely damaged. When you hire a professional mover to help, any extensive damages will be the responsibility of the company.

Hiring A Moving Service

A couple of moving service workers hauling boxes into the new home.

The alternative to moving yourself is to hire a professional moving company. These are movers that help people relocate for their full-time job. They are fast, professional, and easy to work with, but of course, they come with a price. Hiring a professional moving company will often come with a hefty price tag but can also save you plenty of time and energy, offering a quick and (somewhat) painless move.

Movers

A couple of professional movers putting boxes of things into their van.

The biggest perk to hiring a professional moving company to help you relocate is the addition of movers. These are trained professionals who know how to move and carry heavy boxes and furniture from place to place. Movers help move furniture and goods all day and know the right and wrong way to carry items.

Plus, movers will ultimately be responsible for your goods, so they are trained the right way to pack the moving truck. They will pack items, so they won’t shift or move during the drive, further protecting your belongings. Movers will not only come into your existing home to help remove furniture and boxes, but they will unload the truck and move the furniture and boxes into your new home.

Hiring professional movers does come with a cost. The moving cost will be calculated on several aspects of the move. Usually, the location of the move will be taken into consideration, with farther moves more expensive. The amount of furniture will also be a consideration. This is usually based on an initial estimate from the moving company.

The moving cost can be calculated in several ways. First, a professional moving company will often take into account the overall size of your home, charging by the square foot. A moving company will consider the type of rooms, like bedrooms, and living areas, to move and will calculate an overall moving cost.

A four-bedroom house will be more costly to move than a studio apartment. This moving cost will also consider difficult to move items such as large and bulky pieces of furniture or specialty items like pianos. Lastly, the moving company will consider how many movers are needed to move your home efficiently and safely.

This expense will be an added labor cost, usually billed at an hourly rate. Before signing a contract, a moving professional should provide an estimate for the total cost. The average cost to move a 2,000 square foot home over 100 miles is between $2,000 and $5,000.

Packing

A couple of movers packing up boxes with tape.

When it comes to packing, you will be given an option when working with professional movers. Many moving companies will provide you with the option of hiring them to pack your items in addition to moving them. This service is an added cost but can help to speed up the process.

Having professional movers pack your goods ensures that your items will arrive in the new location safe and sound. Having professionals pack your goods will also help cut down on the cost spent with additional packing supplies, as these are included with your moving cost. Having professionals pack your items does come with a hefty price tag. Movers can charge upward of $1,000, with some specialty packing services costing more.

Hiring a professional moving company does not mean that you also have to hire someone to pack your belongings. It is still perfectly possible to pack on your own, using your packing materials. This packing method is a great way to save some money and pack your goods at your own pace.

Many moving companies will have the option of buying or renting boxes and containers for specialty items like clothing to help speed up the process. Many moving boxes can be rented for as little as $5 per box.

Benefits of a Professional Moving Company

Hiring a professional moving company to help you move to a new city certainly has plenty of benefits. A moving company can help make light work of plenty of a full house worth of goods and furniture. Plus, a moving company helps to ensure that everything makes it through the move in one piece, with the moving company taking the bulk of the responsibility. A moving company will shorten your move and help do the heavy lifting for people unable to move or lift heavy boxes and furniture.

More so, a moving company comes with its crew and their own moving truck. This crew means that you won’t have to ask (i.e., bribe) your friends to help with the move. Plus, you will be able to save money on the cost of truck rental. If you are working on a tight schedule due to a quick move or a fast turn around for work, a professional mover is the best way to go for ease and speed of the move.

Disadvantages of a Moving Company

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to hiring a professional moving company to help with your move. Moving companies can be expensive, adding a hefty amount onto an already costly prospect of purchasing a new home or leasing a new apartment. Many moves can cost thousands of dollars, even without additional services like packing.

Further, moving companies can be extremely costly for long-distance moves. Many moving companies will add a charge for mileage, so long-distance moves can quickly add up. Long-distance moves also have the added complication of overnight accommodations if you are moving across the country.

Cross-country moves add a transportation cost that can include lodging and meals for your movers. A long-distance mover is often required for these moves and is different from a local mover. A long-distance mover has the experience and staffing needed to handle multiple day moves. Hiring movers is a great way to speed up the process, but you will certainly pay for the added convenience.

Additional Cost

A man with a clipboard surveying the moving process.

Of course, moving couldn’t be as cut and dry as simply choosing to move yourself or have a local moving company help. There are often several additional costs that must be factored into the move. Below, we will outline some standard costs so that you can be prepared for the added expense.

Transportation Costs

While we have covered transportation costs for the movers and the moving truck, we have not considered any transportation costs for you and your family. Long-haul moves often require overnight accommodations or airfare to reach your destination. For your final move, be sure to consider these added expenses into your total figure.

Removal Costs

Sometimes when we move from a location that we have been residing in for a long period, we start to collect items that we no longer need. These can be interior or exterior, depending on your situation. If you have unwanted materials and goods around your home, you may have to hire a professional to remove these goods.

Removal costs can be quite significant for large and heavy items, so be sure to consider this in your total expense. It may also be necessary to hire a dumpster for throwing away unwanted items or items that are in poor shape and cannot be donated. Remove as much as possible before the move, so you are not transporting items that you have no intentions of keeping.

Storage Container

A storage container or a moving pod might be necessary for many reasons. A moving pod is a great way to make a gradual move, loading up the pod with your belongings and paying a company to relocate the pod at a later date in a new area. A moving pod also makes sense for families that move to a smaller, temporary apartment while their homes are constructed.

Sometimes though, a storage container is necessary. This situation could be the case for people who are downsizing to a smaller home or apartment. A storage container is a great way to still hold on to items you love without having an exact location for them in your new home. A storage container can give you the time and flexibility you need to parse through your belongings.

Plus, a storage container can work as a good stop-gap if you have a delay before you can enter your new home. Although certainly necessary and part of moving, many people fail to add these to their overall moving expenses. Ensure your moving expenses include any storage pods or containers to get an accurate idea of your total cost.

FAQs

When it comes time to move, it can be exciting and overwhelming. Moving your house requires you to make several decisions related to the moving process, and it can be tough to determine the best course of action if you do not have experience moving.

To help combat the uncertainty, we have put together a list of the top questions related to moving your house. Below, we hope to give you the answers to need to make better, informed decisions when it comes to moving.

How much notice do you need to give movers?

Many moving companies will fill up very quickly with available times, given they only have a finite amount of resources and crew. It is a best practice to give moving companies as much notice as possible.

Not only will this help you secure a suitable date that works well with your home closing, but it will give you peace of mind knowing something is checked off the to-do list. Be mindful of the fact that weekends and holidays tend to fill up very quickly.

How much does it cost to move across the country?

Moving across the country is a big undertaking, but several people complete this move every year. A move across the country with professional movers can cost upward of $32,000. This move takes into account the labor, overnight accommodations, transportation needs, and return trip. Moving the items yourself will cost significantly less and would only account for your truck rental and possibly overnight accommodations for your family.

Is it worth paying for movers?

Deciding to hire movers is entirely up to you, and what you count as “worth it.” Professional movers can help lift and maneuver heavy items and boxes, making it ideal for people who cannot move furniture by themselves. Plus, professional movers are fast, can carry several boxes at once, and navigate tight hallways and stairs with furniture.

If you are trying to get your move completed as painlessly as possible in the shortest amount of time, hiring professional movers is certainly worth it. Plus, professional movers carry their own insurance and liability to cover themselves if furniture becomes damaged during the moving process. Moving on your own does not have this same protection, and if anything happens to your furniture, it is your fault alone.

However, movers do come with a pretty hefty price tag that can be hard to swallow. Paying thousands of dollars in moving costs after purchasing a new home can be prohibitive for many people. Adding additional services like packing your goods and moving heavy items can add even more to the cost. Decide your budget, time frame, and ability to move large and heavy items before determining if it is worth hiring professionals.

Do you have to help movers?

The joy of hiring professionals movers is that you usually do not have to help with anything. Movers come and unload your house, and bring your belongings to your new location. While hiring movers is a “hands-off” activity, it is a good idea to be around still and present to help your movers with any questions they may have.

When moving to the new house, a mover will ask you where you want items. It can help to do an initial walkthrough of the new house to describe the layout and indicate how the rooms will be used. When movers come in with furniture, you can easily direct them to place the furniture in the correct room.

While most professional movers will have their own tools to help disassemble furniture and reassemble upon arrival, helping determine which furniture pieces can come apart can be a massive help for movers. While you do not need to be continuously involved with the moving process, having a member of your family on standby to help answer any questions during the move will be a huge help.

How many boxes do you need when moving?

The answer is never enough! No matter how many cardboard boxes you think you have, you will always end up needing more. Be sure to get a mental image of how many boxes you will use around your house as you start the moving process. It can help to move from room to room, getting a total amount of boxes needed for each room.

Consider too that everyday items that must be moved as part of the move can also help transport some household goods. You can use suitcases and luggage to help transport towels and linens to the new house, saving a box.

Plus, remember too that some oddly shaped items will need a large or tall box. Many movers will have special boxes designed specifically to carry awkwardly shaped goods, like lamps, from one location to the next. Movers also have special cardboard boxes used for clothing. These boxes can be rented and make a breeze out of moving bulky and cumbersome clothing from house to house.

How much does it cost to rent a portable storage container?

A storage container is a great addition to any move and can help give you a place to store items before you are ready to move them into your new house. A storage container is also a good idea for people that are building their homes and have temporality moved to a smaller apartment that will not accommodate all of their belongings.

Storage containers come in a range of sizes and options. Smaller containers may be perfect for storing just a few pieces of furniture or boxes, while larger containers might be necessary to store an entire room’s worth of furniture. Storage containers can also be climate and temperature-controlled, which are ideal for storing plush or wooden furniture.

This setting can reduce the amount of moisture in the storage container, leading to mold and mildew. Expect to pay about $100 a month for an average size, non-climate controlled storage unit. The storage containers that are climate controlled will be around $300 per month. Depending on the timeline you set out the duration you will need a storage container, it may be possible to reduce your monthly expenses by signing a 6-month or one year lease with the storage container company.

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