What Is the Average Cost of Moving?

One question that often comes up when relocating or moving houses is: “What is the average cost of moving?” The answer to that question depends on many factors. We’ve researched the major ones, and here’s the full report.

How Complex Is Your Move?

When considering the cost of moving houses, it’s important to understand if the move is a simple relocation or if there are complex items or structures involved.

Relocation is when you’re moving stuff to another location. This requires trucks and crew members skilled in packing, transporting, and unpacking your personal belongings.

The cost of moving increases when you have complex structures. For instance, you may need more skilled movers to handle complex items such as an above-ground swimming pool or a child’s freestanding playhouse.

Fragile items with special handling can also add to the complexity. These include pianos, grandfather clocks, valuable artworks, and electronics.

Moving Cost Factors to Consider

Several factors affect your moving cost, from timing to location to weight. Let’s break them down:

  1. When Are You Moving?

The demand for movers is high and more expensive during summer and holidays. But the demand is low during winter. So you should time your move perfectly to leverage lower costs.

According to various professionals, the peak moving season stretches from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. Reviews show moving companies offer discounts during seasons with low patronage (off-peak seasons), providing up to 30% lower costs.

  1. Where Are You Moving To?

Moving within the same state (intrastate) costs less, while moving across state lines (interstate) is generally more expensive because of the extra gas and paperwork.

An average mover’s hourly rate ranges from $25 to $50. Moving.com estimated the average cost of moving a two- or three-bedroom home for a long-distance journey to be $4,890 at 2,500+ miles.

International moves are the most expensive, ranging from $10,000 to $15,000.

  1. How Are You Moving?

If you’re moving without help, prepare to rent a van or trailer for as low as $130 for a local move and $1,780 for a long-distance move, according to Move.org. Contracting professional services will cost more but can save you time and energy.

  1. What Are You Moving?

Another factor of impact is weight. Weight-taking methods are two: origin and destination weighing.

Origin weighing is when movers weigh the truck before arrival and after it’s loaded. They estimate the cost by subtracting the first weight from the second.

Destination weighing is after the truck has arrived and items have been unloaded. Movers estimate the cost in reverse order, subtracting the second weight from the first.

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, movers quote the average weight cost at 7,400 pounds. Any weight above this will attract more charges.

Key Moving Expenses to Cover

The average cost of moving house per moving task can quickly add up. Here are expenses to consider when budgeting for your move:

  • Packing Materials: You’ll need wardrobe boxes and packing materials (such as bubble wrap) for your belongings. Home Advisor pegs the average cost of packing services ahead of move — including labor and materials — at $1,000. Unpacking your new home could reach $380 to $3,600.
  • Storage Costs: If you’re downsizing or decluttering your home before the move, you’ll need a storage unit. Large storage units (10 feet by 20 feet or 10 feet by 30 feet) cost approximately $290 per month, according to Move.org.
  • Housing Deposit: You may be required to make a security deposit when you sign a lease. This can range from $100 to triple the cost of your monthly rent, depending on where you live.
  • Cleaning Service Fees: You might have some rooms or areas in your home that need cleaning before you move out. On Angie’s List, move-out cleaning services cost between $110 to $650 on average.
  • Child and Pet Care: If you have kids or pets, you may need to pay for daycare or pet boarding during the move. Indeed’s average cost per hour for a babysitter and pet sitter is $21.25 and $13.85, respectively.
  • Utilities: These include electricity, heating and cooling, waste disposal, water, internet, and others. Utility costs vary from state to state. Experts urge new residents to keep at least $290.79 monthly for utilities.
  • Groceries: Another cost to consider when moving is grocery costs. You’ll need to stock your fridge, cupboard and others with groceries. According to US News, a family of four on a frugal grocery budget will spend $216.90 weekly due to rising inflation.

Third-Party Moving Insurance

Migration is innate to Americans. According to Pew Research, roughly one in every five Americans moved or knew someone who moved in 2020 due to the pandemic. The most recent census data by the U.S Census Bureau show that about 28 million adults moved in 2021 alone.

Increased migration increases moving expenses and risks. The current post-pandemic inflation and global economic downturns make moving costs expensive. They also expose goods to transportation threats like theft, weather, and accidents.

Therefore, you must protect yourself from possible financial loss due to damaged, lost, or destroyed goods while moving. One way to do this is by purchasing third-party moving insurance, which is much safer than relying on the minimal “released value” damage reimbursement available from your moving company, which only pays 60 cents per pound for damaged items.

With third party moving insurance, you can choose from three coverage options:

  • Total Loss Coverage (covers you if the entire shipment is lost due to a named peril such as an extreme weather event)
  • Named Perils Coverage (insures specific, named high value items)
  • All Risk Coverage (most comprehensive – will cover partial and total losses caused by a wide range of perils up to the limits of the policy)

Many moving companies will ask if you’d like to purchase insurance for your move and if so, they will refer you to MovingInsurance.com or you can just visit the website directly. Be sure to read the insurance terms and conditions, because policies have some specific packing and damage reporting instructions you will need to follow.

How Much Does It Cost to Move?

Although the average cost of moving house varies from one mover to another, we can arrive at an estimate. The total cost of moving houses in the United States typically ranges between $5,000 to more than $15,000 for an average three-bedroom house.

Moving houses can be stressful and expensive. But you can reduce costs if you plan your move well. If you want peace of mind from knowing your belongings will be protected, you should purchase moving insurance coverage.

To learn how you can insure your belongings and experience a stress-free move, click here.