How Much Do Movers Cost?

A study recently showed that over half of Americans are surprised by how much it costs to move. When you’re getting ready to relocate and are seeking the right moving company for your needs, you’ll almost certainly be asking yourself this question: How much do movers cost?

You could use Google to find responses to the question — and many people do — but you’d likely find answers such as “anywhere from $200 to $17,000,” which isn’t very helpful or specific to your unique situation. (If you’re ready to get a free quote for your particular set of circumstances, we’d be happy to connect with you.)

In this blog post, we’ll share some key factors in building a moving quote to provide you with more insights into the process and more clarity into the components of your own moving estimate. Note that we’re referring to local moves (50 miles or less) or long-distance moves that take place within the United States. Suddath is also a mover of choice for international relocations, although the quoting process would be different.

Here are five factors Suddath uses when creating a moving quote.

#1 Weight of Household Belongings

A typical household will have literally thousands of pounds of belongings that need to be transported when it’s time to move. In fact, as a super-rough estimate of how much you own, a full-sized room could contain 1,000-1,500 pounds of household goods. That figure, though, can vary widely; picture a room in someone’s house that’s chock full of possessions and then a room that’s pretty sparse — those rooms probably wouldn’t contain anywhere near the same weight of belongings. In other words, the weight of belongings will vary by room and by occupant.

When looking to reduce the cost of your move, reducing the weight of your belongings is a factor where you have some control. You can start lowering the weight by tossing items that no longer have value to you or to anyone else. Then, you can decide what possessions you no longer want that may be desirable to other people — you could give them away to friends and family, sell them at yard sales or online, or donate those items to worthy charities.

No matter which approach you decide to take to reduce the weight of your belongings, decluttering is the first step. Strategies to efficiently tackle this task in bite-sized chunks include creating a decluttering plan, perhaps by room; dividing items into three piles (keep, discard, and donate/sell); quickly getting rid of what you decide to eliminate; and so on. You might repeat this process several times while decluttering.

If you want to donate some of your goods, well-known charities such as GoodwillSalvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity will take a broad spectrum of donations. Plus, here are eleven lesser-known places where you can donate certain niche items. When you’re getting ready to move, you’re busy, so you might want to use charities that will pick up your donations from your home.

If you’d rather sell what you don’t want — perhaps to get cash to contribute to your move — the National Association of REALTORS® offers tips. They include checking in with your local government to see if you need a rummage sale permit, asking neighbors to have a sale with you to entice more shoppers, strategically scheduling the sale, and advertising effectively.

If you get a moving quote after you’ve done these things, it will be based on a lower weight of belongings, helping to reduce your relocation estimate.

#2 Mileage of the Move

The distance that the belongings will be transported also plays a role, although you won’t have control over this factor in the way you do the first one. After you’ve decided where you want to move, the mileage is the mileage.

local move is defined as one that, at most, involves 50 miles of transporting goods. This could be a relocation from one end of town to the other — or from one city to an adjacent one. Because this kind of move would take less fuel and fewer hours of person-power than one that involves more mileage, this will be reflected in the moving estimate.

long-distance move is more than 50 miles in distance. This relocation could be intrastate (within the same state) or interstate (from one state to another), but in either case, it’s longer than a local move, involving more time, fuel and typically the use of a larger truck. So a long-distance move will typically cost more than a local one.

#3 The Move Date

The date you book to move can also have an impact on its costs — which is another way to illustrate that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when asking, “How much do movers cost?”

Take a look at this example. Many people want to move in the summer when children are out of school and the weather is generally much nicer. They often want to move on a weekend because they have Saturday and Sunday off from work. In combination, then, weekends in the summer are often the most in-demand for moving and may cost more.

To get the best deal on a move, some consumers will choose off-peak moving dates. They might, for example, choose a weekday, and they might select an off-season month — from mid-September through April — to benefit from the most cost-effective move.

Note: Besides the national peak moving times of May through mid-September, there may be local activity peaks that can affect the cost of a move.

#4 Specialty Services

When a moving company calculates moving quotes, the costs for the actual transportation of belongings is at the foundation, but there are also specialty services that, when chosen, can impact the cost.

One of these is packing and unpacking services. Packing is one of many people’s least favorite parts of the move — and so they have their moving crews do it for them. Perhaps they take advantage of partial packing services, where the moving company packs up large belongings, or maybe they have the professional movers box up the more challenging rooms in the home: the kitchen, for example, and/or the bedrooms. Or they may decide that packing, overall, is just too daunting of a task to undertake when they’re already quite busy with other aspects of their move — selling and/or financing a home, transferring children from one school system to another, and so forth — and have the movers pack everything.

Suddath offers a flexible menu of choices, and full packing services will come with a different price tag than partial packing ones — and choosing either of these services will have an effect on the cost of the overall move. Then, there are specialty packing services to consider. If someone needs, for example, a piano to be moved, this will involve an additional calculation in the quote.

Another in-demand specialty service is safe, secure, and convenient storage solutions, which is exactly what Suddath offers. When selling a house, real estate agents note how an attractively staged home can maximize a home sale. “Staging” refers to removing excess belongings to strategically decorate and showcase the benefits of the home; in 2021, 82% of buyers’ real estate agents said that staging allowed their clients to envision the home they were viewing as their own.

This, in turn, helps with selling the home. When an average of 1% of the sales price is invested into home staging, about three-quarters of those sellers benefitted from a return on investment of 5-15% over their asking price, increasing the sales price as much as 20%. Plus, sellers who use staging strategies typically sell their homes more quickly: as much as three to thirty times as fast when compared to non-staged homes. See Suddath’s declutter and storage program here.

Home staging isn’t the only reason why people use storage services. Some use storage solutions to keep certain belongings in a safe place while they decide whether they want them transported to their new home. No matter why you’re using Suddath’s storage services, when you’re ready to receive your possessions being stored, just let us know — and we’ll efficiently deliver them to you.

#5 Additional Moving Valuation Coverage

Finally, consider moving valuation coverage when thinking about the answer to “How much do movers cost?” Misunderstandings exist about what valuation coverage is and isn’t. Here are some clarifications.

First, valuation coverage is not insurance. Insurance involves paying a premium, and in exchange, the insurance company protects you against loss up to a predetermined amount. In contrast, valuation coverage is a federally mandated level of liability that shipping companies, which includes movers, must assume. Then, if someone’s goods being shipped are damaged or lost because of the actions of the mover, the owner of those goods will receive a specified amount of money as compensation.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a moving company must offer a customer at least two levels of liability:

Note that only a licensed insurance company or agent can sell actual insurance. If you decide to decline valuation coverage from a mover and, instead, buy third-party insurance from a licensed entity, be sure to insure your possessions for their full value to avoid significant out-of-pocket costs if a problem arises. If you elect to buy third-party insurance, the cost of this would not be included in your moving quote. Instead, it would be a separate cost owed to a separate entity: the insurance company.

How Much Does a Move Cost?

Although this may sound like the same question that’s been posed in this post, it’s not. The original question was, “How much do movers cost?” This second question encompasses additional costs to consider when relocating. They can include the following costs (among others):

  • Cleaning and prepping your current home for sale, which could include making repairs, staging your home, and so forth
  • Packing supplies if doing any DIY packing
  • Selling your home, which can include a commission and closing costs
  • Buying a new home, which can include a down payment and closing costs
  • Getting your family and pets to your new place, which could include the costs of airplane tickets, fuel, lodging, and meals
  • Remodeling costs of your new home, which could include landscaping
  • Utility and other security deposits for your new dwelling
  • Stocking your home with perishable items that you didn’t bring with you

If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need a new driver’s license, vehicle registration, and license plates. As people are settling into their homes, they often see increased food expenses for the first few weeks as they buy more takeout — and, as a totally optional (but typically quite fun!) expense, if you’re planning to throw a housewarming party, figure that into your budget.

How to Negotiate Your Moving Costs 

This is where capacity-based pricing comes in, which is a standard for the moving industry, especially with long-distance or cross country moves. Moving is like the airline industry in this way – in the same way that flying on a Friday during the summer will cost you more because most people want to fly on that day, so will moving.

Our move team can provide you with multiple options so you can decide what works best for you. That way, you can decide if it’s more important to you to move on a Saturday morning during the peak moving month of June but paying more money for that ideal timeline. Or you could move on a Wednesday for a better price – and the middle of the week during a off-peak month for the best possible pricing.

Your Suddath representative can take you through all of the pricing options to determine what is the right cost for you. But aside from that, there unfortunately isn’t a way to negotiate with your mover. Costs, especially with a long-distance move, is typically very set, complex pricing. Unfortunately, legitimate movers typically can’t change the cost or have any kind of “sale.”

If a mover is willing to negotiate with you or suddenly brings down the cost just because you asked (without any change in the weight of your shipment or details) this may be a sign of a rogue mover who is planning to make up their costs elsewhere.

Reach Out to Suddath: The Experienced Moving Company of Choice

When you ask the question being discussed in this post — “How much do movers cost?” — you likely aren’t looking to gather statistics. Instead, you’ll want to know how much your move, specifically, would cost. You’d want a quote that addresses the transportation of your unique belongings from your current dwelling to your new one on the date of choice with the specialty services and valuation coverage you desire.

We make it easy to get a fast, accurate quote, so reach out to us online today. You can pick the services you want and need from a flexible menu and benefit from great value at less risk as we efficiently, yet carefully, relocate your lifetime of belongings.