How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Moving Company? Here's a Breakdown

A lot of factors impact the final bill, but this guide will help you plan ahead.

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Whether you're moving locally, across the country, or to an international destination, transporting your belongings from one place to another is a huge undertaking, so it's no surprise that most people pay for a bit of help. Although the numbers vary slightly from poll to poll, as many as 76 percent of people would hire some kind of service for a move, whether that's renting a truck, using moving containers, or hiring professional movers.

The cost of those moves varies as much as the things that people move with them. Ultimately, the cost of hiring a moving company depends on several factors. The most significant variables are the number of belongings you're transporting and the distance you're traveling. Add-on services, like full-service packing and loading and automobile transport, are also major factors. Minor but still important variables include your location, the time of year, and additional fees like taxes and tolls.

Understanding how moving companies calculate their prices can help you budget wisely for your own move. To give you an idea of what to expect, here's our breakdown of how much it costs to hire a moving company and the variables that will affect your final bill.

How Much Does a Moving Company Cost?

It's unsurprising to learn that the bigger your move, the more it will cost. A local move of a typical two- or three-bedroom home costs roughly between $800 and $3,000 on average. Long-distance and international moves often involve several more variables, so costs vary widely and can be anywhere from around $1,000 to over $15,000.

Average Cost Based on Home Size

Studio / 1 bedroom $300–$1,200
2 bedrooms $800–$1,900
3 bedrooms $1,000–$2,900
4 bedrooms $2,000–$3,600
5+ bedrooms $2,400–$6,100

Average Cost Based on Type of Move

Local $800–$3,200
Intrastate $900–$6,500
Interstate / Long-Distance $2,700–$10,300
International $1,500–$16,200

Hiring the Best Moving Companies

Company Nationwide Availability Packing & Loading Options Sample Quote #1* Sample Quote #2** Initial Deposit Required?
Allied Van Lines 50 states Full service, partial service Approx. $5,500 — Video meeting required for quote Video meeting required for quote No
Atlas Van Lines 50 states Full service, partial service $5,147 $10,791 No
North American Van Lines 50 states Full service, partial service $5,103 $12,975 No
Mayflower 45 states Full service, partial service Approx. $5,700 — Video meeting required for quote  Video meeting required for quote  No
PODS 46 states Partial service, self service Approx. $1,700 Approx. $4,400 Yes

*Quote for a 1- to 2-bedroom move across 500 miles

**Quote for a 2- to 3-bedroom move across 1,500 miles

Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines provides all the custom services a premium mover could offer, and more. The company offers the majority of its services à la carte, so you can choose only the ones you want and pay only for what you need. Allied's extensive options include full-service packing, moving supplies, automobile transport, and cleanup services. The company also takes a unique approach to storage.

While moving companies typically offer storage during your move, most cap the service at 30 days, requiring you to pay for long-term storage beyond that time. If that won't work for you, you'll be glad to know that Allied offers 90 days of moving storage.

Allied has agents in all 50 states and 130 countries. Local moves are typically done by third-party affiliates. You don't need to place a deposit to book an intrastate, long-distance, or international move, and you can cancel up until the day of your move without incurring any penalty. Allied provides accurate quotes, and while that's great for planning your budget, getting a quote from Allied can be a more involved process than it is with other companies. Instant online quotes aren't available, so you'll need to have a video or in-person meeting to get pricing for your move.

Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines performs full- and partial-service local, intrastate, long-distance, and international moves. The company has locations in all 50 states and 17 countries, plus over 1,500 partnerships worldwide, so there are few places you could move to that Atlas doesn't serve.

Atlas utilizes third-party affiliate companies to provide local moves, while its SimpliCity container moving program is specially designed for small long-distance moves, offering expedited shipping, flat-rate pricing, and full-service packing options. Intrastate and long-distance moves are fully customizable and include a long list of add-on options, such as full-service packing, expert handling and crating of fragile items, automobile transport, and storage. For international moves, Atlas puts you in touch with company representatives who can assist with foreign customs requirements and paperwork.

Atlas doesn't require a deposit, but its cancellation policy is somewhat restrictive, granting you only three days after signing the contract to cancel before a fee will apply. After you've filled out an online application and spoken with a rep, the company can provide your choice of a binding or nonbinding quote.

North American Van Lines

Available in all 50 states and over 180 countries, North American Van Lines provides fully customizable local, intrastate, long-distance, and international moves. The company sets itself apart by offering three estimate types: binding, nonbinding, and not-to-exceed, which ensures your price won't increase but could, in fact, decrease. After you complete the instant estimate form online, North American's system will return a range of prices you can expect to pay, and a representative will contact you for specifics to further tailor your final quote.

North American performs small long-distance moves through its BlueExpress container moving program. It offers full-service small moves and guarantees your delivery date, promising to reduce your invoice for each day your container is late. The company hires local third-party affiliate companies to provide local moves regardless of size.

Military personnel, veterans, seniors, and students all qualify for North American's discounts, and no one is required to put down a deposit to book their move. However, you should be sure of your moving plans before hiring the company, as you'll have just three days after signing your work order to cancel without penalty.


Mayflower is available in 150 countries around the globe. Although you won't find local offices in Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, or West Virginia, the company provides nationwide interstate, long-distance, and international moving services. It also offers a vast selection of full-service and add-on options to customize your move, including automobile transport, crating of fragile items, furniture assembly, and post-move cleaning, to name a few. You can choose from three full-service packages or add individual services as necessary.

Mayflower's Snapmoves service is designed for long-distance moves between apartments, condos, or single-bedroom homes. It provides full-service packing, simplified pricing, full-value insurance, and furniture disassembly, reassembly, and placement in one convenient package.

All Mayflower customers can get a personal move coordinator, while international moves also include customs clearance assistance and a personalized moving plan. You won't need a deposit to book your move with Mayflower, and you can cancel without facing a cancellation fee right up until 24 hours before the movers arrive.


PODS is an acronym for Portable on Demand Storage, but the company provides far more than simple storage. With locations in 46 states, Canada, the U.K., and Australia, PODS offers mostly DIY local, intrastate, long-distance, and even some limited international moving services. If you move with PODS, the company will deliver moving containers to your door. Containers come in three sizes: 8, 12, and 16 feet.

After you've loaded your possessions into the containers, the company will pick them up, store them if necessary, and then transport them to your destination. Upon arrival, you can unload your things at your leisure, depending on how long you pay to have the containers.

Although PODS itself only transports and stores the containers, it can connect you with trusted third parties if you want someone to perform full-service packing, transport an automobile, or handle specialty items. PODS requires a deposit to secure your container delivery, but it accepts cancellations up until 4 p.m. on the day before your container arrives. It also offers discounts to military personnel and veterans.

How to Save on Moving Costs

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American moves 11.7 times over the course of their life, and most people can expect to spend several thousand dollars on moving costs during their lifetime. That's a considerable amount, but there are several ways to save on moving costs.


One of the most effective ways to cut moving costs is to reduce the amount of stuff you have to move. Sort through your possessions and decide which are must-haves and which you could sell, donate, or throw out. Investigate the cost of moving heavy furniture versus selling the old stuff and purchasing new pieces for your new home.

Consider DIY moving

While sitting back and watching someone else pack, load, and move your stuff might be nice, the luxury comes with a hefty price tag. To save a bundle, consider renting a truck or moving container and performing the labor yourself. Most moving companies offer partial packing services that are cheaper than full-service moves but will still spare you some of the hard work.

Avoid the busy season

Most people move between May and September. Due to the realities of supply and demand, moving companies charge more during those months. If your moving date is flexible, waiting for the off-season can shave money off your invoice.

Find inexpensive moving supplies

Most moving companies sell moving supplies. While the cost of a few moving boxes won't break the bank, paying for a bunch of them, along with packing tape, padding, and other extras, can add up. You might be able to nearly eliminate your supply costs by asking neighbors, family, friends, and local retailers for spare boxes.

Ship books

Many of us have book collections that, as anyone who has moved before knows, are heavy. Companies typically factor shipment weight into the cost of intrastate and long-distance moves, so in most cases, it will be less expensive to ship your books with a parcel shipping company than to load them onto a moving truck.

Start your move early

Although the simple act of starting your move early has no monetary value, making a plan as soon as you know that you'll be moving can help save you money. By starting early, you'll have time to shop around for the best prices, acquire inexpensive moving supplies, downsize, and create other cash-saving plans.

Get multiple quotes

Whenever you hire a service provider, it pays to shop around. Getting price quotes from two, three, or more moving companies will help you find the cheapest option. Be sure to provide each contender for your business with the same accurate information so you can make an informed hiring decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Should You Tip Movers?

    The general consensus for how much to tip movers is between 10 and 20 percent, with the higher amount reserved for exceptional work. For example, if your invoice totals $4,000, a typical 15 percent tip would equal $600 divided among all crew members.

  • What Is Considered a Long-Distance Move?

    Anything longer than 400 miles is generally considered a long-distance move, but each moving company has its own policy. Many companies also consider shorter moves "long-distance" if they're more than 100 miles and involve crossing state lines. Moves of less than 50 miles are typically considered local moves, while moves longer than that but shorter than 400 miles are considered intrastate moves if they occur only in one state.

  • How Long Does an Average Move Take?

    A local move of an apartment or single-bedroom home can take as little as two hours; for a two-bedroom or larger home, it can take anywhere from three to eight hours. Depending on the job's specifics, a long-distance move can require a few days to complete or it can require nearly a month. International moves take at least a couple of weeks to perform and can take up to three or more months in unusual cases.

  • What Is the Most Expensive Time of Year to Move?

    June, July, and August are the most expensive times of the year to move, as high demand creates tight schedules for moving companies. Costs in spring and fall aren't far behind when demand is high, owing to the more mild temperatures in many locations. The difference between summer and winter moving prices isn't generally a fixed dollar amount and can vary from year to year. Regardless of the season, moving on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday is always more costly than moving on other days.

  • What Items Are Not Worth Moving?

    Choosing not to take certain items with you to your new home can save you significant amounts of labor and money. Consider leaving the following behind:

    • Anything in your attic or basement that's no longer used
    • Old clothing that's worn out or no longer fits
    • Broken or unused lawn tools and other things that take up space in the shed or garage
    • Furniture or appliances that you can purchase in your new home for less than it costs to move them
    • Hazardous materials, including gasoline, oil, solvents, and paint

    Depending on your situation and the distance of your move, you may also want to consider leaving behind houseplants, outdated electronic devices, firewood, exterior decorations and furniture, food, and random cleaning supplies.

  • Do Movers Provide Boxes?

    Most moving companies can supply you with boxes and other moving supplies like packing tape, padding, and labels. Note that these will cost extra and are not provided free of charge.

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  1. MoveBuddha. "Moving Industry Statistics."

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