How Much Does a Moving Company Cost? We Break Down the Expenses

Distance, home size, and additional services all impact the final number

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

how much does a moving company cost

MartinPrescott / Getty Images

Moving is one of life’s most stressful experiences. To alleviate some of that stress, you might want to consider hiring a moving company to handle most of the responsibilities, from packing to heavy lifting. But, of course, it will cost you.

Fortunately, it’s possible to find a balance between cost-effective DIY moves and budget-busting full-service moves. Many moving companies allow you to customize your move, allowing you to pick and choose what is worth paying for and what you can handle on your own to stay within your budget.

Before movers can make your life easier, they’re going to make your life a little harder. There are so many different companies offering various services that it can make the budgeting and planning process overwhelming.

To help ease your mind during these turbulent times, we’ve broken down the costs and laid out the details. So, without further ado, let’s get moving!


Here’s one pro tip to consider: Keep your eyes on the prize. Sure, moving can be a headache sometimes, but in the end, you’ll be at your new home living your best life.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Moving Company?

Moving costs vary considerably depending on the specifics of your situation, but you should expect to pay between $500 and $15,000. One good rule of thumb is that the more work you’re willing to do on your own, the less your move will cost. For example, it’ll cost more if you have your movers pack up all your belongings for you. It’ll also cost more if your movers load up a truck compared to if you pack and load up a moving pod on your own.

Then aside from labor, the biggest factors in determining moving costs are the size of your home (more specifically, the amount of stuff you’re moving) and the distance of your move. Unsurprisingly, the more things you’re moving, the more you’ll need to pay movers. Similarly, the further the distance of your move, the higher your moving costs will be. 

It’s most helpful to gauge cost by a price range. To that end, we’ve provided average price ranges below based on both distance and the number of bedrooms in your home. Keep in mind, of course, that these are averages. Ultimately, moving companies will provide more accurate quotes once they know the details of your move.

Type of Move

Local $500–$3,000
Intrastate  $1,100–$5,500
Interstate / Long Distance $1,400–$14,000+
International $1,500–$12,000+

Size of Home

Studio / 1 bedroom  $400–$1,600
2 bedrooms $560–$2,240
3 bedrooms $2,250–$4,500
4 bedrooms $3,200–$13,000
5+ bedrooms $5,500–$14,500

Compare the Best Moving Companies

Company  Availability Sample Quote #1* Sample Quote #2** Type of Quote
Atlas Van Lines 50 states  $6,442 $8,374  Binding and non-binding
Allied Van Lines 50 states $5,570 $7,000 Binding
United Van Lines 46 states $5,100 $9,005 Binding
JK Moving Services 50 states $5,900 $8,520 Non-binding
PODS 46 states $3,110 $4,577 Binding

*Quote for a 1 bedroom from Brooklyn, N.Y. to Raleigh, N.C.

**Quote for a 2 bedroom from San Diego to Austin, Texas

Atlas Van Lines

Over the course of 75 years, Atlas Van Lines has grown its services to encompass not only the entire U.S. but also 17 other countries. Atlas is pretty flexible when it comes to your move, whether it be the distance of relocation, the size of your home, or scheduling and storage options. It can handle virtually any assignment, from a local one-bedroom move to an international corporate relocation. In the interest of full transparency, it provides customers with the option of binding or non-binding agreements. Its sample price quotes place it about mid-range among its competitors, making it neither expensive nor ultra-budget. But Atlas does have a few discount programs to help cut costs, including benefits for AAA members. 

Allied Van Lines

Allied has been in operation for nearly 100 years, making it one of the most experienced moving companies today. It has nationwide service and the ability to handle local, long-distance, and international moves. The company’s shipment tracking feature is also a helpful online tool for people who need frequent updates on the status of their items. This can especially come in handy for long-distance moves in which timing and scheduling are extra important. In terms of pricing, sample quotes are highly competitive, making it one of the least expensive options profiled here. Allied also offers portable storage containers (similar to moving pods) for local moves that can help cut costs. 

United Van Lines

United has slightly less service availability than some of its competitors, covering only 46 states (it doesn’t service Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia). But the company is especially adept at international moves, with service in more than 150 countries. United Van Lines offers some unique customizable service options, such as debris pickup and electrical setup. Cost-wise, United’s price ranges tend to vary quite a bit so it’s best to contact the company directly for a customized quote.   

JK Moving Services

JK Moving mainly services long-haul moves, including cross-country and international. Local moves are only available in parts of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. As part of its focus on handling long-distance relocation, it offers add-on services like pet transportation and chartered flights. Its shipment tracking feature and 24/7 online customer support are also ideal for big moves, especially international moves across different time zones.  


PODS, which stands for Portable On Demand Storage, is a unique and affordable solution to expensive moves. Rather than having movers haul all of your items onto a truck, you instead move them yourself into a storage container that can then be transported to your new residence. And because multiple storage containers can be loaded onto one truck, it cuts down costs significantly. In essence, you’re just paying for a driver rather than heavy lifters. This can be an especially appealing option for smaller, local moves, but PODS also supports cross-country and even international moves. If you’d like to use a storage container but don’t want to load it yourself, you can hire movers — or your family and friends — to do that for you. You can also have your PODS container shipped to a storage facility for holding, which is beneficial if you have a little time before you can move into your new home.

Factors That Affect the Cost of a Move

Moving costs can be complicated to calculate, but they ultimately boil down to the specifics of the task at hand. While labor is definitely a factor, most moving estimates are usually based on the distance of the move and how much stuff is being transported. To that end, here is the breakdown of the main factors that affect moving costs. 


Packing, loading, and unloading are all time-consuming and physically exhausting aspects of a move, and they’re all tasks that movers can help you with. Now, the more of this work you’re willing to do yourself, the less expensive your move will be. For most moving companies, however, it’s necessary to hire at least two movers to load all of your furniture, boxes, and other belongings onto a truck. The exception is PODS, or any other storage container moving company, which will allow you to load your container yourself. Calculating how much labor you’ll need for your move depends on the size of the move. The more stuff you have, the more movers will need to be hired to load all of it in a timely fashion.


Generally speaking, the farther you move, the more you’ll pay. Local moves are the least expensive, while cross-country and international moves are the most expensive. There will most likely be a fuel charge and some companies may charge by mileage. 

Size of Home

The number of bedrooms serves as a fairly reliable guideline for how many boxes and pieces of furniture you’ll be moving. Although, many moving companies will provide an estimate based on a more specific inventory of your items. As you might expect, the bigger your home and/or the more items being moved, the more you’ll pay in moving costs. And keep in mind that if you are moving any unusual or particularly large items (a piano, for instance), your costs will likely be above average for your home size.

Type of Transportation 

When most people think of a moving company, they picture a large truck being loaded with furniture and boxes. Most of the time, this is indeed how moving companies work. But these days, storage container moving companies are becoming more popular as a cost-saving, DIY approach to moves; customers are responsible for loading a storage container with all of their belongings, and the company will transport those containers to the new home. With containers, you’ll save money, but you’ll have to do more work (though you can hire your own labor to do the heavy lifting if you so choose). The traditional moving truck option means less work for you but higher costs.

Additional Services

Moving companies tend to offer a variety of add-on services that can increase overall costs. Some of these services might include packing, cleaning, setting up electronics, or even booking a chartered flight for international moves. As you might expect, these add-ons will increase moving costs significantly.

  • What do most movers charge per hour?

    The average moving company charges somewhere between $25 to $50 per hour for one mover. Since most moves require at least two movers, and even a smaller apartment can take a minimum of an hour to complete on each end, you’re looking at a cost of at least $100 to $200 for a small move, just for labor alone. And then you’ll have to pay for the move itself, too.

  • How much should you tip movers?

    A tip is at your discretion, but a standard amount would be either $5 per person per hour or 10 to 20 percent of the total cost of your move, which would be split amongst your movers. Keep in mind that the movers may be different on each end of your trip, so if you’re tipping based on your total cost, pay half of the tip on the front end of the move and half of the tip on the back end.

  • How far in advance should you book movers?

    It’s recommended that you book your move as soon as possible, with a minimum lead time of four weeks for local moves and three months for long-haul moves. The longer you wait to book your movers, the more likely it is that moving companies will fill up their schedules and have fewer windows and workers to accommodate you.

  • What day/month is cheapest to move?

    Summer is considered the peak moving season, so moves in the spring, fall, and winter tend to be cheaper and less hectic. In terms of the cheapest days of the week for a move, Monday through Thursday is ideal, as many people attempt to move over the weekend to avoid missing their work obligations.

  • What are the biggest expenses when moving?

    It depends exactly on the type of move you will select, but major cost expenditures can include truck rentals, storage rentals, packing and unpacking services, moving insurance, and any expenses related to moving into your new home, such as security deposits, rent, mortgage, and renters’ or homeowners’ insurance.

  • Are moving costs negotiable?

    You can try to negotiate down a moving quote, but it’s best to do so with several other competitor quotes in hand. Ultimately, there are a variety of factors that go into moving quotes, including scheduling and logistics, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to negotiate down.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MoveBuddha. "Moving Cost Calculator."