Getting from Point A to Point B is rarely ever as simple as it sounds. And nowhere is this truer than with moving: Once you factor in time, money, and a heap of IOUs, things can quickly get complicated… and expensive.
To make moving easier, we’ve put together this comprehensive breakdown of moving costs. Consider it a template of sorts: A real-life moving calculator for your first (or second, or eighth) move.
We can’t help you repay those IOUs, but we can break down the cost of moving so you can start budgeting for yours. Simply answer these questions to calculate your cost of moving:
Will your move be full-service, DIY, or something in-between?
The benefits of full-service movers are obvious: You sit back and relax as a team of movers transports your items for you. But this can rack up a pretty penny – the average moving company charges anywhere from $80 to $100 per hour (and that’s just for local moves).
That’s why some people opt to DIY their move. Doing so takes a bit more time and grunt work, but can save up to thousands in cash.
So what do you do if you don’t have the time or truck to DIY, and you don’t want to blow your moving budget by hiring full-service movers? You use Dolly for actually affordable moving assistance from our fully-vetted Helpers. Get a guaranteed price to see how much money and time Dolly can save you on your move.
Is your move long-distance or local?
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that a local move (anything under 100 miles) will be cheaper than a long distance one. But regardless of how far you’re moving, calculating your transportation costs ahead of time will prevent any last-minute surprises from hitting your wallet.
If you’re moving long distance, it may initially seem to make more sense to haul everything yourself in a rented truck. But fuel, liability, and travel costs (e.g., rental insurance, hotel stays, food) can quickly rack up. You can expect to spend about $1,000 to $1,800 with this method, depending on distance and the company from whom you rent a truck. Gas is often the biggest expense for these types of moves; you can estimate what yours would cost using this miles-to-gallon converter.
Another option is to fly, and then have everything shipped to your destination. This will definitely save time, and potentially some money. Not including the price of your flight, sending your stuff to your new home in boxes typically costs somewhere between $150 to $500 per room. We’d recommend this method over using traditional pods, which tend to cost up to $1,800 for long-distance moves. It’s an especially economical method if you’re an apartment dweller or are planning on buying new furniture at your destination.
One final option is moving with the help of Amtrak. While they can’t move your furniture items, Amtrak will gladly move your boxes long distance – and at a price of $49 for the first 100 pounds plus only $0.46 for every additional pound, you’ll find that moving your boxes by train is well worth it. Get the lowdown on how to (pardon the pun) train yourself to move with Amtrak using our helpful guide.
How many bedrooms are you moving?
Full-service movers typically charge per bedroom. When using full-service, you can expect each bedroom to cost about $200 for a local move. Prices per long-distance depend on the weight of your items, and number of miles you’re traveling.
If you’re moving a smaller space, Dolly charges per each item you move – that way your 1-bedroom plus den doesn’t get upcharged into a three-bedroom like when you book with a traditional mover.
Do you have any special considerations for your move?
Movers typically charge additional fees to handle specialty items like pianos or pool tables. If you have some of those items, make note of them with your moving company and request a quote in advance. You should also check that they have a specialized team to move them: just because a company can have four movers barrel your fragile grand piano down the stairs doesn’t mean they should.
Another special item to consider? Pets. If you’re moving with a cat or dog, it’s highly recommended you keep them away from the actual moving day process in order to reduce stress. You’ll either need to put them in a boarding kennel ($25-45/night) or leave them with a trusted friend (free!). If you’re looking for an option in between, Rover will match you with a low-cost, high-quality pet sitter in your neighborhood.
Are you putting anything into storage?
Putting stuff into storage allows for greater flexibility when determining your moving date, since you’ll have less stuff to haul. It’s also an easy way to clear up space if you need to show your home to potential renters or buyers.
Storage prices vary by location and type. The average cost of a 5’ x 10’ storage unit is around $76 per month (round higher if you live in a densely populated area). Full-service storage (not including pickup and drop-offs, which may or may not be included) usually runs a bit more.
Will you be purchasing new packing supplies?
The average moving box costs somewhere from $1 for a small box to $3.75 for a larger one. How many boxes you’ll need depends on your lifestyle – you could need as few as 20 per room if you live alone and minimally, or up to 50 for bigger-sized, communal rooms.
We recommend getting more smaller boxes than bigger ones; small- and medium-sized boxes tend to be better suited for average, everyday items, plus they’re easier to carry when you’re unpacking and organizing.
And then there’s tape, which goes for about $4 a roll. Other helpful moving supplies, if you need them, include tape dispensers, packing paper, bubble wrap, labels, and markers. Altogether, these could cost $50 or more depending on the size of your home.
Is your moving date flexible?
Life hack: It’s way cheaper to move in the middle of the week than it is on the weekend. If you’re able to take time off Monday through Friday to move, it’ll likely be worth it; ask if a discount is available when scheduling your movers. And if you can, opt for a move during the second or third week of the month, since demand droops then (most moves coincide with leases, and take place during the first or last week of a calendar month).
In a similar vein, moving in the winter can save you a ton of cash – peak moving season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, since that’s when most kids are out of school. Demand for movers drops dramatically in the winter (though you’ll need to be prepared for all the challenges of moving in the colder weather).
Will your living expenses be changing?
When you’re still settling in, your initial living expenses are part of your moving cost. Rent or house payments are typically the biggest factor; are they going up or down? And will you be adjusting to a different form of transportation than you had in your old place? Factor in any related costs, like a monthly subway pass, parking space, or gas. And don’t forget about increasing utilities: will you pay more than what you used to? How much more? Find out and make sure to put it into your moving and your monthly budget.
Moving should be an exciting time – after all, you’re (hopefully) off to bigger and better things! But all too often, moving day becomes a source of money- and time-related stress. Focus on the positive, and leave the nitty-gritties to us. After you call and get your guaranteed quote, our friendly Dolly Helpers will show up ready to transport everything from your old home to your new one. No IOUs necessary.
Dolly helps you move on your schedule and at an affordable price. Book now and see the difference: https://dolly.com.