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How Much Does It Cost To Move? A Guide For Comparing Moving Costs

Jamie Johnson8-minute read
UPDATED: July 25, 2023

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American will move 11.7 times in their lifetime. People move for a variety of reasons, but a job, family, or significant other are the main motivators.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re planning a move, and it can be a stressful experience. And you may be wondering, how much does it cost to move?

The decisions you make along the way will impact the cost and overall experience of your move. If you’re planning a big move in the coming months, check out this article for a breakdown how much you can expect to pay.

What’s The Average Cost To Move?

If you’re buying a new home, the cost of your move will depend on a variety of factors. For instance, you can expect to pay more if you hire full-service movers as opposed to handling the move yourself. And a local move will be less expensive than a long-distance move.

Type Of Move

Average Moving Cost

Full-service moving company (Local)

$800 – $1,600

Full-service moving company (Long distance)

$2,200 – $8,000

DIY (Local)

$120 – $250

DIY (Long distance)

$1,550 – $2,350

As you can see, the average cost to move depends on how much you’re moving and how far. Average moving costs range from $1,600 for local moves to up to $8,000 for long-distance moves.

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Comparing The Cost Of Moving

The cost of moving can vary greatly depending on the distance, the size of your home, and any extra services required. For instance, you’ll pay more if you need help with packing and storage.

On average, a long-distance move costs several thousand dollars while a local move may only cost a few hundred dollars. Your best bet is to receive quotes from multiple moving companies and compare the costs.

Local Move Vs. Long-Distance Move

Your moving costs can vary widely depending on whether you’re planning a local or long-distance move. Here are the main differences between the two:

  • Local move: A local move is any move where the distance is relatively short — usually within the same city or metropolitan area. Local moves can either be handled by a moving company or you could rent a truck and handle the move yourself. They tend to be less complicated and less expensive than long-distance moves.
  • Long-distance move: A long-distance move typically involves relocating more than 100 miles from your current destination. This may mean you’re moving across state lines or planning a cross-country Long-distance moves are more complex and more expensive than local moves and may require additional services like packing, storage, and transportation. If you’re moving out of state, working with an experienced moving company can help ensure a smooth and successful move. 

Here is the overall average cost to move based on distance:


Average Cost Of Move

250 Miles

$850 – $5,700

1,000 Miles

$1,400 – $8,100

2,500 Miles

$1,900 – $9,400

Professional Movers Vs. DIY

There are several key differences between moving yourself and hiring professional movers. First, you have to consider the time and effort involved – when you move yourself, you’re responsible for every aspect of the move. In comparison, hiring professional movers can save you a lot of time since they handle most aspects of the move for you.

Plus, professional movers are trained in the logistics of moving and have the tools and equipment necessary to safely transport your belongings. Since you don’t have that same level of experience, you could injure yourself or damage your belongings in the move.

And most moving companies provide liability coverage, so they’ll reimburse you if anything is lost or damaged during the move. However, moving yourself can be much less expensive than hiring professional movers. With a DIY move, you only need to pay for a moving truck and any additional equipment you need.

Home Size

Number Of Movers

Number Of Hours

Average Cost Of Movers

















Size Of The Move

The size of your move will directly impact the cost of a move. If you’re planning a large move, you’ll need to pay for additional moving trucks, equipment and labor, which will raise the price tag. And belongings that require special handling or packing, like a piano or exercise equipment, can also raise the cost.

Time Of Year

The time of the year can have a significant impact on your moving costs. The summer months are considered the peak moving season since the weather is nice and kids are out of school.

Since moving companies are in high demand during the summer, they may charge more for their services. In addition, rental trucks and equipment may also be in high demand during the summer so they may cost more to rent.

Whereas if you move during the fall or winter, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate with moving companies and rental trucks since the demand won’t be as high. If you have flexibility on your moving date, you may be able to save money by moving during the off-peak season.

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How To Calculate Moving Costs

There are a few ways you can calculate potential moving costs. Most moving companies provide an online moving cost calculator that allows you to estimate the cost of your move.

If you’re looking for something more accurate, you can also contact the company directly and request a quote. It's always a good idea to get multiple quotes and compare prices before choosing a moving company.

If you’re planning a DIY move, you can calculate the cost by figuring out the cost of the rental truck, fuel, insurance, and any additional equipment you need.

Tips For Reducing Your Moving Costs

Buying a home isn’t cheap, and you’re probably looking forward to buying furniture and decorating. In that case, you may want to cut down on moving costs as much as possible. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the cost of a move:

  • Moving incentives: One way to save money on an out-of-state move is to take advantage of state moving incentives. For instance, if you move to Topeka, Kansas, you can take advantage of the Choose Topeka If you qualify, you could receive up to $15,000 for relocating.
  • Gather free moving supplies: You can also save money by obtaining moving supplies from other people instead of buying everything new. For instance, you can ask your local grocery store or online marketplace. And friends and family may be able to contribute items you need to move.
  • DIY your move: You can save money by moving on your own, but you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of this decision. Moving yourself can ease some of the financial burden, but you have to consider the physical and emotional toll it could take.
  • Declutter: Finally, consider getting rid of items you no longer need before the move. Decluttering will not only save you money on the cost of the move, but it will give you more space in your new home.

How To Find A Moving Company

If you choose to hire professional movers, here are some strategies you can use to find a moving company:

  • Referrals: Ask your family and friends if they can recommend a moving company they used in the past.
  • Search for local movers: You can search online to find moving companies in your area. Just make sure you read the customer reviews to get a sense of the quality of service they provide.
  • The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA): The AMSA is a nonprofit organization representing moving companies in the U.S. You can use the website to look for moving companies in your area that are members of the AMSA.
  • Moving brokers: Moving brokers act as the middleman between you and the moving company. When you contact them, they’ll provide you with quotes from multiple companies so you can compare prices and services.

Moving Cost FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the cost of moving.

How much are typical moving costs?

The cost of a move will vary depending on the distance, the size of your home, and the number of belongings you have. Additional services will add to the overall cost. A local move can cost $1,600 or more while a long-distance move can cost up to $8,000.

What is the most inexpensive way to move?

Moving yourself will usually be the most inexpensive way to move, especially if you’re planning a local move. When you plan a DIY move, you only have to pay for a moving truck and any additional equipment you need.

How much should I budget for moving?

If you’re planning a local move, it’s a good idea to budget at least $1,000 for moving costs. If you’re planning a long-distance move, you should plan to spend several thousand dollars.

Do I need to buy moving insurance?

Moving insurance will protect you if anything is damaged or broken during the move. When you’re evaluating moving insurance, it's important to consider the potential risks and costs associated with your move.

How much should I tip professional movers?

Yes, moving is hard work, so you should tip your movers. It’s a good idea to tip each mover individually based on the quality of the service, the distance traveled, and the difficulty of the move.

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The Bottom Line

Moving costs can add up quickly. The decisions you make will affect the cost of your move. If you’re trying to save money and have friends and family willing to help, it may make sense to plan a DIY move.

If you decide to hire full-service movers, make sure to do your research first. Look for a company that has a track record of success. If you’re looking for more information about an upcoming move, be sure to read through our moving checklist.

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.