Delivery drivers packing moving truck.

Hiring Movers: A Complete How-To Guide

Erin Gobler7-minute read
February 14, 2022

Moving is an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming one. But a simple way to reduce stress during a move is hiring movers. Not only can hiring the right movers help to free up your time on the moving day, but it can also significantly reduce stress leading up to the move.

Are you considering hiring movers for your next move? In this article, we’ll cover what to consider before hiring movers and how to find the right moving company that fits your needs and your budget.

What To Consider Before Hiring Movers

If you’re planning a move to a new home, professional movers can make the process a lot easier. But there are a few things to consider when deciding if a moving company is right for you.

  • Downsizing before you move. For many people, downsizing before a move can help give them a clean slate in their new home. It can also help save money when it comes to hiring professional movers. Because the weight of your items factors into your moving costs, bringing only the things you truly want will help you to save money.
  • How far away you’re moving. The distance you’re moving may affect whether you decide to hire movers. The cost of hiring professional movers can rise quickly when you’re leaving the local area. In fact, moving companies may charge thousands of dollars more for long-distance moves. In that case, it’s important to ensure the benefit really outweighs the added cost.
  • The time frame of the move. The time frame of your move is an important factor to consider when hiring movers. Ideally, you should book your movers about 2 months before your move date. While just a month ahead of time might work in the off-season, you may find that if you don’t book in time, you aren’t able to find a moving company that’s available. If you’re planning to hire movers, act sooner rather than later.
  • Additional expenses linked to hiring movers. Moving is often already an expensive process, and hiring movers is sure to increase your costs. The cost for professional movers increases based on the number of things you have, as well as the distance you’re moving. You may also rack up extra fees for many heavy items, moving insurance, packing services, and more. If you’re planning an upcoming move, it’s important that you budget for professional movers from the start if that’s the route you choose to go.
  • Whether or not you can DIY your move. Ask yourself whether you could make the move on your own without the help of professional movers. If you have a relatively small number of belongings or plenty of friends and family willing to help, you may easily be able to DIY your move. But with lots of large pieces to move or few helpers, a DIY move may not be in the cards.

How To Hire Movers

So, you’ve decided that hiring movers is the right choice for you. Below are five steps to help you find the right professional movers and make your moving day as easy as possible.

Step 1: Decide On Moving Services

Before signing a contract with a moving company, it’s important to understand the different types of moving services available and which you’ll need. After all, moving services today are far more than just a company driving your belongings from one home to another. Some of the services you can ask for in your contract include:

  • Packing personal belongings
  • Disassembling furniture
  • Loading belongings into the truck
  • Driving your belongings to your new home
  • Unloading the truck
  • Unpacking personal belongings
  • Reassembling furniture

While the services above represent all of the services you might get from full-service professional movers, you might also choose just a couple of those services. You might decide you can do all of the packing, disassembling and assembling yourself, and you just need someone to haul your things from one home to another. You might even decide you can move the bulk of your belongings yourself but only need help with the heavy or fragile items.

Finally, you can choose to just rent a moving truck and take care of the rest yourself. Which services you choose depends on your budget and how many of these tasks you feel you can comfortably DIY.

Step 2: Set A Budget For Moving Costs

Once you’ve decided what moving services you’ll need, it’s important to set a budget. Moving is expensive, especially if it involves buying a new home. Designating a budget for your move can help keep costs reasonable.

If you’ve never hired professional moving services before, it might be difficult to budget. You can generally expect to pay between $400 for a local move for a studio apartment to upwards of $8,000 for a long-distance move for a 4+ bedroom home.

Factors that might affect the cost of your home include:

  • The distance you’re moving
  • The size of your home
  • The number of hours your move takes
  • How many movers you’ll need
  • The services moving service you need
  • The number of heavy or fragile items

When you’re budgeting for your move, remember to get quotes from multiple companies in your area. Shopping around can help you get an idea of a reasonable amount to pay and ensure you find the best price for what you need.

When you’re budgeting for moving services, don’t forget to budget for tips. The standard tip for a professional mover is $5 per hour per mover.

Step 3: Research Moving Companies

It’s important that you don’t simply sign a contract with the first moving company you find. And while it may be tempting to prioritize the budget over everything else, you may also not necessarily want to just sign with the cheapest mover.

A great place to start when it comes to finding the best mover is to ask friends and family who have recently moved. You can hear their experience and whether they’d recommend the moving company they hired.

After asking your personal network, read online reviews on Google, the Better Business Bureau, and other sources to see feedback from previous customers.

Finally, read the terms of each moving company’s contract. Factors to consider include the pricing, additional fees, their cancellation policy, whether they provide moving insurance, what services they offer, flexibility on the moving day, and more.

Step 4: Review The Moving Contract

We’ve talked a bit about what factors to look for in the moving contract. But it’s important to read the entire contract, not just the parts you think are important.

Your contract will likely include the name of the moving company, the services being provided, the date of service, a description and score of the services to be provided, how much you’ll owe and when you must pay, and more.

Before you sign your contract, it’s important to understand the difference between a binding and nonbinding estimate. A binding estimate is when the company promises to honor the price listed in the contract. However, a nonbinding estimate means your rate could change by the moving day.

It’s also important to look at what liability the moving company accepts. For example, if they break one of your fragile belongings, will they pay to replace it? Additionally, look at any extra fees the company charges and in what circumstances they charge them. After all, hidden fees can significantly increase your costs.

Ultimately, don’t sign a contract you aren’t comfortable with. If you have any second thoughts about the company or the contract, then consult the company to get your questions answered or your concerns resolved.

Step 5: Prepare Prior To Moving Day

Your work isn’t done once you’ve signed your moving contract. You’ll also need to make sure that everything is in order and ready for the movers to come. If you aren’t paying for packing services, then be sure to pack all or your items ahead of time – don’t wait until the moving day! Even if you’re paying your professional movers to pack your belongings, make sure things are neat and orderly for them when they arrive.

Also, consider what you’ll need to do with the furniture. In some cases, the movers may take care of disassembling any furniture on the moving day. But in other cases, you may need to do that ahead of time. They can do their job more quickly if you’re prepared for their arrival (and often that will help you avoid extra fees).

Finally, pay attention to the weather on your moving day. While you can’t control the weather and may not be able to change the day of your move, knowing the weather ahead of time can help you make any arrangements that will make moving in poor weather easier.

FAQs: Questions To Ask When Moving

How much does hiring movers cost?

The cost of hiring movers depends on many factors, including the moving services you need, the size of your home, the distance you’re moving and more. In general, you’ll pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a local move for a studio apartment to many thousands of dollars for a larger home and a long-distance move.

Do I pay the moving company upfront?

Read the terms of your moving contract to find out when you pay them. In most cases, you’ll pay for the moving services after the move, though some companies may require an upfront deposit. No matter when you pay the movers, be sure to have the money set aside, so you’re ready to pay when the time comes.

Do moving companies offer free estimates?

You should never pay for an estimate from a moving company. Moving companies should offer free estimates to give you an idea of what you’ll pay for their services.

Is it worth it to hire movers?

Hiring movers can absolutely be worth the cost. Moving is already a stressful life event, and having someone else do the heavy lifting for you (literally and figuratively) can reduce the burden on you. However, it may not be worth it for everyone. When deciding if hiring movers is right for you, consider the number of belongings you have, what you can expect to pay for moving services, and whether you can comfortably DIY the move with the help of family or friends.

The Bottom Line

Hiring movers for an upcoming move can significantly reduce stress and help make the moving day go more smoothly. Just make sure to do your research and find a company you trust. And for additional tips to make your move go more smoothly, be sure to visit our 5-step moving checklist.

Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance expert and writer who has been publishing content online for nearly a decade. She specializes in financial topics like mortgages, investing, and credit cards. Erin's work has appeared in publications like Fox Business, NextAdvisor, Credit Karma, and more.