How Much Does it Cost to Move?

Posted in: I'm Moving, Long Distance Moving, Movehacks, Moving Checklists & Planning

TL;DR – A move in town can cost between $200-$400 to rent a truck and hire loading help. A move across the country can cost upwards of $3,000-$8,500.

I almost feel silly writing an answer to such a big question in just one blog post, but it gets asked so often and searched for so frequently on the web that I felt compelled to offer some sort of guidance (read our more specific guide to New York moving costs here or price out your own move with our moving calculator). How much your move will cost depends mostly on how large your pile of stuff is and how far you’re moving it. So there’s a pretty wide range of answers to this question. The fact that we spend twice as much on moving as we do on ATM fees suggests that most Americans are spending too much on their move, unaware of the cheap moving options available right at their fingertips.

For example, moving a 2 bedroom apartment across town within Los Angeles can be done for $355 ($325 for 2 movers through HireAHelper for 5 hours of loading and unloading + $30 Budget moving truck). But if you’re moving out of town or out of state the price goes up. Or, if you’re moving anything more than a small apartment, the price goes up.

That said, this post looks at how much it would cost to move a specific sized home a specific distance. The cost of your move may vary from these estimates, but you can bet if your move is smaller or shorter, it should cost less and if it’s larger or farther, it will cost more.

This post is written to answer the following:

How much would it cost to move a 3 bedroom house (contents equaling 7,100 lbs) about 1,240 miles from Los Angeles, CA 90032 to Billings, MT 59101?

 

$3,700 (Option #1) Hire Loading Help + Reserve Professional Transportation

The cheapest way to move, a la carte, is also my personal favorite because it gives you more control over your stuff and more say over who’s doing the lifting, driving, and unloading (Oh, and I work for the most amazing loading and unloading help website in the world. So I’m a little biased). Hiring loading and unloading help through HireAHelper.com for a 3 bedroom house (about 7,100 lbs in stuff)  will cost about $940 (Breakdown: $470 for 4 helpers for 4 hours loading in Los Angeles and $470 for 4 helpers for 3 hours unloading in Billings, MT. Prices vary by location).

Reserving space on an ABF U-Pack Moving truck to move from LA to Billings is estimated to cost $2,791. You can also use a portable storage company like PODS or 1800Packrat to professionally transport your items across the country. Pricing might be even better through one of them, and they have some pretty amazing storage options in case you’re new house isn’t quite ready to move into.

$3,880 + gas (Option #2) – Hire Loading Help + Rent a Moving Truck

Similar to Option #1, this option is often called a “self-move.” You still hire local movers to load you through HireAHelper, but instead of having someone else transport your stuff, you’ve got to rent and drive a moving truck. You also have to fill it with gas. This option is more labor intensive on your part (long days driving, finding big parking spots, picking up & returning the truck, etc.) and costs more than option #1. The upside to this option is you are in direct control of your items at all times. You know exactly where they are at any given minute (because they’re directly behind you in the moving truck) and you have control over how long it takes. No waiting on delivery estimates from someone else. If your stuff doesn’t arrive to your new house on time, there’s only one person to blame.

$6,823 (Option #3) Full Service Mover or Vanline

The “simplest” way to go about moving across the country like this would be to call a big, national vanline. One with a long, reputable history as a pillar of the American economy. They’ve got agents all over the country and hundreds of trucks ready to move you anywhere, almost anytime. There are two GIGANTIC downsides to using a vanline for your move:

  1. Cost
    According to the moving cost calculator data, a full service move of this size is expected to run $6,823!
  2. Damaged or Lost Items
    According to a recent J.D. Power & Associates study, almost 1 in 3 customers of full-service moving companies reported broken or missing items during their move.

All that to say, your costs may be very different from the ones in this post. But at least now you know there are a few cheaper options. And if you happen to be doing that exact move, from Los Angeles to Billings or vice versa, let me know in the comments, and I’ll get you a discount on some loading & unloading help. Otherwise, lets talk on Google +.

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