Moving Costs: How Much Will it Cost Me to Relocate

One of the most stressful parts of moving is determining your budget. From the bare-bones do-it-yourself move to the all-inclusive professional relocation, moving costs vary depending on the location, distance and size of your move. Even full-service moving company costs can fluctuate, especially if you choose to have the moving crew unpack or travel long distance, so don't count it out until you know what it will cost.

Full-Service Movers
A full-package corporate relocation in which Realtor fees, points, closing costs, temporary living, house-hunting expenses and an all-inclusive move can cost between $75,000 and $100,000. If the company you work for is footing the bill, then this might be an option for you.

Keep in mind that just the move itself can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000, depending on the distance of your move and the size of the household you're moving. Moving a small apartment within a state costs roughly between $2,000 and $3,000. Moving a large, four-bedroom house across the country will cost between $20,000 and $25,000.

Your move will be billed either by the job or by the hour. Ask your moving company in advance how you'll be billed and if you're paying for the crew to take breaks.

Self-Service Movers
In a self-service move, you do the packing and load the truck, and the moving company drives your belongings to their new destination. You are responsible for packing, loading, unloading and unpacking your belongings, but you don't have to worry about transportation.

Self-service moves can cost anywhere from $1,000 for a small amount of belongings in an in-state move, to $5,000 for a long-distance, interstate move for a larger household.

Some self-service moving companies drop off an entire trailer for you to load, and then they charge you for how many linear feet of the trailer you've used. Others will drop off large crates for you to pack full and then will charge you for the number of crates you've loaded. For an additional fee, some self-service movers will help you wrap furniture and pack boxes.

Doing It All Yourself
The least expensive way to move is to gather moving supplies like boxes and tape yourself and rent a truck to transport your belongings. A U-Haul truck rental can cost up to $2,500, depending on the size truck you require, how far you're driving it, how long you need it and if you're leaving it at a different spot from where you rented it. While that's the cheapest way to relocate, you are solely responsible for the work and the risk.

Some Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Costs of Moving

  • Moving companies will charge extra for moving items like pianos and pool tables. And if something needs to be disassembled, they'll charge an extra fee.
  • Some items must be packed in a special way to avoid breakage, and you'll be charged extra for this service.
  • Moving companies will tack on an added fee if the crew must walk more than a set distance from the truck to the front door, or if they must go up a long set of stairs to get to the front door.
  • A separate contractor, with a separate fee, is required to come to hook up your refrigerator ice maker and your clothes washer. Find out if their bill is included in your full-service move.
  • If your move requires more boxes than the original estimate, you'll be charged.
  • If you rent a truck, you may have to fill the tank with gasoline before you return it.
  • Additional insurance may be charged to you, based on the nature of your belongings. Get specifics about what is covered in your move. You may want to purchase additional insurance for breakage and loss.
  • You might need to purchase insurance for a truck you've rented and will be driving yourself. Check with your auto insurance company and be sure you're covered. If not, take the rental company's insurance option.
  • Many people tip their moving crew and treat them to pizza and drinks on the longest day of the move.
  • You'll have to clean the old place when everything is gone and clean the new place before everything arrives. You can do it yourself or pay a professional.
  • A move can be rough on the walls, floors and door jambs of a home. Talk to your movers about what they'll do if there is damage to your house. You may have to pay the cost of repairs.
  • Some moves take a long period of time from start to finish. You may be without the use of your kitchen and will need to eat out for days. You may also need to stay at a hotel or rent an apartment, depending on the type of move you're making.
  • Moving is a bad time for pets, and many have to be boarded during the moving process. If you're flying to your new destination, you'll be required to pay for your pet to accompany you.
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