Moving Costs: What Are They and How Can You Cover Them?

Just in case you plan on moving in the near future, one thing you need to consider right away are the moving costs. Your moving costs will largely depend on whether you will DIY your move or hire professional movers. Hiring professionals is the most popular choice as it will save you lots of time and effort. However, if you're trying to budget, DIY-ing your move may be the best option for you as long you plan it properly.

Ways to Get the Job Done

When Doing a DIY Move

For this option, your main expense will be hiring a moving truck (unless you’re using your own vehicles). As a benchmark, the average cost of a moving truck can be between $20 and $100 a day. Here’s a deeper dive into average pricing based on the home size to be moved:

  Small Moves Mid-sized Moves Large Moves
Truck Size 10 ft., 12 ft. 15 ft., 16 ft., 17 ft. 20 ft., 22 ft., 26 ft.
Number of Rooms 1-2 2-3 3+
Average Cost Per Trip $80-$300 $150-$600 $600-$2,800

 (Source: Move.org)

With these figures in mind, the key is to find the right size of truck for your move. The Spruce, in their guidelines for moving trucks detail how a 26-foot truck can move a 4 or more bedroom home, while a 10-foot truck will be enough for a studio-type apartment. 14-foot trucks can handle 1–2 bedrooms; 17-foot trucks can hold 2–3 bedrooms; and 24-foot trucks will handle 3–4 bedrooms. It is better to over-estimate than underestimate, as this will require extending your rental time and increasing your expenditure due to additional trips.

Consider, too, your other expenses, which you will have to allocate for: packing materials (i.e., boxes, labels, bubble wrap, and packaging tape), rolling carts, parking fees, and tips (for the movers or friends you recruited to help). You must also account for accommodation, personal transportation, and food costs if you have a long-haul move.

When Hiring a Professional Mover

For a local move, hiring a professional mover will cost around $2,000 for the packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and furniture assembly. Now, if you’re moving out of state, then expect the costs of hiring a professional mover to be significantly higher depending on the distance.

If you choose this option, you will have to keep in mind that the service will be spread out over a few days, or even a week or two, depending on the distance of the drive and how much stuff you have. As such, you will have to account for other expenses, primarily for accommodation, personal transportation, and food.

Covering the Costs of Moving

Ideally, you would have saved enough money for your big move. If your move is work-related your company might help foot the bill through job relocation packages. This often includes reimbursement of all expenses associated with your physical move, such as the packing and moving, payment for storage in your destination city, and necessary short-term accommodation. If you are financing the move yourself it is prudent to be open to other options to cover the cost of moving, especially if you are moving in a short timeframe or don’t have the immediate finances. One option is to take out a relocation loan. 

A Marcus article on relocation loans explains how this loan can cover everything from the moving truck to the first and last month’s rent. Loans of this kind range from $3,500 to $20,000 with terms from 3 to 6 years and fixed interest rates. This means you'll pay the same amount every month. This setup is ideal for those who don’t have much in savings, as paying in installments will allow you to get settled without being overburdened financially.

Covering Everything Else

After planning how you’ll financially tackle your move, you can make the process bearable by following this ‘Tips for a Stress Free Move’ post. You’ll need to stay organized, and that means labeling and keeping a spreadsheet of everything. You might want to use this time to declutter as well, so you can reduce the items you’ll have to move—which could ultimately lower the cost of moving.

Moving can be a nerve-racking time, but if you plan your finances carefully you can get through it without any money-related stress.


About the author: Bethany Harrison is a freelance personal finance writer. She hopes her articles will help her readers organize their finances so they don’t spend more than necessary on lifestyle changes. In her free time she likes to hike.

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