Compared to moving locally within the same city, relocating out of state with a professional mover involves a different pricing model and higher moving expenses. Most local movers charge by the hour and the number of movers needed, whereas the cost for an out-of-state move depends on more specific details about your home’s inventory.
We at the This Old House Reviews Team have researched the best moving companies in the country and analyzed each provider’s cost structure. From there, we took a closer look at companies that coordinate interstate and cross-country moves to create this detailed breakdown of out-of-state moving costs.
Out-of-State Moving Costs Overview
Several options are on the table for moving out of state, and renting a moving truck through a company such as U-Haul or Penske is typically the most cost-effective. However, this puts pressure on you to pack, load, and transport your belongings. The more days you have the rental truck, the more you’ll have to pay. You may also encounter difficulty loading bulky items and protecting your valuable items during a long-distance move.
Another option is to hire a professional moving company to deliver your belongings to your new home. This will amount to a higher average cost but with the benefit of professionals managing the logistics. Regardless of your chosen method, you’ll have additional costs to consider, such as short- and long-term storage.
Below, we’ve summarized the two primary types of professional moving companies and the additional costs you can expect when booking your move.
Professional Moving Companies
The two main types of professional moving services are full-service and self-service.
Full-service moving companies provide greater flexibility in move planning, allowing you to pack your own belongings or recruit the company’s professional movers to help. A standard full-service move includes packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking assistance. Many full-service packages are customizable, with add-on options that often include fragile-only packing and custom crating.
The trade-off for selecting a full-service provider over a DIY service is that you will pay a premium for your out-of-state move. Depending on the company’s rates and the add-on services you choose, a full-service move can add thousands of dollars to the final moving cost.
Full-service moving companies factor the following into your moving estimate:
- Total move distance
- Volume and weight of your inventory
- Packing services
- Contents coverage
For a DIY move that doesn’t require a truck rental, hiring a self-service mover is a great option and one of the cheapest ways to move. Most self-service movers are container companies that drop off shippable storage containers to your current residence that you can load yourself over a predetermined period of time. The company will transport the moving containers to your destination on the pickup date.
Most container companies will calculate the cost of your move based on the number of containers you use and the distance of the move. Some will provide loading and unloading assistance for an additional fee.
Another major cost factor for your out-of-state or cross-country moving budget is storage for household goods. Many moving companies offer short- and long-term storage solutions in their own facilities or in storage units rented from partners in your origin or destination city. A monthly storage fee is the common pricing model, and the rate may increase or decrease based on the volume of your stored inventory. For temporary storage, some movers also offer storage-in-transit options.
Contents Coverage and Moving Insurance
Due to federal regulations, long-distance movers must include free limited liability protection and offer full value protection for an additional fee. Full-value protection costs vary among moving companies and can be found at the bottom of most estimates. You can also purchase third-party insurance for extra financial protection, with some agencies offering all-risk policies that will reimburse you for any amount of loss or damage.
Here are some additional costs to consider when hiring long-distance moving companies:
- Packing supplies: Companies often figure the price of basic packing supplies into the initial estimate for full-service moves. For self-packing, you must purchase bubble wrap, boxes, shrink wrap, and other packing materials through your mover or a third-party provider.
- Debris removal: After a move is complete, some movers can help remove discarded packing supplies for an additional fee.
- Bulky item surcharges: Most full-service movers will charge an additional fee for moving bulky items. This can include pianos, pool tables, hot tubs, exercise equipment, and more.
- Vehicle shipping: Not all movers offer vehicle shipping, but you can expect to pay more to ship your vehicle. Shipping for motorcycles is often priced with its own bulky item surcharge and can be combined with a normal shipment.
- Elevators and stairs: Most moving companies will charge flat fees for residences requiring elevator access or walking up and down multiple flights of stairs.
- Long carry and shuttle surcharges: For homes that are difficult to access with large moving trucks and trailers, long carry and shuttle surcharges may apply.
- Additional services: Pet relocation assistance, handyman services, appliance installation, and temporary housing assistance are services that many moving companies can coordinate for an additional fee.
- Seasonal rates: Expect your moving cost to climb higher in busier months. Summer months tend to see the highest moving traffic, and you should try to schedule in late fall and winter for more affordable rates.
Sample Costs for Interstate Moves
The cost for your out-of-state move will vary depending on the above factors and the mover’s established rates. Here are a few moving quotes from companies we ranked among the best for moving across state lines:
These quotes are a combination of estimates we received from company representatives and sample costs we took from provider websites. Some ranges were also gathered using each respective mover’s online moving cost calculator.
How To Reduce the Cost To Move Out of State
The cheapest way to move out of state is doing it yourself by renting a moving truck. Downsizing your belongings before a long-distance move can cut costs significantly, and when hiring a mover, it helps to book in advance and during less busy times of the year.
Below, we’ve outlined strategies to reduce out-of-state moving costs before contacting a moving company and during the booking process.
Research Your Destination City
We recommend researching state and local taxes, property value trends, and local job markets ahead of time if you haven’t already bought a home or signed a lease agreement. The city’s growth indicators and cost of living may not impact your immediate moving costs but will affect your financial planning over time.
Most movers use the volume and weight of your inventory to calculate a baseline cost. The fewer items you need to ship on moving day, the less you’ll pay out of pocket. By getting rid of unneeded household goods, you’ll also minimize your need for storage. Consider having a garage sale or donating items to charity when creating your move plan.
Request a Virtual Survey or In-home Consultation
For a full-service move, you will typically need to provide details about your home’s inventory before a company will provide a binding estimate. The more accurate the inventory, the lower the odds of having surprise costs on your moving day due to a higher-than-expected shipment weight.
Self-reporting is an option, but the most precise way of assessing the inventory is through a virtual survey or in-home consultation. A virtual survey uses video or AI-assisted technology to document the inventory, and an in-home consultation will require a company representative to look over your home.
Minimize Additional Services
When moving on a tight budget, you may want to opt for a self-service moving company or forgo most additional services through a full-service mover. Many full-service companies will allow you to customize your level of packing assistance, and requesting help only for packing specific items can significantly cut costs. Another way to save money is to source moving boxes from family and friends or from local stores with discarded supplies when choosing to self-pack.
It can be surprising to learn how much goes into determining out-of-state moving costs and how much those costs can vary depending on the type of move. Whether you rent a moving truck or hire a professional mover, you have multiple ways to save and stay within your budget. It starts with preparing your inventory and taking the time to research a company’s cost structure before you book your move date.
When researching moving companies, we recommend requesting three or more quotes to compare prices and services. This allows you to find the best baseline rates and read through each company’s policy for additional costs.
FAQs About the Cost To Move Out of State
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling, trailer and container options, additional benefits, and reputation to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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