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How Much Do Movers Really Cost? Our Study Reveals All

Author Image Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 04/19/2024

Whether you’re researching moving companies for your first move or you’ve used them in the past, you’re likely aware that the costs associated with moving can be tough to gauge. Many people like to get free quotes from professional movers to decide whether it’s worth it to hire a moving company or make a DIY move.

But sometimes, even getting quotes can be unreliable. In this study, we discovered that a majority of Americans who moved in 2021 and 2022 were charged around $2,300 more than originally quoted.

The truth is many factors go into moving costs. Most are predictable, such as how much stuff you have or how far you move. But other factors may be less known, such as which month or day of the week you’re planning to move.

To better understand how much movers cost, we dove into national moving data from 2021 and 2022. Data comes from our partner. This article explores our findings and offers insight into moving cost factors. Check out our methodology section below for more information on our sources and process.

Main Findings

  • Hiring a moving company in 2022 cost an average of roughly $8,100. 
  • Distance traveled and the number of items moved are the two biggest factors affecting pricing. In 2022, small households (one bedroom or smaller) paid $31 per mile for movers compared to large households (four or more bedrooms) paying about $49 per mile. 
  • Most Americans (64%) who hired a moving company last year paid more than they were quoted, by $2,282 on average.
  • Seasonality has some effect on moving quotes—with summer moves trending higher in terms of cost—while the day of the week shows no significant impact on price.

How Much Do Movers Cost?

It’s hard to give a blanket answer for how much movers cost, as it depends on many factors unique to the type of move you’re planning. However, developing a rough moving budget is still possible, as prices are largely determined by the distance traveled and the number of items moved.

Local vs. Long-Distance Moving Costs

Aside from the number of items moved, distance plays one of the biggest roles in the moving process. The table below shows average costs by the distance of your move and size of home.

Moving Costs Per Mile

The average cost of moving was $41.59 per mile traveled, based on 2022 data. Not surprisingly, costs ranged from low to high depending on the household size, with small households at $31.42 per mile, medium households (two to three bedrooms) at $43.94 per mile, and large households (four or more bedrooms) at $48.77 per mile.

How Accurate Are Moving Quotes?

While getting quotes from the best moving companies is one of the most accurate ways to estimate moving costs, it’s not a perfect system. One factor that can lead to inaccurate quotes is providing incomplete information when requesting a quote.

Our data found that 64% of Americans who hired a professional moving company in 2022 paid more than they were quoted by an average of $2,282. Thirty-four percent reported paying exactly what they were quoted, and 2% said they paid less ($818 on average).

There was a similar trend for 2021 moving data, although moving companies seemed to hit the mark more often that year. Fifty-seven percent of Americans reported paying more than quoted ($2,415 on average), 40% reported paying the same, and 3% reported paying less ($668 on average). The type of moving estimate you receive can also affect how accurate the quote is to your final price.

How Does Timing Affect Moving Costs?

While household size—the number and type of items needing to be moved—and distance are the largest factors when determining moving costs, you may wonder about other factors. We considered both the time of year and day of the week, and we found that month and season affect pricing, whereas day of the week does not generally impact costs. 

How Much Do Moving Costs Change by Month and Season?

Summer is the peak season for moving, and it’s also the most expensive time of year to move. Our data found that hiring a moving company between May and August will generally cost you more compared to the off-season months of the year.

In 2022, the average moving price peaked in July at $13,873. The chart below shows the share of movers by month in 2022 along with average prices during the highest and lowest months (July and December, respectively).

Day of the Week Does Not Tend To Affect Moving Price

Homeowners and renters looking to move may wonder: Will the day of the week I choose to move on affect my quote?

The answer is generally no. Though moving demand may be higher over the weekend, price differences are indiscernible, with no statistically significant correlation between day of the week and moving quotes.

Additional Moving Fees to Consider

We’ve covered the biggest determinants of moving costs, but there are other factors to consider that can have a moving company raising or lowering its price. Below are some additional cost considerations to expect, depending on your household needs:

  • Stairs and elevators: Movers will often charge extra if furniture needs to be moved up or down a flight of stairs.
  • Bulky or heavy items: If you have furniture that requires heavy lifting or difficult maneuvering—such as pianos, pool tables, or hot tubs—expect to pay additional fees.
  • Packing services: Many homeowners choose to pack their items, but a full-service move typically does include packing—for a price.
  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly: Full-service movers often offer moving services such as taking apart furniture in your current home and reassembling it in your new home.
  • Fragile items: Some movers charge extra for fragile or specialty items, such as artwork, mirrors, and antiques.
  • Storage: Expect to pay a monthly fee if your move requires an add-on rentable storage unit, or moving container.

5 Ways to Reduce Moving Costs

Moving will cost you whether you’re moving down the street, cross-country, or internationally. Below are five things you can do to save money on your next move.

  • Use a moving calculator: An online moving calculator can help you understand the cost of your move before you reach out to moving companies for quotes. 
  • Downsize first: The less stuff you have to move, the more money you’ll save with a moving company. Take inventory of your belongings and consider getting rid of some items. You can even make extra cash for your move by selling furniture and other items at a yard sale or online. 
  • Pack yourself: It can be a hassle, but you’ll save extra money by packing and unpacking your items rather than hiring movers. The same goes for disassembling and reassembling your furniture. Any additional services you can do yourself will be a saved expense.
  • Don’t buy supplies: Before buying moving boxes and bubble wrap, consider what free packing supplies you can access. Ask friends or neighbors if they have spare cardboard boxes. Reach out to a grocery or retail store to see if they have spare boxes from deliveries. Use towels and clothes to wrap fragile items.
  • Pack smart: Taking time to pack strategically will allow you to condense your things into fewer boxes and hopefully be able to fit all your belongings in a smaller moving truck, which will cost you less.

Our Conclusion

Moving will always require a lot of hard work, planning, and money. While our data found the average costs that go into moving, many factors will be unique to your specific situation. We recommend using the tips provided throughout this article to get the best value for your move and requesting quotes from at least three providers before choosing a moving company.

FAQ About Moving Costs

What is the average price for moving?

The average cost of moving was $41.59 per mile moved in 2022. Costs were down slightly from 2021 when the average cost was $53.37 per mile.

What is the cheapest day of the week to move?

The day of the week does not noticeably affect moving prices. Although weekends tend to be more popular moving days than weekdays, you likely shouldn’t plan your move around a particular day in hopes of getting a deal. 

What is the cheapest month to move?

December is the cheapest month to move, according to 2022 data. The average cost of a December move was $8,394, which was about $100 less than the second cheapest month (January) and a whopping $5,479 cheaper than the most expensive month (July).

Our Methodology

Data for this report comes from our moving partner. We observed 6,400 domestic moves that the company completed in 2021 and 2022.

After compiling data on the price, origin, destination, number of items, and date moved, we ran a linear regression to determine the relationship between variables. We found that the final price a person pays to move can be explained almost entirely by two variables: distance traveled between the origin and destination and the actual cubic footage of items moved. Outside those variables, we also looked at other trends in seasonality and moving quotes versus actual pricing. 

Fair Use Policy

We encourage journalists and reporters to share our findings on moving costs. If you choose to do so, please link back to our original story to give us proper credit for our research.

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