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How Much Do Movers Cost & How Much Should I Tip?

By: Davina Ward
August 26, 2021

Moving can be expensive, but understanding just how much your bill might be is essential.

If you’re on the verge of making an important move, you’ll need to consider the costs of moving to build an accurate budget — starting with the price of professional movers.

This guide will break down the costs of hiring professional movers for local and long-distance moves.

How Much Do Movers Cost?

It’s crucial to understand that the cost of your move will depend on the individual circumstances of your move.

That said, many factors will influence your move’s cost, but the most influential moving cost factor is distance — how far do your belongings need to travel?

Rather, will you be making a local or long-distance move? Check out the average costs of local and long-distance moves.

Local Moves

Local moves are usually categorized as moves that don’t exceed 100 miles. However, that’s just an estimate and not every company has the same standards when it comes to local moves.

Here are the average costs for full-service local moves:

  • Studio: $300—$600
  • One-bedroom: $400-$650
  • Two-bedroom: $550-$850

If you are looking to hire professional movers solely to load and unload your belongings (no transport), you can expect your moving costs to average:

  • Studio: $150-$300
  • One-bedroom: $200-$350
  • Two-bedroom: $250-$450

Long-Distance Moves

Moving.com states that the average cost of a long-distance move is $4,890. That said, it’s important to remember that long-distance is relative.

Additionally, many additional factors come into play when it comes to how much you can expect to pay for a long-distance move.

We used Move Buddha’s moving cost calculator to estimate the costs of a long-distance move from New York to San Francisco.

  • Studio: $1,780 - $3,150
  • One-Bedroom: $2,605 - $4,780
  • Two-Bedroom Apartment: $3,893 - $5,670

The cost of your long-distance move will heavily depend on just how far you need to travel.

Moving Cost Factors

Although the distance is a major factor when it comes to moving costs, it’s not the only thing to consider when trying to assess your moving costs. There are a slew of other moving cost factors that can take your bill from manageable to mayhem if you don’t plan accordingly.

Here are the other moving cost factors to consider.

  • Total Time: Because movers are paid by the hour, the longer your move takes the higher your rates will be. In short, if you have a lot of items to move or unwieldy items, you can usually expect high rates.
  • Size of Apartment: This is another simple correlation - the larger your apartment the more items you usually have. Unless you’re practicing apartment minimalism, the extra stuff will equate to more time spent moving your items and potentially the rental of a larger truck.
  • Weight of Items: Many moving companies may charge by the weight of your items. Even if you are moving fewer, weightier items, such as a piano, a couch, or a wardrobe, they may drive up your costs.
  • Additional Materials Needed: If a moving company has to provide additional materials like moving boxes and wraps, you may face additional costs.
  • Time of Year: The height of the moving season, which runs from March to August, can stretch moving company resources pretty thin. If you’re trying to schedule a move during the moving season, you’ll likely experience higher costs and potentially reduced scheduling opportunities.
  • Time Before You Move: Give yourself plenty of time to plan your move by starting as early as possible. Not only can this help to reduce stress in the long term, but it can also save you money. Much like booking a last-minute flight, booking a last-minute moving appointment can generate higher costs.

The bottom line? There are a ton of factors to consider in the cost of your move. It’s best to get estimates from a variety of reputable movers to ensure that you get accurate numbers to work from.

Platforms like Bellhop make it easy to find high-quality local movers. It’s a great place to start your search!

How Much Should I Tip Movers?

It's typically recommended that you tip $4-5 for each hour the mover helped you. The easiest way to tip is with cash. But if you're paying with a card, there may be an option to add a tip on your reciept.

While it's not mandatory to tip, it's the polite thing to do. It's the best way to show the movers you appreciate their hard work and time.

Do I Need Movers?

Packing and moving yourself can save you tons of money, so how does someone know if movers are needed? Generally:

  • Moving without the help of professional movers is less convenient. While you may save money, you’ll lose time, energy, and have to engage in physical labor.
  • Moving with the help of professional movers is simpler and more convenient, though can be costly.

Ultimately, whether you _need _professional movers depends on the size of your move, its distance, your moving budget, and what you feel you can handle alone.

In short, it’s not an easy decision to make. We recommend that you take the time to consider all the points above before making a final decision.

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Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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