Moving is one of the more stressful life experiences, even if you’re excited about your new place. Hiring a moving company is one way to make the transition easier, especially for a local move.
Choosing an affordable moving company is easier than you think, and it could save you a lot of time and headache in the process. Start by determining your budget and the services you need to make moving day as seamless as possible.
The average cost of local movers depends on several factors, but you can expect to pay between $800 and $2,000 for a short-distance move. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about local moves and how to estimate your costs before hiring a local moving company.
What is a “local” move?
Local moves typically refer to addresses within 50 miles of each other. Companies may set a radius around the starting point or include certain cities and suburbs in their service area. There may be some flexibility about what’s considered a local move, so it never hurts to ask.
Note that some companies (usually smaller ones) only service local moves, while others handle short-distance and long-distance moves. For example, Easy Local Movers offers the best pricing throughout California regardless of the distance you have to move. Just give us a call at (877) 712-7914.
Regardless of short or long distance, moving companies will charge differently depending on the distance between the two addresses. This is especially true for people in large states like California.
How Much Do Movers Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $25 up to $50 per hour for each mover you require for your move. This rate includes the movers’ pay, equipment costs, and other fees.
The bulk of the fee covers the movers’ pay, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) averages $14.58 per hour. This rate falls noticeably lower than the averages listed by Indeed ($18.40 per hour) and Ziprecruiter ($16 per hour).
What Affects the Cost of Hiring Local Moving Companies?
As noted, the bulk of your moving costs go to the people handling your belongings, but that’s not the only factor determining your final price. Understanding what you need and what you’re expected to pay for can help you stay within your budget.
How much help do you need? If you want the moving team to handle everything from start to finish, you can expect to pay for full-service moving. On the other hand, if you’re willing to do some of the work and require help for the large pieces, like furniture, you might save a little.
Full-service moving is the epitome of convenience because the professionals handle everything from packing to unloading. You can expect to pay a premium to have a hassle-free moving experience.
Partial Service Moving
You pack it and the pros move it with partial service moving. While you do a lot of the legwork at the front end and back end of your move, the professionals handle all of the heavy lifting and transport.
The most affordable option is self-service moving. If you’re up to it, you can rent the equipment you need to move and do it yourself. It’s also possible to use your own vehicles and equipment but hire professionals to help you load and unload.
While distance typically affects the cost of a long-distance move more than a local one, it still impacts the final cost. Paying for fuel to go fifteen miles is less than traveling fifty miles, and those differences add up. Don’t forget to account for the fluctuating fuel costs, especially if you rent a vehicle and need to return it with a full tank of gas.
Further, if your movers have to cross any toll roads or obtain special parking permits to load or unload, you can expect to cover those costs.
Size and Weight of Belongings
The amount of stuff you have impacts the size of the vehicle required to move your belongings and how long it takes. Consequently, moving the contents of a studio apartment costs substantially less than moving from a four-bedroom, two-story house.
Additional Labor Required
Moving some furniture and boxes from a studio apartment is a relatively simple process, especially for professionals. What if you have a more complicated move that involves multiple stops or oversized pieces?
For example, you need to take some larger pieces apart to get them out of the house and onto the truck. Then, you need those pieces reassembled at your new place. Not all movers have the necessary skills or tools to disassemble and reassemble furniture. Other considerations include:
- Oversized items like hot tubs, waterbeds, and pianos are awkward to handle and move.
- Fragile items, like antiques, require special packaging and handling.
- Household appliances need extra care with disconnections and stabilizing for transport.
Make sure you detail any special circumstances when you discuss your needs with the moving company. You don’t want them to arrive on moving day without the necessary equipment or capacity to handle all of your belongings.
Depending on the company, some miscellaneous factors can add fees to your moving costs. It’s always important to ask about what’s included and any circumstances that could mean additional charges so you aren’t surprised when you get the bill.
It’s usually easy to find spare boxes and crates from neighbors and local businesses, but you will need other materials to secure your belongings. Bubble wrap, tissue paper, newspaper, tape, and other supplies add up fast, so it’s a good idea to work with your moving company to determine what’s included with their services. Coordinating ahead of time can save you, and your belongings, on the day of the move.
Before moving, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if they cover your belongings during a move. Ask about protection in case of an accident in the moving company’s vehicle. You might be better off paying for coverage through the moving company or a third-party source.
Stairs and Elevator Fees
Are you moving to or from a high-rise building? Some companies charge extra for the additional time and effort tied to multi-floor moves.
If you have to make multiple stops to collect your belongings or pick up new furniture or appliances, you might have to pay extra. Even if it’s a local move and everything falls within the company’s local move guidelines, multiple stops add time and fuel costs.
How Much Does it Cost for a Full-Service Move?
A full-service local move can cost upwards of $2200 depending on the amount of stuff you have to transport. Complicated moves that involve furniture assembly, delicate items, and unpacking can cost significantly more. However, paying to have everything handled from start to finish can save you a lot of stress.
How Much Time Will it Take to Move?
The time it takes to move depends on how much you have and how far you need to travel. In general, you can expect to move the contents of a one-bedroom apartment in a few hours. Every additional room adds another one to two hours on average. Keep in mind that these are averages that don’t account for packing, unpacking, or special circumstances.
It’s also important to note that professional movers have experience and work more efficiently, so they may go faster than you.
Tips for Saving on Moving Costs
Moving isn’t just stressful, it’s expensive any way you slice it. There are many ways to save money without cutting corners to ensure your belongings make it safely to your new home.
The summer months are peak moving times, meaning you can expect to pay more for everything. Try moving during less popular times, preferably from September to April. Also, consider moving during the middle of the week and mid-month when the fewest people require moving services.
Move Your Own High Priority and High Value Items
Even if you hire full-service movers, it’s worthwhile to move your high-value items.
Not only can it save money and give you peace of mind, but it’s also a way to ensure those items reach your destination ahead of the moving truck.
Reduce the Load
Purging as much as you can before your local move is crucial to reducing costs and the size of your truck. Have a yard sale, donate items, and trash as much as possible to reduce your load and avoid taking unwanted items to your new home. Plus, if you have a garage sale, you can use the proceeds to help pay some of the moving expenses.
Get Help from Friends and Family
Hiring professional movers is costly, so if you have enough willing friends and family available to help, it will reduce your total cost. You don’t have to pay an hourly rate to friends and family, and a few pizzas and drinks might be enough of a thank you for their help.
Hiring professional moving services well in advance can save money and stress. Reputable movers often book three to four months in advance. Waiting too long can limit your options and mean you have to settle for a more expensive or less reputable moving company.
Ask About Price Matching
Call around and get quotes from several professional moving companies. Reputable companies should be willing to provide a free estimate and if not, it might be a sign to forget them.
If there’s one particular company you like best but you found a lower price elsewhere, ask if they are willing to price match. While the moving company may not budge, it’s worth asking.
Handling the packing, transport, and loading yourself is easier with the right equipment. That said, not everyone has a large moving truck sitting around to transport their belongings. Many professional moving companies allow you to rent a moving truck or portable moving container even if you don’t hire their movers.
If you just need somebody to help you move a few heavy items, it’s possible to pay an hourly rate to hire movers for an hour or two. You can request support at both ends of your trip and reduce costs by limiting the amount of time you need the help.
Final Thoughts on Local Moving Services
Even a move across town can be a stressful and costly venture, but you have plenty of options to save money and your sanity. Hiring a professional moving company can get the job done faster and more efficiently than doing it yourself, and there are many ways to save on those costs.
Do your homework and research your options before you hire movers or contract with a truck rental company. The right moving company will work with you to create a custom solution that works with your time, circumstances, and budget for a successful move.