How To Estimate Moving Costs

If you don’t know how to plan for a move, moving costs can really add up quickly. But there are a number of ways that you can plan your move, estimate moving costs, and learn to consider the costs before you pack up. Knowing what to expect can really help you not only set a moving budget, but keep to it.

If you have ever called a professional mover, you know that they can give you an estimate. When you’re thinking about moving, you may wonder how you can do the same. The formula is simple: professional movers calculate this by time and by weight. Estimating moving costs is not really as intimidating as it may seem.

When you hire a mover, they charge by the hour. Time will always play the most important role in how they calculate your estimate, obviously. When your move is local, they will simply figure up how much distance is between the old location and the new. Travel time and work hours are then factored in, and this is based on how long it will take to load and unload the truck. That is usually figured out by however many rooms you’re packing up. The minimum charge that is usually applied is about 2 hours’ worth of charges. Hourly rates range anywhere from about $80 and up, and this can vary depending on area and amount you need moved. If you’re trying to keep moving costs low, hiring a mover may not be the way you want to go. However, if you anticipate your costs and they’re comparable, it can save on a lot of headaches.

You won’t necessarily be needing to factor time, unless you’re also factoring in work time lost while moving. What you will likely work with, is weight. When a professional mover factors in weight this is often because the move is more than a local one. Distance moves are estimated with a written estimate based on how heavy everything you need to move will be. After it’s all packed up, a more accurate weight will be taken and that’s usually what you will owe. This might seem like a really weird way of doing things, and you may wonder how accurate they can possibly be- but the truth is there’s an art to it, for ethical and reputable movers. To see it broken down and for help with your own calculations, check out’s moving calculator.

Still, if you are working with a mover, get more than one estimate and ask if the company uses origin weighing or destination weighing before you hire. This will help a great deal in figuring your moving costs.

So, how do you use all of this professional know how to your advantage when you’re a DIY mover? Consider these 5 things:

  1. If you do rent a truck, you’ll need to shop around for the price of the rental itself, added in gas and insurance, if your own policy doesn’t have that type of coverage. The rental company should be able to give you a good idea of how much these things will run. Also, if this is a long distance move, think about lodging and food prices along the way.
  2. Packing supplies aren’t cheap. If you opt for the moving companies’ supplies, it can often be much more expensive. While that may be the case, the more expensive options are also usually the most convenient- a number of places offer box kits, so think about that, as well. One great way that you can save on moving supplies is packing your breakables using your clothes. You can often get boxes from retail stores for free, and from there, packing tape isn’t that expensive. If you’re trying to keep moving costs low, you can get creative with clean laundry and just checking for those boxes. Also consider beer boxes for your books. The handles on most of them making toting the heavier boxes much easier.
  3. Consider a box labeling system. Mark each box with a number, and then keep a file or folder with the box numbers and their contents as you pack.
  4. Don’t forget to check and factor in hooking up utilities in your new location. This is one that often comes as a surprise as many require deposits.
  5. Before you move anything into the new apartment or home, take pictures. When it comes time to move out, you’ll be glad you did. Also take photos after you get everything moved out. This is a protective move that can save you hundreds with respect to getting your security deposit back.

About the author

Kurt Kroeck
By Kurt Kroeck

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