How much do moving companies usually cost?

January 10, 2017 – 03:55 pm

If you’re trying to make plans for your upcoming move, it’s important to start with by thinking of your budget. How much should you set aside to make sure you don’t overspend when moving day comes around? That’s where the challenge lies. As you may know, the cost for moving companies vary company-to-company as well as service type-to-service type. The price you pay for your move depends on which moving company you choose, how much stuff you’re moving, where you’re moving to and from, and which service you need. When you’re moving also plays a part, as moving can be seasonal. The only way to figure it all out is to start getting quotes and compare.

moving company prices

Comparing moving service costs

While you're measuring up potential moving company candidates, consider this rule of thumb: on average, full-service movers are the pricier option—which makes sense, considering that you're paying for both labor and transportation.

On the other hand, do-it-yourself services are on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Self-moving services, like U-Pack®, normally offer lower moving costs in exchange for you doing some of the work yourself.

Let's explore the different moving options and what you can generally expect in terms of typical moving company prices.

To compare moving company costs, we got online estimates from several companies for moving a 2-bedroom home from Pittsburgh, PA, to Kansas City MO (840 miles). It’s important to note that prices can change based on date, locations, and the amount being moved.

Cost of Movers

While some full-service movers offer the option to get quotes online, most companies still require an in-home assessment to get a binding estimate. This is because the movers’ cost varies based on several things, including details like the weight of the items you’re moving, the types of items you’re moving, the services you need (packing, crating, etc.), whether you have stairs, and how far your front door is from where the moving truck parks (also called a “long carry”).

The sample online moving estimate we got from full-service mover, Atlas, was for $4, 790—but, again, an in-home estimate would be required for a binding quote. That's a pretty big price tag! But full-service moving companies usually cost more than other options.

Cost of DIY Moving

Because you do all the work, truck rental is usually on the opposite end of the cost scale from full-service. You pack your belongings, pick up the truck, load the truck, drive the truck, put fuel in the truck, unload your stuff, and return the truck. In exchange for doing all the work, the price is normally lower.

While truck rental is undoubtedly cheaper than full-service moving, it’s not always the cheapest or most effective way to move—especially if you’re moving long distance. When “you pack, we drive” services entered the marketplace several years ago, it changed the way people move. U-Pack is a great example of this type of option.

We bring the equipment to you, you pack and load, and then we deliver it to your new home. That means you don’t have to pick up, fuel, drop off OR drive the truck. The savings in fuel alone often makes U-Pack a more affordable option than truck rental.

(Side note: If you run across a full-service mover that’s cheaper than a truck rental, definitely investigate their reputation).

Let's compare the cost of our sample move with different DIY moving companies

The cost of a 20’ U-Haul truck was $1, 319. Then, when you factor in $218 for fuel (using the Rental Truck Fuel Calculator), $90 for optional Safemove® coverage and the $5 environmental fee, the total comes to $1, 632.

The cost of 14 linear feet of space in a U-Pack trailer for the same move is $1, 660 (similar in capacity to a 20’ rental truck). Or you can use 2 ReloCube containers for $1, 653. The price includes transportation from your old home to your new one, and there’s no extra charge for fuel! And if you need more room, or if you can fit into less space than you originally thought, your quote comes with a per-foot adjustment rate that can be added or subtracted based on the space you need. When you’re finished loading, you only pay for the space you actually used. So while U-Pack is just a little more than truck rental, keep that flexibility in mind — and that you don’t have to drive!

To sum up, the typical moving company costs for this sample move were:

  • Full-service mover: $4, 790
  • Truck rental: $1, 632
  • U-Pack: $1, 660

While U-Pack offers a comparable moving service cost for this scenario, we know there are some instances where renting a truck and driving it yourself is the cheaper option (especially when it’s a shorter distance move). When that’s the case, our customers tell us that the convenience of driving to their new home in the comfort of their own vehicle while letting the professionals drive the moving truck is worth the slightly higher price. What do you think?

Figure out your moving company costs

While other companies may require an in-home estimate or a phone call to get you a price, U-Pack makes getting an online moving quote easy. Start with a little self-assessment—one of our Moving Space Estimator Tools are a perfect way to figure out how much space you'll need. Then, just enter the cities you're moving from and to and an estimate of when you're moving, and voila! You'll see the price instantly.

If you have questions about your moving company price, or you're ready to reserve your move, we're also available by phone. Just call 800-413-4799 and a helpful, knowledgeable moving consultant will be happy to assist you.


Atlas® is a registered trademark of Atlas Van Lines, Inc. U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc.


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