Kayla Coco-Stotts
September 22, 2021
Article type:
Applies to:
All Moving

Understanding Moving Rates: How Is My Upcoming Move Priced?

It's the worst when a customer experiences shock and dread after glancing at their final bill on moving day. As movers, it’s our goal to ensure our customers know exactly what they’re paying for when they move so there are no surprises on moving day. We always want to make sure our customers know exactly what they'll have to pay before we even load up their household goods.

However, the process of moving with full-service movers is complex. There are a lot of components that factor into the total cost of moving. Therefore, as you're figuring out what your move will cost, refer to this article to break down the different factors into digestible bites.

How Do Movers Determine the Cost of My Move?

There are several factors that play a key role in how movers determine what they’ll end up charging you. A lot of them have to do with your individual shipment, while others deal with the timing of your move and any add-ons you’ll need on moving day. Below, we’ve covered these factors in greater detail and included where you can save some money.

Move Type

Depending on the type of move you’ve requested, the way movers charge you differs drastically.

Generally, there are four move types: local, intrastate, interstate, and international.  

Local moves are charged by the hour, and the final price differs greatly depending on whether you choose to do so with a moving company or with a DIY method like renting a moving truck. In contrast, intrastate and interstate moves are typically charged by weight and distance. As a general rule, once your move exceeds 50 miles of travel, expect to pay higher rates than that of local moves. Finally, international moves are the most complex, and as a result, usually the priciest. Plan for this move type to exceed $10,000, as you’ll be paying for your shipment’s travel time, customs fees and taxes, and potential storage once your shipment arrives.

Shipment Weight

Shipment weight is the difference between what the moving truck initially weighs and what it weighs once your household goods have been loaded. When drawing up your estimate, an estimator will usually assess roughly how much your shipment weight will be according to your itemized inventory. When you do your initial walkthrough, make sure your estimator is aware of everything you'll end up moving. Any surprise items loaded on moving day will cause your estimate to be inaccurate, so your final cost will be higher.

This is also an area where you can save a bit of money. Once you've decided you're going to move, go through your house and determine what you really want or need to hold on to. For example, you could sell or dispose of older furniture before the move and purchase new items to furnish your next space. If you're willing to go through your household items with a critical eye, you can really save some money on your shipment.

Distance Traveled

The distance between your old home and your new one plays a key role when adding up your final charges. The miles your driver has to travel and the route they take determines two things: the cost of transporting your household goods and when they'll be delivered.

As with shipment weight, your shipment route could end up saving you a bit of money. For example, interstate movers will load shipments headed to the same location together on one truck. Doing so saves both movers and customers time and money. So, if your destination is just beyond a well-traveled highway, your final cost for distance and route will be cheaper than if your new home is in a rural, difficult-to-navigate area.  


While your moving dates may be concrete and inflexible, keep in mind the season you’re moving in. The rates movers charge depend on the timeline you’ve selected. In the summertime, the demand for movers is higher. During peak moving season, most movers will be booked up nearly 8 weeks in advance. Also, weekend moving rates are higher than rates for weekdays.

Make sure to ask your estimator or coordinator whether the rates for your selected moving timeline are higher than the average. If they are, consider adjusting your moving timeline, or utilizing one of the money-saving options above,

Liability Coverage

Arguably the most important cost component of your move, liability coverage for household goods is selected by you when setting up everything. Movers cannot require you to get it, but valuation coverage is an important consideration to make while budgeting for your move.

Additional Add-Ons

Often referred to as intangibles in the moving industry, certain additional add-ons are sure to make an appearance on your final bill. These add-ons can include the following:

  • Shuttle service for difficult-to-navigate parking lots
  • Packing services
  • Large furniture moving, such as with pianos and large appliances
  • Shipment of an automobile
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Short-term and long-term storage

You'll know whether you'll need any add-ons after your moving walkthrough with an estimator. When they tour your space, an estimator will tell you if the movers will require any specialized equipment on moving day. Additionally, you can request add-ons like packing services or furniture assembly/disassembly during your initial walkthrough. By doing so, your written estimate will be even more accurate as to the final cost of your move.

Start Early and Ask Plenty of Questions

Understanding moving rates means you can make better-informed purchasing decisions when choosing your preferred mover, and you can figure out what everything’s going to cost before moving day, and even find ways to save before your shipment is even loaded on the truck.  

As with any component of moving, you’re assigned an estimator and coordinator who can answer any billing questions you may have along the way.