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How Do Movers Charge For a Local Move

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How Local Moves Are Charged

Moving always involves a bit of stress, but you’ll feel far less anxiety if you know your move is within your budget. This is true even if you’re dealing with a “simple” local move, which experts usually define as being within your state or 100 miles or less from your current home.

Here’s a quick list of points that break down how movers usually tally fees for this type of move.

1. Time

Most moving companies charge hourly rates for local moves and include both transport and loading/unloading in their fees. (The exception is very fragile or heavy pieces that must be packed separately with different methods.) But to avoid charging you for a time they’re not working, they’ll break this down into the quarter of an hour where needed.

The number of movers or moving helpers working, whether you pack yourself and the amount of items you have all influence how long the move takes. If your movers pack for you, you’ll be charged an hourly fee separate from the moving fee. As a general rule, however, plan to spend

  • 2 to 4 hours for a studio or one-bedroom
  • 3 to 5 hours for a two-bedroom
  • 6 to 10 hours for a three-bedroom

    Example: 2 movers at $80 per hour moving a studio = $160 to $240

    2. Moving supplies

    Movers usually charge you above retail for moving supplies, so it can save you money to buy them somewhere else. If you do opt to buy moving supplies from your moving company, plan to pay

  • $1-$1.70 for a small box
  • $2.35-$2.79 for a medium box
  • $3 for a large box
  • $3.75 for an extra-large box
  • $69-$90 for a one-bedroom moving kit (14-29 boxes, 55-yard roll of packing tape, marker and box knife)
  • $178-$197 for a two bedroom moving kit (55-60 boxes, 4 55-yard rolls of packing tape, marker and box knife)
  • $311-$404 for a four-bedroom moving kit (86-119 boxes, 8 55-yard rolls of tape, 2 markers and box knife)

    Other supplies, such as wardrobe boxes, wrapping paper, quilted pads and dollies cost anywhere from $8 to $102. Many companies also offer more durable containers as alternatives to boxes, which they charge more for.

    3. Date of your move

    Weekends, summers and the end of the month are all high-demand times for movers. If you schedule your move outside of these times, you might catch a significant discount. As an example, you can save up to 25 percent by moving from October to April, rather than in the summer.

    4. Complicating factors

    Complicating factors are elements like needing to navigate stairs, narrower-than-normal entranceways and being unable to park right next to your building. These factors by no means translate to the inability of the company to do a great job. They simply mean that you might get charged for extra time, supplies or staff involvement. Mention these factors to the company when you get a quote so they consider them in your estimate.

    5. Insurance and liability

    Movers typically offer minimal moving damage protection for as little as $0.45-$0.60 per pound.

    Generally, however, full (replacement cost) coverage isn’t the default, even if the mover has it as an option. Most local movers assume liability only for damages incurred while packing. Transit damages often aren’t covered. Some companies also offer partial packing services where they pack and are liable only for valuable or breakable items.

    Clarify your company’s policy before you book. If your movers cover less than what you need, your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance might protect you. If it doesn’t, though, the cost of other coverage has to factor into your moving total.

    6. Tipping

    Tipping your movers is customary. A standard tip is anywhere from 7 to 15 percent of your total moving costs. Whether you choose to also provide refreshments for the movers might influence how much you opt to give. Either way, remember that your movers work hard!

    All movers consider the above factors to some degree. Their rates, however, can vary considerably. A good rule of thumb is to compare quotes from at least three movers before you decide which company to use. Some services are worth paying more for depending on your situation, so give the choice some thought and then make your call.

    Make sure to compare at least three movers so that you can get a general idea of how much your move will cost and also compare their fees and services.

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