How Expensive or Affordable Are Moving Companies?

How Expensive or Affordable Are Moving Companies?

Happy woman holding money

Having a move just around the corner can create tons of excitement- but there is likely a barrier between you and that enthusiasm. Your brain is probably clouded with all sorts of worries from packing to which company you’ll hire and even to meeting new people. Another factor that no one feels too keen about is, you guessed it, cost. So, how much do moving companies cost? And how does the cost of traditional full-service moving compare to other kinds of moving?

How Numbers Are Determined

Identifying the concrete cost can be difficult without receiving a specific quote from a company. Therefore, we’ll be providing rough estimates to give you an idea of how much a moving company usually costs.

We will calculate these ranges based on various situations. We’ve utilized this moving cost calculator that relies on location and reveals the average cost of different companies. We also used the data provided by in conjunction with our data regarding the time it takes to move.

That being said, here are the definitions of some key terms!

Average Cost of Full-Service Moving

Full-service moving is usually perceived as the traditional route when it comes to relocation. They are also the most costly due to the copious services included. So, how much does full-service moving cost? Well, here are the approximate numbers.

  • Studio apartment + local move: $400-$800
  • Average home + local move: $800-$2500
  • Studio apartment + long-distance move: $1500-$4000
  • Average home + long-distance move: $3200-$6000

What is Full-Service Moving?

Full-service moving relieves the customer of nearly all tasks associated with moving. In other words, they provide all-inclusive services.

They’ll handle packing/unpacking, loading/unloading, assembly/disassembly, and transportation. Some full-service movers, like most other moving companies, offer add-on packages if you’d like. For example, if you need temporary storage, you can usually request this from a full-service moving company.

Is Full-Service Moving Right For Me?

So, full-service moving sounds pretty convenient, doesn’t it? That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most optimal option for your personal needs. Many feel deterred by the high cost of full-service moving.

If you don’t mind spending a pretty penny to sit back and relax, then you’ve found your match. Many find the hands-off approach a great solution to pesky labor.

Let’s say you lack the physical strength needed to move bulky items, don’t possess the expertise to disassemble items or pack things securely, and don’t trust yourself behind the wheel of a massive truck.

If this is resonating with you, full-service movers could be your best bet. But, does the thought of other people being entirely responsible for your possessions make you sweat? Or are you not thrilled about the cost of a moving company? Keep reading to discover other options and their prices.

Average Cost of Labor-Only Movers

Here’s what the numbers look like for labor-only movers.

  • Studio apartment: $450-600
  • Average home: $954-$1484

If you’d like to save even more money, consider booking with UniMovers! Here are the rates that reflect both loading and unloading services.

  • Studio apartment: $360-480
  • Average home: $900-$1260

Keep in mind these are general estimates. Multiple factors can affect the amount of time needed to move. If you’d like to get more specific in terms of pricing, you can generate an estimate using your details on our website. If you require both loading and unloading services, you can determine your travel fee online as well.

What is Labor-Only Moving?

Two movers carrying a coffee table outside

Labor-only movers provide the manpower needed in moving situations. Essentially, these kinds of movers will handle the manual labor aspect- no need to worry about carrying the heavy stuff and breaking your back.

Because their primary role is physical labor, you will need to acquire a moving truck and other additional supplies such as dollies. Labor-only movers will then load up the truck for you (or unload, or both). You can save 30-50% on the cost of movers by utilizing labor-only movers instead of full-service movers.

Interestingly, labor-only movers aren’t just hired for relocation purposes! They can also assist in things like rearranging your furniture or staging your home for a showing.

Looking to move soon?

Check out UniMovers and save 30-50% on your move as compared with traditional moving!

What Are The Pros of Labor-Only Moving?

This kind of service is excellent for those who prefer a customizable approach to moving but don’t necessarily have the capacity to handle heavy items.

For example, you may have certain preferences in the moving truck (regarding cost, accessibility, features, etc.). You also may be very particular in how your prized possessions are packed.

Beyond the flexibility that comes with labor-only moving, another massive plus is the cost-effectiveness. Labor-only rates are desirable compared to the hefty cost of full-service moving. Additionally, because of our flat hourly rates, you won’t be left wondering how much you’ll have to pay for our services.

Are you near one of our locations? If you book with UniMovers, you’ll be contributing to our scholarship fund that supports hard-working college students and graduates. It’s a win-win; uplift the community and get fantastic assistance with moving at highly competitive rates. Plus we don’t charge extra fees for things like heavy items, late bookings, or stairs.

Average Cost of Portable Storage Containers

Here’s what you can expect to pay for this alternative moving method.

  • Studio apartment + local move: $100-$500
  • Average home + local move: $350-$1000
  • Studio apartment + long-distance move: $1000-$1700
  • Average home + long-distance move: $1600-$2600

What Are Portable Storage Containers?

Portable containers are durable units generally designed to be weather-proof. They are offered in various sizes to meet your specific needs.

What differentiates these from traditional storage units is they are delivered to your driveway. You’ll have a month (depending on the company you select) to load up the container with your items.

Once you’ve completed that step, the company will transport the container to your new location. Note that purchasing a moving container does not include the help of movers- you’ll have to either purchase an add-on, hire labor-only movers, or simply load the items yourself.

Should I Buy Portable Storage Containers?

This method of moving also provides decent flexibility- you won’t be rushed to pack and load your belongings right away. Portable storage can be a good option if you can handle all aspects of moving besides transportation.

If you do prefer assistance handling your heavy items, you can always invest in labor-only services to take on this role. It’ll be the same process, only the movers will load the container rather than a truck!

Additionally, if you simply need to declutter your household, you can purchase a portable container. That way, you’ll have onsite storage that can easily be accessed and give you a sense of security.

Average Cost of Rental Moving Trucks

Think you might need a rental truck to transport your goods? Let’s take a look at the average costs.

U-Haul moving truck pulling out of a garage
  • Studio apartment + local move: $30-$70
  • Average home + local move: $50-$100
  • Studio apartment + long-distance move: $500-$1000
  • Average home + long-distance move: $700-$1300

As you probably noticed, local moves are going to be far more affordable than long-distance ones with a truck. Rental truck companies can have varying pricing structures. However, for the most part, they will charge a daily flat fee. Additional fees include mileage fees, fuel, and insurance.

You can save a lot of time and money if you are able to do a one-way rental. So, consider this as a factor when selecting a rental truck company. Ensure there is a nearby location at your final destination where you can drop the rental off.

What Are Rental Moving Trucks?

Did you know you could rent a moving truck? You only need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

Simply put, these are big vehicles you’ll see on the highway that are probably stuffed with furniture. People often rent moving trucks when they’re taking a D.I.Y approach to moving. It’s pretty convenient to use this option if you’re not interested in investing in a full-service moving company.

Why Should I Rent a Moving Truck?

You should take this route (no pun intended) if you do not plan to hire a full-service moving company. Some people don’t mind doing a little extra work to save their hard-earned cash.

If you don’t have friends and family to help out with loading the truck, you can always get assistance from labor-only movers. The combination of these movers and a rental truck is bound to help you save.

If you’re unsure you can drive a moving truck, especially for a long distance, then this option may not be for you. It can definitely be frightening to drive a large vehicle with all of your belongings inside, but rental companies often provide insurance bundles. It’s best to invest in one to feel protected on your long commute.

What Factors Affect the Cost of My Move?

As we previously mentioned, the cost of moving companies can fluctuate wildly depending on certain components. If you are aware of these factors, you can plan around them to potentially cut costs drastically.

Couple celebrating while packing boxes
  • Time of year. The pleasant weather during the summer makes people more apt to go outdoors. Also, it’s the time of frequent vacations and school breaks. Therefore, more people are off work or school and able to move. Another time to look out for is any national holidays. Demand increases and services are likely to be closed on a holiday.
  • Location. Certain areas may have higher numbers of available companies to book with. Or, if you’re moving to/from a place where many people are moving to/from, prices will likely be higher due to demand.
  • Distance. Local moves cost significantly less than long-distance moves.
  • Number and size of items. This is why larger homes will have more expensive moves than studio apartments. Labor costs will increase with the amount of items to move, especially if they are heavy or require specific care. You’ll also need a larger-sized truck or moving container to fit everything.
  • Accessibility. Moving out of the fifth floor of an apartment building with no elevator will be more costly than the first floor. Accessibility is a key factor that affects your total cost of moving if you’re receiving labor services.
  • Your specific needs. You may select additional services such as packing, disassembly, or specialty item handling. If it is considered an add-on with your moving company, this ultimately increases costs.


You should now have a good grasp on the relative costs of different moving companies! Let’s revisit some important highlights:

  • The most accurate way to figure out the expected cost is to receive a comprehensive quote from your desired company.
  • Full-service movers provide the largest package and are the most expensive kind of moving company. The average cost of full-service moving ranges from $400-$6000.
  • Labor-only movers can load/unload/rearrange items. You will have to purchase a separate rental truck or moving container when using labor-only moving services. These movers will allow you to save money compared to other companies. The average cost ranges from $450-$1484.
  • Portable storage containers are delivered to you. You are expected to load them or hire movers to take care of this; then the company will transport the container to your desired location. The monthly rental fee makes this option good for D.I.Y moves that require more time. The average cost ranges from $100-$2600.
  • Rental trucks provide the means to transport your belongings if you do not hire full-service movers. Generally, you are charged on a daily basis. The average cost ranges from $30-$1300.

Remember, the average costs have vast ranges due to the many factors that can affect cost. This includes the time of year, location, distance between locations, amount of belongings, accessibility, and add-on services.

Now, you may be leaning towards a certain approach to moving. If this is the case, we recommend finding companies that fit your values and needs and request a detailed quote. Knowing costs will best help you budget for your big move.

Olivia is an undergraduate student at University of South Florida studying Health Sciences and pursuing the Physician Assistant career. She is from a small town in Massachusetts and enjoys taking day trips to Boston! Olivia's interests include health, weightlifting, writing, and watching movies.