The Ultimate Guide to Long Distance Moving Costs

How Much Does Long Distance Moving Cost?

Though every moving company may define ‘long distance’ a bit differently, typically, a long distance move is defined as any move that is over 100 miles. This can entail anything from a move within the state, an out-of-state (or interstate move), to a cross-country move. However, some moving companies may define long distance moves only as moves that cross state lines. Long distance moving is an expensive and labor intensive process, and not every moving company calculates their fees in the same way. So, let’s try to understand: how do moving companies calculate long distance moving costs?

After you’ve bought or leased a new home, it’s time to start the moving process!

The truth is that, unfortunately, long-distance moving can be rather expensive. In fact, the average cost of a long distance move can hover around $4500-$5000. The total cost of a cross-country move (LA to NY) can cost over $2500, depending on how much stuff you have.

The price point reflects the labor and time involved to complete the move. Long distance moving can involve multiple moving crews and many days (often weeks) to complete the move. However, there are ways to save money on long distance moving and cut costs. 

How are long distance moving costs calculated?

There are different ways to calculate moving costs. Sometimes, moving companies use an hourly rate to calculate moving costs. Other times, moving companies do their cost calculation using the distance of the move, and the manpower required (how many movers are needed). 

For long distance moving, the costs are typically dependent on the volume of the belongings (furniture, boxes) and the mileage. However, every moving company does this differently, so be sure to inquire from several moving companies and request several quotes. 

Local moves and long distance moves are two entirely different endeavors. Whereas a local move will cost an average of $1250-$2000, a long distance move can cost up to $10,000. Due to the complex nature of long distance moving, there can be a number of additional fees to consider in the price. These fees can range from a long carry fee (if movers can’t park by your house) to a stair carry fee (if movers are required to go up and down multiple flights of stairs) to shuttle fees (if a shuttle is necessary to transport the items to the truck) and so forth. Other additional fees may include: speciality item fees (if you are speciality items like jacuzzis or pianos) or extra stop fees (if your move requires additional stops) or expedited delivery fees (if you require your items sooner than the standard move time).

What is the cheapest way to do a long distance move?

There are a number of ways to save money on a long distance move. For one, you can complete a long distance move yourself, which can help if you are on a budget. You can rent a U-Haul van or truck and drive it across the country. You can also rent a moving container and attach it to your car, and drive your belongings to your new home yourself.

If you choose to do a D.I.Y move, there are a few tips:

  • When renting a U Haul, we recommend moving on weekdays instead of weekends as rental prices tend to be higher during peak moving days and times.
  • Try to get rid of as much stuff as possible before the move. You can try to hold a garage sale or try to sell furniture and any other household items online on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. This will lighten the load of the move and also give you a chance to earn some cash while doing so. 
  • Ask your friends and family to help out with the move! The more hands on deck, the better. 
  • If you choose to go the D.I.Y route it may be good to inquire about damage insurance for the rental vehicle, in case anything happens to the truck during transit. You do not want to be fiscally responsible for any potential damages incurred on your rental.

In case you are not ready to move everything at once, consider putting some stuff aside in a self-storage unit. This can give you some additional time to move and alleviate the pressure of doing it all in one trip.

Moving Supplies can add up! But there are ways to cut costs.

Though moving and packing supplies are generally inexpensive, they can add up! However there are ways to acquire moving supplies at a bargain:

  • See if you can acquire free moving boxes in your area (check your neighborhood Facebook group, Craigslist, or nearby grocery stores to see if they have any extra lying around)
  • Pack using clothes, bedding, curtains to avoid spending money on moving supplies.
  • Use suitcases, recycled cardboard boxes or garbage bags to pack softer, less fragile items. 
  • If you have a dresser or wardrobe, you may not need to unpack it! See if you can leave clothing inside of it and tape it together securely. 

What are the benefits of hiring full-service movers for a long distance move?

While professional movers may not be the cheapest option, they are worth the investment. And, can save you money in the long run, as a D.I.Y move may leave your belongings more vulnerable to damage. 

Hiring professional movers can be the safest and most reliable option to make sure your items and valuables are safely transported to your new home. Moving companies generally are required to have some form of insurance in case anything goes wrong. Moreover, with the current state of gas prices, renting your own truck may be more expensive than usual. 

If you are flexible, see if you can move off-season. In general, movers are busiest during the summer months (May-September), so it is possible to score a deal if you decide to move in the off-season, during the winter. 

In general, a full-service moving company will offer a number of moving services like packing services, furniture assembly and more. Of course, many of these services require additional fees. But, depending on your situation, it may be worth it. 

A long distance moving company can take care of all your moving needs.

Another thing to remember is that when hiring long-distance movers, it is standard to leave a tip of 15-20%. This is important to consider when budgeting your move, as the final price may not include tip. 

Ready to move?

Hiring full-service movers is always a good idea. If you are ready to move, be sure to request a free quote from us! USA Preferred Movers is a long distance and local moving company with over 40 years of moving experience.