When hiring movers to move your residence, it’s typical for the cost to be higher if you have a lot of items and are moving them a far distance. One of the most common questions people will ask has to do with the driving time it takes for the moving company to drive from one location to the other. Here is a breakdown and some helpful information when it comes to the “travel time”

Do movers charge for travel time?

Yes, most local movers (when moving under 100 miles within the same state) will charge their standard hourly rate for the travel time it takes from one location to the other. When moving long-distance (over 100 miles or from state to state) movers charge based on the distance in mileage your goods are traveling (not necessarily the travel time). In some states, local movers are actually required by state law to charge double-drive time. Below is more on that.

Here is a bit more information on how some movers charge these “travel fees”.

What are Travel Fees When Moving?

In some states, along with the standard travel time between locations, movers may charge a “travel fee” that covers the time it takes the movers to drive from their facility to your initial location and the time that it takes the movers to drive from your final location back to their facility.

Each moving company may charge this fee a bit differently. Just make sure they are transparent with what they charge, so you’re not left with extra charges or an inflated bill after your move.

What is Double-Drive Time When Moving?

In other states, like California, movers are not allowed to charge for the time to and from their facility. Instead, are required by state regulation to charge double-drive time. Movers are regulated by the state and are required to charge twice the amount of drive time. If it takes a half-hour to drive, they will charge for one-hour.


Since the clock starts when the movers arrive at the location, the double-drive time accounts for the movers’ time it takes to drive from their facility to the first location and back to their facility from the second location. Since customers don’t have any control over what movers do to and from their location, instead of being charged that travel time, they are instead charged double-drive time.

Be sure to ask your movers if the state you’re in has double-drive time or if they charge “travel fees” for the time it takes to get to and from their facility.

Do Movers Charge For Fuel?

Every moving company is charging for travel in some way or another. Some movers will also charge fuel on top of the travel time, and some movers will just charge their standard hourly rate for drive-time.

Whichever moving company you choose,t make sure you fully understand how they are charging for the travel.

Related Information On Travel Fees When Moving

What if the movers decide to take a lunch break or coffee break when traveling between locations?

If the movers stop for lunch or take a somewhat long break between locations, which is normal, they should not charge you for that time. However, if on the job an individual mover stops for a 3-minute water break or just a short rest, they likely will still charge that time.

Remember, moving is a tough job and movers will need to take short breaks (especially if it’s a hot day) to be able to keep going.

This is why it’s super important to be there on move day on a local move. If movers are taking too many water breaks, smoke breaks, messing around, or wasting time, you should keep note and call in the office to let them know what’s going on. Since you’re paying by the hour for their time, too many breaks or people messing around is costing you more than it should. Some breaks are normal of course, maybe a very short break every hour or two, but too many are not.

Planning For Travel Time & Traffic On A Local Move

Most movers like to start their jobs as early as possible like 8 am. If they show up early at 8 am, by the time the first location is loaded up there shouldn’t be much traffic since it would typically be early afternoon when they start driving.

However, if you decide you want movers to show up later like 10 am-1 pm, then they’ll likely run into traffic (depending on the route) in the late afternoon when they are traveling to your next location.

Be sure to anticipate the drive time and traffic when moving. Movers who are charging hourly will charge for the time (not distance) it takes to drive from one location to the next, and in some states, that time is automatically doubled.

Tips To Lower The Travel Fees

  • Pick a moving company close to you – If you’re living in a state where the movers charge for their time to and from the location, picking a moving company that is close to you or the destination you are moving can help save on the travel fees cost.
  • Plan your move time around traffic – Since movers will be charging by the hour and not the mile on a local move, its best to anticipate the possible traffic between your locations.

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