The way moving companies charge can get a bit confusing when it’s time to move. You may be asking: what’s included in those charges? Are there any hidden charges? In this article, we break down how different types of household movers charge and what to look for when hiring a moving company.

How Do Movers Charge & Estimate Costs?

When moving locally, most movers will charge an hourly rate and estimate the cost based on the number of movers and trucks needed for how long. Movers will have different hourly rates for 2 movers, 3 movers, 4 movers and so on. The hourly rate will also increase if more moving trucks are needed. Some local movers may also charge a flat rate. When moving long-distance, movers will charge by the weight of goods, the distance those goods are traveling, and any additional or accessorial charges that may occur.

Depending on whether you are moving locally or long distance will determine how the moving company will charge.

Below you’ll find information on how local and long-distance movers charge plus some additional information on what to expect from your movers.

How Do Local Movers Charge?

Local movers charge an hourly rate that generally includes a moving truck, all the equipment, miscellaneous materials, and the movers.

The more moving helpers or trucks needed for your specific move, the higher the hourly rate will be. For example, a truck and 2 movers may cost $120 per hour. A truck and 3 movers may cost $175 per hour. 2 trucks and 4 movers may cost $240 per hour etc.

Depending on your unique circumstances will determine how many trucks and helpers the moving company will send out to your job, and how much hourly rate they will charge.

Many movers also include fuel costs and miscellaneous materials into that hourly rate. But, SOME DO NOT.

Local movers are regulated on a state level and charge and operate differently in different markets. Some states have little to no regulations, and some are highly regulated. It’s important to ask your moving company what’s included in the hourly rate, and what additional charges you may run into.

Additionally, some local movers charge flat rates for your move. They will determine how much work is involved and quote you a flat rate for your entire move.

What Are Minimums?

Local movers typically have minimums. Minimums are the smallest amount a moving company will charge for a job. A typical minimum for local movers is 3 hours of work (different movers charge differently). So, if you just have to move one item a short distance, a mover will charge the minimum, even if it takes less time.

Possible Additional Charges When Moving Locally

Each local moving company may charge slightly differently. Some may bundle all these costs into one hourly rate, and some may not.

It’s important to ask which moving company you hire what is included in the hourly rate.

  • Packing Materials – If you need additional packing materials like boxes, tape, and packing paper, moving companies will charge extra for those materials. Here are some ways to get cheap packing materials.
  • Carton Packing Services – Most local moving companies will also provide carton packing services as an option. Some movers will charge their standard hourly rate and some will charge a separate rate.

Generally, there aren’t too many additional charges when it comes to a local move. Since movers charge on an hourly rate, no matter how difficult or unique your move, if there are stairs, long carries, elevators etc, in the end, it’s all based on the hour.

But once again, all movers are different so ask about extra additional charges you may incur.

Do Local Movers Charge Hourly For The Driving Time?

Yes, movers charge their hourly rate for your move for the time it takes to drive from the first location to the second. In some states, they actually charge DOUBLE-drive time.

What is double-drive time and why in some states do movers charge double drive time?

In some states (like California) movers are required by law to charge double-drive time for the time it takes from one location to the next. For example, if it takes a half-hour to drive then the local movers will charge for 1 hour. This is to account for the time it takes the moving company to leave and return to their facilities before and after the move.

How Do Interstate (Long Distance) Movers Charge?

When moving long-distance, over 100 miles or state to state, movers will charge by the weight of your goods, the distance traveling, and any additional or accessorial charges that may occur.

Note: Some interstate moving companies will charge exactly based on the above-mentioned items based on the rates on their tariff, and some will charge a flat rate for your move, but also somewhat based on the above-mentioned items.

Everything charged to the consumer will be represented in the Bill of Lading that the mover will provide you.

The two biggest cost factors when moving long-distance are weight and distance. The more items you have or further they are being moved, the more it will cost.

Since the consumer isn’t billed in hourly charges, the moving company will charge for certain things that take extra time like stair charges, long carries, and shuttle services.

Here are few possible additional and accessorials charges to look for on your Bill of Lading when moving long distances.

  • Advanced Charges – These are any third party services that a moving company will pay for in advance, then bill the consumer after the job is complete. For example, if a mover has to hire a special rigging company to move something large, the moving company will pay for that service and add that to the bill for the customer.
  • Packing Services – When moving long-distance, it’s common to have the moving company pack your fragile items for you. Since the items are traveling a far distance it’s in the consumer’s best interest to have a professional company to pack for you to reduce possible damage.
  • Packing Materials – Any packing materials the movers use like boxes, tape, and packing paper, the mover will charge the customer.
  • Long Carries – This is if you have a very long hallway in your apartment building or home if the moving truck can’t get close to the front door.
  • Stair Charges – Since carrying items up and down the stairs takes extra time, they will likely bill for stair charges.
  • Elevator Charges – Using an elevator to go up and down with furniture will also take a bit longer than if the destination is ground-floor, so it will cost more.
  • Shuttle Services – Shuttle services are if you have a long driveway or a situation where the moving truck can’t get close to the front door, but another smaller truck can. The furniture would be shuttled from the moving truck to the front door of the home.
  • Parking Permits – If the moving company needs parking permits for the moving truck at the origin or destination, those permit costs are usually paid by the customer.

Unlike local moving, where most everything is charged by the hour when moving long-distance, most charges are based on itemized services or criteria of your move.

What Happens During The Move Estimate On A Long-Distance Move?

There are 3 types of estimates that movers will estimate. A binding estimate, a non-binding estimate, and a not-to-exceed estimate. It’s highly recommended to know which estimates are available that what they each mean.

Do movers charge for insurance? What type of insurance is included in my move?

Technically, movers do not offer or sell actual insurance. Instead, the offer what’s called Valuation Coverage, which sort of acts like insurance.

Valuation is what your shipment is worth, and that is determined by you, the consumer, before the move.

If you choose not to purchase valuation coverage, consumers are entitled to free coverage that includes 60 cents per pound per item.

Your moving company may also offer additional valuation coverage to protect your items.

Here’s a quick summary of how valuation coverage works:

First, you the consumer declare how much your entire shipment is worth. When choosing to protect your items, you must take out valuation coverage on all of your items. If you have articles of high value (items worth $100 per pound or more) like expensive artwork, you must declare each of those items separate from your full amount, you cannot just cover one item if you choose valuation coverage.

The reason you must declare it beforehand and separately is so the movers understand their liability and to pack and secure the said item properly to avoid damage during transit. The mover may bill extra for extra packing materials or protection to safely move that item.

Then, the movers will give you their costs of covering those items. You may choose from:

  • Full Value Coverage – Covers the cost of what you purchased the item for.
  • Actual Value Coverage – Covers the cost of what the item is worth today.

You will also choose whether you want a $0 deductible or a higher deductible.

Similar to buying insurance, depending on how much you need to be insured or how much your deductible, will determine how much your coverage cost may be. The moving company will give you the price of the valuation coverage based on what level of coverage you choose.

You may also purchase actual insurance from third-party companies like

How Is Moving Company Storage Charged?

If you are moving into storage, moving companies will charge based on the weight of the goods and how long those items will be in storage.

If you are moving locally, you will be charged hourly for the moving in and out of storage as well as the amount of time your items are in storage.

Sometimes, if you’re moving long-distance and your home isn’t ready, the moving company will offer short-term storage at a nearby facility until your home is ready. This is called storage-in-transit.

If this is the case, the moving company will charge for the movers to unload at the storage place, you’ll be charged for the warehouse labor for the workers to inventory your items and put them into storage vaults, you’ll also be charged the storage time, and then the move again to the home.

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