If you’re on a budget, moving out of your apartment can be extra stressful. The planning, packing, and decluttering process are already exhausting enough, but being concerned about money during the move only increases your stress.
So, how much does it cost to move an apartment, and how can you save money during your move?
The Average Cost of Moving
The average cost of your move will vary greatly depending on the size of your apartment, location, where you’re moving, how much stuff you have, etc.
As a result, calculating the average cost of moving can be difficult.
According to U.S. News, the average cost of moving locally from a two-bedroom place is about $1,250. This estimate is based on approximately 7,500 pounds of belongings. Keep in mind that 7,500 pounds of belongings would be a “full” apartment, so these moving expenses are likely lower if your apartment is minimalistic or moderately full. Rates for a local move for a minimalist home with belongings that are already packed may be as low as a couple of hundred dollars.
This price goes up dramatically to around $4,800 for the same amount of belongings if your home is over 1,000 miles away. Again, if you have fewer belongings, this cost will be less and may be as low as $1,000 to move to another state, even with a full-service mover.
Keep in mind that the following factors will affect the cost of moving:
- How much stuff you are moving and how much it weighs
- If you’re packing your belongings or having a company pack them for you
- The distance between your new apartment and new home or apartment
- The packing services that you choose
- The cost of renting a vehicle, such as a U-Haul or truck rental, to move your things
- How organized you are on your move day
- If your move is local, national, or international
- The day, month, and season you’re moving during
- If you have specialty items, like a pool table, pianos, or delicate artwork
- How accessible your new home is by moving truck
How Much Does It Cost to Move Locally?
Local moving costs are typically calculated by an hourly rate with a charge for costs per mile. In addition to these costs, you’ll need to factor in extra fees if your professional movers pack your belongings or move fragile items like artwork. Local moves also give you more flexibility regarding how you want to move. For example, you may be able to make multiple trips with your vehicle or a friend’s truck to move your belongings to your new home.
If you choose to hire movers, an estimate from Forbes states that local movers will typically charge between $25 to $50 per hour. In other words, a two-person moving team working four hours would charge between $200 to $400 for a local move. However, this doesn’t include other fees such as transportation fees, packing materials costs, and gas.
Moving by truck is one of the most affordable ways to move. However, it requires a lot of time and labor on your part to pack and unpack the truck. You’ll also need to drive your belongings to and from your new home.
If you rent a truck for a DIY move, you can expect to pay around $170 for the renting and an added cost per mile, usually between 30 cents to a dollar. Depending on the company, the truck deposit typically costs between $0 and $150.
Another option for moving is renting a small moving container for your move. Moving containers will require you to load the container, but you don’t have to drive the container to your new home. The average price of a moving container for a local move is about $1,500. However, this may vary greatly depending on how much stuff you have.
How Much Does an Interstate Move Cost?
Typically, companies will calculate long-distance moves based on the cost of mileage and the weight of your belongings. Packing fees will also be added if the moving professionals pack your belongings and need additional time than what was predicted to pack your things.
Long-distance moves can cost anywhere from $600 to $10,000 depending on how many belongings you have and what services you have done, including packing costs and lodging costs if the moving professionals need to take more than one day to move your things cross-country.
If you’re looking for a less expensive option, consider renting a moving truck to make your move.
If you rent a truck for your interstate move, you can expect to pay $2,080 on average. Cost per mile costs and tolls are usually factored into this cost. The truck deposit usually costs between $0 and $150.
Alternatively, you can rent a moving container to make your interstate move. On average, a moving container for interstate or long-distance moves costs $3,000 if you’re moving from a smaller apartment and don’t have many belongings or a heavy average weight for your items.
Do I Need a Moving Company to Move Apartments?
Many choices are available for moving your belongings, especially if you live locally. So, you may be wondering if you need a professional moving company to move apartments.
Ultimately, this can only be answered by you, but we recommend considering the following questions while making your decision:
- Are you physically able to move heavy belongings, like furniture or boxes? If not, do you have people in your life that would be willing and physically able to help with this?
- Can you commit enough time to pack your belongings carefully?
- Are you comfortable driving your belongings to your new home?
- Will you be able to find moving insurance to protect your belongings should they be damaged during the move?
- Can you take time off of work for the move?
- What is the access to your new place like?
- Are the costs of food, fuel, and lodging while you’re on the road worth the saved money from not using moving services?
- Are you comfortable renting and driving a large truck rental?
- Do you have small children or pets that someone must watch during the move? Will you be able to do that and complete the move on your own, or would it be better to hire a moving professional?
- Are you prepared to cover late fees if you turn in the U-Haul or moving truck late?
- Will you take the time to vet the moving company to avoid moving scams and frauds?
How You Can Reduce Moving Costs
Many factors can affect your moving costs. Let’s go over some of the factors that can quickly increase your moving costs and some ideas for avoiding added costs.
Downsize your Belongings
Whether you hire moving professionals or not, decluttering your belongings can save you a lot of money. Take advantage of your upcoming move to go through your items and declutter or sell items you’re no longer using.
Scrutinize your belongings. Have you used that cookware or worn that sweater in the last year? If not, declutter it, give it away, or sell it to make some extra money for your move.
The fewer items you have, the less you’ll have to move, saving money, time, and effort. Packing supplies are not inexpensive, but moving companies will often charge twice as much for the packing supplies they use, so buying your own and packing your belongings is the way to go if you’re trying to save money.
Pack Your Items Yourself
Hiring a moving company can save you a lot of time and stress during your move. However, having the same company pack your belongings can quickly add hours of extra work and, ultimately, additional fees to your bill.
While staying local may not be an option if you’re taking a new job or promotion, maintaining a short distance from your move can be a great way to save money during your move.
If possible, choose to stay local or move to a place with a lower cost of living so that you can save money after your move. Moving within the same state will be much cheaper than moving across the country, so this can be a good option for saving your hard-earned money.
Pay with Cash
Paying with cash can save you money during your move. Many moving companies offer a discount if you pay with cash, so consider paying with cash if possible if this is the case with your long-distance moving company or local moving company.
It’s almost a guarantee that you will have to pay your movers more if you wait to hire a company at the last minute. You’ll also miss the opportunity to pack more of your belongings yourself, buy your own packing materials like bubble wrap and packing paper, and disassemble large furniture, like tables and beds.
Don’t wait until the day of to pack your belongings and plan out your moving day plan with the moving company weeks in advance.
Rent an Accessible Apartment
An accessible apartment on the street or the first level can make your move much easier. While this may not be possible in large cities with sky-high apartment complexes, other parts of the country may offer first-floor units with truck parking to make a move significantly easier.
Moving companies will factor this into the moving estimate, so if you have a choice in your apartment, consider the location and look for places they can park ahead of time.
Compare Moving Quotes
Shop around and gather quotes from multiple moving companies to get the best price for your move. Whether you’re renting a moving vehicle or container or hiring a full-service moving team, shopping around and price-matching can save you hundreds of dollars.
We don’t recommend going with the least expensive option automatically. Instead, use the lowest quote you receive as leverage with your favorite moving company. Call your preferred moving company and inform it about the lower quote you received for the same services, and ask if it can match that. Even if it can’t, it may be willing to compromise on a lower rate, throw in additional services or insurance, or provide you with a special discount to keep you as a customer.
Remember, these moving companies want you as a customer, so don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal or if it can give you a lower price on certain days of the week.
Give Notice that You Are Leaving Your Apartment
Legally, you must give your landlord notice that you’re moving one full rental period before you move out. For most of us, a full rental period is 30 days. If you do not give your landlord this notice and determined move date, it’s within their rights to charge you for another month’s rent. Plan ahead and give your landlord written notice by mail, making sure you send it early to avoid missing the time window.
Move During Off-Peak Times
If possible, choose an off-peak time of year to move to save you money. By far, the summer months are the busiest and most expensive times of year to move because many families are moving while their kids are out of school.
If you can, put your apartment move off until the fall or winter time to save money and give yourself leverage when haggling prices with moving companies. You can also choose to move during the week, instead of the weekend, to save money, since most moving companies are busier on the weekends.
Moving is an exciting opportunity that can lead to many new adventures, experiences, and the chance to make new friends and connections. However, moving days can be stressful and expensive. So, take time today to plan where you can save money during your move. Consider what parts of the move you can take on yourself, such as packing, and what services, like hiring moving professionals, are worth the extra cost to you and your family during your move.