Budgeting For Hired Muscle: How to estimate the cost of a pro move
Whether you’re on the fence about using your own muscle versus hired muscle for your move, it will cost you either way. It basically boils down to whether you choose to spend your time or your money.
If you’re short on time and manpower or just want to offset some of the tasks onto professional shoulders, then hiring a licensed, reputable and experienced mover sounds like your best option. Requesting free move estimates is the most reliable and accurate way to budget for your moving costs, and to shop around for the best options.
But if you want to gauge a ballpark quote before contacting movers, then it’s helpful to understand some of the basics. Most professional moving companies will estimate your moving cost on a combination of the following factors:
Weight (critical factor in a long distance move)
The longer your move and the heavier your shipment, the higher your move cost will be.
Let’s break down those factors into a simple formula for local (in-state moves less than 50 miles) and long distance (out of state moves).
Your Basic Local Move Formula
(Base hourly rate) X (# of movers) X (# of hours loading/unloading/transit) + (Gas/tolls) + (Packing services/materials)
Your Basic Long Distance Move Formula
(Weight) X (Rate based on shipment Weight and Distance) + (Packing services/materials) + (Shuttle Fee if your destination cannot accommodate a typical large long distance moving van) + (Optional full value protection of your shipment)
Here are a few very rough estimates to give you an idea on total costs.
Long Distance Moves
A cross-country move from Chicago to Denver (~ 1,000 miles) for a 4- bedroom house (~12,000 lbs. of stuff) could cost around $8,000.
Need a total change of scenery? Moving from Boston to Houston (~ 1,800 miles) for a 2-bedroom apartment (~ 4,000 lbs. of stuff) could cost around $5,000.
When hiring an interstate mover, be sure to request a binding estimate in writing. This will guarantee that the final price you pay when your shipment is delivered will not exceed the estimate, as long as you don’t add items not included in the original estimate.
Staying in the area? A local 4-bedroom size move from one Chicago neighborhood to another could cost around $2,000 (factoring average costs of $160/hour for four men and a large truck).
Hiring two men and a truck for a smaller move can range from $90 – $120 per hour depending on where you live. And if you just want labor help and don’t need a truck, you can expect to pay less than $100 per hour.
Keep in mind estimates can also be affected by your desired move date, so expect higher prices if you want to move in the summer or even on weekends, when demand can be at its peak.
And if you want your mover to pack up your belongings on top of hauling and unloading it it, this can be up to a quarter of the total cost of a full service move. According to an MSN Real Estate article on moving costs, two professional movers can pack up a two- to three-bedroom home in a day at a cost of $400 to $640 (at about $25 – $40 an hour without materials).
Remember, there’s no substitute for getting estimates from top rated movers. This will give you the most accurate quote, especially when you have an in-home assessment where the movers can go through your home and see all your belongings.