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Moving

The Real Cost of Moving -- Revealed

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Moving is backbreaking work, so at some point it makes sense that you'd stop torturing yourself and bribing your friends and explore the smarter option: hiring professional help. But what's the cost of moving?

It depends, of course, on how much stuff you have, how far you're moving, and other factors. But on average, the cost of moving within your state will set you back $1,170, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. If you're moving to another state or across the country, prepare to pay $5,630.

And those are just averages (based on an average weight of 7,100 pounds of furniture). Here are some ways for you to figure out more accurately how much it will cost you to move.

Learn your ballpark fees using a moving calculator

A good starting point is to punch your basic details -- like number of rooms and distance you're moving -- into a moving calculator. According to Randy Shacka, president of Two Men and a Truck in Lansing, MI, online moving calculators are fairly reliable, and their accuracy increases with the number of details you can enter. So look for one where you can input the square footage of your home, date of your move, number of movers, number of flights of stairs, and anything else that might affect how much time it takes to get the job done.

Get a custom quote

Once you have a ballpark figure, the next step is a custom quote from a qualified professional. The best way is an in-home estimate, but you can also send a full written inventory to your movers to gauge the cost of moving.

"At the very least, get a virtual one in which you show your items via a live-stream video chat," suggests Manuela Irwin, a moving expert with MyMovingReviews.

Get competing quotes

Better yet, get quotes from various movers. You can contact them separately or use an online service like movingguru.com, where you enter similar data and get competing estimates from various licensed local movers. Either way, you want to have the ability to compare offers and settle on the best choice.

Consider the extras

With your official estimate in hand, it's time to consider the variables -- which can often wind up increasing the cost of the move. Packing is charged separately and can be either full (your entire place, from socks to sofas, is packed by the movers) or partial (the pros do some of the prep -- usually involving breakables and electronics -- and you do the rest). Boxes and packing materials (bubble wrap, paper) are often included in the service.

These variables could also increase the cost of moving:

  • Assembly: When movers have to dismantle furniture and then reassemble it upon arrival.
  • Long carry: A walk of more than 75 feet, charged when the truck can't park near your home's entrance.
  • Shuttle service: If the normal route isn't accessible by the moving truck (narrow roads, inadequate parking, a weak bridge), a fee is charged for a smaller vehicle for transport items to and from the larger one.
  • Lowering/hoisting: Think pianos and other large items that require a crane and moving platform.
  • Redelivery: A result of bad timing! A fee is charged if you aren't there to meet the truck and it has to return to unload
  • Specialty items: Think pool tables, pianos, gun safes, exercise equipment, antiques, hot tubs, and freezers

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