How Much Did You Pay for a Long Distance Move?

Updated on May 23, 2016
A.N. asks from Winter Park, FL
18 answers

Hello! We will be moving long distance next month and we are paying for the move. Unfortunately this is not a relo package, since my husband works from home and we can live anywhere. Someone from United just came over to give me a quote for the move - $9100!! That price seems outrageous to my husband and I. I am wondering for those of you who have ever paid for a long distance move, how much did you pay? We live in a 4 bedroom house that is 3300 square feet. I have two more moving companies coming over for quotes: Atlas and Mayflower. I feel it is smart to use one of the big name moving companies. I'm sure a no-name company would be half the price, but is it worth the risk to use a no-namer company that we don't trust? So I have three questions: how much did you pay for a long distance move, do you think $9100 is outrageous for a move, and have you ever used a no-namer moving company? We will stick to the big names, but I'm curious if anyone has used any other moving company. Thank you!

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answers from St. Louis on

There was a news story a couple months ago where I guy tried to move on the cheap and found a company on Craigslist only charging 5,000. He paid them cash up front and they stole everything he had.

My point, if that guy thought 5,000 was such a bargain to take that risk I would guess 9,100 is about the norm.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

We moved from Ohio to Alaska. Luckily for us my husbands employer paid for the move. It was approx $14,000.00

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answers from Milwaukee on

I used to do sales estimates for a national van line, & my father worked in the industry for years. There are many factors that go into your quote.
The two big ones are:
1. How far you are moving.
2. How much you are moving. (estimating based on sqare footage isn't possible, you have NO idea how much stuff people can cram into their homes!!)

Miles = expense, in gas, tolls, fees, salaries and time. The further you need to move your items, the more it will cost.

Your goods are going to be estimated based on how much room they will take up in the truck. A thorough sales estimate will involve walking through your house & documenting all the couches, chairs, dressers, etc. Then all of your goods are estimated based on how many boxes they will fill, & what type. (example - books are packed into small boxes, comforters into large ones, because of the weight of the box once it is full - someone needs to be able to lift/carry it).
Once the items for the truck have been estimated, there is a formula to convert the items from cubic feet (the amount of space they will take up) into weight. Different items are calculated differently - going back to the box example above.

The raw figure estimate from this is often discounted, with the amount varying based on how far & how much you are moving. If you are moving a very small amount of goods, your discount will be minimal - maybe 10-20%, because they need to find more customers, & navigate a route & schedule in order to make pick-ups & drop-offs. If you are moving so much that you may take up the entire trailer, the discount will be considerable, perhaps 45%, because the company can better estimate when they can deliver your goods, & therefore schedule a pickup with that truck for a quick turnaround.

Keep in mind, the estimate & quote you are given is subject to change. They may not be able to guarantee dates, & instead give you a delivery "window". The amount of charges will be based on a final weight after loading using a scale. You can discuss a Binding quote with the company, to minimize your risk, but keep in mind the company is likely to "pad" the amount that they bind to protect themselves from unforeseeable costs.

United Van Lines has a great site with an FAQ section which can give you more information on preparing for a move.

Hope this helps! T. :)

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We moved to TX from NC in 1989 and it was $4000. We used North American

In 2000, we moved mo more than 3 miles away and it was $2000. We used Mayflower.

I'm not surprised at the quote. Are they packing you up and unpacking? Make sure you have good insurance coverage as well.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

That sounds about right depending on where you're moving. We moved a few months ago from NC to WA. We got quotes from 3 major moving companies, pods, and moving truck companies. The moving companies quotes were between $7-10k for our 3 bedroom. We scoured reviews like crazy and I do not recommend a no name company. Even the bigger moving companies hire out the drivers and they don't care about your stuff and give wide time estimates. We ended up hiring local movers to help pack and load a truck, and my dad drove it for us. We did ship our cars, which was kind of expensive too. So glad we did that though..nothing was lost or missing, we knew where the truck was at all times, and we knew my dad was being careful.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Where are you moving to?
how much weight do you have?
Are they packing you up and taking it??

My last move was covered by the military and it was from Europe to the US.

I know we checked into moving to Key West, FL - family of 4, pack up and take - 3K sq ft house from DC to FL was $9500.

No. I wouldn't use a "no name" company. If I did? They would have to show proof of insurance and liability - and I'd have to be able to call their broker to verify the coverage and look them up on line.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

It would have cost us about 3k to move across town. I don't think it sounds that outrageous.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I used a moving company to move where I am now, but it was an in-state move, so much less money. $9100 seems kind of steep, but you don't mention how far you are moving, just that it is long distance. If you are moving to Alaska, $9100 actually sounds like a good deal! I used a small company when I moved here. I also used a small company (different one, though) when I moved my mom down here. I guess I didn't really see any risk difference - I made sure they were licensed and bonded and I checked 3 references.

Personally, I would look at the mom and pop shops, vet them carefully, and if they can save you money - great! I would show them the quotes from the other 3 places and I bet they will beat them.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I've been relocated for work that included long-distance moves in the past. Each time the total cost (paid by my employer) was in the 17K-20K range. That did include allowances for meals, lodging, gas, and temporary housing while homes were being built or ready, but those things combined were still a smaller amount compared to the packing, moving, storage, and delivery of my home contents.

I would not use an unknown, small company for a cross-country move. Too much potential for things to go wrong with too little potential for recourse if you need to recover costs for broken, damaged, or lost items.

Warning: If you buy insurance from the moving company, read the fine print carefully, ask questions and get responses in writing, and know exactly what this coverage actually means. You need separate, specific coverage for high-end items. You may also want to check with your homeowner's insurance if you have expensive items that the moving company will not cover or will not cover sufficiently to recover in the event of potential losses or more likely, damage. I've moved many times and have never had a move where something didn't get damaged, so just know that it happens.

We just moved last fall---three miles from our old house to our new house. It was $6000, so I think any quotes you get in the 9-10K range are reasonable for such a move.

Don't automatically go with the lowest cost. Instead, look for a company that offers the best services, and especially customer service, for the money you pay.

If you've never used movers before, be ready to be specific with them in your directions of what contents you want packed (vs. what you will be taking with you) and how the boxes are marked. Don't be afraid to step in and talk to them directly (in a polite way, of course) if you feel they are not treating your belongings or your home with proper care. Remember, you're paying them for that! Moving is difficult enough, and watching the entire contents of your life in the hands of strangers can be very stressful, especially for children. If you can have someone take the kids out of the house while they are packing up, it's much better. Then, you can focus totally on supervising the packing. Remember, it's always a nice to offer cold, bottled waters to the movers and buy their lunches---pizza or subs are usually much appreciated. That gesture goes a long way, I've found.

Good luck with your move!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

It would depend on the location you are moving to, the amount of weight for the whole load, and possibly when you need to be at the new destination. Books, glassware, computers, large furniture weigh more than clothes and some toys. Anything that you can do to lighten the load will help in the weight category.

My moves were paid for by the government so I can't say that is a good or bad quote. I do recall once getting a verbal quote for a move and it was about $6000 and the weight was for 25,000 (this was about 20 years back). I have had Allied, North American, Fritz Frey, (Germany) and another local company.

Try Old Dominion and ABF have a pack and take program you might want to look into. You could get local people to help pack the trailer.

Take photos of important and valuable items so that you have a record for any claims that you might have to make. Never can be too careful.

Good luck.

the other S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I had a friend who moved from Texas to South Carolina and his house was smaller than yours. His move cost him $15,000.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

$9100 sounds right. And something to think about is having an attorney review the contract. My friend is an attorney. Some mutual friends had a moving company move all their stuff from Illinois to Colorado. The big name moving company pulled some bad stuff and wouldn't release their belongings. Our attorney friend reviewed the contract to see how to get out of it and there was nothing they could do, they had to pay the additional bogus fees.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I really don't know anyone who has moved with a moving company. I do know those who've had to move without benefits for a job at a new company though.

They've all hired local people to help them load the trucks then driven themselves to where they're going. One friend spent a couple of weeks packing up her house. Using the garage and a bedroom for the boxes. She got to go through everything they owned as she did and even rented a dumpster that she could access right by a door and window. She filled it about half way.

Since you're moving long distance let's assume you'll be moving from Florida to a place that has harsher climate changes throughout the year. So you can get rid of anything too small, even slightly worn, if someone has 4 dozen pair of flip flops you can down size.

If you are going to be able to get any new furniture where you've moving too it's a great time to just put these items out and have a garage sale. Get rid of anything you can.

Then rent the largest U-Haul you can get that can go one way. Load it yourselves to assure your items are safe and loaded well or hire some neighborhood kids/family to do the lifting but have the boxes coded where they go in the front because they're heavy or in the back/top/etc...

My friend that moved from OK to Montana even hooked up hubbies car to the back of the truck and pulled it. She drove the van with the younger kids and he had an older one with him to keep him company. They stopped every few hours because they had a new baby and the mom needed to be up moving around and to nurse him.

They got to Montana in 3 days because they stopped so many times along the way. It's about a thousand miles one way. I also know people who got in the truck and in their vehicle and drove straight through by switching drivers and did from the east coast to the west coast in a couple of days. My brother drove straight through in 26 hours when he left boot camp but the speed limit was higher back then I think and some areas didn't have a speed zone.

Another friend actually did move to Alaska, way north in Alaska. They got a truck and did it themselves too but they have 5 teen boys.

Anyway. You can do this and save money by simply doing it yourself.

ON THE OTHER HAND...there is nothing like waking up one morning and having your home invaded by movers who will walk in and start taking things out of your kitchen cabinets and wrapping them up for safety. A bonded, reputable, efficient company. That will replace anything they break.

Then you just go get on the plane or whatever.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I moved cross country several times in my working years. I did a lot of what Gamma suggested. I used Mayflower and already had most things boxed so that helped with the price. A lot I put in my SUV and I had numerous garage sales up to a month before. I think I spent about $2000. BUT, I was in a one bedroom apartment and I also was not tied to big furniture pieces just a bed, dining table, tv, dresser. I used my moves as a time to upgrade my furnishing once I got to a new city.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We've moved ourselves twice from Texas to DC and back. Both times we packed ourselves and got boxes. Mayflower charged the best rate and did it for like $9k. Your quote is a reasonable one. We also used pack rat which is like pods. cheaper. cheaper because they don't fill the container or take the stuff out of it. you can find local people that will do that and it's still cheaper than Mayflower etc. storage container might sound odd, but in reality it's very much like a big moving van, yet it's an individual container, vs. you sharing space on a truck. we were happy with pack rat. container companies are also WAY better if you need to store yourself for any length of time. the big moving companies are not really in that business and thus charge high dollar for storage. also, to help you get the kids involved. they will help and you need it too. good luck!



answers from Chicago on

We moved from Chicago suburbs to southern Illinois. A 7 hour move. We had a 4 bedroom 2 story house. They loaded us into 2 big trucks. It cost us $3600 plus tipped 4 guys $100 each. (We tipped more than usual they loaded a two story drove 7 hours had to spend a night then unload a two story. We bought guys subway lunch. All our moving expenses were $4100. With another probably $500 on boxes and bubble wrap from uhaul and trust me the specialty boxes for China, pictures, tv, lamps etc are worth it. We used 2 men a truck company. They told us if We had left state it would have added several thousand .



answers from Washington DC on

I paid around $8400 from Mayflower to go from Texas to DC area. Play the companies against each other. If you can show lower prices from companies, even some not so popular companies, they will compete with one and other. We also had minimal knick knacks so there wasn't a lot of wrapping up items to box up. Most of our stuff they could just throw in boxes. If you really want to save money look into UShip. You do all the packing, loading of the truck, unloading the truck and unpacking. They provide the truck and driver. When I looked into it, it was around $2500. We had a 4200 square foot house. I've used no names for local moves and got screwed twice, won't do it again. Also, when I booked with Mayflower, they locked in the price.



answers from Miami on

My friend moved from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana. She also called around -- North American Van Lines, and another big company, I cannot recall. They quoted her $2,500 or so, which was out of her budget, and in her opinion, way overpriced. She ended up renting a U-Haul, paying a local friend to help her disassemble her furniture and drive the U-Haul and got him a return ticket from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, which only cost her $5 thanks to her Southwest Airlines miles. Her daughter, who lives in New Orleans, helped her find some co-workers who could unload the truck and put the furniture back together. She had a 2/2 apartment, and all in all, she ended up paying about $1,200-$1,300 for her move (truck, plus gas, and paying the guys). If you're tight on money, this may be an option for you. If not, another friend said Flat Rate Movers gave him a decent rate (though I am not sure if this is a local or national company).

When I have moved, on one occasion, I went the U-Haul route and asked the maintenance men in my building to help me move. This actually ended up costing me more than using a small no-name moving company located in a low-income neighborhood, which was recommended to me by a friend, and whom she found on Craigslist. They asked for payment in cash at the end of the move. Everything was arranged over the phone, and they put everything back together, beating the condo move-in deadline of 5 PM. I brought my own boxes and they used a saran type of wrap to seal everything and keep things from falling out of the boxes. Everything arrived in the same condition it was packed in, and we used towels and sheets to wrap my fragile paintings and decorations. They even helped me move large fish tanks and heavy cement planters. I would ask around. Maybe, like in my case, someone you know has used a no-name, inexpensive company and had a good experience.

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