Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › How Much Does It Really Cost To Move Locally?

In both local and long distance moves, you’ll go through the same process of packing up your apartment, trucking your belongings to another location, and then unpacking them.

However, the costs and motivations of local moves are entirely different than long distance moves. Not only is the calculation methodology different, but the local economies of each city change the rates at which a local move may cost.

Because the majority of moves are within the same metro area and not across the country, let’s look at the data on why people are moving and how to calculate the costs.

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Where Are People Moving, and Why?

The majority of moves (about 61%) are to locations within the same county. Moving within the state accounts for less than a quarter of moves at 21%. Those who are moving long-distance within the country only account for 14% of all moves. And just 4% of moves are to locations abroad.

For those moving locally within the same metro region, 41% of those moves are from one suburb to another. The next largest segment is those moving within the principal city of the metro area, such as moving from one Pittsburgh neighborhood to another. About 15% of moves are from the principal city out to the suburbs, and about 8% of moves are in the reverse direction — from the suburbs into the principal city. This leaves about 4% of moves that occur between principal cities within the same metro area such as in a place like the Raleigh Durham Metro Area, where there are several principal cities.

Local moves are inspired by a wide variety of reasons, but the top motivation is wanting a new or better home or apartment. Nearly one-quarter of movers cited this reason. The second most popular reason for local moves, at 15%, is to establish their own household. About 10% of local movers wanted cheaper housing.

How to Calculate the Cost of a Local Move

The cost of moving locally is calculated much differently than the cost of moving long distance.

When hiring a full-service mover for a local move, you will typically be charged by the hour. Whether the laborers are packing, carrying, loading or driving, the same hourly rate will apply. Expect to pay at least $35 per hour per mover, but actual costs vary widely based on your location.

For moving a studio apartment, it typically takes two movers about three to five hours. To move a 2-bedroom apartment, it will take three movers about five to seven hours. And to move a 3-bedroom house, four movers will work for about seven to ten hours.

Note that these are averages, and there will be variation based on the amount of stuff you own. Also, expect extra costs if your move includes excessive stairs, the truck has to be parked far away, or you have bulky or heavy items such as a piano.

While tipping your movers is not mandatory, but it is customary to estimate a 10% to 15% tip that is distributed to your workers.

Cost of Local Moves in Major U.S. Cities

At ForRent.com, we know from experience that there’s a wide variety in the costs of local movers, but we were unable to find any hard data on moving costs. So we put in the legwork to call movers in major U.S. cities to identify the cost to move a 2-bedroom apartment within the metro area. Using the estimate of 3 movers at 6 hours and including truck costs, here is what we found out about the costs of local moves around the country.

Cost to Move a 2-Bedroom Apartment
Minneapolis $1,200
Phoenix $1,183
Orange County, CA $1,155
New York City $1,125
Charlotte $1,012
Philadelphia $1,000
Washington, D.C. $995
San Bernardino, CA $990
Milwaukee $990
Columbus $980
Boston $960
Sacramento $960
Indianapolis $930
New Jersey $926
San Diego $924
Denver $910
Fresno $903
Portland $864
Chicago $863
Los Angeles $810
Seattle $810
Cleveland $800
Kansas City $800
Atlanta $780
Orlando $780
Houston $775
Detroit $770
Baltimore $750
Dallas $729

Looking at the difference between the cheapest and most expensive city for local moves, we see that a local move in Dallas would cost about half of what it would cost in San Francisco.

There is indeed a wide variety in how much it costs for a local move. That is why even if you do your own calculations to generate a rough estimate, contacting moving companies in your city is the only way to get accurate figures on what your local move will cost.


About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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