There comes a time during every long distance move when it becomes apparent that moving that distance is a much bigger task than you imagined. However, there are plenty of options for long distance moves that are cheap and can complement any budget. How much does it cost to move long distance? The average price can be anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 -- depending on the size of your home, amount of belongings, distance of your move and method you choose.
In this planning stage, you must create a moving budget to figure out ways to cut corners, minimize the money you spend and maximize the money you'll have once you move into your new home.
Here are 10 effective ways to save money on your next long distance move from methods of moving to tips to use before you move.
1. Book your long distance move in advance
The best way to get the most out of your moving budget is to plan as far in advance as possible. As soon as you make the decision to move, you should begin the process of finding a long distance moving company.
The more time you give yourself to secure a moving company, the better the deal you are likely to get.
- If you wait until the last minute, you won't have as many options and may pay more than you anticipated
- Booking a move 6 months in advance may help you save up to 25 percent
- The earlier you plan your move, the more time you have to look for free moving supplies, hold a garage sale and pack your belongings
On average, movers assess a cost of approximately .50 cents per pound to move your goods; however, this does not include any packing fees (labor and material), insurance or storage costs and moving tariffs.
Other costs to consider when hiring full service movers:
- Cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, moving blankets, tape and markers are not factored into your full service move rate. Small cardboard boxes will cost you approximately $2 each (unless you can get free moving boxes). A roll of packing tape is approximately $5, and a roll of bubble wrap will be about $20. If your moving company has to supply these items, it will cost you more.
- As for moving insurance, the basic liability protection that comes with your moving contract will not match the value of your belongings. It's suggested you purchase extra insurance from the movers or a third party provider. Most commonly, moving valuation starts at approximately .30 cents per pound (usually no more than .60 cents per pound). For example, if you plan to move 5,000 pounds worth of belongings, the moving company would be liable for a maximum of $3,000 in damaged or destroyed goods.
- Stairs on moving day could increase the costs, because they require more work for movers and increase the probability of injury or damage. Some moving companies will only charge for ascended stairs -- not for carrying your items down stairs. They charge around $10 to $20 per floor with the first flight of stairs for free. However, some companies charge per step, so clarify these details with the company.
Most moving companies will charge a one-time fee of about $75 to $100 for using an elevator, but the movers might wave the fee if building management dedicates an elevator solely for the move.
And if the movers can't park directly in front of the door, they may charge a long-carry fee of $100 for every 75 feet they need to carry goods.
2. Move during off-peak seasons instead of moving in summer
The summer is a great time to move. The weather is warm and the kids are out of school. You can get a head start on the maintenance your home will need for fall and winter.
The problem with moving during the summer is that everyone wants to do it. Because of that, it also tends to be the most expensive season to move. Moving companies are well aware that summer is the prime season to move, so they capitalize on that by raising prices.
If your schedule is flexible, choose to move during the off-peak moving months. Moving companies can give you a more affordable deal on your long distance move when their business has slowed down. The fall months, from late October through November, are a great time to move. As the weather gets colder and the holiday season approaches, moving companies slowly drop their prices.
3. Pack your own belongings instead of hiring moving labor
Packing your home can be daunting – but it will save you a lot of money. Start as far in advance as you can, and work on one room at a time. You don't want to be left scrambling and packing on your moving day. Pack a little at a time to help manage the job and take the pressure off.
4. Collect free moving boxes to save money
There are plenty of places where you can snag free boxes
for your move. For example, grocery stores usually have plenty of egg carton boxes or produce boxes in their warehouse.You can also check:
- Local bookstores
- Liquor stores
- Office supply stores
- U-haul box exchange
5. Borrow packing supplies before you move
You can save yourself a lot of money by packing things yourself but easily waste twice that amount buying expensive packing materials and moving supplies. Whenever possible, try borrowing from friends and family, particularly ones that have recently moved.
6. Pack smart and efficiently for a successful moving day
It takes practice to learn, but proper technique in packing will:
- Maximize space and use fewer boxes
- Save time loading and unloading
- Prevent damage during the move
If you pack incorrectly and break necessary items, you'll need to purchase replacements and spend the money you saved packing yourself.
7. Drive to your new home with some of your belongings
If you're moving far enough away that flying is an option, but still close enough that driving isn't completely out of the question, always choose to drive.
- If you fly, you'll spend upwards of $300 per ticket for each member of your family. Those expenses can easily send your moving costs through the roof. You will also need to pay an auto transport company, adding to the total cost of your move.
- If you drive, you'll only have to pay for gas and a night or two in a hotel (depending on how far your trip is). Although gas can be expensive, it beats paying for plane tickets. You'll be able to pack some of your belongings in your car, keeping the moving company costs down.
8. Hold a garage sale to keep moving costs down
If you're moving a large home, chances are there is some stuff you don't want to take with you. It might not fit in your new home, or maybe you just want to start fresh. Whatever the reason, you can easily make extra money by selling these items.
A garage sale will make the move more affordable by giving you some much-needed cash to put towards your moving expenses. Plus, it helps eliminate weight off your total shipment, saving you money.
9. Rent a moving truck and move yourself
Renting your own moving truck or van will cost less than a moving company to do the job for you. This option is best for people with apartments or smaller houses and don’t have many belongings to move.
If you can fit everything in one U-Haul truck, then you can save yourself a lot of money on your move.
On average, a long distance move using a full service professional will set you back $7,500 to $10,000. Choosing to move yourself and renting a moving truck will save you a considerable amount of money.
Other costs to consider when renting a moving truck:
- Truck rental companies that charge by day and mileage, so this option may work best for someone who is moving a smaller truckload and will not take many stops along the way. Smaller trucks cost less per day to rent. The average 10-foot moving truck rents for $20 per day and around .99 cents per mile. Someone traveling 2,700 miles would be looking at around $2,900 in rental fees plus the cost of fuel for a 10-day trip.
- Truck services with unlimited mileage will charge you a flat fee for the entire trip, but compare estimates before choosing this option. It's not always cheaper. However, if you plan on detours during the move or are avoiding highways and tolls, it may be beneficial to consider a trucking company that charges a flat fee for the entire trek.
- Many rental companies will also generate a rate for towing your vehicle with a dolly or automobile transport that attaches directly to the truck's trailer hitch. These add-ons can range from $40 to $50 per day of travel. Depending on how many miles you plan on traveling each day (and if your personal vehicle can handle long distance driving), it would be cheaper to ask a friend or family member to drive your car to the destination.
- Create a meals and lodging budget. By keeping these expenses to the minimum, you're still looking at somewhere between $70 to $100 daily. Bringing snack food to eat on the way may be helpful, but it also takes up space that you might not have.
10. Rent a portable moving container
A portable moving container is a large box you can rent and use to store your belongings and/or have them shipped to another location. You've probably seen a PODS container sitting on your neighbor's driveway during a home renovation. Renting a portable moving container is a popular alternative to hiring full-service movers.
The cost depends on the length of time you need to rent a container. In general, it's considerably cheaper than hiring a professional moving company. Furthermore, they can double as storage before and after the move.