If done incorrectly, you could even arrive at your new home with scuffed furniture, broken dishes, and damage to your other household goods.
If you’re concerned about ensuring that your things arrive at your new home safely or if you’re looking to take some of the stress off of your family while moving, you may want to consider hiring a moving company to provide you with packing services. Even if you aren’t working with a full-service moving company, you have the option to hire professional packers to assist with your DIY move. Professional packing service providers can make your move faster, safer, and less stressful—but can you afford to add these services to your move?
We’ve created the ultimate guide to helping you compare packing service pricing for your upcoming move. Read on to learn a little more about:
- How much you can expect to pay for packing services
- Factors that influence what you’ll pay for your professional packing services
- Characteristics to look for when hiring movers for packing services
- Alternatives to hiring full-service movers to help you pack up your household goods
We’ll also introduce you to a few tips and tricks that you can use to save money on your packing services.
Why Hire Professionals to Pack for You?
If you’re like most movers, your moving budget is likely at the top of your mind. When you compare the price of a full-service move with packing services included to packing up your own truck rental by yourself, you might be wondering why anyone would want to spend the extra money hiring a professional moving team. Hiring professional movers to pack your home comes with a number of benefits, including the following:
- Providing more than simple packing services: Professional movers provide more than just packing services when you schedule assistance with your packing process. For example, your movers can also carefully wrap your delicate items in bubble wrap and ensure that fragile household goods are placed in an area where they won’t be damaged. If you’re moving something very delicate (for example, a piano or a piece of fine artwork) your packers can provide you with crating services to protect your things.
- A faster move: If you have a larger home, you might find that packing for your upcoming move might take more time than you originally thought. However, companies that provide professional packing services can help streamline the packing process, speeding things up. This can be especially beneficial if you’re moving on a strict timeline or if you’re moving for a new job and you must be in your new space by a specific time.
- Providing packing supplies on your behalf: If you’ve never moved before, you might not think about the stress that packing supplies can put on your budget. Moving boxes, tape dispensers, and bubble wrap costs can quickly add up—not to mention that you’ll need to make time to run to the store and locate all of these items. If you’re running short on time, know that your professional packers can provide you with moving supplies, often at a discounted rate when compared to what you’ll pay in stores.
- Safer furniture moving: Did you know that it’s likely possible to disassemble many items of your furniture? Full-service moving companies know how to take apart your furniture for easier moving without causing damage to these fragile items. Professional movers also know how to properly lift heavy items, which can help you and your family avoid common moving injuries (like muscle strains or hernias).
If you’re on a tight moving schedule or if you’re moving a large number of specialty or fragile items, we highly recommend that you consider working with a professional moving service that offers packing assistance.
What You Can Expect to Pay for Packing Services
There are 2 primary ways that moving companies charge for packing services.
- With an hourly rate: Most moving companies offer a “labor rate,” which is an hourly rate that you’ll pay each mover to handle packing, loading or unloading services. If you choose to hire more than 1 mover to assist with your packing, you can double the hourly rate to get a more accurate estimated cost for your total list of packing needs. Some moving companies offer hourly discounts if you hire more movers because this generally makes your move safer and more streamlined.
- By the size of your home: Some moving companies don’t charge a rate per-hour, instead billing you with a flat rate depending on your home size. The more bedrooms your home has, the more you can expect to pay for packing services.
If your moving company bills you hourly, you can expect to pay between $25 and $50 per hour for labor services. This is the average cost per hour per mover—if you need multiple movers, you’ll pay more per hour. You can utilize moving labor services for almost any type of assistance you might need for your move, including packing, loading, unloading or unpacking. Keep in mind that some moving companies may charge a higher hourly rate if you require multiple types of moving services.
|Number of movers||Average cost per hour|
|1 – 2||$25 – $100|
|3||$75 – $150|
|More than 4||$200 and up|
The number of movers that you’ll need may vary depending on what you’re moving and the size of your home. If you’re moving a large amount of furniture or you have a home with more than 2 bedrooms, plan on hiring at least 3 movers to tackle your packing or unpacking services.
How much do movers cost when they bill you depending on the size of your home? The cost of packing will vary depending on what type of property you live in and the number of bedrooms that must be packed.
|Size of space||Average flat-rate pricing for moving labor|
|1 bedroom apartment||$450|
|2 bedroom apartment||$525|
|3 bedroom apartment||$668|
|3 bedroom house||$725|
|4 bedroom house||$1,175|
|5 bedroom house||$1,700|
An important note to keep in mind—the prices for moving services listed above only include the labor that your moving company will provide on your behalf. If you choose not to purchase your own packing supplies, your movers will charge you an additional fee depending on the amount of packing materials needed. Below is an estimate that can help you decide how much you’re likely to spend on packing supplies that you request from your moving service provider.
|Size of space||Average price of packing supplies|
|1 bedroom apartment||$150|
|2 bedroom apartment||$150|
|3 bedroom apartment||$225|
|3 bedroom home||$350|
|4 bedroom home||$450|
|5 bedroom home||$575|
If you’re moving multiple boxes of fine china or dishware, your packing services cost will likely increase because your movers will need to carefully wrap each item in packing paper to prevent damage.
Factors that Influence Packing Cost Estimates
The cost of packing for a long-distance move can vary depending on the unique features of your home and the type of company you’re working with. Let’s take a look at some of the major factors that will play a role in the average price you’ll pay for your packing needs.
- The types of items you need packed: Some household goods are easier to pack than others. For example, you usually don’t need to worry much about damaging things like clothing or books over the course of your move. On the other hand, specialty items like antiques or works of art may require special crating services that the mover will need to charge extra for.
Additionally, you might spend more on your moving services depending on the total weight of the items you’re moving. If you have multiple furniture pieces that need to be disassembled before moving, your movers may add an extra fee to cover the time spent. If you’re moving a very heavy item (like a piano or a large chest of drawers) your movers will likely charge an additional fee to compensate for the cost of excess labor.
- Your move date: Like most other industries, the moving industry has an “on” season when companies are significantly busier and an “off” season when companies have fewer requests coming in. Scheduling your moving date during the time when professional moving companies have fewer requests can help you find a better rate for your packing services because you’ll have more companies to choose from. As a general rule, you can expect to pay less for your move if your moving date falls in the months of September to April.
- Your location: Some moving companies charge a travel fee if you live far outside their local service area. Consider hiring a team of local movers located close to your current property to limit the amount of money you need to spend in travel costs.
- The type of packing supplies requested: A professional moving company can provide you with a wide range of packing supplies to make your move easier and save you a trip to your local office supply store. Any additional packing supplies that your movers need to provide for you will increase the total price you pay for packing services.
If you don’t have an elevator in your building and you live in a multi-level property, your moving company may also charge you an additional fee for labor required to move large items downstairs if you schedule loading services in addition to packing services. This is because loading items usually takes a larger amount of time than simply packing your things. Letting your moving company know about the specific layout of your building can help your moving team provide you with the most accurate estimate when calculating your cost of moving and packing.
How to Save on Packing Services
When you add up all of the moving costs associated with packing, loading, unloading and unpacking your things, expenses can compound quickly. If you need assistance packing for your move (for example, if you’re moving with pets or small children) there are a few ways that you can lower the cost that you’ll pay for your packing services.
Only pack select items
You don’t need to hire a moving company to pack your entire property. If you’re looking to save as much money as possible during your move, it can be a good idea to hire a moving company only to pack select items that you’re more likely to have trouble packing on your own. If you’re moving any of the following items, consider adding them to a list for your moving company to pack on your behalf.
- Furniture: Furniture requires special wrapping to prevent it from being damaged over the course of your move. This is especially important if you’re moving older or heavier furniture. Some furniture items can also be disassembled before your move, which can prevent items from being stained or scuffed when moving. Disassembling your furniture before moving can also help you maximize your space inside of your moving truck as well, which can result in hundreds of dollars saved on travel expenses.
- Electronics: Electronics are very delicate and require a significant amount of care when packing. Even a minor scratch or impact on a laptop, desktop computer or OLED TV can cause the electronic device to stop functioning completely.
Additionally, these items are also often too heavy for individuals to carry without assistance, which can increase the risk of damage occurring during the packing process. We highly recommend that you add your electronics to your list of items to be professionally packed, as these items can be difficult and expensive to replace.
- Antiques and artwork: Antiques and artwork can be incredibly difficult to pack and move because they often require specialized crating to avoid damage. For some very valuable works of art, you may even need to book a climate-controlled storage unit to prevent your valuable items from being damaged during your move.
Consult with a professional moving company well in advance if you have a large art collection or a very valuable piece that you need to move. Your professional movers may be able to assist you in deciding which method of transportation will limit the possibility of damage most effectively. Additionally, some professional moving companies won’t move items over a certain value due to increased liability.
- China and glassware: If you have valuable glassware that you’re moving, consider hiring a professional moving team to help you pack it up. Though most people already know that they’ll need to take special care wrapping glassware and dishes in packing paper or newspaper, some homeowners forget that even with cushioning, these items can be damaged by movement. Your packing team can help ensure that each item is both well-wrapped and unlikely to move during your trip.
Provide your own packing supplies
Though your moving company can provide you with packing supplies if you’re running short on time, it’s usually more affordable to offer your movers supplies that you’ve collected. In many cases, you’ll likely find that you already have many packing supplies that your movers will need. Locating a few rolls of masking tape or bubble wrap in your own home might not seem like it would make a big difference—but it can help save up to $100 depending on the size of your home.
You can also lower the pricing of your move by providing your own moving boxes. Instead of paying for moving boxes, visit your local liquor store. Liquor stores receive large shipments of heavy bottles daily—and in most cases, the sturdy cardboard boxes used to deliver them end up in the trash can at the end of the day. Most store managers will be more than happy to provide you with a few quality boxes free of charge if you ask politely. If you don’t have a liquor store near you, grocery stores and bookstores are another great place to search for free moving boxes.
Downsize and declutter before your move
Downsizing your home and getting rid of everything that you don’t need to take with you on your move doesn’t only help you save money on packing expenses—it can also lower the price of your overall move as well. Decluttering can also help you keep your new space more organized, causing less stress when unpacking.
Walk through your home room-by-room and sort all of your items into 1 of 3 categories: items to keep, items to donate and items that are damaged and need to be thrown away. Be ruthless when deciding what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. For example, when searching through your closet, think about which pieces you wear the most often (and which ones are just taking up space). Donating old clothing, toys and books is a great way to save money while also giving back to your local community.
Choosing a Moving Company for Packing Services
If you’ve never selected a moving company to work with in the past, you might not know what you should be looking for when you explore options in your area. Here are a few things to consider when you hire movers to help with your packing.
- Recommendations from family members and friends: Before you take your search to the internet, it’s a good idea to ask family members, friends and co-workers if they’ve ever used a packing service in the past. Even if your loved one had a terrible experience, this will at least tell you which companies you should avoid.
- Explore the BBB: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an excellent place to begin exploring moving companies in your area. Simply enter your zip code and the type of movers you’re looking for to begin exploring accredited options that have been verified by BBB professionals. You can sort companies by BBB grade or distance from you.
- Get a quote: With the increase in moving scams occurring throughout the United States, we recommend that you speak with each moving service provider before you book your moving date with their team. Be wary of working with any company that answers the phone in an unprofessional manner or which offers you a moving quote significantly lower than competitors.
If you have a bad experience with a moving company’s packing services, don’t be afraid to file a complaint with the BBB.
Scheduling Your Packing Services
The moving process can be long, frustrating and incredibly stressful. Working with a professional moving company to help provide you with packing services can take a major load off of your shoulders when it comes to planning your next move. Unfortunately, these services can also be expensive as well.
Before you book your moving date with a team of professional packers in your area, we recommend getting a quote from at least 3 competing service providers. Getting multiple quotes can help ensure that you aren’t overpaying for your packing services—after all, you never know how much you could save until you see what each company is charging.
Packing Services FAQ
Is it worth paying for packing when moving?
Many movers find that hiring a team of professionals to handle their packing services is worth the extra expense. If you’re moving on a budget, you may want to ask your movers to limit packing services only to the most fragile items in your home.
Can you move a dresser with clothes in it?
Though completely empty dressers are easier and less dangerous to move, you may run out of space in your moving truck for everything you own. Under these circumstances, it’s okay to leave soft, light items and nonperishable household items in your drawers. While this is unlikely to cause damage during your move, it is not recommended.
What will movers not pack?
Every moving company gets to decide which items it will pack and which you must move on your own. Some of the most commonly rejected items include:
- Oxygen bottles and scuba tanks
- Cash, jewelry and other expensive items
- Lighter fluid
- Propane cylinders
- Nail polish remover
- Paints and paint thinners
Should you help your movers?
Remember that when you hire a moving company, you’re the boss. If you think you might want to help your movers out, contact them ahead of time and ask if there’s anything you should be prepared to help with. In most cases, you’ll find that your moving team doesn’t need any assistance with packing or loading.