Compared to simply moving across town, the cost of a long-distance move can feel overwhelming at first. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep costs low without sacrificing the quality of your moving experience.
The average cost of a long-distance moving company can fall anywhere between $500 and $12,000. This vast range takes a lot of factors into consideration.
In this guide, we’ll clarify the cost of professional movers when you’re heading to a new home more than 100 miles away. Each team of long-distance movers—whether you’re renting a moving truck or looking for full-service movers—set their prices on similar moving services and moving day details.
Types of Long-Distance Moving Companies
There are many ways to get your precious belongings from point A to point B. For this reason, not all moving companies perform the same services in the same way. Overall, the cost of moving often comes down to how much you plan to do on your own.
On the DIY side of the spectrum, truck rental companies leave interstate moves completely in your hands. Full-service movers cover as many additional services as possible so you can sit back and watch the move without worry. Storage container companies live somewhere in the middle, taking on the driving but not the packing part of the process.
Let’s take a look at each common type of professional moving company type and expected costs.
Rental Truck Company
Rental truck companies typically charge by the mile and the size of your truck. For a long-distance move, you’ll need what’s known as a one-way truck rental. Pick it up in your destination city and leave it in your new state. All packing, loading, and driving are left up to you.
Long-Distance Rental Truck Costs
Rental trucks from companies cost an average of $1,780 for a long-distance move. Your moving quote will take things like the size of your home, number of miles, fuel costs, and your moving date into account. Remember to consider tolls and insurance in your final bill.
Storage Container Company
Between the budget-friendly rental truck and the more costly full-service alternative, you’ll find the storage container moving company.
Here’s how it works: a company like PODS or UPack will drop off a moving container in a designated area in front of your home. You will then have several days to load the container or trailer on your own or with the help of local movers.
At the end of the rental period, a struck will drive the container to your new home and leave the container for unloading. These companies are also ideal if you plan to store your items for several months before completing the move.
Long-Distance Storage Container Costs
Expect between $2,000 and $4,500 to rent a storage container for your moving estimate. Additional costs include things like your move date, travel fees, storage, and use of extra containers or space.
If a DIY move is not for you, full-service moving companies aim to take the guesswork and heavy lifting from the customer. In addition to loading, driving, and unloading the truck, these companies may offer the following add-ons:
- Packing services
- Packing materials
- Unpacking services
- Transport of specialty items like pianos and appliances
- Storage options
Full-service movers are more commonly used for long-distance treks. Interstate moves can be complicated, especially when managing a home closing or apartment search across the country. Some companies offer extra care for fragile items, logistics coordination, and special pricing for interstate relocations.
The cost of your move can run between $2,000 and $7,500 before the company charges for additional services. Packing runs anywhere between $30 and $60 an hour whereas the average cost to ship a car is $710.
Long-Distance Moving Cost Factors
How do you determine the cost of your unique upcoming move? Long-distance companies charge a bit differently than local ones.
Long-distance prices will kick into play anywhere between 100 and 400 miles, whereas others consider anything outside the state as a long-haul trip.
Size of Your Home
Unlike local moving companies that charge an hourly rate, long-distance movers primarily consider the size of your home. As you fill out the cost calculator for an estimate, a four-bedroom house will cost more than a one-bedroom apartment when traveling the same distance.
In addition to home size, most companies will determine the weight of your items and the size of your moving truck based on an inventory list. You will be asked to include all household goods, approximate numbers of boxes, and unique items that require extra space or care.
Whenever possible, arrange an in-home estimate by your prospective moving company. Moving professionals can help you catch tricky items you wouldn’t have thought to mention.
Distance and Location
Once you go over a minimum number of miles, distance comes into play in determining your estimate. Hiring movers with extensive experience in both locations is ideal both to keep costs low and ensure an easy move.
The company may also ask you to describe the structure of your property and access to the road or driveway. Too much distance between the truck and your door—because of stairs, elevators, or country roads—and you could end up with a shuttle fee or extra labor costs.
Summer is a common peak season for moving. If you have to move during these months, it could affect your final price or schedule. Speak with your prospective company about shifting to a new date or day of the week to lower costs.
How Much Do International Movers Cost?
International movers also charge additional fees when you move out of the country. If you’re moving a drivable distance, such as to Canada or Central America, additional fees may include taxes, customs fees, and additional insurance.
Jump to the cost of sea or air freight, and your costs are more likely based on square cubic feet of space in the shipping container. Extra insurance, the valuation of your items, and the accessibility of your destination country all come into play.
Here’s a roundup of all the factors that could affect an international move:
- Move-out date
- Shipping type (ground, sea, air, or a combination)
- Cubic square feet and weight of items
- Customs fees
- International taxes and permit fees
- Port-to-port vs. door-to-door service
- Accessibility of origin and destination country
Additional Costs, Services, and Fees
In addition to the base-level costs, movers charge for all additional services and unique details that complicate your move. These may include:
- Moving boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap and tape
- Packing services, especially for artwork, heirlooms, or bulky items
- Full value protection insurance
- Storage options, both short and long-term
- Shuttle services
- International or out-of-state fees
- Cancellation or change fees
In return, some companies offer reimbursements if something during the lengthy move goes wrong, such as a truck missing your delivery window either at pick up or drop off.
Ways to Save Money on Long Distance Moves
Keeping costs low when moving cross country is often a top priority. Saving money on a moving company has a lot to do with knowing what you can do on your own and what’s best for the professionals. Let’s take a deeper look at how to stay within your moving budget.
Cut Down on Labor Costs
The most obvious solution to lowering moving costs is managing more yourself. Truck rentals and storage container companies are ways to significantly lower the price.
However, when it comes to long-distance moves, we do not recommend managing it all on your own. Even truck rental companies often offer last-minute services to help you take on the packing and loading process if you need it. These companies will also include moving insurance which is critical to a cross-country trek.
Downsize Your Home
Since long-distance moves are more closely based on weight and size in your truck, this is a great time to downsize. Consider leaving bulky furniture items or certain small appliances and buying new models when you arrive. Cutting down on clutter, books, and clothing will lower your number of boxes as well.
If you have to move during peak season, weigh the costs of leaving certain items in storage until the winter. Without the rush of receiving every item at once, you may have options to transport items either by mail or a moving company later in time.
Always request 4-5 free estimates from different long-distance moving companies. This helps you catch where some companies may be overcharging or where others offer discounts. If you’re leaning toward one brand but the price is a bit high, speak to your sales rep about price matching prices or discounts for simple changes.
What Not to Skip
It can be tempting to go with the lowest quote you receive. However, cutting some corners can lead to costly issues.
For example, we recommend opting in for more comprehensive moving insurance whenever possible. Basic plans may not include carrier negligence, and if they do, only cover a small percentage of the item’s cost.
Specialty Item Shipping
Never risk moving items like a piano, large appliances, or hot tubs without a professional. The damages could end up far more expensive than the extra help.
Your boxes, decor, and furniture need a bit more protection for interstate and international moves. The further the distance and longer time spent in a truck or shipping container, the greater the chances of damage.
Hire packers for long-distance moves if you are concerned about fragile items, do not have access to sturdy moving boxes, or need advice on what to pack and what to leave behind.
Truck Loading and Unloading
In some cases—especially if you have a several-bedroom home—taking on the labor of a professional can be unsafe. Movers are trained to handle heavy items and maneuver them without damaging your home or the truck.
How to Find the Best Long Distance Moving Company
There’s no question that you need a highly vetted, experienced, and trustworthy company to move your precious items such a great distance. Finding the best company is far easier if you know how to look for the red flags and signs of a great business.
Perform a Background Check
Begin by reviewing the public information available on each company you’re considering. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website offers a tool for the customer to check a moving company’s:
- USDOT license number
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- Size of the fleet
- Reported reviews and complaints
Nest, move onto trusted business watchdog sites like the Better Business Bureau. While not all companies achieve accreditation, most will include a snapshot of recent complaints and reviews from customers. Keep an extra eye on whether the complaints have been resolved by the company.
A strong social media and online presence, while not necessary, is a great sign that the company is trying to connect with its customers and will be easy to reach if there are problems along the way.
Request 4-5 free quotes from your top contenders for comparison. Binding estimates often provide the final price you can expect on moving day. Non-binding estimates, however, give you a ballpark of your contract amount. Never sign a contract without the pricing details confirmed.
In your bill of lading—or moving contract—you should receive:
- An estimated price based on your home inventory list
- The schedule of your moving day
- Number of movers and trucks
- Estimated arrival time to your destination (typically between two and 21 days)
- Included services
- Service upgrades and cost
- Insurance details
- Policies and cancellation
- Payment instructions
Check Customer Reviews
Branch off from sites like the BBB to see what customers are saying across the internet. A great moving company should also offer testimonials from past clients upon request.
When looking through the reviews and complaints, keep an eye on the following categories:
- Care of items
- Driving safety
- Estimate and cost issues
Do you notice any patterns or common concerns? Look for reviews that include photos, details, and the specific locations of their move. Also, keep an eye out for when the company responded to the customer’s message.
FAQs About the Cost of Long-Distance Movers
What is the Cheapest Way to Move Long-Distance?
The cheapest way to move long distances is hiring a rental truck company and managing all packing and driving on your own. However, this is not always the safest or most efficient option when heading further than 100 miles or transporting the items of a large home.
Again, here are the common long-distance price ranges for the three main types of movers:
Long Distance Moving Cost Range
Storage Container Company
Full-Service Moving Company
If you need to cut costs on your long-distance move, also consider downsizing your home, moving off-season, or storing items until after your initial move.
Should I Hire Professionals to Move Long-Distance?
We recommend hiring professionals to both manage and plan your long-distance move. Cross-country and international relocations require extensive planning, especially for larger homes.
A professional company can:
- Mange customs and border paperwork
- Schedule your cross country move
- Insure your items for a long trip
- Pack and load your items safely
- Park and drive the moving truck long distances
How Long Does it Take to Move Cross-Country?
Unlike a local move, moving cross-country can take a bit longer than the trip itself. Expect between two days and three weeks for your items to arrive depending on the distance and contract agreement.
Remember, the drivers are required to take breaks and stop overnight when traveling long distances. Some companies will even pair similar moves together in one trip to save time and fuel.
International moves can take several weeks to over a month depending on your country’s accessibility, customs laws, and the season.
Which Services Are Included in a Long-Distance Move?
Every type of moving company offers different perks with their moving services. Full-service companies, for example, may basic packing supplies, blankets, and bubble wrap to ensure all your items are protected before heading into the truck.
If you hire a storage container company, the pod will often come with a ramp, dolly, and instructions for proper loading. The company then manages driving the container to your new home.
Truck rental companies offer the fewest services, but you can often request packing supplies, loading assistance, or driving assistance with larger moves.