Whether you’re moving across the country, to an entirely new country, or are simply downsizing to a smaller place, storing your items can make the transition a bit easier.
Many local and long-distance movers across the country offer short-term storage solutions for their clients. While they do work a bit differently than traditional storage companies, they can provide cost-effective storage for tricky moves. Not only can opt for a moving company save you time and hassle, but it can also lower your average cost.
Read on to at least how much both full-service movers and smaller local moving companies charge for storage. We’ll also cover how these professional moving companies determine the cost and how to take advantage of add-on services.
Moving Company vs. Long-Term Storage
Let’s begin with an important question: when should you keep your items in a traditional storage unit and when should you hire movers to hang on to your household goods? We’ve broken the two main options below.
Moving Companies with Storage Services
If you need to use a storage unit for a short and design period of time—typically less than 90 days—and you do not need to access that container, a moving company may be for you.
Local and long-distance movers can supply planned or last-minute storage services to help with the transition of a move. A few great examples include:
- You have large furniture or household items that you may sell or donate later.
- You’re painting or renovating your new home and need temporary space.
- Cross-country moves occurring in sections at a time.
- There is a gap between your two moving dates and requires space to store your things.
- You encounter last-minute issues with the move and need to hold your items after your move-out date.
Most moving companies with storage options do not allow access to your items, so be sure that you have everything you need before moving day.
Independent storage companies are best if you’re not sure when and how long you’ll need your items stored. While you can use local movers to bring items to the unit, you can always take the DIY approach and pack up a moving truck for smaller loads.
These storage companies are best for:
- Contracts longer than three months
- Storing items when you’re not hiring movers for a relocation
- Moves when you do not need additional services like packing and crating
- Items that you will need to access throughout its storage on a regular basis
It’s important to note that some major brands, such as Atlas Van Lines, will help you find a long-term storage facility if you need it. In other words, you can choose to transition from a temporary to more long-term storage after a certain amount of time if necessary.
Above all, always check with the Better Business Bureau before choosing an independent or moving and storage company for your next move.
Understanding Moving Costs and Storage Fees
Always begin by asking if you actually need to pay for storage. This may sound odd, but there are two scenarios when you can save money on the extra fees. Here are two examples.
Long Transit Time
Unlike local moves, long-distance moving companies take between seven and 21 business days to drive to your location. If you only need to store your items for 10 days, for example, you may already have this leeway built into your moving transition. Just be sure to alert your team before your upcoming move of your plans.
If you’re prepping for a long-distance move, many companies include 30 days of free storage in their moving estimate. This may not always be the case, so be sure to speak with your sales rep before assuming it’s true. However, if you need to store your items longer than 30 days, you should receive the per-additional-month amount in your moving quote.
Full-service moving companies typically offer what is known as storage-in-transit. In other words, the movers charge to pick up your items, drop them off at their own warehouse, and then bring them to your new home when you’re ready.
Moving Company Storage Pricing
Let’s get down to actual numbers. Moving companies typically charge by the size of your storage container. Assume about 40 cents per cubic foot to determine your monthly costs. Assume around $50 a month for a small, five-by-five foot unit and around $350 a month for larger units.
When you reach out for free quotes from several potential movers, you should receive the following details in your cost estimate:
- Cost to move your items to the storage unit
- Monthly or daily storage price
- Cost to deliver it to your new home
- Fees for extra services or administrative fees
Cost of Professional Movers
So, how much do movers cost without storage? This depends on what type of company you’re using and important add-ons like packing materials.
For example, local moves charged an hourly rate for labor. Add storage costs on top of that and your next move will include the length of your two moving days plus storage prices.
Long-distance movers—in other words, those more than 100 miles or out of state (depending on the company)—determine their costs by:
- Weight of your household goods
- Fees to pack specialty items
- Number of stairs or the use of an elevator in your home
- Special services such as unpacking and packing services or furniture assembly and disassembly.
- Time of the year for your move
DIY Move with Storage
You can save money by opting to handle some of the moving processes yourself. In this case, you have two options: renting a moving truck or a portable storage unit.
Companies like Uhaul have their own storage units across the country, costing an average of $160 a month. Remember, however, that you’ll save money on labor with truck rentals, you do have to cover fuel costs, tolls, and all the heavy lifting.
You can also turn to brands like PODS or UPack that drop a storage unit off at your home to handle loading and unloading yourself. PODS is incredibly transparent about their pricing, noting that storage units start at $149 a month. Depending on how long you use their storage, the $75 fee for pick up and delivery may be waived.
How Much Storage Do You Need?
Remember to envision all the items you need to store shrunk down into a compact space. Obviously, you do not need a container the size of your home to hold boxes and furniture.
A small container—either 5X5 or 5X10—typically holds the contents of one room. Move up to a 10X10 or a 10X15 container and you have the space for a one or two-bedroom home. Lastly, a large, 10X25 unit is typically enough for many of the items in a three-bedroom house.
Remember to make adjustments for abnormally large items such as storing a car, a piano, or a large couch that does not break down into sections.
How to Find a Moving and Storage Company
With a big move on the horizon, how do you begin your search for the right team of movers with ample storage experience and great pricing?
We always recommend choosing at least two or three companies and comparing their free quotes. The average moving costs for a long-distance relocation land around $4,300, but this amount significantly varies based on:
- The size of your home
- Local labor and overhead costs
- Cost of living in your region
- The time of year you choose to move
- Specialty items and services
Be An Informed Consumer
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should be your first stop when considering a moving and storage company. Their Protect Your Move feature allows you to check a company’s:
- US DOT number
- Years of experience
- Number of trucks in their fleet
- Additional license and certification details
Once you’ve checked all these boxes, take a look at customer reviews to determine if past clients have had a good experience. Look for signs of:
- Safe and climate-controlled storage containers
- Easy transition in and out of the storage unit
- Reliable and transparent pricing
- Safety and care for personal items
FAQs for How Much Moving Companies Charge
How long will moving companies hold your stuff?
Most movers will hold your items in a storage-in-transit contract for up to 90 days. However, this depends on the company and their available storage units. Many large brands will help you find local long-term storage units if you need to keep your items longer than this timeframe.
Can moving companies hold your things if you do not pay?
Be sure to know your rights as a customer when you hire a moving and storage company. In many cases, if you do not pay the contracted amount upon delivery of your items, a mover can hold your items in storage and charge you for the service.
However, this highly depends upon your contract. For example:
- For binding contracts, the movers cannot charge more than 100% of the contracted amount upon delivery. And additional fees are charged up to 30 days after the move.
- Non-binding contracts work similarly, but the price cannot exceed 110% of the estimated amount.
You may receive a bill for a change in inventory or extra moving services, but these are due after the fact.
How much does it cost to store a car for a month?
Depending on the size of your car, van, or RV, expect to pay between $50 and $500 a month for storage. Make sure to double-check that your prospective company stores vehicles as well as extra charges for access.
Will movers hold your stuff overnight?
Most local moving companies will hold your items overnight for an extra small fee. This service is very helpful if you have an overlap between the end of your lease or contract and your new home’s start date.