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Moving From California To Colorado: Benefits, Cost & More

Are you considering moving from California to Colorado? You’re sure to feel excitement and some measure of stress when faced with planning your relocation. However, you’ll likely find that moving to Colorado from any location is a worthwhile change of scenery. An abundance of outdoor activities, natural beauty, and positive economic trends make it an excellent place to live. Here, you’ll learn:

    Best Movers from California to Colorado

    If you’re ready to move, here are the best options available to help you relocate between these states. We’ve included excellent options for both full-service and self-service moves:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    International Van Lines

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    Allied Van Lines

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    North American Van Lines

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support
    Provider Superlative Service Model Average Cost Our Rating
    International Van Lines
    Best Full-Service Mover Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,100 – $5,100 ★★★★☆ 4.8/5
    Allied Van Lines
    Best for Extended Storage Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,700 – $5,700 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    North American Van Lines
    Best Customer Service Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,700 – $5,700 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    American Van Lines
    Best Moving Add-Ons Full-Service Carrier $2,600 – $5,600 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    Safeway Moving Systems
    Best for Military Moves Full-Service Broker $2,200 – $5,200 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    U-Pack
    Most Affordable Moving Container Service $1,600 – $2,600 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5

    * Average moving cost is based on a 1,000 mile two-bedroom move. Cost can vary significantly based on move weight and distance. Be sure to request a free quote to get an accurate estimate for your move.

    Should You Move from California to Colorado?

    Are you still on the fence about whether you should move to Colorado or not? This guide should help you to decide. Both states have plenty to love, but there are some key differences. Here, we’ll compare each state’s housing costs, cost of living, job opportunities, weather, culture, and more:

    Housing Costs

    Housing costs in both California and Colorado are above the national average. That said, both renting and owning are cheaper in Colorado. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to pay in each state and what you can save:

    California Colorado CA to CO
    Avg. Home Cost (source) $683,996 $490,944 – $193,052 (28.2%)
    Avg. Rent (source) $2,542 / mo $1,751 / mo -$791 / mo (-31.1%)
    Utilities (source) $401 / mo $321 / mo -$80 (-20%)

     

    • Home Cost. At an average of $683k, Colorado is the third most expensive state in the country to purchase a home. Colorado is the sixth most expensive state, at $490k. Still, you can save an average of $193k by moving to Colorado.
    • Rent. You can save an average of 31% by renting a home or apartment in Colorado compared to California. According to the latest census data, nearly 34% of all residents in the state rented.
    • Utilities. You can save an average of $960 each year in the Centennial State when it comes to gas, electric, and internet bills.

    While Colorado is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, you can reduce your home costs significantly by moving here from California.

    Cost of Living

    In addition to housing costs, the overall cost of living is high in both states. As you can see below, Colorado is more expensive in some cases, while California is more expensive in others. Here’s a quick look at how these two states compare:

    Expense CA to CO
    Groceries -3%
    Restaurants +5.8%
    Transportation +2.3%
    Childcare +4.8%
    Entertainment -6.5%
    Clothes -2.2%
    Average Difference +0.2%

    Source

    • Food. Groceries are slightly less expensive in Colorado but eating out will cost you more. If you’re a big foodie who loves to visit restaurants, you’ll need to pay even more in Colorado.
    • Transportation. The average cost of a gallon of gas in CA is $3.48 but only $2.54 in CO. Overall, however, transportation can be more expensive in CO. Public transportation is 16% more expensive, new cars are 5% more expensive, and taxis are 13% more expensive. If you’re living in a more rugged mountain region, you might also consume more fuel.
    • Taxes. Colorado has a flat income tax of 4.55%, no matter how much money you make. California has an income bracket system with rates ranging from 1% for those making less than $9,325 to as high as 13.3% for those making over $1 million.

    Weather & Climate

    California is an enormous state and experiences a range of climates. From desert to alpine zones, you’ll find a bit of everything here. Across the board, July temperatures average a high of 87 degrees, while January lows are around 39 degrees. The region you live in will play a role in your exact conditions, however.

    Colorado also experiences varied climates. The state’s Eastern Plains region has hot summers and frigid winters with moderate precipitation. The Front Range Foothills experience a far more varied spectrum of weather, with numerous microclimates ranging from Mediterranean to alpine. July highs are 82 degrees, while January lows are 19 degrees. Depending on your exact location, these could vary greatly.

    California Colorado CA to CO
    Average Temp July 87.1 81.8 -5.3
    Average Temp Jan 53.5 34.1 -19.4
    Average Sunny Days 69% 62% -7%
    Average Daily Rainfall (in) 1.69 1.28 -0.41

     

    • Colorado Winters. Especially in the states mountainous regions, average daily lows can fall to 19 degrees or less. You might be surprised to learn, however, that the state has more sunny days than rainy or snowy days. Most of the state’s snowfall is in its mountainous regions, with the entire state seeing an average of 60-100 inches each year. Snow tends to melt quickly thanks to plenty of sunlight, and the state has excellent infrastructure to manage its roads. If you plan to drive, consider using specialized snow tires.
    • Comfort Index. California and Colorado are very similar when it comes to comfort. California has a comfort rating of 8.7, while Colorado has a comfort rating of 8.6. While winter can be colder in CO than CA, temperatures are usually fairly mild.

    Job Opportunities

    Both states present a number of high-paying job opportunities, which has led to rapid growth and higher competition. If you’re moving from California to Colorado, you’ll likely see a far different range of job opportunities. California’s top industries include agriculture, health insurance, tourism, and tech, along with LA’s film industry. Colorado offers opportunities in finance, aerospace, defense, energy, and manufacturing.

    • Unemployment Rates. Both states are above the national unemployment rate of 3.9%. California’s current unemployment rate sits at 6.9%, while Colorado’s is a more improved 5.1%.
    • Median Wages. Median wages are higher in Colorado than California, at $63,026 vs $62,356. Keep in mind that higher wages are typically found in larger cities like Denver and Fort Collins. Coupled with the lower housing costs, you can enjoy a better financial position in the state.

    Things to Do

    Both states present plenty of tourist attractions and outdoor activities

    • California: California’s many national and state parks, along with other destinations such as Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, and Desert Hot Springs, provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. If you want a more stereotypical tourist experience, then Disneyland, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, or the Venice Beach Boardwalk may be more your speed.
    • Colorado. Colorado is something of a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding are all viable options in many locations across the state. Surprisingly, Colorado also has something of a wine country on its Western edge. While not a match for California’s wine output, it is a pleasant change from the state’s numerous breweries.

    Lifestyle & Culture

    There are many micro-cultures across each state, but here’s a general overview:

    • Politics. California and Colorado are similar in that the urban to rural political divide is very much a factor in both states. California tends to lean far more to the left during elections, while Colorado is slightly less polarized.
    • Diversity. California’s coastal location makes it far more accessible to immigrants. The population is far more diverse here than in any other single location in the country.
    • Activity. California residents have an active lifestyle, but many Colorado residents enjoy this to a far greater degree. Outdoor activities are available during all seasons across the state.

    How Much Does It Cost to Move from California to Colorado?

    The drive from Sacramento to Denver totals a little over 1,100 miles. Most moves between these states average around 1,000 miles or so. Here’s what you can expect to pay for your move working with full-service and self-service options:

    Average Moving Costs

    The following average pricing figures were derived from actual move data from top moving companies. To get a more accurate price for your relocation, you should aim to get quotes from multiple providers. Ideally, these should all be in the form of visual estimates.

    Provider 2 BR Cost 4 BR Cost Get A Quote
    Full-Service Move International Van Lines $2,100 – $5,100 $5,700 – $8,700 Free Quote
    Allied Van Lines $2,600 – $5,600 $7,400 – $10,400 Free Quote
    Safeway Moving Systems $2,200 – $5,200 $5,500 – $7,500 Free Quote
    Moving Container U-Pack $1,600 – $2,600 $2,800 – $3,800 Free Quote
    PODS $1,700 – $2,700 $2,900 – $3,900 Free Quote
    Truck Rental National Average $1,300 – $1,700 $1,500 – $2,000 Free Quote

     

    Cost Factors

    There are several factors which will affect the cost of your move. A few major factors which you should consider include:

    • Season: Moving season peaks in the warmer months, between May and September. Booking a move during this time will likely be more expensive due to increased demand.
    • Early Booking: Scheduling a move with little advance notice can come with added fees or increased rates. Not every company will charge for this, but some companies may also have a 48-hour minimum notice.
    • Distance & Weight: These two factors are used in tandem to determine long-distance moving costs and will play an equal role in your rate. The further away you’re traveling, and the more you’re shipping, the great your cost.
    • Service Requirements: Including services in your plan such as packing, storage, and auto shipping can substantially inflate your cost. Try to do as much work as you can yourself to save the most money.

    Best Places to Move to in Colorado

    Are you still searching for a place to settle down in Colorado? Here are some of the best places to live in the state:

    Aurora, CO

    This city of nearly 400,000 is nicknamed the “Gateway to the Rockies.” As such, they are home to plenty of outdoor activities and attractions, with more than 6,000 acres of parks and open spaces within the city limits. Cost of living here is within Colorado norms, at 17% above the national average. Aurora has a median household income of $65,100, with many employment opportunities. Buckley Space Force Base, two major hospitals, and Amazon represent some major employers within the city limits.

    Find the Best Aurora, CO Movers

    Boulder, CO

    Located just 25 miles from Denver, Boulder sits at a similar altitude in the Rocky Mountains. This city of just over 100,000 is largely a college town. With the University of Colorado, Boulder, along with several other artistic and cultural attractions, there is plenty to do here. Outdoor activities and recreation are also a leading attraction, with more than 35,000 acres of open space available to the public.

    Despite an extreme cost of living (67% above the national average,) this city has grown steadily over the last few decades. The high median household income ($83,019) is entirely necessary for life here. Median rent in Boulder is $2,210, while median home values are a staggering $894,900.

    Find the Best Boulder, CO Movers

    Castle Rock, CO

    Castle Rock is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Since 2000, the population has grown from just over 20,000 to more than 73,000. The town boasts an excellent school system, with both public and private options available.

    Nearly all residents commute out of town for work, with Denver, Colorado Springs, and numerous tech companies within driving distance. The income to housing cost ratios are far more favorable here. Median household income is $109,700 while median home cost is $610,000.

    Find the Best Castle Rock, CO Movers

    Denver, CO

    Colorado’s capital and largest city is home to 715,000. Despite a wealth of activities and employment opportunities, the average cost of living here is relatively low compared to other areas in the state.

    Median home costs are $581,000 while rent sits at $1,877. Numerous parks and professional sports teams as well as a thriving arts and cultural scene mean that there is always something to do. With plenty of well-paying employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, this is a prime relocation option for job seekers.

    Find the Best Denver, CO Movers

    Fort Collins, CO

    Fort Collins is a fast growing college town, located less than 60 miles from Denver. The presence of Colorado State University has drawn several large tech companies to the area, including Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and Intel. These companies employ many from the city, making well-paying jobs plentiful. Plenty of recreational opportunities, cultural activities, and more than 20 breweries are available for residents to enjoy.

    Find the Best Fort Collins, CO Movers

    How to Choose a Moving Company

    You should thoroughly vet any moving company prior to booking. Here are some of the leading factors which you should consider. Before signing a contract, you should ask for proof of any required licenses and insurance policies noted below:

    • Service Profile: When you take inventory of your home, you should make a full list of any add-on services you may require. Different movers will offer different ranges of services, and these should be discussed early on during any moving estimate.
    • Agreeable Pricing: Booking at a competitive price point is best done by fielding multiple offers from different movers. Ideally, you should try to obtain guaranteed written estimates from multiple providers.
    • Well-Reviewed: You should investigate customer feedback for each mover you consider. Social media, Google, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau are great sources to consult.
    • FMCSA Registration: You’ll need an interstate moving company to move from California to Colorado. To operate across state lines, companies must carry an active FMCSA registration along with active USDOT and MC numbers. These two numbers can be used to look up a mover’s registration status and complaint history through this link.
    • Workers’ Compensation: All movers must carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy. It protects you in the event of a work-related injury during your move. Without such coverage, you could be held liable for damages.
    • Released Liability Coverage: This provides reimbursement in case of loss or damage to your goods. At $0.60 per pound, per item, this won’t cover the value of most items. However, it represents a minimum requirement on the part of your mover and is included in your move’s base cost.

    Start Planning Your Move Today

    You should begin planning your move to Colorado from California around eight weeks ahead of your move date. Conduct a complete inventory of your home, making note of any specialty items and add-on services needed. Between six and eight weeks ahead of your move date, schedule quotes with movers in your area. After fielding at least a few quotes, you should aim to book your move about a month in advance.

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best Moving Add-ons

    4.6
    • Local, Long-Distance & International Moves
    • Direct Carrier to All 48 Continental US States
    • Storage Options Available

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Moving from California to Colorado FAQs

    Are taxes high in Colorado?

    Colorado is a tax-friendly place to live. That said, certain areas can levy higher taxes than others. The flat sales tax for the state is a low 2.9%. Local taxes can inflate this number dramatically. Income taxes in Colorado come to a flat rate of 4.55%, which is relatively low compared to other states.

    Will I be able to get an exact delivery date for my California to Colorado move?

    For longer interstate moves, a delivery date range is far more typical. If you book with a moving company that is packaging your move onto a truck with several other homes, then any quoted delivery range could be subject to change. Your most reliable delivery dates will be given by companies who carry your move on a truck with no accompanying shipments. Be sure to address this topic during any estimates you receive.

    Will I have to pay my bill prior to delivery?

    It’s typical in the industry to pay your mover 50% of the bill upon loading, with the other 50% due upon delivery. For large-scale relocations between states, you will be given a detailed bill of lading during loading. This document details your inventory and the accompanying charges. You should thoroughly review this before your movers leave for your new home.