Home Before Your Move How Much Does It Cost to Move?

How Much Does It Cost to Move?

by Ali Wenzke
How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

Seven of our last ten moves were DIY moves. My husband, Dan, and I became pros at packing the moving truck and driving cross country (never mind that one time we almost got killed and don’t get me started on the police stops). As Dan and I accumulated more stuff and added three kids into the mix, we hired movers for the first time. You probably already know this  – moving isn’t cheap.  But, exactly how much does it cost to move?

Disclaimer: prices change and the cost to move varies by time of year, amount of possessions, and distance traveled. Here are estimates for the cost to move from Chicago to Seattle for someone with a two bedroom apartment.


The Cost to Move with a DIY Truck Rental

How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

As you can see from the chart above, the cost to move from Chicago to Seattle with a DIY rental truck ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. Some companies charge more for peak periods like Labor Day weekend, although this varies by city.

A few things to note if you plan on renting a truck to move:

  1. Prices may surge during popular moving times like holidays or weekends.
  2. Make reservations early to receive the best pricing and to ensure availability.
  3. These companies all offered the same amount of time to travel to the destination (8 days to go from Chicago to Seattle and 5 days to go from D.C. to Miami).
  4. Prices do not include insurance. Ask your insurance provider if the truck rental would be covered under your current insurance plan.
  5. Prices do not cover the cost of fuel.
  6. Prices do not include tax.
How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

To save money, check out weekday prices and book early.


Additional costs to consider

When you drive across the country, you need to plan stops along the way. So, remember to include the costs of your accommodations. To figure out fuel costs, you can use this moving truck fuel calculator. According to the fuel calculator, it estimates the cost to move from Chicago to Seattle at $819 (for fuel alone).

How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

Remember to add in fuel and hotel costs.


The Cost to Move with Portable Storage Containers

How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

If you decide that driving a truck across the country isn’t for you, you might want to consider portable storage containers as an option. The way it works is that a company drops off a storage container at your home. You have a certain amount of time to pack it up.  Then, the company picks up the container and ships it to your destination city. It sits at the storage facility until you schedule a time for delivery.

You’ll notice that prices range from $2,400 to $4,600 to use portable storage containers for a move from Chicago to Seattle. One reason for this variance may be that it’s not easy to compare prices online. You need to call most of these companies to get a quote. However, when I chatted with the company representatives, many seemed willing to price match. So, ask your friends for recommendations and look at reviews online for the best customer service. Prices are negotiable.

How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

The companies I talked to were willing to negotiate. Call around for the best pricing.

Some tips if you plan on using portable storage containers:

  1. Container sizes vary, so make sure your home or street can accommodate the larger containers.
  2. Prices are negotiable. Get a few estimates, sign up for coupons, and get yourself the best price.
  3. Most companies include thirty days storage in the price.
  4. Most companies include insurance in the price.
  5. You won’t be charged for containers you don’t use, so it doesn’t hurt to reserve an extra one. (Ask the company about their policy on this.)

How much does it cost to move? The Art of Happy Moving. www.artofhappymoving.com

The Cost to Move with Professional Movers

Most moving companies require you to schedule an in-home estimate if you want a price quote. However, if you want a rough idea of your costs, you can use this moving cost calculator. According to this calculator, the cost to move from Chicago to Seattle would be between $5,100 and $7,200 if we used professional movers. That does not include the cost of packing up our possessions into boxes. It only includes packing the truck, transporting our belongings, and unpacking the truck at our final destination. If we included packing our things into boxes, the cost to move would increase to $7,000 to $10,000.

Some Resources to Help You Out

As always, you can check out my resources page. It’s your one-stop shop for all things moving related. You’ll find links to truck rentals, cost of living calculators, and how to find a mover.

If you want motivation to dumpster dive for boxes, price the cost of moving supplies. According to the moving supplies calculator, the cost of the materials needed to move from a two bedroom apartment is approximately $450. Start asking your friends for boxes now.

The Art of Happy Moving. Moving Checklist, Find a Mover

Check out my resources page for easy access to everything you need for your move.

How Much Does It Cost to Move? 

In a nutshell, the (rough estimate) cost to move from Chicago to Seattle for a two bedroom apartment would be:

DIY Rental Truck

  • $1,480 truck rental + $163 tax + $819 fuel + $500 for 5 nights of hotel + $450 moving supplies = $3,412

Portable Storage Container

  • Prices vary widely among companies so here are the highest and lowest prices.
  • $2,382 storage container (includes tax) + $300 flight to Seattle + $450 moving supplies = $3,132
  • $4,603 storage container (includes tax) + $300 flight to Seattle + $450 moving supplies = $5,353

Professional Movers

  • Professional mover services range $5,100 to $7,200 + $450 in moving supplies  + $300 flight to Seattle = $5,850 to $7,950














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Henry Collins July 27, 2018 - 9:58 am

When comparing prices, also take in consideration the reputation of the moving company. You will want to make sure you are hiring a reputable and reliable moving company. They will be handling all of your stuff so it’s better to make sure your belongings are in good hands.

John Parker August 28, 2018 - 11:24 am

I agree with Henry. I’ve seen quite a lot of people who complain about the service provided by certain companies but when you check their overall reviews, these companies have horrible ratings. Usually happens when people try to cheap out.

Melissa August 28, 2018 - 4:45 pm

I’m moving out on my own for the first time and finding stuff like this is extremely helpful.

Hannah September 14, 2018 - 10:12 am

I totally agree with Henry. You can’t go cheap with a moving company, there are the ones who are going to move all of your important stuff. You have to make sure you hire the right company.

Jane September 20, 2018 - 10:30 am

I want to move out so bad but it’s so expensive.

James September 21, 2018 - 12:09 pm

I’ve been saving up for quite a while now and still I’m not close to having the money to move out.

Hank September 24, 2018 - 10:24 am

Wow, I didn’t think moving was so expensive.

Deven Carley October 12, 2018 - 8:30 am

Moving is really stressful work. To move, we must hire a good moving company But all its term conditions should be known first, it will be beneficial for us. You share the moving information is really awesome and helpful. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

Ali Wenzke October 12, 2018 - 1:02 pm

Thanks, Deven! I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes, knowing the terms of your move is critical. Good luck with your move.

Storage NYC April 14, 2020 - 12:23 pm

Bookmarked! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Anna Page May 22, 2020 - 8:46 am

Creating a moving budget is that the initiative in saving money when planning relocation, as there are many benefits in knowing the way to move cheaply. You’ll have total control over your expenses this manner, and even be ready to lookout of some little problems while ensuring the cash budgeted for the move is enough.


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