What Is The ‘Average Move,’ And How Do You Stack Up?

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Whether it be SAT scores, body size, IQ, or pretty much anything else that can be quantified, we want to know where we stack up. Moving is no exception. There are average moves and there is your move. How close to average are you?

What is the Average Move?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average move size is about 2-3 bedrooms. On a local move, that translates to about $1,250, and on a 1,000 mile long-distance move, about $5,000. If you’re like the average moving customer, that’s probably more than you thought.

What Factors into Moving Costs?

Local and long-distance moves are calculated in very different ways, but they both mostly boil down to how much stuff you have, how much packing the movers need to do, and how far you’re going. In local moves, distance is probably not a big factor, but in long-distance moves, it’s one of the biggest.

Other factors include stairs, elevators, distance from the truck to your front door, accessibility, whether you need storage, etc.

How Does Your Move Compare?

If you have that 2-3 bedroom home, with 3-4 people, and not much packing for the movers, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll fall into the averages. If, however, you have a lot of stuff, or a lot of packing, the cost of your move will go up.

How to Save Money on Your Move

If the “average” move cost makes you feel a little squeamish, that’s okay. You can save money on your move a few ways:

  • Pack – Pack as much as you can, especially your kitchen and breakables.
  • Reserve your elevator – If you live in a building with a service elevator, reserve the elevator and the loading dock, which will save time.
  • Reserve a parking space – Many customers neglect to reserve parking for the movers. You’ll need to contact your city, and reserve at least two back to back spaces for a local moving truck, and three for a long-distance moving truck. Many movers will pick your shipment up in a smaller truck before transferring to a bigger truck on a long-distance move, so ask.
  • Downsize – I put downsizing near the end because for most people, it won’t matter much. Unless you get rid of furniture or a lot of boxes worth of stuff, downsizing won’t save you much money. The exception is books, and we’ll talk about those next.
  • Move some items yourself – When we talk about moving some items yourself, we’re not talking about throwing a bunch of the boxes into your trunk. In most cases, boxes are the cheapest and easiest thing for movers to move. If, however, you move your art and mirrors, lamps, and electronics, you can save on both packing and moving costs. If you are moving long-distance, and you have a large library, you can save significant money by shipping your books through the post office at book rate.