Moving to a new state, city, or even just across town to a new neighborhood may seem overwhelming. Though it may be a hassle, it’s an indisputable part of life – especially for young people in the years immediately post-graduation. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 migrate more than anyone else, making up 43% of our country’s total moves, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means a lot of packing up and moving, sometimes multiple times a year.
Before you make your move, you have a lot to figure out. How are you going to handle all the packing? Who is going to actually move your stuff? And what is all this going to cost you?
Don’t panic! Having a good plan of action will make your move a lot easier to manage. Two major parts of planning a move are deciding whether to move yourself or hire professionals, as well as developing your moving budget.
Obviously, these decisions go hand in hand, as a good portion of that budget will go to professional movers if you choose to hire them.
Start by taking GoodCall’s Who is moving you? Quiz. Then, use our Moving Budget Checklist to create a roadmap of your expected spending. Getting all this done in advance of moving day will make the actual move, if not a breeze, much less of a tornado!
Take the quiz: Who is moving you?
Can you DIY your move, or do you need to call the pros? Read the questions below and select the answer that sounds most like you, then get your results at the end of the quiz.
1. Have you moved recently?
a. Yes, numerous times within the last two years
b. Yes, once within the last year
c. No, not for more than two years
d. No, this is my first big move
2. How far are you moving?
a. Just to a new apartment in the same complex
b. To a new neighborhood within the same city
c. To a new city/state
d. Across the country or internationally
3. How would you describe your moving budget?
4. How much free time do you have before/during the move?
a. I have a number of days off and weekends free leading up to moving day
b. I have free time before and after work and at least one full day off before moving day
c. I only have free time before and after work between now and moving day
d. I have zero free time and will probably have to work at least part of moving day
5. How large is the home you’re moving out of?
a. Studio or one-bedroom apartment
b. One- or two-bedroom apartment or modest townhouse
c. Three- or four-bedroom home
6. Which of these answers best describes the items you will be moving?
a. Just clothing, personal items, and small furniture (side table, rug)
b. Answer a + one or two big ticket items (bed, couch)
c. Answer a + four or more large furniture pieces (bed, couch, armoire, TV)
d. Answer a + c + antique or specialty items (vintage furniture, piano, extra large TV)
Answered mostly A’s and B’s? You can DIY your move.
With your past moving experience, short distance to travel, and fairly manageable items to pack, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this move yourself, sans professional movers (except for renting a truck). Lean on friends and family for assistance with packing and transportation, and you should definitely be able to handle the effort. This should also help you from a budget perspective. Happy moving!
Answered mostly C’s or D’s? We recommend hiring the pros.
Though you’ll need the budget to fund it, the scale of your move means hiring movers is probably your best bet. Factors such as distance to travel and the size of your home are major here – if you’re moving a three or four-bedroom home, that could easily fill two standard-sized trucks, meaning major rental costs for DIYers which could actually come close to or even surpass the price of hiring a company. Some experts say that a move of any more than 500 miles will actually be less expensive when done with a professional.
Don’t like your answer?
Moving nearby but don’t want to DIY? Or have expensive antique furniture, but not interested in shelling out for a full-scale professional moving operation? That’s fine!
Today, there are more options than ever before when it comes to hiring moving specialists; and some companies have developed apps to help with the process. In addition, GoodCall and other companies seek to help moving customers who want varying levels of help with their relocation.
Your Moving Budget Checklist
How much will the big move really cost you?
The GoodCall Moving Budget Checklist can help you make educated predictions as to your overall moving costs. While the actual cost of each of these items will vary based on your location, the time of year you move (data shows summertime is priciest) and other factors, you can use this checklist as a starting point to research what each service or item will cost for your own case.
Not every line item in this budget may apply to you. And if you get a bit of sticker shock, just remember that when you settle into your new home, it will all be worth the time, hassle, and funds.
- Professional moving services or moving truck rental
o Fees based on weight/size of items
o Fuel fees based on distance traveled
o Tip for moving professionals
- Moving insurance
- Other moving equipment (dollies, hand carts)
- Packing materials (boxes, tape, bubble wrap)
- Storage unit rental
- Travel costs
o Air fare
- Pet transportation and/or lodging
- Car shipping
- Home buying and selling closing costs
- Pre move-out or move-in home repairs
- Pre move-out or move-in deep cleaning
- New apartment fees
o Application fee
o First and last month’s rent or other security deposit
o Parking fees
o HOA fees
- Utility fees – cancelling and/or starting:
- Membership fees – cancelling and/or starting:
o Gym/health club
- One-off home starter purchases
o Toiletries (soap, shampoo, personal care items)
o Household supplies (toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, cleaning supplies)
o Kitchen basics (spices, cooking oils)
- Vehicle updates (when having moved states)
- Mail forwarding
Since you will be spending the majority of your moving budget – a large chunk of change – on the moving company you hire, it pays to do your research. Before selecting your moving professional, do some comparison analysis by getting quotes from a number of different options.
Moving companies should be able to give you an estimate either online or over the phone based on distance to travel and number of heavy pieces to move.
In addition to comparing pricing info, you’ll also want to ask about the difference in services. Here are some of the amenities you may want to check on:
- Do they charge by weight, distance, time, or a combination of both? Be sure to check on fuel charges and other fees.
- Do they offer a personal moving consultant?
- Do they offer storage services?
- Do they offer packing professionals?
- What insurance do they offer for your belongings?
- For long distance moves, do they offer tracking of your belongings?
- How are the company’s reviews and/or references?
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to move?
That depends on whether you’re moving alone to a new city or moving with a family, especially if you have kids. Many families don’t want to disrupt their children’s education in the middle of a school year, so the wait until the summer. However, that makes May through September the busiest time of the moving year – it’s harder – and sometimes more expensive – to move then. Ultimately, you have to decide the best way to move.
How do I change my address?
Many people focus so heavily on how to pack for a move that they forget this step. Go to the U.S. Postal Service website to do it quickly and easily online.
How soon should I begin collecting free moving quotes?
People who make moving to-do lists typically recommending contacting moving companies at least six weeks before a relocation. That’s true even if you just want to rent a truck for a day. There are so many things to remember when moving that you want to get an early start and have time to review the estimates carefully and choose the right mover.
How much does it cost to move?
That depends on three things:
- How much you have to move. If you’re moving from a one-bedroom apartment, you probably don’t have a lot of possessions. If you’re moving from a four-bedroom house, you have more stuff. The heavier the load, the more you’ll pay.
- How far you plan to move it. Moving 30 miles away likely won’t cost as much as moving 300 miles away.
- How much you want a mover to do. Just renting a truck will be the cheapest option. Having the mover pack, load, transport, unload and unpack you stuff will cost much more.
Should I buy insurance when I rent a truck for a day?
Probably. Most moving trucks are not covered by your car insurance nor by credit cards that sometimes can help with rental car insurance. It’s one of the things to consider when moving.
Should I buy movers insurance?
Maybe. If you have homeowners insurance, your possessions may be covered when they’re in transit. But you’ll want to check first to make sure items that are damaged will be covered.