How Much Does It Cost To Move (Without a Moving Company)?

How Much Does It Cost To Move (Without a Moving Company)?

Looking to save on moving costs?

Here’s how much it will cost to move without a moving company.


Moving is expensive.

Whether you’re upgrading to make room for your growing family, have a small move or a large move, or are downsizing to save money, nobody moves for free.

Which is why many people opt to move themselves instead of hiring a professional moving company to do the heavy lifting for them. After all, how much can it possibly cost to move yourself?

A lot more than you think!

Moving by yourself is hardly the “free” (or even cheap) option you were hoping for. There are many hidden moving costs you should consider before you start stockpiling those empty grocery store boxes.

tiny toy moving van


Getting your furniture, clothes, and vintage vinyl collection from Point A to Point B isn’t as easy as you want it to be.

Even if you’ll be moving yourself, you have a few options when it comes to transporting your belongings. You can use your own car for local moves. Your friends might even be nice enough to load everything up into their cars. But you’ll have to make several trips to get everything over. (Even a pickup truck can only hold so much.)

With the price of gas nowadays, you’re far better off renting a truck to get everything moved over in one fell swoop.

But renting a moving truck isn’t always the cheapest option. Don’t forget, you’ll still have to pay for the gas in the rental truck—on top of the rental and mileage fees. And rental trucks are much heavier than your sedan (even before you load them up with furniture and boxes), so they don’t get the same great gas mileage.

smiling woman holding decrepit cardboard box

Moving Supplies & Equipment

Organizing your own move also means that packing, loading, and unpacking is all on you. Again, you have a few different options here.

You can keep moving costs down by going the “free” route: making lots of trips to your local grocery or retail stores, tracking down boxes that are sturdy enough to protect your belongings. It also means buying bubble wrap, newsprint, packing tape, and markers to pack and organize everything safely.

The problem is that most DIY packing jobs don’t focus on safety. You might pass on the bubble wrap and use old newspaper instead, but your lampshades and chinaware will suffer the consequences.

You may also need extra dollies, furniture movers, padding, plastic sheeting, and other things to protect your things and your house while you’re loading and unloading. Again, many people skimp on these safety measures, but if you damage your furniture or homes in the process, you could be facing some costs that you weren’t expecting.

Which brings us to…

foot about to step on banana peel


Moving exposes your property to a lot of risk.

Transporting furniture down staircases, packing items into boxes, and putting everything onto a moving vehicle means that accidents can (and sometimes do) happen. But you might not know that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy isn’t enough to protect you during your move.

To make sure you are completely covered, talk with your insurance agent about a moving insurance rider, which will help cover the cost of any damages that happen during transit.

If you’re renting a truck for a self-move, it’s a good idea to purchase the insurance through the rental company. It’s relatively cheap and will cover the vehicle, contents, and everyone inside. However, you should know that this insurance still won’t be enough to replace all of your things in the event of a disaster (usually between $15,000-25,000). You’ll need much more than that if you need to replace everything you own.

birds eye view of highway flyover

Long Distance Moving Costs

Moving to another state comes with its own host of complications…and costs.

First, there’s the additional cost of renting a moving vehicle long-term. Rental, gas, and insurance costs will all be higher, and you’ll also have to pay for the gas or shipping fees for your personal vehicle.

If you’re moving more than several hours away, you’ll also have to budget for airplane tickets or lodging during the trip.

Of course, moving cross-country is not usually an avoidable expense, but it’s always best to be prepared and calculate the cost of your long-distance move beforehand.

woman covering her face with another pair of hands holding her head

Non-Monetary “Costs”

The hidden costs of moving yourself aren’t always financial. There are plenty of other sacrifices you’ll have to make if you’re foregoing a moving company.

The first is the amount of time you’ll have to spend. Packing and moving always take longer than you expect, and you’ll likely have to use more than one vacation day to get everything done. (Do you really want to waste your vacation days on moving?)

You’ll also have to expend a lot of extra mental energy organizing everything and keeping everyone moving on moving day. Between kids running around underfoot, friends that don’t know where to start, and the stress of orchestrating a whole-house relocation, you can expect to be tuckered out for the next few weeks.

Then, there’s the physical toll that moving takes. If you don’t do it all day, all that heavy lifting can cause injuries, especially if you don’t know how to do it right. Best case scenario is that you’ll be tired and sore for a few days, but the worst case scenario involves a trip to the ER. (All the more reason to make sure your insurance policies are in good shape.)

man moving boxes on hand truck

How Much Does It Cost To Move?

The national average cost of hiring a moving company is around $1,400 for a local move (you should expect to pay more for a long-distance move). Your final cost also depends on the size of your home, the type of move (long-distance vs. local), which moving services you need, the time of year (summer is peak moving season and companies are in high demand!)

It might sound like a lot, but trust us—it’ll cost you a lot to move yourself too!

Full service moving companies can save you time, money, and injury by performing the whole relocation quicker and safer than you and your friends can do it. They often offer packing services in addition to moving day transport as well as insurance coverage for extra protection.

But you have to make sure you choose a reputable local moving company that comes well-recommended and well-reviewed. A bad moving company can end up costing you money if they are a fraud or if they break everything.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire Movers?

If you’re torn between wanting to move yourself or hiring a moving company you probably want to know how much a moving company costs. The answer is that it depends. We gave you the average cost above, but there are also things you can do to lower the total cost of your move even if you hire movers. They are:

  • Downsize: As much as you want to, you can’t take every single belonging with you. Some are old, some are broken, and some you just don’t need anymore. Less items to move = less time and money spent.
  • Measure: Measure all of your furniture to make sure they will fit through your door frames. If they don’t, disassemble them. At that point your moving company can just pack the items in the truck.
  • Help Out: Don’t just sit back and relax. Get your hands dirty and help the movers move. This lowers the overall time that it takes your local movers to get in and out.
  • Packing Materials: Utilize everything you’ve got! That cute wicker basket you just had to have for blankets? Stuff it full of items and put it in your car. You just saved yourself a couple of bucks it would have cost to buy a box.
  • Off-Season: Did you know there is an ‘off season’ for moving? Peak season is summer so if you opt to move in fall or winter, you might be able to snag a good price. Look into what moving companies offer for weekday moves as well.
  • Moving Checklist: You can save time and money by making a good moving checklist. It keeps things organized and streamlined.
  • Shop Around: Don’t go for the first one you see nor the cheapest option. Factors including reviews, pricing, license and insurance, and expertise should all play a part in your decision.

Moving Costs Money But There Are Ways To Save

If you’ve shied away from using moving companies in the past, you should know that there is a significant cost to move yourself.

When you’re deciding whether or not to hire professional movers, make sure you factor in all your moving costs. The rental truck, moving supplies, insurance, and physical strain might put a self-move out of the question.

And if you end up hiring a moving company, make sure they’re trustworthy and professional.

Cento Family Moving & Storage would be happy to assist with your move, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.

As a full service moving company, we don’t just handle your belongings with care, we can pack and unpack them for you, leaving you more time to handle the rest of your to-do list. We also have storage units if necessary.

If you’re looking for a safe, professional moving option, we’d love to hear from you! Get a free moving quote instantly to get started.


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