JW: How much does it cost to get movers and move out?

Here's what to budget, bestie

Moving boxes on a green ombre background
(Image credit: Future)

Ready to make the leap to a brand-new living space? Aside from figuring out how you're gonna make that happen and crossing everything off your moving-out checklist, you might also be wondering about the cost. Shifting your things from apartment to apartment can vary depending on several factors, including the distance between the two apartments, the size of the apartment, the amount of furniture and belongings being moved, and the time of year. 

However, on average, it costs around $1,000 to move into a small apartment. This price can range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the factors mentioned above.

I contacted NYC’s #1 moving company Piece of Cake Moving & Storage to get some info on how to estimate moving costs, how to negotiate pricing, and get a grip on average moving costs. 

How do you estimate moving costs?

According to Najah Popovic, CMO at Piece of Cake Moving & Storage, there are two key approaches to pricing a move. When speaking to movers for quotes, avoid the mistake of simply asking for a quote flat-out. You should always ask if they charge by volume or the hour first. Moving companies utilizing a volume pricing formula will assist you with avoiding any hourly guessing estimates as well as hourly extra fee charges, which would be out of your control on moving day and are considered to be traffic and accumulated time required to move items.

Volume Pricing

Moving companies that are calculating fees with the volume of furniture in cubic feet to be moved rather than charging an hourly rate, will most likely offer you a flat rate that won’t be impacted by traffic, parking issues, or storage check-in delays.

Volume Pricing Formula:

Volume of goods + mileage + any special complexities  = estimate

In addition, the moving company of your choice will include a per cubic foot price on your quote. Popovic mentions that long-distance moves are priced on the cubic feet or weight and on the pricing model that your mover has in place. One thing to note is that long-distance moves could also include a storage fee if the delivery is delayed as well as extra stop charges. You should always ask your movers for all additional possible fees before you even think about booking them.

Hourly Pricing

Movers will also price your move based on the amount of time the moving truck will be needed. Travel fees between destinations might also apply, however, this is something you could negotiate with your moving company before booking them.

Hourly Pricing Formula:

Hourly cost + travel fees = estimate

Overall, Popovic advises you to familiarize yourself with the formula the moving company of your choice uses before you hire them. Piece of Cake Moving & Storage prefers quoting clients with a flat fee based on volume so time doesn't become an issue and so extra fees don't jump out and surprise customers.

Also, depending on the day of the week as well as the time of the year that you decide to move, could incur higher rates of up to 20% or more due to demand, poor weather, or holidays.

How to negotiate moving costs

When it comes to negotiating pricing with a moving company, Popovic suggests asking your moving company of choice what discounts are available. See if there are certain days of the week that are lower in demand and what the quietest time of the month is. As a rule of thumb, May to September are usually the busiest months of the year to move, in addition to the first and last days of the month, since those are the days when people’s leases tend to expire.

The average cost of moving by apartment size

Moving could indeed be a wildly high expense. According to Popovic, the cost of your move depends on certain factors, as well as the day, time, month, distance, number of items, special items, and handling challenges your move consists of. The price you are quoted depends on your own needs along with other factors, as the estimates should be viewed as a guide rather than guaranteed fixed prices. 

With this in mind, Popovic gave us the rundown on the average price for moving based on how many rooms you're trying to pack up.

Studio and 1-bedroom apartments

The majority of apartments in major cities such as New York are 700 square feet in size or even less. Most New Yorkers live in a studio apartment of about 300 to 600 square feet in size or a small one-bedroom apartment. Although the spaces are small, the perk is that you won’t accumulate much furniture, therefore, moving costs shouldn’t be on the higher end. For apartment sizes like the ones mentioned above, you’ll need at least two movers at an average cost of $400 to $750 — and that’s if your move is considered to be a local relocation. 

Let’s say you are moving oversized items down the stairs rather than using an elevator. For particular challenges like this, expect some additional costs. If it’s a one-bedroom apartment with more furniture, these moves could cost up to $600 to $1,200

2-bedroom apartments (or bigger)

Now, if you are more ambitious and are moving into a bigger space, then moving prices will spike up. These spaces in these apartments include multiple home office setups, as well as extra storage items such as pianos and more. According to Popovic, professional moving companies require sending three movers or more for these specific moves and could charge anywhere from $1,000 to more than $2,000. It all depends on the amount of furniture and items that require disassembling and reassembling from scratch.

If you are moving into a three to four-bedroom apartment, this move will require a four-person crew to get you moved within a day and could cost between $1,500 and $3,500, if it is a local move. Popovic always advises keeping in mind that there are factors that could impact your move’s price such as the day of the week, month, packing services, distance between locations, stairs, and handling needs.

Prices will vary based on where you live in the country, too, but this should give you a good idea of what to expect before a quote comes through. Knowledge is power, bb!

Aida M. Toro
Freelance Writer

About Me:

Hello! My name is Aida M. Toro and I am a freelance writer that loves cultivating stories about amazing people, fashion, interiors, art, and food. I currently write for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, The House Magazine, Hobnob Magazine, The C-Word, and Real Homes. I live in West New York, New Jersey, which is literally a 10-minute ferry ride or 20-minute bus ride away from New York City. Although I was born and raised in West New York, I consider NYC my home, as I believe it to be the place where all dreams come to fruition, and of course, spend most of my time in. When I’m not writing, I love perusing the city streets and taking snaps with my iPhone of street art along with random things, scoping out new restaurants as well as their spaces, shopping at some of my favorite stores, spending time with family and friends, walking my cockapoodle Benji, and working out at Lifetime or DOGPOUND, which are some of the top fitness spaces in Manhattan and overall the U.S.