How Much Do Moving Companies Charge to Store Furniture?

Moving Company vs. Long-Term Storage

Let’s begin with an important question: when should you keep your items in a traditional storage unit and when should you hire movers to hang on to your household goods? We’ve broken the two main options below.

Moving Companies with Storage Services

If you need to use a storage unit for a short and design period of time—typically less than 90 days—and you do not need to access that container, a moving company may be for you. 

Local and long-distance movers can supply planned or last-minute storage services to help with the transition of a move. A few great examples include:

  • You have large furniture or household items that you may sell or donate later.
  • You’re painting or renovating your new home and need temporary space.
  • Cross-country moves occurring in sections at a time.
  • There is a gap between your two moving dates and requires space to store your things.
  • You encounter last-minute issues with the move and need to hold your items after your move-out date.

Most moving companies with storage options do not allow access to your items, so be sure that you have everything you need before moving day.

Self-Storage Companies

Independent storage companies are best if you’re not sure when and how long you’ll need your items stored. While you can use local movers to bring items to the unit, you can always take the DIY approach and pack up a moving truck for smaller loads.

These storage companies are best for:

  • Contracts longer than three months
  • Storing items when you’re not hiring movers for a relocation
  • Moves when you do not need additional services like packing and crating
  • Items that you will need to access throughout its storage on a regular basis

It’s important to note that some major brands, such as Atlas Van Lines, will help you find a long-term storage facility if you need it. In other words, you can choose to transition from a temporary to more long-term storage after a certain amount of time if necessary.

Above all, always check with the Better Business Bureau before choosing an independent or moving and storage company for your next move.

Bottom line: Understanding moving costs

A professional mover can cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the key factors of your move, like the distance, the number of labor hours and the size of your home. While the price of a long-distance move may give you sticker shock, it’s important to consider the savings in time and stress that come with professional assistance. There are ways to make your move cheaper, including purging items you no longer need in advance and moving during an off-season like winter.

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Additional Costs and Considerations

Each extra moving service comes with a cost, but it could be worth the extra cost to allow movers to handle the hassle. A full-service move could include hiring movers to handle every step of the moving process from start to finish. Additionally, you may have more delicate items (like a piano) that will require special movers. And moving a longer distance like across state lines will cost more, too. Consider the following factors that could apply to your situation when determining how much movers cost.

Packing and Unpacking Services

Many homeowners want or need the convenience of handing over the responsibility of packing and unpacking a household to the expert movers. You can opt to pack a few specific boxes of personal items and leave the rest. Movers typically charge $1,000 for packing a household. Unpacking is a separate charge that you can ask about once they’ve estimated the packing cost.

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Moving Cross-Country

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that moving across the country will cost more than moving down the street. The moving company needs to charge for time, labor, weight, mileage, fuel, and any fees to transport your items across state lines. You can expect to pay between $2,200 and $5,700 to move out of state.

Extra-Large or Delicate Items

If you have any items that are considered specialty, delicate, or extra-large, you’ll pay more to move them. This would include items like a piano, hot tub, car, pool table, or safe. Some of these may require special equipment or training to move them—or it may just take a few extra movers.

Insurance

One benefit of hiring a reputable moving company is that they automatically apply limited liability insurance to your items—usually at $0.60 per pound. This means your items are not fully covered, so consider adding extra insurance if you have many valuable things. You’ll want to ask ahead of time since it may not be available on the day of the move.

Tipping

The odds are that you hired the mover to help make your life a little easier. Part of how you can show your appreciation for a job well done is to give the movers a tip. It’s customary to provide a 10 to 20 percent tip, but if the cost of the move was less than $500, you could tip up to 20 percent. Some companies can add this with a credit card; otherwise, have some cash on hand.

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Storage

Timing doesn’t always work out perfectly. You may have to wait to move into your new house until after closing while simultaneously moving out of your current home. Most moving services have storage facilities to hold items for a short time as they plan a move’s logistics. They can also hold your items for a period if needed, but they can become more expensive than a traditional storage unit if you need long-term storage. If you need to move your items from your home into a storage unit, then from the storage unit into a new home, you’ll have to factor in the cost of the storage unit and the additional moving costs.

Extra Stops

Sometimes moving is complicated. You may have items that need to be picked up from another household or storage unit. Movers will charge extra for each additional stop beyond the original and final destinations.

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Furniture disassembly and reassembly

Your movers can dismantle your larger furniture, but you’ll have to pay for the service. However, if you aren’t sure how to properly disassemble a valuable piece, don’t risk ruining it while trying to separate the detachable parts. Your movers will have the required equipment and knowledge to do it without damaging anything.

Once you reach your final destination, the movers can reassemble the furniture. You’ll have to pay for the service, of course, but it will allow you to jump in and start unpacking.

Moving cost FAQ

How much does a moving truck cost to rent?
Renting a moving truck for a do-it-yourself move can cost anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars, depending on the specifics of your move. The truck size, the time it takes you to move, the distance you need to drive and gasoline prices all play a factor in the cost to rent a moving truck. A local move is likely to be pretty affordable and cost a few hundred dollars or less, while a cross-country trek will be significantly more expensive.
How much do moving boxes cost?
The cost of moving boxes depends on size and style. The size of your home and where you rank on the scale of minimalist to pack rat will determine how many boxes you need. For the average three-bedroom home, we estimate brand-new boxes will cost around $450. This includes a mix of small, medium and large boxes, plus wardrobe boxes and picture boxes.

You can save a significant amount of money by reusing old boxes and collecting boxes from friends, family or local stores that are willing to give you any they were planning to recycle. You can also opt out of purchasing specialty boxes like wardrobe boxes if you prefer. While these boxes make it easier to store and transport your clothing, you can also fold and store these items in regular boxes or large trash bags, especially for local moves.

How much do moving supplies cost?
Moving supplies include items such as bubble cushioning material, packing tape, packing paper and stretch wrap to protect furniture from damage. For a three-bedroom home, you can plan to add another $80 or so to your budget for these items.

Some cost-saving measures include using old newspapers in place of packing paper or cushioning material, but you don’t want to skimp on protecting fragile items. It can be much cheaper to invest in bubble cushioning material than to replace an item if it breaks during a move.

How much do you tip movers?
We recommend tipping movers between 5% and 20% of the total cost of the move, but you are not required to tip your movers, especially if you are dissatisfied with the service.
How much does it cost to move a car?
You can expect to pay between $500 to $1,500 to ship a car long-distance. Transporting a vehicle is a special service not provided by most movers. You’ll want to look for a company that specializes in auto transport.

Lowering or hoisting (rigging)

If your furniture doesn’t fit through the doors or along narrow staircases and hallways, your movers may set up a rope-and-pulley system to take it through a window. This service comes at an additional price, and it’s only offered if the moving company has the specific equipment and skills required to perform it safely.

How is storage charged when moving?

Storage charges are also determined by the length of time your items are stored. Short-term storage may be offered when you need to move things temporarily while your home is being prepared. Moving companies charge for every step of the process. You’ll be charged for the movers to load up at the storage facility, you’ll be charged for the warehouse laborers to inventory your belongings, you’ll be charged the storage time, and then the move again.

Major factors that affect the cost to hire a moving company

Fancy cutting down your moving costs the way you l
Fancy cutting down your moving costs the way you like it?

As you already know, the price to hire movers will depend on several major factors. The thing is that the better you understand the principal factors the influence the moving cost, the more control you will have over the price of moving.

In other words, you’ll be able to cut your moving costs and expenses.

  • Size of your move. The more things you wish to move to the new home, the more money you’ll pay for their transportation. Moving out of a studio is very different from moving out of a 3-bedroom apartment in terms of the sheer number of household items.Save money by moving only the things you really love and will need in the future.
  • Special items. Your choice to move any specialty items between will increase the moving cost, sometimes by a lot. If you wish to move a piano to the new home, you’re going to have to hire the services of experienced piano movers.Hire specialty movers when you’re also moving antique furniture, a pool table, a hot tub, a heavy safe, a grandfather clock, and so on.
  • Move distance. The greater the distance between the two locations, the costlier your move will be.
  • Extra services. Each add-on service that you request from your moving company will cost you extra money. As you can guess, packing is the most frequent additional moving service and the good news is that you can and should pack most of your things by yourself to save money when moving.
  • Packing supplies. If you choose to pack up your things by yourself, then you should know that the cost of the necessary packing materials can inflate substantially the final moving cost.Get free moving boxes to reduce the packing costs.
  • Move date. The date of your move can influence the cost to hire a moving company. How? In general, moving during the peak moving season (May – September) is more expensive than moving during the off-peak season when fewer people want to move house due to winter.
  • Insurance. When moving valuable items, do consider purchasing adequate coverage for your prized possessions. Speak with your moving company about your viable insurance options.
  • Extra fees and charges. Discuss with your movers what extra fees you’re likely to get charged when you hire their services. All of those extra charges must be included in the cost estimate you receive.

How to Cut Moving Costs and Expenses

Questions to Ask About Moving Costs

If you’ve never hired a moving company before, you could be nervous about allowing strangers to handle your valuables. It’s a valid concern, and sadly, there are illegitimate moving companies out there. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable and experienced companies you can use. Before you book, check the BBB ratings to see other customer reviews. You can make an informed decision about who you hire by knowing the best questions to ask to avoid moving scams. We also recommend keeping track of all the information you collect about moving costs to help make your decision easier.

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  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Are you certified with the American Moving & Storage Association?
  • Do you have the legal certifications to move belongings across state lines?
  • Do you have references I can contact?
  • Will you provide me with the federally required paperwork called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”?
  • Do you provide a final contract after inspecting my location and belongings but before taking possession?
  • Can I sign a binding contract before you begin moving my items?
  • Do you require a deposit to hold the moving date? (Requesting a deposit is considered a bad practice, and this is often done by disreputable companies.)
  • Why is your bid so much lower than other companies?
  • How will you calculate my total price? (In-and-out and volume-based bids should be avoided.)
  • What does your insurance cover?
  • How much would additional insurance cost?
  • How long will it take to pack and move my items?

How to Find a Moving and Storage Company

With a big move on the horizon, how do you begin your search for the right team of movers with ample storage experience and great pricing?

We always recommend choosing at least two or three companies and comparing their free quotes. The average moving costs for a long-distance relocation land around $4,300, but this amount significantly varies based on:

  • The size of your home
  • Local labor and overhead costs
  • Cost of living in your region
  • The time of year you choose to move
  • Specialty items and services

Be An Informed Consumer

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should be your first stop when considering a moving and storage company. Their Protect Your Move feature allows you to check a company’s:

  • US DOT number
  • Years of experience
  • Number of trucks in their fleet
  • Additional license and certification details

Once you’ve checked all these boxes, take a look at customer reviews to determine if past clients have had a good experience. Look for signs of:

  • Safe and climate-controlled storage containers
  • Easy transition in and out of the storage unit
  • Reliable and transparent pricing
  • Safety and care for personal items

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