Moving can be a monumental task. There are the logistics, the physical task of preparing for the move and making the move. And also figuring out how to pay for it all. When people plan a move, they often budget for home repairs if selling or security deposits if renting. They think about the money needed for home inspections, cleaning, insurance, and deposits to secure the new home. When budgeting, it is important to focus beyond getting across the finish line of taking possession of the home, and make sure you plan in advance a budget to accomplish the next step after signing on the dotted line- the actual move!

The best way to tackle any monumental task is preparation and breaking it down in multiple manageable tasks. Here are some great tips if moving is on the horizon for you.

Phase One:  Plan Ahead

Start Engaging with Movers Early

Do not wait until all items are packed and ready to go to engage with a licensed, registered and insured Mover and get a baseline quote. Start information gathering in advance – as soon as you know, a move is in your future. If a mover is unwilling to engage with you six months or even a year in advance just to provide education about the process and some idea about the budget, move on to the next one. A reputable mover will happily provide information in advance to help you better prepare and earn your trust. They may not be able to provide a guaranteed price a year in advance, but they can give you a fairly accurate ballpark, discuss factors that may affect the cost of your move, and guide you into the next steps.  The further in advance, you have a realistic budget in mind, the more time you have to prepare. A reputable mover can also offer suggestions that may help reduce costs.  Get a baseline visual survey and quote as soon as possible with all your maybe’s, which will provide a top-tier budget and allow for time for possible revisions before the move.

Start Thinking About Specifics

When someone is curious about moving costs in general but does not know where they are moving or exactly what they are moving, some broad estimates may give a person some idea of moving costs.

If moving long distance, there is a correlation between the moving budget to property taxes for every 1000 miles. This is an approximate formula because your tax rate depends in part on where you live, but it is also determined by the size of your home. And the bigger the home, the more goods you probably are moving. So if you are moving from NJ to FL, and your annual property taxes are $7500., and you are not downsizing, it is safe to say your minimum move budget will be in the $7500. range.  When moving locally within NJ, many factors affect the moving budget, but overall, it depends on how many days you are on board a truck and how much labor is required to support the move plan.  Depending on labor, a local move per day can cost from $800-$2400.

In order to narrow down that broad spectrum, specifics are needed. Specific factors that affect your move budget are:

  • Time of year
  • Access to your current home (parking, stairs, elevators)
  • Articles you intend to move
  • Packing you may need the mover to perform.
  • Taking articles that require special handling or care, such as pianos, sleep number beds, or high-value collectibles such as art.
  • Additional Insurance or Valuation on the move
  • Whether storage or holding is needed before delivery
  • Access to the new residence or destination

Providing these specifics as early as possible to your mover will help keep your costs accurate.

Start Saving Now.

Whether local or long-distance, moving costs can be significant.  Putting money aside for your move is advisable. Most often, when hiring a professional mover, the customer may be in the process of selling and/or buying a home. Unless it is a cash transaction, a mortgage is required. Between the time a mortgage loan is pre-approved, and the final closing date set, your mortgage lender will advise you not to make major changes or purchases because it is reflected on your credit report and may change or affect your loan eligibility. So taking out a credit card right before a closing to pay for your move may be detrimental to your final loan approval.  Or you may be relying on selling your current home to pay for your new home plus the move. However, you do not want to be without funds if the mover has picked you up, but the buyer cannot close, and the sale falls through or is postponed. This may result in additional charges and stress. It is not advisable to be reliant on promised funds. Have a Plan B. You may request to have a clause in your sale contract that covers additional moving expenses that result in the other party’s failure to meet its purchase obligations.

Phase Two: Manage Additions and Reductions

Think About Possible Related Costs

When moving, you may incur additional expenses such as child care, pet care, or senior care while tending to the actual move.  Will you have time to clean up after the move, or will you hire someone? Will articles like drapes and carpets need to be cleaned before they are reset in the new home?  Will you require professional junk or trash removal?  You may have to schedule a night in a hotel or temporary housing, depending on the logistics of your move. How about travel expenses? Flights, fuel, tolls, food on the road?  Discuss the details surrounding your move with the Mover, so they can clearly outline the timeline of your move, and you are prepared for related expenses.

Work on Cost Cutters 

Professional packing can result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in material and labor. There are certain objects you do not want to risk (breakables and high value), and you may want the professional to pack since they have the knowledge and the professional-grade materials.

However, packing is one of the greatest variables in moving. Packing your own goods can help reduce costs. Search for free or recycled cartons provided they are strong enough to stack. You can use soft goods such as linens and clothes to cushion more fragile items or as fillers in boxes or totes.

Well in advance of the move, purge. Are there articles you’ve wanted to donate? Review the floor plan in your new home to make sure your current furniture will fit.  Does the style of the furniture go with your new environment?  Is the cost of moving the item worth the actual item?  When it comes to high-value or high-ticket items,  paying to take those pieces is well worth it. But if a $60 pressboard bookshelf has seen better days, maybe it’s a good opportunity to reinvest those savings from leaving it behind into a new piece.

Phase Three: Finalize Details

Communicate any changes to inventory and packing to your Mover weeks in advance to allow time for revisions and possible cost reduction. Last-minute or same-day deletions may not always result in savings as the Mover has already set aside the equipment and labor previously planned for you.

Be realistic when managing expectations in the final days before a move. It is easy to run out of time and energy as a moving day draws near, so do not make promises to the Mover you may not be able to keep. You would rather your budget be reduced because you packed more, not have additional costs because you packed less than you anticipated.

To help with realistic budgeting and guidance during the move process, please always contact a legal mover who is licensed, registered and insured for the type of move you need to be performed. Depending on the type of move, they can provide a guaranteed price for the items and services they list in the quote. Even with a guaranteed price, the final price may change if you add services last minute. So to stay on budget, check in as your needs evolve with your Mover.  The better the communication, the better the accuracy of your moving quote and having an adequate moving budget in place!

New Jersey Warehouse and Movers Association –

Blog Submission: Tara Dixon, Vice-President, Sea Cure Moving Inc., NJWMA member and Movers For Consumers Committee person.


Find a Mover

Find the right mover for you by searching our database of qualified NJ movers.