Understanding Moving Costs

Understanding moving costs is a crucial factor in the pre-planning process of a move.  Budgeting time, money, and resources all account for the costs associated with the moving process and should be one of the first items fully explored before selecting a licensed and insured mover.

The critical moving costs include packing materials, moving costs, travel time, and toll/fuel/disposal surcharges.  Additional charges can consist of handling fees, overnight holding fees, and interim storage charges.  Let’s explore each in more detail.

Packing Materials:  Investing in proper supplies is essential to ensure that all of your goods are transported safely.  Buying and using the right sized and quality boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape all aid in the safe handling of your packed goods.  Consulting with your mover about the size and types of boxes you need is included during the estimate process.  Many movers provide supplies at competitive prices; be sure to check with them before purchasing supplies on your own. Educating yourself on the proper materials and packing tips can be easily found by watching YouTube “How-to” videos.

Packing Costs:  Should you leave the packing to professionals, packing costs will be included in your estimate from your mover.  Packing costs can be calculated per box or per hour (inclusive/exclusive of materials).  Often clients leave delicate items like dishes/glasses and breakables to the professionals and almost always allow a professional to handle mirrors, pictures, and TV packing.  Wardrobe boxes are also provided on a rental or purchase basis and aid in the relocation of hanging clothes in closets.  The cost of hiring professional packers often outweighs the money you save in potential damage if packing isn’t completed correctly.

Moving Costs:  Moving costs can be calculated in a few ways for your move: using an hourly rate, weight basis, cubic footage or a flat rate.

Travel Time:  Travel time is a flat charge that accounts for the time that a mover will take to get to the origin from their location and the time that a mover will take to get to their location from the destination.  Often travel time is a guaranteed number of hours, regardless of the actual time it takes.  Don’t forget that trucks usually take different routes and move slower than a passenger car.  These times may seem higher than what it would take you to get to the locations in a passenger car.

Another method for calculating Travel Time is Portal-to-portal charges which are computed based on the actual time of driving and moving. 

Toll/Fuel/Disposal Surcharges:  These additional charges account for fees that a mover may incur during your move.  A toll surcharge accounts for tolls processed while driving to/from the origin and destination.  Don’t forget that truck tolls are significantly higher than passenger car tolls.  Fuel surcharges are a result of rising fuel costs.  These costs can either be a flat fee dependent on mileage or a percentage of the total cost of your move.  In either case, these charges should be clearly stated on your moving estimate and explained in detail during the quoting process.  Disposal surcharges only apply if you request your mover to dispose of items during the relocation process to an offsite disposal location.

Handling Fees:  These fees apply when relocations require interim storage.  A handling in/out fee can be assessed to account for the time it takes to handle your goods into/out of storage.  Often this is a flat fee based on the size of your relocation.

Overnight Holding Fees:  Some relocations cannot be completed over the course of a single day due to closing/elevator restrictions or the size/scope of work.  In these cases, an overnight holding fee can be assessed either on a per-truck basis or based on weight.

Interim Storage Charges:  Some relocations require temporary storage temporarily.  These fees apply and can be calculated based on the weight of the shipment or overall size, along with the length of storage needed.

Moving can be challenging, but understanding the costs associated with the move, budgeting properly, and ensuring that these costs are all accurately reflected in a written relocation estimate/quote is key to a successful move.  Engaging a licensed and insured mover ensures that these costs will be presented to you upfront and will be honored on the day of your relocation.

New Jersey Warehouse and Movers Association – njmovers.com

Blog Submission; Adam D. Padla, President of Booth Movers, Ltd.


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