How Much Do Bay Area Movers Cost?

Probably the most common thing that comes to your mind when you think about your upcoming move is the price. No matter how good you are with money or have everything figured out, you would like to know how much you can expect to pay on the moving day. If you are moving in the Bay area, the cost to hire movers depends on several factors. There is no universal calculator that will tell you the exact price. However, we can help with this guide.

After reading this blog, you will have a bigger picture and more information about the moving cost. For example, the price may change if you have an additional heavy item or your distance from the pick up and the final destination is more that 15 miles. At the end, the prices are different and based on the level of qualifications that professional movers and the moving company have. 

If your move is around the corner, you are already deep down in plans and the logistics. There are a lot of things that need to be considered and many things that need to be done prior to the move and on the moving day. Of course, the price will variete based on these things.

For example, if you would need only a couple of the boxes and larger pieces of furniture moved, then the move will be cheaper. If you are moving to a 2 or 3 bedroom home, the price will be higher. This seems reasonable, right ? However, you already asked around for some quotes and you received a different quote for your 3 bedroom home, and your sister moved a couple of months ago for a lower price.

How is that possible? In this blog, we will go through all of the factors that can affect your upcoming move and we will also provide tips on how to avoid higher prices. In addition, we will note several things that you need to be careful about when booking a job.

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How moving companies base their prices

For starters, let’s get this resolved. If you are moving locally, all of the chances are that the company will provide an hourly rate. Cost to hire movers is based on the hourly rate that the company provides and, of course, on all of the additional or hidden fees. Almost all of the Bay Area professional moving companies will inform you about their hourly rate and then with the minimum hours they are charging. Some companies offer 2 hours of minimum, some offer 3.

Then you will need to multiply the hourly rate and the approximate time that the move will take. For example, the average studio or 1 bedroom apartment takes approximately 3 to 5 hours. 2 bedrooms can take 5 to 7 hours and 3 bedrooms 7 hours and more. If you would like a more accurate estimate, you would need to provide your full list of items or the moving company can provide an onsite estimate, where a company representative can give a better idea on how long the move will take.

For your reference, the rate for 2 movers can be between $100 and $160 for 2 movers and every additional mover is around $30 or $40. There are some companies that provide flat rates for local movers, but only if it is a big move. 

Moving in together

What has the most effect on moving prices? 

As mentioned there are a lot of factors that can change the moving cost. Therefore, you can arrange your move based on the following details and make it more affordable. In addition, there are a lot of affordable movers that will offer discounts. We will list the things that affect the cost:

  1. Size of the move
  2. Number of movers
  3. Distance between the pick up and the final destination
  4. Packing services
  5. Packing materials
  6. Additional heavy items
  7. Additional expenses like hoisting or disposal of the items
  8. Moving date and time of the move
  9. Storage services 
  10. Purchasing the additional insurance

1. Size of the move

Of course the cost to hire movers will be different if you are moving only a few pieces or if you are moving a 3 bedroom house. Some furniture movers determine their price by calculating the overall weight of your furniture. Some, on the other hand, need the full list of items in order to inform you about the price. If you are moving more items, then your move will be more expensive. If you are moving less, then the move will be cheaper as well.

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What we usually suggest, if you are on a budget, is to prioritize your belongings. You can pack some smaller items by yourself and move it with your car, so the movers have less items to pack and move. If professional movers are charging by the hour, this will also make the move cheaper, since they will need less time to move everything. 

Below you can see the pricing for local moving companies, based on the moves that occurred in 2021. Of course, the price is flexible to change due to many factors that we will go through in this blog.

pricing table

2. Number of movers

Most people think that if the price per hour is lower, that means that they will pay less. That doesn’t have to be true. For example, if you are moving a 2 bedroom apartment and go with 2 movers only, the price per hour may be lower than for 3 movers, but the move will take longer, especially if you have several heavier items or a lot of things that need to be packed. You may end up paying more. If you book 3 movers for that size of the move, your move will go smoother, faster and, not to mention safer, since you will have 3 experienced movers on the field. 

Number and quality of movers can have a big effect on the price

3. Distance between the pick up and the final destination

Professional movers, especially the ones that charge per hour, charge the distance between the two locations that you are moving within. Some companies have additional fuel fees or they are starting the clock when their truck leaves the warehouse. You need to ask company specialists that are helping you with the moving process when the clock starts and are there any additional or hidden fees. We will go through additional fees a bit later.

4. Packing services

If you choose full packing service, bear in mind that the move will be more expensive. Labor movers would need an additional pair of hands who will help with packing. If you use companies packing supplies, this will be an additional charge. If you would like to save time during the move and make the move less expensive, you can pack by yourself and that will reduce the cost to hire movers. Hiring packers and movers will ease the process for you and will save you additional stress, but will be a bit more expensive.

5. Packing materials

As already mentioned, moving companies charge additionally for their packing materials. They usually use plastic and bubble wrap, blankets and boxes. If you have some packing materials in your home, you can always use them and inform the moving company that you do not need them. You can also use your own old boxes and bags or purchase your own packing materials, boxes from Home Depot, Craigslist. They are usually cheaper than the ones moving companies offer. 

Quality packing materials are really important in moving

6. Additional heavy items

This may not be a problem for some companies. A lot of local movers do not charge for the heavy items additionally, they are just included in the hourly rate. However, some companies may have a heavy items fee which is different depending on the item and on the company you are using. Make sure to confirm that there are no additional charges for heavy items, or if there are, to specify what is the cost.

Sometimes it is better to pay a bit more, if your item will be safe and not damaged during the move. If you have an upright piano, maybe it is best to hire a professional piano mover separately or purchase an additional 3rd party insurance, since most local movers are not specialized in moving pianos. Bear in mind that a lot of local movers do not move concert pianos.

7. Additional expenses like hoisting or disposal of the items

Some items are too big to be moved through the door or maybe down the stairs. In those rare cases, moving companies suggest hoisting services. However, some of the companies will charge this service, some of them will not charge additionally but will either require an additional mover or the move will be prolonged due to this additional service.

Always note if you have an item that will need hoisting, since this can cause problems on the day of the move and make it more stressful than it is. When it comes to item disposal, in most cases you can receive this service free of charge. Still, make sure to ask if the company charges additionally for this service. It would be best to ask these questions while booking the job, so you know what to expect. 

If heavy items can be moved through the door or down the stairs, hoisting services are not needed

8. Moving date and time of the move

This can make a big difference. Prices may vary depending on the moving date. For example, prices are lower if you are moving on working days and higher if you are moving on Friday or Saturday. One of the more affordable days is Sunday as well. If you are flexible when it comes to moving dates, you can choose the cheaper option.

When you are scheduling a move in advance, you may receive a lower quote for reserving your spot on time. In addition, sometimes there is a difference in pricing if you are moving in the morning or in the afternoon. Afternoon rates can be a bit cheaper, but the difference is not too big. However, if you are moving on a budget, every dollar is making a difference.

There is also a difference if you are moving in the middle of the season or off season. The season is between May and October, and the off season is the winter-spring period. So, if you are flexible and you do not have a specific deadline until you need to be moved in, this could be the right option for you. There are a lot of budget movers that have these things in mind.

9. Storage services 

If you still do not have a specific place to move into, storage service is something you need. If you arrange storage services aside from the moving company, there will be no additional charges. However, if the moving company is providing the storage, there will be additional charges. They depend on the size of the storage and how long you are going to keep your belongings in the storage. Some companies offer discounts if you are using their storage services, so do not hesitate to ask additional questions. 

It is convenient if the moving company you are hiring has its own storage unit

10. Purchasing the additional insurance

All moving companies have basin insurance, but they do not provide full replacement or repair value. Therefore, you can purchase additional insurance, to make sure to be compensated if damages occur during your move. However, additional insurance means additional cost as well. Some professional movers provide discounts if you purchase the insurance from the insurance company they are partnering with. This can save you money and also make sure that your belongings are insured. 


As an addition to this blog, we are listing some of the usual additional fees that may affect:

Travel fee – usually charged from the companies warehouse to your location and afterwards from the delivery destination back to the warehouse

Fuel fee – the cost to cover the expenses of gas 

DDT – the driving time that the movers need from your pick up to the drop off destination will be doubled in order to cover the expenses of the travel 

Taxes – some moving companies charge additional taxes, but they do not note this prior to the move. This is the most common hidden fee, so you need to be carefull

Packing supplies – packing supplies are not always free of charge. Maybe the company is not charging for everything, but make sure to double check everything before booking

Heavy items fee – this is another fee that companies do not mention. Make sure to ask this question if you have heavier items

Furniture disassembly fee – another fee that will not be mentioned during the booking process. Not a lot of moving companies have this fee, but you should always ask in advance 

Long carry fees – If furniture movers cannot park close to the apartment or there is a significant distance from the apartment to elevator, long carry service will be involved and some companies charge for it additionally

Cancellation fee – If you cancel the move a day or two prior to the moving date, almost every moving company has a cancellation policy. However, if you cancel on the day of the move, you will need to pay the cancellation fee. Most of the companies note this in advance, but if not, do not hesitate to ask.