Cheapest Method to Move

When it’s time to move your stuff across the country, what’s the cheapest way to do it? Do you pay a moving company or rent a moving truck? What about moving pods? There are tons of options to get you and your things from point A to point B, and PadMapper is here to help.

All packed up... now what?

All packed up... now what?

Using a hypothetical moving situation, I set out to find how much it would cost to move one person’s studio apartment (1,000 lbs. of stuff) from Seattle to New York City. The imaginary apartment for rent is on the third floor and the total trip is rounded off at 3,300 miles.

Before you move into your new apartment, check out our list of the cheapest and easiest ways to move across the country.

The Moving Company

There are a million moving companies on the internet, and you’ll get a dirty vibe from just about all of them. First of all, finding a quote is impossible without divulging your phone number and email address. Thinking nothing of it, I submitted my information to a moving company resource provider and within five minutes my email was bombarded with six different solicitors asking about my moving situation. They’re ruthlessly invasive and they’re notorious for moving scams, but when they do their job, they’re a necessary evil.

The average moving company charges roughly 74 cents per pound and a per-mile fee that varies from company to company. A sneaky additional moving fee of roughly $100 per flight of stairs to move anything above the first two flights can sometimes catch you by surprise.

Total estimate: $2500.

Rental Truck

If you plan to move it yourself, using a rental truck service is the best way to travel with your stuff every step of the way. One problem: you have to travel with all of your stuff throughout the entire trip in someone else’s truck.

Most companies designate the 10’ truck as the “apartment mover.” The average truck this size has roughly the following dimensions:

  • Volume: 400 cu. ft.
  • Max load: 2,800 lbs.
  • Gross weight: 8,600 lbs.
  • Empty weight: 5,700 lbs.
  • 8 – 11 MPG on Unleaded fuel

Including up to a 10 day rental and use for 3,300 miles, a rental truck will roughly cost $1,100, plus the $750 cost for fuel.

Total estimate: $1850.

Moving Pods

Moving POD companies will bring a large moving container ranging in size from 8’x7’x7’ (size of a large walk-in closet) to 8’x8’x12’ (size of three to four bedrooms) and generally charge a flat moving fee without the hidden costs of gas and extra mileage. However, since pods are typically moved using 18-wheelers, you may have to pay an extra fee to get your pod onto a smaller truck and into the city.

One other benefit of moving pods is that you can stagger the delivery of the moving pods to allow you more time to load or unload your belongings, which might also result in a storage fee.

Total estimate: Brand name POD services will cost roughly $4,000 and non-branded POD services run $3,000.

Other Moving Options

One option many movers are overlooking is the ability to ship via Amtrak. Shipping your boxes through this national train service will cost roughly $67.00 for the first 100 lbs. and an additional $.57 for each additional pound. The only downside of shipping through Amtrak is that they’re unable to ship furniture or electronics. While this is a limited option, shipping by Amtrak is a great solution for many who are driving to their destination and plan on purchasing apartment furnishings when they get there.

Total estimate: $580.

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  1. BklynBabe
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I want to “Thank You” for all of your information and the research you had to do to get it. You were very informative.

    Thanks :)

  2. Posted August 24, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Hey,I enjoyed reading your issue about moving,I’m having the exact same problem now .only I on a fixed income,and also a senior,and I have no help,I’m trying to move from Chicago, to California out of a storage ben and I have little money,what is a girl to do?,I only have a small amount, I lived in a studio. and I’m afraid of getting scammed,who do u trust?

  3. Tracey
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I just used Pods to move from Tennessee to Colorado and it cost me about $925. It was expensive but also very convenient being able to load and unload at your own house on your own schedule. I’ve moved many times by using a traditional self storage unit and moving truck and it’s such a hassle to have to load and unload twice. I plan to always use Pods for future moves. You can also save about 10% by using a promo code when you reserve your unit. I used code R101 and it really helped.

  4. Miachael Smith
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Watch out for PODS’ pricing. They don’t tell you that the “storage” price includes the shipping time too. There is in fact no such thing as a storage price. It is all pods usage time. They quoted me a storage price and after my pods left their warehouse enroute to my new home cross country, they charged me an additional “storage fee” of $487. This caused my check for my first month’s mortgage to bounce plus added over-draft fees from my bank and my lender. When I called PODS, they just said it was a valid fee and were very abrupt about it. They also have no supervisors you can talk to so you are just screwed. I don’t recommend PODS to anyone.

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