Estimate Your Moving Costs in 3 Steps

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Estimate Your Moving Costs in 3 Steps

Staff Writer · Jan 4, 2010

Totaling your moving costs is much easier to do if you follow a step-by-step process. You can use a moving calculator online, or you could take these 3 steps to estimate your moving costs.

1. Total Your Transportation Costs

If you’re moving yourself, you may not be able to fit everything in your car. If you’re thinking about renting a truck, you’ll have to total the costs associated with renting it and transporting your belongings.

  • Get three estimates on the costs of renting the truck, including insurance fees. Choose the best estimate and use that to figure out your costs.
  • Estimate how much it will cost you to gas up along the way, plus add an extra full tank for when you return the truck. The rental company should give you a rough estimate of how much gas will cost based on cents per mileage.
  • Add that to the truck rental and you should have a rough estimate of your transportation costs. Moving companies will estimate these charges for you, so you can skip this step if you’re hiring one.

2. Total Costs of Moving Boxes

Buying moving boxes can add up, especially if you buy new ones. If you’re a family that’s moving, you may need forty or more boxes, including several additional ones for each family member. Moving companies make these available to their customers, but you will pay a higher price. They’ll total the costs for you in a written estimate based on how many rooms you’re moving, or they might ask you specifics about your items.

If you’re moving yourself, or if you want to find cheaper boxes, you can buy some at an office supply store, or check online ads on www.craigslist.com. There are even some online retailers that sell used boxes, such as www.usedcardboardboxes.com. Figure out how many boxes you’ll need for each room and check prices for moving boxes. You could also set a limit on how many boxes you want to move, and total the costs for those. If you plan to mail your boxes, include the total shipping costs here. You can estimate your shipping costs by using the online calculators at www.usps.com, www.ups.com or www.fedex.com.

3. Total Costs of Packing Supplies and Services

You’ll need basic supplies to help you pack. These may include:

  • Tape and tape dispenser
  • Packing paper and bubble wrap
  • Mattress covers
  • Box cutter
  • Moving blankets
  • Straps
  • Dolly
  • Notebooks and pens
  • Shipping or box labels

Go through your home and see what you already have, and estimate the costs of the packing supplies you’ll need to buy. If you’re short on time or don’t have easy access to moving boxes or supplies, you can buy moving kits on www.uboxes.com and similar websites that will ship everything right to your door. You could also pick up a kit at your truck rental store. If you’re hiring a moving company to pack your things, they’ll estimate the costs of packing and include the supplies.

Once your have the costs of steps 1 to 3, you’ll have a good estimate of your moving costs. Don’t forget to add any miscellaneous costs that are unique to your move.

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