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Household Goods Moving Expenses

Table of Contents

“How much will this cost?” 

This is typically the first thing corporate clients ask when hiring movers. Estimating the cost of moving your belongings is more complicated than it would seem. Thus, in order to provide an accurate estimate, professional movers need detailed info about each move.

Distance and weight, which define the “linehaul charge,” are the key cost drivers for moving household items. Linehaul charges are calculated depending on a move’s overall weight and distance. However, additional costs and expenses may apply based on the movers’ requirements to complete the relocation, location-specific difficulties, and other factors.

Employee relocation estimates and bills from moving companies can be challenging to understand, as many costs and fees are industry-specific. Since the early 2000s, when the moving industry was deregulated, discount rates have been less of a deciding factor for businesses when purchasing moving services. Large discounts may appear enticing at first, but they don’t mean anything until you know the whole base moving cost that is being discounted.

Before determining whether a discount would make that provider’s estimate the better “bargain” compared to other prospective relocation and moving partners, it is important to know what the provider would charge for the move and the associated fees.

The following are some of the most frequent line item costs and fees you may come across while evaluating quotes for employee household items moves.


These are moving costs associated with any additional services the customer may have requested or incurred in order to complete the relocation.

1. Additional Labor, Specialty Services, and Waiting Time

This fee may apply if the movers are required to disassemble or build unique items (such as bed frames), provide or perform additional work, or if you need extra time to receive your shipment at your new residence.

2. Weekend and Holiday Pickup and Delivery Options

This one needs no explanation. The customer will be charged more if the relocation is scheduled for a holiday or weekend.

3. Storage-in-Transit

This fee is charged when the movers provide temporary storage for your belongings. Items that are being moved from one location to another may be temporarily stored in a third location along the route. Moving costs for this service vary widely from one city or metropolitan area to another.

4. Transportation Fees for Pickup and Delivery of Shipments Held in Storage

This fee is charged to corporate clients when the carrier provides pickup or delivery service between the storage facility and the client’s residence. This is a separate charge from the storage fee mentioned above since; unlike the storage fee, it covers the moving expenses involved with the transportation from residence to storage or storage to the residence. Charges are often based on the distance between the storage facility and the customer’s residence, as well as the zip code of the storage location.

5. Pickup and Delivery Employed at Self-Storage and Third-Party Warehouses

This item applies when the carrier is asked to enter the warehouse space rented by the shipper to either remove or place things in the storage space. Charges are assessed based on the storage facility’s location and the weight of the items stored.

6. Stop-offs and Diversions

The company may impose a diversion fee if the new delivery address is further away than the original one. Any extra miles driven to deliver the product to its destination will result in the mover charging a fee to cover the cost of fuel and transportation.

For moves with many stops, a stop-off fee is charged (i.e., more than one pick-up or more than one delivery). When moving to multiple locations, the movers run the risk of incurring additional delays and losing more time than usual. The stop-off charge acts as a hedge against these potential losses.

7. Weight Additives with Light and Bulky Items

As previously noted, the cost of moving household goods depends heavily on their weight. If you are moving and need to transfer a vehicle, boat, hot tub, or other items of significant size or weight, you may incur this fee.

Insurance and Associated Costs

These are charges incurred by the carrier for insurance-related costs and for paying potential claims for damage or loss. Valuation is a service that is legally required for moving companies. Moving companies do not provide insurance; instead, they give tariff-based loss and damage liability, which they refer to as “value.” There is no standard for valuation quality or cost across suppliers. Make sure you compare the valuation being quoted and the fee.

Surcharge for Insurance

This fee is charged to cover the moving company’s cost of acquiring business insurance.

Other Fees Associated with Transportation

The costs of transporting a shipment from its original location to its final destination are included here. These fees are meant to compensate for situations in which it would be more difficult or expensive for a moving company to complete the job.

1. Shuttle Transportation

Some residences may require a shuttle service to get to them. This fee is charged to clients in certain situations to compensate for the complexity and additional shuttle costs. In dense urban settings, a moving truck might not be able to get close enough to the house for reasonable loading or unloading; hence shuttles are often required. In addition, gated communities with restrictive homeowner association laws toward moving trucks and neighborhoods with long, winding driveways or roads that are difficult to navigate may necessitate shuttles.

2. Fees for Both the Origin and the Final Destination

This service fee covers situations that may make the relocation more difficult at the previous or new location. Pricing is predetermined and varies by location. The fee is meant to reimburse the movers for the extra work involved in the move, such as navigating stairs or elevators or transporting heavy items over long distances. Carrying large items is included in the fee.

3. Price Adjustment for Fuel (Surcharge)

This fee is based on a fuel pricing algorithm that moving companies use to adjust transportation expenses by a percentage. This is determined by the cost of diesel fuel. If the average national cost of diesel fuel exceeds a predetermined base price per gallon, the transportation charges are adjusted by a percentage. This fee is intended to help drivers balance the cost of fuel.


Moving expenses and fees can be layered based on a range of criteria, such as the complexity of a relocation, geography, economic factors, insurance or valuations, and others.

Discounts, however, can be mostly meaningless if you don’t know what a specific provider charges for the various line items.

Suppose Provider A costs thousands more than Provider B for a specific service but offers you a larger discount. In that case, you may still spend more than if you went with Provider B. Importantly, your moving company can always provide you with a published document called a “tariff” that details all of its charges, fees, and pricing process.