Your Detailed Breakdown of NYC Moving Costs

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world, not to mention one of the most densely populated with 8 million people crammed into 300 square miles. The average lease length in NYC is 4.1 years and around 31 percent of NYC renters lived in a different apartment a year ago. Is it any surprise that moving in NYC is a stressful and expensive experience?

Budgeting for your move can be a difficult task, especially when you haven’t figured out what you’re bringing with you or even where in NYC you plan on moving. One of the best ways to estimate your moving costs is to reach out to a professional NYC mover and request a quote. Even if you don’t have all of the details, many moving companies can provide a rough estimate based on the size of your apartment and the additional services you want to include.

If you’re really strapped for cash, you can go the DIY route, just make sure to get some friends to help and do plenty of stretching beforehand!

Average Professional Moving Costs in NYC

Many NYC renters decide to hire professional NYC movers for a variety of reasons, but the most common one is to offload the burden of loading and unloading a moving truck. If you’ve ever done a DIY move, you know how time-consuming and strenuous it is to move boxes and furniture. On top of that you have to find parking for a large truck (good luck finding one close to your apartment) and drive it through NYC traffic. It’s a stressful experience to say the least.

For many people, the benefits of hiring NYC movers outweigh the cost they have to pay. If you’re considering a move, remember that the price depends on whether you’re moving locally or long distance as well as the size of your move/apartment. Below are some average moving prices in NYC:

  • Studio – $400-$600
  • One-bedroom – $500-$800
  • Two-bedroom – $1,000-$1,500
  • Three-bedroom and above – $1,500+

If you’re moving from another state, starting costs will be much higher, generally starting at around $1,000 for a small one-bedroom apartment and going up to $15,000 for a large house.

These are just rough estimates and are only for the basic moving service. If you want to add on packing, unpacking, storage, and so on, you can expect your price to be much higher. You should also make sure to ask about any extra fees the movers might include such as stair fees, material fees, travel fees, etc. Many of the cheaper moving companies do not include these costs in their ads in order to attract new customers. Don’t sign anything until you have all the details!

Packing Supplies

Unless all of your worldly possessions can fit into a backpack or suitcase, chances are you will need to find or purchase some packing supplies. It’s easy for these costs to sneak up on you and you could end up paying over $300 on supplies alone if you’re not careful. So before you start buying boxes, tape, and other supplies make sure you know exactly what you plan on taking with you. There’s nothing worse than having too many extra boxes by the time you’re done packing.

You can save money here by finding strong, damage-free boxes from your office, neighbors, local stores, or even your recycling area. When thinking about the size and amount of boxes you need, remember that you want to make sure you don’t overload the boxes. Otherwise, they might break during the move. If you do end up with oversized boxes, use these for light items like your bedding and towels. Pack heavier items into smaller boxes. As a general rule, one shelf on a bookcase should fit into a medium-sized box.

While reused boxes are fine for most things, you should spring for newer boxes if you’re packing away fragile items. You can invest in speciality boxes to make sure your glassware and chinaware arrive at your new home undamaged.

Extra Services

Sometimes the basic moving package isn’t enough for your needs. If that’s the case, you should expect to set aside a bit more money if you plan on taking advantage of these options. Also, make sure that the movers you hire provide these services before you sign the contract! You don’t want to be taken by surprise on moving day.

Some of the most common additional services include:

  • Packing – most movers offer full and partial packing. Partial is a great idea if you need help with a specific room(s) or area(s) and don’t have the money for a full packing option. Speaking of, the full packing is exactly what you expect. The movers will pack everything in your home.
  • Unpacking – if you don’t have the time to unpack, you can have the movers do it for you. Make sure they know exactly where to put each box so they don’t place items where they don’t belong. You might still need to make some adjustments after, but you won’t have to stare at a mountain of boxes for days or weeks on end.
  • Storage – can’t move into your new apartment immediately? Then you’ll need to store your stuff somewhere! You can use a third-party company, but if you hire the movers, they will bring your belongings to and from the storage unit.
  • Full value protection – insure your belongings with moving insurance. You get a released value protection for free, but you’ll have to pay for the full option. Costs depend on the total value of your items. It’s not for everyone. If you only have some clothes and cheap furniture, stay with the partial valuation. But if you’re moving expensive items like TVs, cameras, fine china, etc. invest in the full valuation.
  • Plastic boxes – not everyone wants to deal with the mess of cardboard boxes after a move. If that sounds like you, you can see if the moving company provides plastic box rentals. These boxes are sturdy and waterproof so you know whatever is packed inside will be safe even during a snow or rainstorm. It’s a great option if you know you will unpack quickly as the box rentals charge on a daily basis.


Moving isn’t an easy job. It’s physically demanding and requires training on proper technique and safety regulations. Similar to tipping your waitstaff or taxi drive, it is customary to tip your movers if you are satisfied with their services. The customary amount is about $10-15 per person/per hour. You can also choose to tip them a percentage of the final bill. When tipping, you will want to have cash on hand and then give each member of the crew their tip. Do NOT give the total amount to the foreman/manager as there are some unscrupulous people out there who will take the entire amount for themselves.

While tipping is nice, it isn’t a requirement. If you feel the service was unsatisfactory, you do not need to tip. It might be a bit awkward, but you are not legally required to provide a tip. Don’t let the movers pressure you into giving you one or giving a bigger one. If they do, make sure to call the company immediately and inform them of the situation. Some reasons why you might not want to tip include:

  • The movers arrived late
  • They were unprofessional in their attitude
  • They did not provide the necessary services
  • They broke or lost something and did not assume responsibility

Ultimately it is your call whether to tip the movers or not. If you can’t afford it, you can always offer other rewards like non-alcoholic drinks and snacks and a great online review. Getting rid of some furniture? Ask the movers if they want to take it. Many will snatch it up if it is in good condition.

DIY Option

Hiring movers might not be in your budget, but there are still other options. Nowadays, truck rental companies offer add-ons like someone to help you load and unload your belongings. Of course, you can always just do all the work with the help of friends and family members. This route can save you thousands of dollars or it can cost you thousands depending on your booking. Always read the fine print and ask any questions if the website doesn’t provide a clear answer. If you’re moving locally, ask for free mileage. In many cases, you can rent a truck for as little as $90 for a local move.

Besides the more reasonable cost, moving yourself means you have flexibility in terms of what time you move and your move date. It also means all the responsibilities fall onto you. If that seems like too much of a hassle, then you’ll want to save up for a moving company.

Hire the Right Movers

There are dozens of moving companies in NYC, so it’s up to you to do your research and find the one that matches your needs and budget. Moving in NYC isn’t cheap, but if you can estimate how much you will spend, you can start saving well in advance. Once you’re ready to move, make sure to call up NYC Great Movers for a free estimate.


What if I change my mind about hiring movers?

You can always cancel, just make sure you know what their cancellation policy is. Most will provide a full refund of your deposit as long as you do so a few days before your move date. If you cancel a day before, you’ll be charged a fee.

Do moving companies provide packing supplies?

Yes, most movers sell packing supplies. These are the same ones they use if you ask them to pack your things, so you know they are sturdy. They do tend to cost more than if you buy them elsewhere, so keep that in mind.

What happens if a box I packed breaks?

If a box you pack broke, the movers will repack it in a box they have on hand. You will likely be charged a materials fee for the box.