Top 6 Hidden Costs of Moving and How to Avoid Them

When hiring professional movers in New York City, you’re probably already expecting sky high prices when you call in for a quote. Depending on what moving company you use and the services you request, you might end up paying as much as $3,000 for an in-state move. However, that might not include all of the fees. Raise your hand if you’ve ended up with a final bill that is hundreds of dollars over the initial estimate.

If you’ve lived in New York City for a number of years, it’s almost a rite of passage to get fleeced by New York City movers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all residential moving companies will try to squeeze you for more money. In fact, the reputable ones will be upfront about their costs and will generally explain every line item to you. That doesn’t mean that your move won’t end up costing more than you thought as there are still a lot of little fees that can add to your total.

Stair Fees

Probably the most common extra charge that you’ll see when moving in New York City are stair fees. Chances are you’re either moving from a walkup or to one (or both). Moving, in general, is a difficult job and the added effort of lugging heavy boxes and furniture up multiple flights means many professional moving companies in New York City will charge a premium per flight.

The worst thing you can do is try to hide the fact that you have to move up and down a six-story walkup. The movers will add an extra fee after the move adding at least $75 to your total if not more. With that said, not all moving companies charge extra for stairs so make sure to ask before you book. If they do charge, let them know how many flights they will have to go up and down.

Even if you have elevators in the building, you should talk to building management to see if there are any limitations you need to worry about. Some high rise buildings require moving companies to have certificate of insurance (COI) while others might have limited loading times. If you don’t follow the appropriate steps, you might not be able to move in and you’ll have to deal with the extra cost of storage.

Packing Services and Supplies

Some NYC moving companies provide full-service moving, which includes packing. As you might expect, having professionals pack your belongings you’ll have to pay a premium. It’s a great option for people who don’t have the time to pack everything themselves and have extra money to pay for this service. In addition to paying for the mover’s time you’ll also be charged for the packing materials the movers use as well.

If you’re on a budget, you will want to pack everything yourself. Make sure that you pack everything, otherwise the movers can and will charge extra for packing and material fees. Even if you do pack yourself, you’ll have to consider the cost of buying packing materials. While you can reuse some older boxes, it’s a good idea to invest in good-quality supplies such as bubble wrap, tape, and even boxes. The better your supplies, the more protected your belongings.

Disassembly and Reassembly of Furniture

If you have large pieces of furniture that require disassembly and reassembly to get through the door, you might be hit with an extra charge. Items like beds, couches, dressers, and wardrobes often need to be taken apart in order to be wrapped and transported safely. While most professional movers will disassemble your items, they will charge a steep fee depending on the complexity of the item.

There are valid reasons why  you might want professionals to disassemble your furniture. For example, you might not want to damage your furniture when taking it apart or maybe you don’t have the appropriate tools. Moving professionals will always have the necessary items and expertise to break everything down and set it up again. If you do need help, you should always let the NYC movers know when giving them a breakdown of services that you need so you’re not surprised by any extra fees after you’ve moved.


Most reputable moving companies will have some form of insurance to protect your belongings should they get damaged. However, the basic coverage will only pay out $0.60 per pound per item. That means if your fine china is accidentally destroyed in the move, you’re literally only getting cents to replace a highly valuable item.

Many insurance companies do offer some called Full Value Protection, but it does cost extra. With that said, you can rest assured that if anything is damaged or lost during the move it will get replaced for the full-value of the item. If the movers do not offer this insurance, you can go to a third party company and pick one up yourself.

Long Carry Fees

Another common fee you’ll see tacked onto your bill, especially in New York City, is something called long carry fees. These are added to your bill when the movers cannot park their moving trucks close enough to your doorstep. Now what does close actually mean? That depends on the mover with some charging the fee if their truck is further than 90 feet away.

Considering the traffic, congestion, parking situation, potential roadblocks, and more issues you deal with in New York City, chances are you might end up with long carry fees on your bill. Not every mover charges these fees so when you call you should ask if the company does tack these charges on to the bill after a move.

Late Minute Cancellation

Sometimes life happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. Ideally, you would be able to give the movers some notice if you need to cancel or change the date. Most require a couple days notice to not incur any additional fees. The second you learn about any changes, update the NYC moving company immediately. The faster you let them know, the better.

However, if it can’t be avoided you will have to pay cancellation fees. Again, the amount will differ between companies so you should carefully read your agreement to see what their policies are. Some might charge a percentage of your quote while others will charge a flat rate of a couple hundred dollars.

Rush Moving

In general, you want to start contacting moving companies at least six weeks before you move. You want to get an early start to make sure you have enough time to review the estimates, ask any pertinent questions, and review their policies. If you plan on moving during the summer, you should start looking even earlier as customer volume tends to be higher during the warmer months.

With that said, life can sometimes take you by surprise. Maybe you have a bad roommate situation that you need to leave immediately or you broke up with your significant other and need to find another place ASAP. The best thing you can do is reach out to a moving company as soon as possible. Even if you’re pressed for time, make sure to do your research. Less savory moving companies will take advantage of the fact that you need to move out quickly and charge obscene prices. Take the time to look into their online reviews and check to make sure they have proper licenses and insurance.


Moving in New York City for stairs, COI, and gratuity. All of this is outlined in your agreement, so make sure to read it carefully and call if you have any question

  • How does NYC Great Movers calculate how much a move will cost?

We take into account the amount of packages and furniture you have as well as stair fees and provide you with a flat rate quote.

  • How do I know if I can trust NYC Great Movers?

You can check out our reviews on Yelp to read all of the glowing reviews! You can also look us up from our doesn’t have to be expensive. While hiring local NYC movers isn’t cheap per se, it can save you a lot of time and stress so long as you ask the right questions. When talking to a moving company, make sure to ask about extra charges and whether they charge a flat rate or hourly rate and if the estimate they provide is binding or not.

Chances are your moving will still end up being more expensive than you expected even if you know about all the potential fees the moving company might charge. After all, you have to factor in things like replacing furniture you might have tossed to tipping the movers for their work. To avoid racking up debt, pad your savings account in the weeks or months leading up to the move. That way you’ll have a bit of leeway to absorb any additional costs.