Preowned Auto Logistics is OPEN and operating in strict compliance with all COVID-19 best practices. Please contact an Account Rep to learn what PAL is doing to keep you safe, and keep you rolling.

The Cost of Moving Across the Country (Podcast)

The Cost of Moving Across the Country (Podcast)

Mike Scenna, Sales Manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, talks with John Maher about the cost of cross country moves. They discuss various aspects of the move including the cost of shipping a vehicle versus driving it yourself.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Mike Scenna, Sales Manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Today our topic is the cost of moving across the country. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey John, how are you?

Cost of Hiring a Moving Company for a Cross-Country Move

John Maher: Good, thanks. So Mike, how much does it cost to hire a moving company to move all the way across the country?

Mike: Yeah. So if you’re looking to hire a moving company to do the whole thing, you want to be really hands off and just have a company take care of every element of moving across the country, you could spend upwards of $20,000 doing that.

It depends on the size of your house, how long you’ve been there, how much packing you want to do versus having the moving company do. This is a process that could take weeks, even months to get everything together, loaded up. And again, depending on the size of the house you’re in, this might be something that you need more than one truck to do. You’re going to need a crew of a bunch of different people. Yeah, it can get really expensive to hire a company to do something like this.

Cost of Renting a Truck for a Cross-Country Move

John: So say you don’t want to spend that much money and you think you can handle some of it yourself. Maybe you want to rent a truck or two and load it and drive it yourself… What are the costs of renting a moving truck in terms of the fees and also the gas that you have to spend on it?

Mike: Right, and this is the way you see most people do it, is rent a truck, try to do some of the stuff yourself, maybe hire some movers to help load the truck and also help unload the truck on the other end. You can certainly save money, but the costs add up pretty quickly when you’re doing it this way too.

You’ve got companies like U-Haul and Budget or something is another one of them. You can rent the truck yourself. You’re still looking at a few hundred dollars, close to $1000 just to rent the truck. The packing materials, that adds up too. That’s probably a few hundred dollars, three, four, maybe $500. And then gas, I mean, you’ve been out driving around in the world. You’ve seen how high that’s … What’s that up to? Depending where you are, 3.00 to 3.50 a gallon. So that’s going to be a few hundred dollars as well, getting across the country.

John: Right. If you’re driving 3000 miles across the country, say from the east coast to the west coast, that’s going to add up with the gas, especially in a big truck like that, that probably gets terrible gas mileage.

Mike: Right, right. Especially once it’s full of items, it’s heavier. Yeah, it gets expensive. That’s just the gas and the equipment rental. Now, like you just said, 3000 miles. How many times do you have to stop and stay at a hotel? How much food do you have to buy along the way? These are all things that people sometimes overlook, but they add up quickly. So again, you’re in definitely several thousands of dollars to do it that way as well.

Extra Moving Costs to Consider

John: What are some other types of costs for packing that are involved in moving your whole house? You’re completely packing up your house and moving from one place to another place. You mentioned packing materials and things like that. What costs are we looking at there?

Mike: Yeah, that’s one of those ones that, again, gets overlooked easily. It’s funny. I was in the moving industry myself and I actually just moved recently a couple weeks ago, and still forgot how much you spend on the materials, how many times you make trips back to the store to buy more boxes, more paper and tape.

I mean, I spent probably about $600 to $700 just now moving to get all that stuff, and I don’t think that’s uncommon. You don’t realize how much stuff you have in your home until you start packing it up and you realize that you’ll continue to fill boxes. And it just never seems to empty all the cabinets in every corner out. It just keeps coming and coming and coming.

John: Right. And you’re like, where did all this stuff come from? I mean, especially if you’re in a house that you’ve been in for possibly even decades or something like that, you’ve accumulated a lot of things that you’ve forgotten about for many, many years.

Mike: Right, yeah. It becomes like a scavenger hunt and you’ll be like, “What’s this? I don’t even remember this.” And you keep putting it into boxes and again, running out and buying more to pack up more stuff.

Cost of Cleaning When Moving

John: Do people have to clean their old house after they’ve packed up everything? Do they then have to clean it for whoever is maybe purchasing the house? Or especially if you have an apartment, certainly you’d have to clean the apartment so that you don’t have to forgo your security deposit or something like that. Are cleaning fees part of it as well?

Mike: Yeah. So if you’re selling your home, so someone else is buying it, you should do it. You should clean. I think it’s usually part of most purchase and sale agreements and just proper etiquette. I think it’s good practice to just make sure the house is clean when everything’s moved out. But for an apartment, certainly most likely you have a security deposit on the line, so you’re really going through everything with a fine tooth comb to make sure that you’re going to get every dollar back from that security deposit.

So that is something that you do need to consider when you’re getting towards the end and you feel as though you’re finished up, you do have to remember you might have to hire a cleaning company or spend another half a day making sure the place is looking good.

Cost of Moving Furniture Versus Selling It and Replacing It at the New Location

John: Right. Might you have to even purchase some new furniture or something like that for your new home? I mean, that could be one way to avoid having to move all of your furniture, would be to maybe sell it or get rid of it on one end, but then that means you have this added expense of having to buy new furniture for your new house.

Mike: Yeah. I’ve gotten that question a lot actually. Is it cheaper to sell furniture and buy furniture on the other end than it is to move it? You can look at it a few different ways and it really comes out to, depending on the quality of furniture you want to buy, it usually is pretty similar in cost. It is pretty expensive.

The furniture takes up the most space on the truck. So that adds up quickly and can potentially put you over the edge to get another truck and another set of movers or drivers, more fuel. So it can add up, but selling the furniture is a lot of work too. You might have to pay fees for posting it in certain areas to get it sold, and then you have to locate furniture at your destination, and depending on the delivery fees and options they have there, the costs are going to add up quickly too, to get that new furniture.

Cost of Shipping Vehicles Cross Country

John: And then lastly, in terms of moving your cars, talk a little bit about the cost of car shipping and what’s involved in the cost of moving one or maybe even multiple cars that you have in your family across the country.

Mike: Yeah. So as far as shipping a car, we’re talking about across the country, so somewhere around 3000 miles, something like the Boston area to Los Angeles. Right now in this market, you’d probably spend about $2200 to $2300 to do something like that. If you had multiple cars, you can certainly save some money, as you and I have talked about in the past.

That’s enticing to a driver to pick up multiple cars in one location and bring multiple cars to another location. It’s just less stops they have to make on the pickup end and less stops on the delivery end. So you could save a couple hundred dollars as you start to add more cars to that shipment, for sure.

Other Considerations When Shipping Cars Cross Country

John: Any other considerations in terms of car shipping? I know that some people might think it’s better to just take their cars and maybe they hire the mover to move all their stuff and drive the truck, but then they want to just drive their cars themselves. Are there any issues with that?

Mike: So you take that number that we just talked about, so 2200 to $2300 to have it shipped. A lot of people think, okay, I’ll save some money and drive the car and follow the moving truck across the country, but there’s just all of those costs that you have to consider the whole trip.

So if it’s going to be three or four days, that’s three or four nights at hotels, that’s three meals each day, so you’re looking at 10, 12 meals along the way. Gas, like we just talked about, that’s going to add up. 3000 miles in a short amount of time is also not great for your vehicle either. I mean, you’re going to depreciate it by 3000 miles, but you also run the risk of having to have a repair done, an issue with the car happening along the way.

So it’s another one of those things that you want to plan properly and consider how much is your time worth. What’s the cost of the plane ticket and getting the vehicle on a truck and shipped out there and having that peace of mind to just fly out there, have your car waiting there for you, you’re ready for the movers to come. You most likely have also saved some money doing it that way.

How Car Shipping Can Make Moves Easier

John: Right. And then you’re maybe a little bit more ready to accept all of that stuff and start moving it into your new house and setting it all up, as opposed to, like you said, taking the last three or four days to drive all the way across the country, and then you’re exhausted, and probably the last thing you want to do to start unpacking boxes.

Mike: Right, exactly. Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do. So at the end of the day, no matter which way you decide to go, it is going to be expensive. So it’s good to just prepare, almost over prepare, and not really put any unnecessary or unneeded burdens on yourself. It’s not going to be easy.

Contact  PAL Today

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Of course. Thanks, John.

John: And for more information, or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at or call (877) 542-1955.