The Most Common Moving Fees You Need To Know About

One thing that goes hand in hand with the moving companies, are their familiar, but less popular, fees and hidden charges. Like in every other industry, there is a price for everything, but in moving it is really hard to determine the exact cost of the moving project because too many factors can affect the price, increase it, prolong the time that is needed for completion of the move etc. Moving fees are not that bad as long as the consumer that is utilizing the moving service is aware of them.

a girl in a box

Unfortunately, there is a serious number of the moving companies on the market that are not being very clear and straightforward about the fees and charges that are move related. Exactly this is ruining the reputation of the moving industry and people are, not that rare, afraid of the move and everything that goes along.

But, not all is that black. There is white and there is gray. You just need to find the balance. Balance will show itself once you step into the market, start researching, reading and asking people about their experience with moving projects and red flags that are tied to moving companies.

What you will need to find are motivated movers who will put your needs at the first place, whose goal will be satisfied clients and a clear reputation. Professional movers won’t allow themselves to lose their reputation over a nickel and dime.

Now, let’s see what are those infamous fees that are related to every moving project, and that everyone will encounter.

Types of fees

calculator and money

There are many types of different fees. Some are related to time, minimum, mileage, special services, tools exploitation, used materials etc.

For the beginning, let’s differentiate two major types of moving quotes:

  1. Quote by the hour
  2. Flat fee

Quote by the hour

Those companies that charge by the hour will ask many questions about your move in order to determine the hourly rate that they will charge.
The price by the hour will depend on the size of the move, type of service, distance between the origin location and delivery location, the date, the day of the week etc.

Once they determine the hourly rate, they won’t say how many hours it will take them to complete the project. To expect that would be unfair because there are many things that can affect the duration of the move.

Flat fee

There are companies that will provide you with a flat price for the whole project. These quotes are usually higher than if you go by the hour, but the company needs to have some insurance in case that the move takes longer than anticipated, if something goes wrong etc.
Companies that charge by the hour usually provide an in home estimate. They send an estimator that will take a look at your home, take notes about the specifics of the move, and creates a flat price.

Both quotes have their advantages and disadvantages. Which way you will go, will be completely up to you.
The fees that we will talk about can be associated with both!

Fees related to the minimum


Fees that are related to the minimum are usually associated with quotes that are provided by the hour. Residential movers will provide you with an hourly rate. Your final bill equation will be:
Hourly rate x number of hours.
For almost every move, there will be a certain minimum charge displayed in hours. For example, your relocation specialist will tell you that the hourly rate for two movers and a truck is $120 an hour, with a minimum of three hours.
That means that even if your move takes two hours, you won’t pay $240, you will pay for three hours- $360.
It is simple, it is not worth their while to go out on a moving project that will be completed in an hour, when they can go on another one that will take more than five hours.
That’s why almost all moving companies have a certain “minimum hour charge”. Some have two hours, some three, some four etc.

Mileage fees

km sign

It is obvious that there will be some mileage included between the pick up and delivery location, your current home and the new one. Here is where mileage fees are born!
Company needs to pay their movers, and the fuel for the truck, and on top of that to create a profit. That’s why mileage fees are not charged in a way to cover the trip only. You are paying for a professional mover, not for a taxi service.
There are many types of mileage fees. Some companies have one type of feem, some different, but some of them have various mileage fees depending on the mileage between two locations.

The most common ones are:

  • Flat fuel fee (mileage fee)
  • Double Drive Time Fee
  • Parking to Parking

Flat Fuel fee (flat mileage fee)

If the company that you chose decided to charge a flat fee for the fuel, it will be either a one time fee applied on top of the final bill, or a flat increase on the hourly rate.

One time fuel fee

When your local movers determine the amount of the fee, they will tell you that once the final bill is calculated, there will be a flat $?? fee added on top of the final bill. How much will that be? No idea! It completely depends on the policy of the company that you reserved!
Maybe you should first hear them out about these fees before you make a reservation, because it can happen that you won’t like the amount of the mileage fee that they will impose on you.

Addition to the hourly rate

If you start the quoting process without informing your furniture movers about the mileage, maybe you will hear the wrong price.
The initial charge by the hour can increase if the mileage between two locations becomes significant. For example, If after they provide a $120 hourly rate, you mention the mileage, they can reach out to you with a new rate of $150 an hour for example. And that is normal and usual in the moving industry.
As long as they are being clear about the charges, and as long as you are not withholding back any information that is important and move related, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker because all companies are charging for the mileage and gas, one way or another.


Double Drive Time Fee

Double Drive Time Fee is also called California Double Drive Time Fee, but it can be applied by a company outside of Cali as well.

Double drive time is counted like this: The driving time between the pick up and the drop off location will be doubled so they can cover the cost of their truck coming back, and is applied on top of the minimum. 

For example, if the driving time between origin and delivery is 30 minutes, you will be looking at an additional 60 minute charge on top of the minimum for labor.

If the minimum that this company has is three hours, this basically means that you will be paying for at least four hours of service with them after the DDT fee is accounted for.

double drive time fee

Double Drive Time Fee is not the most popular one because it doesn’t care about the traffic. If the truck gets stuck in a traffic jam, the clock is still ticking and the time that needs to be doubled in the end is increasing.
That’s why, if you have a chance, try to avoid double drive time fees, or to come to an agreement with your motivated movers to pay for a flat fee rather than for a double drive time fee.

Parking to Parking

This fee became quite popular lately. Companies started offering lower hourly rates, but they added a parking to parking fee so that they don’t have to cover the expense of an “empty” trip from their facility to your pick up location, and from your drop off location back to their facility.

Parking to parking fee pretty much means that the clock for the move starts once your team drives out of their storage/parking, and stops when they complete the move and drive back into their facility.


It can be tricky to control this because you can’t tell them which route to take, if they will get stuck in traffic, if they will take a break etc.

Conclusion is that, out of all mileage fees that were mentioned, the most painless one is a flat mileage fee. You will know from the very beginning how much you are paying for the fuel, and that’s it. Traffic can’t harm you that much and you won’t depend on the driver’s capabilities.

Service fees


Depending on the services that your move will need to be supported by, you may encounter some additional fees like:

  • Packing fees
  • Stairs fees
  • Handling fees etc.

Packing fees

If your moving is happening too fast, you don’t have time for packing, or you don’t want to handle it, motivated movers will do it for you.


There is a fee for that.

Like for everything else.

Special services, additional services, are always adding up to the hourly rate or on top of the final bill. How much? You will need to consult your relocation specialist, but besides paying for packers and movers, there will be charges, probably, for:

  • Boxes
  • Packing materials
  • Protective materials.

Every company has its own policy when it comes to these charges, so they are not pre-set for everyone.


Stairs fees

Living on a higher floor with no elevator available can imply that your apartment movers can add some fees related to the stairs.
Usually, they don’t charge for the first and second floor, but when we are talking about more than one flight of stairs, it is quite possible that your moving costs will increase a little bit.
These charges are not that significant, but it is important to mention them because they are also adding up. This little can be too much for someone’s tight budget!

Handling fees

Handling fees are those that are related to the furniture, Handling fees can be added if:

  • There are items that are odd shaped and difficult to carry/maneuver
  • There are pieces that are overweight (each moving company has its weight limit)
  • There are expensive and specialized furniture, or equipment pieces like: work out equipment, treadmills, weights and large dumbbells, pianos, pool tables, chandeliers, tool boxes, barbecue with a gas tank, fish tanks etc.

Handling fees for items like these can vary, from $50 up to $450-$500, depending on the value, weight and the nature of the item and the moving project.

Important thing is to be aware of the market, its offers, good sides and the bad ones. Equally important is to do a nice research before you hire a moving company, because explaining this service won’t be easy. You will need an experienced customer support agent or relocation specialist that will be willing to explain everything in detail, and not to be lazy to repeat the conversation again to clear all of your doubts and answer all of your questions- and this is something that we can be PROUD OF.

Call us to find out why!