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Moving Costs – Movers vs. Renting a Truck vs. Containers

What you'll learn: How to compare moving costs from trucks, to DIY, and renting a container


When it comes to moving, there are many options to choose from. Some people prefer to hire a professional moving company that take care of everything — from packing up the house to transporting belongings and setting them up in the new home.

Others opt for the DIY approach, which involves renting a truck or a container and doing all of the work themselves. Those who want a bit more flexibility with their time may choose to rent a moving container — an effective way to move their belongings without worrying about driving a big truck or hiring movers.

But which method is the most cost effective? The answer is more complex than you might think!

In this article, we'll go over the pros and cons of hiring movers, renting a truck and using a container in order to help you decide which method is best for your move.

Average Cost To Move a Three-Bedroom House

The average home varies in size, but we'll use a three-bedroom house for this example. Such a home likely has about 7,000-10,000 pounds of furniture and belongings.

The cost to move a three-bedroom house depends on the size of the home and the distance of the move.

Local moves are typically charged by the hour while long-distance moves are charged by the pound.

The average cost to move a three-bedroom house can range from $2,500 to $10,500. There are several factors that may play into the cost, such as:

  • The amount and weight of the belongings to move
  • The distance of the move (regional vs. long distance)
  • The season of the year (busy vs. slow seasons)
  • How many movers are needed to complete the move
  • The type of moving truck or container used

When moving a three-bedroom house, it's essential to consider the cost of the move and the time and effort.

Hiring movers is typically more expensive upfront but can save you time and energy during your move. Renting a truck or container is less expensive upfront, but you'll need to spend hours driving and steering a large vehicle.

Doing the work yourself is free, but you may need to recruit friends or family to help with the heavy lifting.

How Much Do Professional Movers Cost?

Professional movers are in high demand due to the time and energy they can save you during your move. While you can rent a truck and load up your belongings on your own, a professional moving company can provide you with customized services to fit your needs.

The average cost to hire movers for a three-bedroom house is $2,500-$10,000. This price varies depending on the number of movers needed and the distance of your move.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Professional Movers

There are many pros and cons to consider.


  • Professional movers can help save you time and energy during your move. They are experienced in loading, driving, and unloading trucks, so they are able to get the job done faster than if you handled these tasks on your own.
  • Hiring movers can also help to protect your belongings. They have the proper equipment to move heavy furniture and boxes safely and are insured in case of any accidents.
  • You may have more peace of mind knowing your belongings are in the hands of professionals.
  • Professional movers often bring their own truck and equipment to help you move, so you don't have to rent anything.


  • Hiring movers can be expensive, especially if you are moving a long distance.
  • You may have to give up some control over your belongings during the move. Professional movers may not be able to accommodate special requests, such as placing furniture in a specific room or unpacking boxes for you.
  • There is always a risk that something could get lost or damaged during the move.

Knowing the risks and benefits of hiring professional movers can help you decide if this option is right for you. If you are moving a long distance or have a lot of heavy furniture, hiring professionals may be worth the cost.

Cost of Renting a Truck for a Three-Bedroom House

If you aren't ready to invest in movers, you will likely need to rent a truck to move your belongings.

Different moving truck companies offer different sizes of trucks to accommodate different sizes of homes. For a three-bedroom house, you will likely need a 26-foot truck.

The cost to rent a 26-foot truck typically includes a daily rental fee as well as a mileage fee.

The price of renting a truck also varies depending on the time of year and location. Busy seasons, such as summer and holidays, may be more expensive, so keep in mind that you may be able to save some money by moving during the off-season.

Local moves make renting a truck quite affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $100 per day, plus gas. The price will increase when you need to drive the truck a long distance.

For example, renting a 26-foot truck for an interstate move can cost around $2,000-$4,000. This price includes the daily rental fee, gas, and mileage.

If you are moving a long distance, it's important to factor in the cost of renting a truck before deciding on professional movers.

What To Know About Renting a Truck

If you are considering the option of renting a truck to move your belongings, here are some essential things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you research different moving companies to find the best deal.
  • Factor in the cost of gas when calculating how much it will be to rent the truck.
  • Try not to drive an overloaded truck, as this can increase your gas mileage and potentially damage your belongings.
  • Take the time to read the rental contract carefully to understand all of the terms, including any fees or penalties for late returns.

By taking these steps, you can be prepared for a successful move, get the best deal on renting a truck and avoid any stressful surprises on moving day!

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Container?

The third option for those looking for an alternative to professional movers is renting a container. This option is best for those who have a lot of belongings or are moving a long distance.

The two main types of containers are storage containers and portable storage units. Storage containers are typically larger and made of metal while portable storage units are smaller and made of plastic.

The cost to rent a container varies depending on the size and type of container you choose and the length of time you need it for.

Storage containers typically cost around $100-$200 per month while portable storage units may be more expensive, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 for a long-distance move.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Container To Move

There are many advantages to choosing  to rent a container as your moving solution. Some of the main pros include:

  • You can take your time packing and unpacking, which gives you more control over how much or little you want help with.
  • It is often cheaper than hiring professionals if you have a lot of large or heavy belongings.
  • You can choose to store your container at a storage facility or have it dropped off wherever you need it.

However, there are also some disadvantages of renting a container that you should keep in mind. Some of these include:

  • You will be responsible for loading and unloading the container yourself, which may not be ideal if you have a lot of heavy belongings.
  • You will need to have a place to store the container — either at your new home or at a storage facility.
  • If you are moving a long distance, there may be additional fees for transport and delivery.
  • A container is also usually not climate controlled and if you leave items in a container for extended period of time it may begin to smell stale.

Before renting a container, make sure you understand all of the pros and cons to ensure it is the best solution for your needs.

How To Save Money Moving Across the Country

Ultimately, the cost of renting a truck, hiring professional movers or renting a container varies depending on your specific moving situation. However, there are some tips you can use to save money when moving across the country.

Some of the best ways to save money on a long-distance move include:

  1. Getting quotes from multiple companies to compare rates.
  2. Looking for discounts or coupons that can help you save on the cost of your move.
  3. Asking friends or family members if they know of anyone in the area who could help with the move.
  4. Packing lightly to avoid paying for extra storage or weight fees.
  5. Shipping items instead of taking them with you to save on space.

PenFed is Here!

Hopefully, this article has given you some helpful information so you can choose the best way to make your move. Consider it an adventure!


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1Rates are updated daily at 10:15am EST. The advertised rates and points are subject to change. The information provided is based on discount point, which equals percent of the loan amount, and assumes the purpose of the loan is to purchase a property with a 30-year, conforming, fixed-rate loan. Loan amount of $400,000; loan-to-value ratio of 75%; credit score of 760; and DTI of 18% or less. The property is an existing single-family home and will be used as a primary residence. The advertised rates are based on certain assumptions and loan scenarios, and the rate you may receive will depend on your individual circumstances, including your credit history, loan amount, down payment, and our internal credit criteria. Other rates, points, and terms may be available. All loans are subject to credit and property approval.