Do Long-Distance Moving Companies Charge By Weight?

Do Long-Distance Moving Companies Charge By Weight?

Yes. Long-distance moving companies charge per weight. Now, your next question is – why? To simply answer this; long-distance moves are charged based on weight because it is mandated by the Department of Transportation.

If you are partnering with a moving company, and they mention that they are licensed, but didn’t offer their quote on weight, they are probably not reliable and are to be considered rogue movers. These rogue movers are the companies that will quote you a price, too ridiculous to be true, and then when your shipments reach them, they inflate the price.

Licensed movers know better than to go against the guidelines of the Department of Transportation. While local moving companies normally charge hourly rates, long-distance moving companies often charge by the load – $2,000 to $5,000 per shipment, to be precise.

This implies that, regardless of the quantity of stuff you own, the weight is all that matters. Continue reading for more breakdowns!

How Do Long-Distance Moving Companies Charge?

During the long-distance moves, moving companies will charge per weight of shipments, the distance those shipments are going, and any extra or accessorial costs that may come up. For a local move, most moving companies will charge by the hour and calculate the estimated moving cost depending on the number of movers and vehicles required for how long.

Moving companies will charge different hourly rates for different numbers of movers. The hourly rate will also go up if more moving vehicles are required. Some local moving companies may also charge you a flat rate. The Bill of Lading will contain every cost charged to the customer and will be provided for you. The two major cost factors during a move to a long-distance location are weight and distance.

The more goods you have or more distance they are traveling, the more cost you will pay. Since the customer is not charged by the hour, the moving company will charge for some things that take more time such as long carries, stairs, and shuttle services.

Below are a few common extra and accessorial charges to watch out for on your long-distance moving Bill of lading:   

  • Advanced charges: These are the third-party services that a mover will pay for upfront, and then charge the customer once the job is completed. For instance, if a moving company has to bring in a special moving company to transport something huge, the mover will pay for such service and add to the customer’s bill.
  • Packing services: During a long-distance move, it is popular to have the movers pack your delicate goods for you. Since the belongings are moving on a long distance, the consumer’s best option is to allow a professional company to handle packing to lower the chances of damage.
  • Packing materials: Any packing supplies the moving company use such as tape, moving boxes, and bubble wrap, the cost will be charged to the customer.
  • Long carries: This is if the hallway in your home is long or the moving truck is packed far away from your home due to space or permit issues.
  • Stair charges: Because more time is needed to carry goods up and down the stairs, movers will possibly charge for stair carries
  • Elevator charges: The use of an elevator to go to and from your apartment with furniture will also take more time than if the home is ground-floor, so you will pay extra.
  • Shuttle services: These are if your driveway is long or a case where the moving vehicle can’t park close to the front door, but another smaller vehicle can. The furniture or other goods would be transported from the moving vehicle to the home’s front door.
  • Parking permits: If the mover requires parking permits for the moving vehicle at any location of the move, those permit costs are often paid by the customer.
Pro Tips

Pro Tips

There are long-distance moving companies that will charge precisely depending on the items mentioned above depending on the rates they have on their tariff, and some charge a flat rate for your relocation, but also kind of based on the items mentioned above.

Difference between Weight and Cubic Feet Moving Estimates

Whether you are charged by weight or cubic feet, why does it matter? For long-distance moves, a rogue moving company will do all sorts to overcharge you no matter whether you are quoted by weight or volume. Like we always mention, your concentration should be on hiring a reliable moving company.

Weight-Based Moving Estimates

Quoting moves by weight is the standard in the moving industry and you will discover that most moving companies will, by default, provide quotes based on the weight of your goods. While weight estimates of moving companies can vary, the actual advantage of weight-based estimates is they can be confirmed by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

This is a highly important difference between weight-based and volume-based estimates. The Department of Transportation can perfectly weigh your goods and confirm the weight against the estimate. Not sure how they weigh all your goods? See this explanation: The moving truck is weighed before loading. Then after all your goods are loaded into it, they weigh the truck again. The difference between the initial and latter weight is your move’s weight.

And since the Department of Transportation handles the weighing, you have a reliable third party to confirm the weights. This is good because if you have a problem with your mover, you can ask for the DOT certified weight tickets to confirm everything.

Pro Tips

Pro Tips

Rogue moving companies can cut corners on the weighting system. Loading other items before weighing, forging weight ticket, and irregularity in filing the truck’s gas tank are popular scams if you hire a rogue mover.

Cubic Footage-Based Estimates

The cubic foot is calculated by multiplying the length (1ft) by width (1ft) by height (1dft). Cubic footage estimates are legitimate but are not friendly since they can’t be verified by the Department of Transportation. We also see rogue movers usually quoting using cubic feet since it is easier to play. Packing the moving truck in the wrong way or fake measurements can quickly increase the overall cubic footage of a move.

But some of the best full-service moving companies we partner with provide moving quotes per cubic footage without issues. Generally, if you are working with the company the first time or the company was recommended by someone you don’t trust, we suggest you avoid estimates based on cubic footage

Consider beyond the Weight or Volume to Prevent Moving Scams

Whether you are moving long-distance or a short distance in a local place, there are many other ways moving companies can add more costs outside the weight or volume of your goods. Charging for extra packing supplies is a popular method to add more cost to a customer’s move. While there are reasons for moving companies to have to pack belongings on moving day, always obtain the cost of packing in advance, before moving day.

Shuttle truck charges are one other way moving companies can add huge costs. If you are moving from a big city like NYC, make sure you talk about the need for a shuttle truck for the move. And also, hire a good moving company and you won’t be concerned much about all this.

FAQ about How Long-distance movers charge

Generally, the cost of long-distance moves is around $0.50 and $0.70 per pound of items moved 1,000 miles from the first location.

A three-bedroom home weighs 9,000 lbs.

To calculate the weight of your goods, multiply each room that contains furniture by 1,500 pounds. Remember to add items stored in your garage, basement, and so on. Some overseas address has restrictions on the weight of the shipment. 


The only way to secure the best rate when moving long distances is to try many long-distance moving companies. Get several quotes to determine who can offer you the best for your buck. Get an insight into the highest amount of money you budget.

Adams Van Lines offers moving services all over the United States and that makes us a better choice for your relocation needs. Our satisfied customers would confirm that their long-distance moves were made sweet due to our company’s involvement.  

Adam Palme - Author
Adam Palme

Adam grew up in military family, which meant he moved more than 20 times before he graduated high school. The experience taught him a lot about adaptability (and loading boxes), which he leveraged into a career in the moving and storage industry 7 years ago. He’s been working in sales and customer service management for 20 years, and he uses his own experiences to write content about moving, storage, leadership, and teamwork. Outside of work, Adam enjoys coaching youth football in Miami and enjoying some beach time with his dog. Go Dolphins!

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