Relocation: FAQs

Q: How much does a move cost?

A: The cost is based on a number of factors, including the weight of your belongings, the distance you’re moving, the time it takes to load and unload and the manpower it will take to do the job. The best advice is to make a list of two to three potential movers, contact them and ask for an estimate, which should be free, then make your decision.

Q: How do I begin packing?

A: This is one of the critical parts of the move, so make sure you have proper moving materials such as boxes, packing tape, etc., before beginning the process. Remember the heavier the item, the smaller the box it should occupy. Keep fragile objects well protected with sheets, blankets, pillows and towels, and always mark the boxes containing fragile items.

Q: How much should I tip my movers?

A: A tip generally differs depending on the size and difficult of the move as well as the efforts put forth by the movers. The average tip for a local move is 7 to 12 percent of the total bill. The average for a long-distance move is $3 to $5 per hour based on the effort. A good rule to remember is to tip each mover separately to make sure each person’s hard work is noticed.

Q: Are moving expenses deductible?

A: Some costs are, such as a job-related relocation with your new job at least 50 miles away from your old job. The IRS will allow you to claim some expenses as deductions. Consult the IRS web page,, for specific information and to download necessary forms or contact your tax professional.

Q: What items shouldn’t I let movers pack?

A: Pack your own jewelry, heirlooms and other one-of-a-kind items such as photo albums. Pack them yourself and transport them yourself.

Q: What can I do to help keep moving costs down?

A: A mover’s estimate assumes you will not need additional supplies from the mover; that you will have packed everything yourself that you anticipated; the size of the job doesn’t change dramatically on move-out day; traffic from your old home to your new will not be worse than usual.

Q: What information do I need to make the move as stress-free as possible?

A: You should have complete knowledge of your new neighborhood and the route to your destination. You can literally save hours off the moving time if you develop a quicker route than the one they had planned to take.

Q: What happens if I’m unable to meet the movers at my new home?

A: You will incur unexpected charges such as paying the movers for placing your items in storage; paying for the renting of the storage space; and paying for the time, truck and effort it will take for the items to be delivered back to your home. There is nothing more important than making sure you, or your designated representative, meet the movers when they arrive.

Q: How soon out I should give my new address to the Post Office.

A: The sooner the better, but generally providing a change-of-address form to the U.S. Postal Service four weeks in advance of your move.

Sources for these stories include:,, Federal Citizen Information Center Home Page,,,,, San Diego Association of Realtors,,, and

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