Moving Costs in Chicago: How Much Does It Cost to Move?

Moving to Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States, can be an exciting adventure filled with new opportunities. However, it’s also a significant undertaking that requires careful planning, especially when budgeting for moving costs. Understanding the expenses will help you make informed decisions and avoid unexpected financial burdens. This detailed guide will explore the factors influencing moving costs in Chicago and provide practical tips to manage these expenses effectively.

Factors Affecting Moving Costs in Chicago

  • Distance of the Move

One primary factor influencing moving costs in Chicago is the distance between your current location and Chicago. Local moves within the same city or state are typically less expensive than long-distance moves from another state. The farther the distance, the higher the transportation costs, including fuel, tolls, and sometimes even lodging for the moving crew.

  • Size of the Move

The size of your move, measured by the volume or weight of your belongings, significantly impacts the cost. A larger home with more furniture and personal items will require more time and resources to pack, load, transport, and unload. Moving companies often charge based on the number of rooms or the total weight of your possessions.

  • Time of the Year

The timing of your move can also affect the overall cost. Peak moving seasons, such as summer months and weekends, tend to be more expensive due to high demand. If you have flexibility with your moving date, consider scheduling your move during the off-peak season (late fall to early spring) or on weekdays to potentially save money.

  • Services Required

The level of service you choose from a moving company will also determine your final cost. Basic services include loading, transporting, and unloading your belongings. However, additional services such as packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly of furniture, and specialty item handling (e.g., pianos, antiques) will increase the overall price.

  • Accessibility

The ease of access to your current and new residence can influence moving costs. If the movers have to navigate stairs, narrow hallways, or long distances between the truck and your home, this may incur additional charges. Similarly, urban areas with heavy traffic or limited parking can also increase the complexity and cost of the move.

Average Moving Costs in Chicago

  • Local Moves

For local moves within Chicago, movers typically charge by the hour. The average mover cost per hour ranges from $80 to $120 for a team of two movers and a truck. Here’s a breakdown of the average costs based on the size of your home:

Home SizeAverage CostNumber of Movers Number of Hours
Studio /1-bedroom$48024
  • Long-Distance Moves

Moving companies usually charge for long-distance moves to Chicago based on the weight of your belongings and the distance traveled. The average cost for long-distance moves can vary widely:

250 miles$1,467-$3,747$1,948-$5,030$2,539-$5,616$2,802-$6,218
500 miles$1,942-$4,035$2,602-$5,570$3,955-$6,686$4,385-$8,384
1,000 miles$2,869-$6,101$3,109-$7,369$4,707-$7,634$5,672-$8,571
2,000 miles$3,094-$6,058$4,424-$7,730$6,020-$9,441$7,823-$13,067

These estimates include basic services such as loading, transporting, and unloading. Additional services like packing or storage will incur extra charges.

Moving routes from Chicago to other big U.S. cities

Here are some average moving costs along the busiest moving routes from Chicago to other major cities in the country:

Moving from Chicago to New York

  • $2,780 – $5,800 (1-bedroom)
  • $3,020 – $6,825 (2-bedroom)
  • $4,200 – $7,250 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Los Angeles

  • $2,772 – $5,880 (1-bedroom)
  • $4,070 – $7,231 (2-bedroom)
  • $5,521 – $8,850 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Houston

  • $2,780 – $5,880 (1-bedroom)
  • $3,020 – $6,825 (2-bedroom)
  • $4,200 – $7,250 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Dallas

  • $2,780 – $5,880 (1-bedroom)
  • $3,020 – $6,825 (2-bedroom)
  • $4,200 – $7,250 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Phoenix

  • $2,772 – $5,880 (1-bedroom)
  • $4,070 – $7,231 (2-bedroom)
  • $5,521 – $8,850 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Boston

  • $2,780 – $5,800 (1-bedroom)
  • $3,020 – $6,825 (2-bedroom)
  • $4,200 – $7,250 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Denver

  • $2,780 – $5,800 (1-bedroom)
  • $3,020 – $6,825 (2-bedroom)
  • $4,200 – $7,250 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Atlanta

  • $1,880 – $3,780 (1-bedroom)
  • $2,450 – $5,120 (2-bedroom)
  • $3,823 – $6,323 (3-bedroom)

Moving from Chicago to Cleveland

  • $1,423 – $3,545 (1-bedroom)
  • $1,830 – $4,970 (2-bedroom)
  • $2,212 – $5,300 (3-bedroom)

How Much Does a Moving Company Cost?

You should obtain quotes from multiple moving companies to determine how much it costs to hire a mover. Most movers offer free in-home or virtual estimates, allowing you to compare prices and services. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating moving quotes:

  • Base Rate: The hourly or flat rate for basic moving services.
  • Additional Fees: Charges for packing materials, specialty item handling, and other add-ons.
  • Insurance Coverage: The cost of basic liability coverage versus full-value protection for your belongings.
  • Travel Fees: Costs associated with the distance traveled and fuel.

Tips for Saving on Moving Costs in Chicago

  • Declutter Before Moving

One of the best ways to reduce moving costs is to declutter your home before packing. Sell, donate, or discard items you no longer need to minimize the volume of your move. This lowers transportation costs and reduces packing time and material expenses.

  • Pack Yourself

If you have the time and resources, consider packing your belongings yourself. Purchasing packing supplies in bulk and taking a DIY approach can save you significant money compared to hiring professional packers.

  • Compare Multiple Quotes

Get estimates from at least three different moving companies to compare pricing and services. This will help you find the best price mover for your needs. Check reviews and ratings to ensure you’re choosing a reputable company.

  • Move During Off-Peak Times

As mentioned earlier, moving during off-peak seasons or weekdays can result in lower rates. If your schedule allows, plan your move during these times to take advantage of potential discounts.

  • Negotiate with Movers

Feel free to negotiate with moving companies. Some may be willing to offer discounts or match competitors’ prices to secure your business. Additionally, ask about any promotions or specials they may be running.

  • Tipping Movers

Tipping is a customary way to show appreciation for the hard work of your movers. While not mandatory, it’s a gesture that many people choose to make. Here are some guidelines on how much to tip a mover:

Local Moves: $20 to $40 per mover for a half-day move and $40 to $60 per mover for a full-day move.

Long-Distance Moves: 5-10% of the total moving cost, divided among the crew.

The amount you tip can vary based on the service quality, the move’s complexity, and your overall satisfaction. If the movers go above and beyond, you may tip more generously.


Moving to Chicago involves various costs that can add up quickly. Understanding the factors that influence moving expenses and taking proactive steps to manage these costs can help you budget effectively and ensure a smooth transition to your new home. Moving costs in Chicago typically range from $480 to $3,600 for local moves, depending on the size of your home, and from $1,500 to $13,000 or more for long-distance moves.

By comparing quotes, decluttering, packing yourself, and timing your move strategically, you can find the best price for your move and minimize unnecessary expenses. Don’t forget to show appreciation to the movers with a reasonable tip for their hard work. With careful planning and consideration, you can make your move to Chicago a financially manageable and stress-free experience.

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Non-Transportable Items

  • Nail polish remover
  • Live plants
  • Household paint
  • Lighter fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Fireworks
  • Compressed air cans
  • Propane tanks from grills
  • Automotive repair and maintenance chemicals
  • Matches

Other Non-Transportable Items

Other items not recommended for relocation by movers include:

  • Firearms
  • Food in glass jars and perishable foods
  • Lighter fluid
  • Prescription drugs needed for immediate use

The following personal items are recommended to be relocated to your new home in your vehicle:

  • Documents regarding your move
  • Identification including Social Security cards, passports, driver’s licenses, and state ID cards
  • Cash
  • Important personal documents such as financial statements, deeds, titles, wills, etc.
  • Family photos
  • Collections (i.e. coin collections, stamp collections. etc.)
  • Jewelry