Summer has arrived, meaning the busiest season for moving has begun. Whether you are a pro or a rookie in the moving game, it is obvious to anyone planning a move that moving can be costly. For many, planning a DIY move seems like a great way to save on cost for a summer move. Unfortunately, DIY moves can sometime be just as costly as a professional move. Here are some of the hidden costs of a DIY move you may not have considered.

The Cost of the Truck Rental

  • Pricing: The price of moving truck rentals can vary depending upon the company, the size and how long you will be renting the truck. It is important to remember that often times, the base price listed for a truck rental will not be the price you pay in the end due to mileage fees, weekend fees, gas, insurance and tax. Here are some average base prices for a truck rental:


  • 10 foot: $19.95
  • 14 foot: $ 29.95
  • 17 foot: $29.95
  • 24 foot: $39.95
  • 26 foot: $39.95

These fees are typically paid up front, and other charges will be added on after drop off. (

  • Mileage: No matter where you rent from, you will typically be charged a mileage fee. Dependent upon the day of the week (weekends are more expensive); the average cost per mile is usually between $0.79 and $1.29. Meaning that the average cost is somewhere around $1.04 per mile.


  • Insurance: Insurance is optional, but accidents do happen. It is strongly encouraged to opt-in for the insurance plan. The average cost for insurance is approximately $15 per day for liability or $29 per day for full coverage.


  • Gas: Don’t forget you will have to return your truck with the same amount of gas it originally had when you picked it up. This means if the truck had a full tank of gas when you picked it up, it will have to be returned with a full tank of gas. The cost to fill a truck can range anywhere between $10-$50 depending on the size of the truck, how much gas you used and the price per gallon in your city. If you do not fill the truck up with gas, the company will still charge you the amount it takes to fill the tank, but this charge is often times at a higher price per gallon compared to the local gas station.


  • Rental Fees and Taxes: Rental/sales tax can range anywhere between 6 to 10% of the total cost of the rental. In addition, some companies may add-on other charges such as “environmental fees” which can accrue about $1 a day.

Total average cost of Truck Rental: In this scenario, let’s say you are moving a 3-bedroom house using a 24-foot truck to a new home that is 20 miles away. Here is an estimated cost of what a moving truck will cost throughout the entire rental process.

  • Base cost: $39.95
  • Mileage: about 50 miles at $1.04 a mile
  • Insurance: Full Coverage $29
  • Gas: $35
  • Rental fees & taxes: about $22.50

Total Cost of Truck Rental: $237.30

The Cost of Packing Materials

Professional moving companies like Fry-Wagner can often provide free packing materials to their customers, saving on packing costs. When planning a DIY move, you will have to purchase boxes and packing materials yourself which can add up quickly. The average amount spent on moving boxes is about $69 to $404 depending on the size of the home. (

Average cost of packing materials for a 3-bedroom home: $200

The Cost of Missing Work

Another benefit of hiring a professional company is having the option to not attend your move day. As long as you have someone 18 years or older present in your home on move day to direct the movers, you do not have to take off of work. DIY stands for do-it-yourself, meaning you have to make sure you are available. Due to the closings, truck rental availability, and your move-in date, sometimes organizing a Saturday move isn’t always possible which requires you to miss work. Some are lucky enough to use a vacation day, while others may have to go a day without pay.

Depending on your salary or hourly wage you could miss out on about $100-$500 dollars a day of pay, possibly more.

Average cost of missing work: $200 a day

The Cost of Food

Chances are if you are moving yourself, you will not have time to unpack your entire kitchen and cook a meal the same night of move-in day. You will definitely find yourself looking to spend money on dinner for yourself and your helpers. Whether you order pizza, go out, or grab fast food the average cost of dinner for 5-6 people is about $40. This does not include the beer, wine, water or soda you may provide to your guests, which can average an additional $20-$30. (

Average Cost of food for the day: $65

In our scenario, the total average cost of a DIY move for a three-bedroom home is about $767.30.

The average cost for a DIY local move is comparative to that of a professional move, without all the hassle of planning, organizing and executing the move yourself. For more information on how we can be of help to you during your next move, contact us today to schedule a free in-home estimate.