A Comparison of Moving Company Costs for an Interstate Move

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Updated on Friday, October 9, 2015


Have you ever felt the itch to embark on a new adventure? I know the feeling. This summer, my husband and I decided it’s time for us to experience a new city and we set our sights on Atlanta, Georgia. Back in 2011, we moved to “The DMV” (slang for the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area) with just a couple of boxes in a U-Haul van. Now, we have an entire apartment full of furniture we need to move long-distance.

Needless to say, we’ve encountered a much more complicated (and expensive) moving experience. I’ve gathered all of my research on our moving options into one post. If you’re planning an interstate move, this will give you a general sense of how much it costs.

The Moving Specs

I used the following details to obtain quotes and to calculate a total estimate for each moving scenario:

  • October 24th move date
  • 1 bedroom apartment with three rooms of furniture
  • About 640 miles between D.C. and Atlanta
  • Gas costs $2.31 per gallon on average
  • No moving team necessary

I do want to mention, we considered selling all of our furniture and starting fresh in Atlanta. I’ve come across sites that even suggest saving money by moving the small stuff through USPS and FedEx. Ultimately, we feel it’s less expensive and less stressful to keep our furniture and move everything together at once. So, we have three options:

  1. Rent a truck, load it ourselves and drive it down
  2. Rent a shipping container and have it delivered to our new apartment
  3. Use a long distance truck service

Of course, there are pros and cons to each scenario. Moving our own stuff is probably the most affordable way to go, but it also takes the most work. On the other hand, renting a container or hiring long-distance movers is more convenient, but it’s also more expensive. Here’s a comparison of the quotes I pulled for a few companies that offer each moving service: 

Moving Truck Rental Quotes

I reached out to U-Haul, Budget and Penske for price estimates. The quote from Penske was a whopping $2,000 just for the one-way truck rental. I decided to leave that quote out of this round-up entirely because it’s way too expensive.


The base rate for a 15-foot U-Haul truck is $596. Included in the price is 4 days of use and 791 miles, which gives us enough wiggle room to get to our destination. There’s an additional fee of $0.40 per mile if we go over 791 miles,

The very basic insurance plan costs $75 and there’s a $5 environmental fee. Of course, gas isn’t included. I used the site Travel Math to estimate the gas cost for the trip. The truck gets 10 miles per gallon. It’ll cost us about $150 in gas one-way.

Estimated Grand Total – $826


The base rental for a 16-foot truck from Budget is $544. I found a discount code for online bookings (20DIS, expires 12/31/15) that takes the rental rate down to $455.20. The package comes with 4 days of rental and unlimited miles, a pretty good deal.

I can’t find how many miles per gallon this truck takes. I’ll assume it’s also 10 miles per gallon like the U-Haul truck, so gas will cost about $150. Insurance plans start at $160. Taxes and fees add up to $50.42.

Estimated Grand Total – $815.62

Moving Container Rental Quotes

Next up, we have the rental container options. These companies drop off shipping containers. After they’re filled, each container is picked up and shipped to the destination. No need to worry about driving or paying for gas.

Door to Door

Door to Door will pick-up and drop-off Monday through Friday. One container holds one or two rooms of furniture, which isn’t enough room for our apartment. The base cost for two containers shipped from where we live outside of D.C. to Atlanta is $1,741. Extra fees including customer protection, container locks and fuel cost $224.84.

Estimated Grand Total – $1,965.84


Just like Door to Door, U-Pack can do the drop-off and pick-up on business days. The total cost I received for two U-Pack ReloCube containers including tax, fuel and delivery is $1,817. There are optional insurance plans that cover negligence in transit starting at $75.

Estimated Grand Total – $1,892


PODS has multiple container sizes and we can fit all of our stuff into the 16-foot container. The PODS package includes an entire month of rental, so you can unpack at your own pace. Payments can be made in installments. Taxes and insurance are included in one lump-sum quote.

Estimated Grand Total – $2,815.73

The Full-Service Moving Quote

Lastly, I requested a quote from a full-service moving company. I guessed it would be outside of our budget – I was right.

Two Men And A Truck

This service includes two movers. They’ll fill the truck, then drive directly to the new location and unload. The moving cost is determined by the weight of the truck and the trip distance. The salesperson estimates our furniture weighs 3,000 pounds. Insurance is included in the quote.

Estimated Grand Total – $4,739.83

What Are We Going to Do?

We’re leaning toward selling or giving away a few pieces of furniture to lighten the load and then renting a truck from Budget since it comes with unlimited miles. Washington, D.C. is relatively close to Atlanta and the gas expense for the truck isn’t too significant.

My second choice is U-Pack. One U-Pack container instead of two takes the cost down to $1,300. If we downsize enough to fit into one container, it’s affordable and more convenient than moving everything on our own.

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